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Simulator training success on Ocean GreatWhite to be rolled out across other projects

The ultra-deep-water Ocean Great White drilling rig never probed the Great Australian Bight
The ultra-deep-water Ocean Great White drilling rig never probed the Great Australian Bight

Simulator training to prepare crews for the specific drilling conditions at Blackrock off Shetland has proved so successful it is being rolled out across other projects.

Siccar Point Energy commissioned the mobile ‘On-the-rig’ (OTR) drilling simulator, which is designed and manufactured by advanced simulator developer, Drilling Systems, to train Diamond Offshore’s crew in advance of the challenging Blackrock drilling campaign earlier this year.

Feedback following the campaign has shown the simulator to be ‘an asset to the project’s success’ helping to maximise uptime and develop crew skills and confidence during the campaign.

Although portable, Drilling Systems’ OTR has the same capabilities of a full-size simulator and offers an instructor-free, learning management system which replicates all operational elements of the rig including well control, drilling and lifting.

The OTR was programmed with training scenarios specifically tailored to the conditions faced on the Blackrock well. This allowed the crew to rehearse anticipated scenarios in a safe environment beforehand so they knew exactly how to react when faced with similar situations on the ground. With the simulator in-situ, training could easily fit around day-to-day operations saving Diamond Offshore significant time on a tight-schedule to mobilise a new rig from the Far East to the UK.

Drilling Systems is part of the 3T Energy Group, which is the UK’s largest energy sector training provider and includes leading training providers, AIS Training and Survivex.

Colin Higgins, Well Manager at Siccar Point Energy, said: “Before undertaking any drilling campaign, we robustly assess the risks beforehand to ensure these are minimised as much as possible. For the Ocean GreatWhite project, we were looking to maximise any opportunity to finesse the drilling operations in a controlled environment.

“The OTR simulator provided a great tool to optimise operations and mitigate some of these risks by enabling the crew to practise drilling scenarios beforehand for some of the specific conditions we expected, as well as everyday tasks. The training ensured the crew went into the campaign confident and fully prepared for all eventualities. This in turn gave us confidence we had mitigated well specific risks as much as possible. It was an extremely worthwhile exercise and we are now looking at using the OTR for our future drilling campaigns.”

Clive Battisby, chief operating officer at Drilling Systems, said: “This is the very first time we have seen OTR simulator training wholly driven by an operator and shows how the industry is recognising that preparing crews in advance can make a significant contribution to the success of a drilling campaign. Due to the Blackrock project’s time constraints, training needed to be completed quickly and the OTR offered an extremely nimble, flexible solution which enabled highly targeted and effective training onsite.

“Simulation helps crews stay fresh, sharp, focused and aware, which in turn leads to higher efficiency and effectiveness. Clearly this worked to good effect at Blackrock and we are delighted to hear that our  On-the-Rig simulator is likely to be used on other projects by both the operator and the contactor as a result.”

Blake Burns, Drilling Superintendent, Ocean GreatWhite Diamond Offshore Drilling, said: ”Drilling Systems’ OTR simulator provided the Ocean GreatWhite crew a platform and opportunity to simulate well control scenarios and drilling practices in a controlled and monitored environment prior to drilling our first wells with Siccar Point Energy. We tested various crew members on the rig with specific well control and downhole challenges that our client has experienced in offset wells allowing our drill crews to be prepared when facing these same risks in real time.

“With the OTR simulator onboard, we were able to put our employees through continuous learning that was purposefully designed, accurately tracked and readily available. Ultimately, allowing us to identify improvement opportunities for individuals based on data received from simulations. The experience gained from these simulations onboard the rig prior to spudding our first well proved to be a pivotal contributor to our operational readiness and the value gained can simply be measured against the operational and safety performance of the Ocean GreatWhite throughout our first drilling campaign.

“Diamond Offshore continues to look for ways to leverage simulator technology in other areas to strengthen our work force and deliver best in-class operational and safety performance.”


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