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How do 3t Drilling Systems simulators work?

3t Drilling Systems’ advanced simulators provide realistic and immersive learning environments that emulate drilling, well control, well intervention and crane operations in real-time. This allows well site personnel to rehearse challenging or infrequent operations in a safe environment, allowing them to make mistakes and learn without any real-life negative consequences. This experience helps to ensure that your workforce is fully competent, thus maximising operational excellence in the field. 

3t Drilling Systems has a range of simulators in all shapes and sizes, plus bespoke options to ensure that your simulation-based learning is tailored to your exact requirements. Our DrillSIM simulators exceed IADC and IWCF standards to offer the ultimate industry standard in drilling and well control operations.   

Let’s explore how working with 3t Drilling Systems can benefit your organisation and employees. 


Digitising elements of your learning supports your business’s ambitions to lower your carbon footprint

Globally, businesses are setting goals to reduce their impact on the environment, and our approach to providing simulation and cloud-based learning, wherever you’re located, can help support yours too.  

By having your simulators in-house and eliminating the need to travel great distances to undertake training, you are greatly cutting your business’s carbon footprint and saving money on travel costs.  

Emissions are also directly linked to operations, even during non-productive time. Therefore, the efficiency savings from the application of simulation-based training help to further reduce the environmental impact of drilling and well construction.  

Investing in its workforce learning and development as part of a recent collaboration with 3t Drilling Systems, a major international operator experienced these benefits first hard to optimise operations. 

Case Study

For the client, a major international operator based in West Africa, its involvement in high-risk projects meant that it needed to maintain control over the competence and capabilities of its wellsite supervisors. It needed to ensure that workers could handle high-risk scenarios safely and confidently.  

Having used a small portable simulator in the past, the client realised that to support staff, it needed to invest in a full-scale, more immersive system to enhance the levels of training available and being able to develop its staff in-house was the key driver in approaching 3t Drilling Systems.   


Reasons for Bringing Training In-house

The client wanted to provide internal development and to have in-house capabilities to train supervisors, managers, and engineers not just on well control but on the stuck pipe and so many other aspects of well operations. A review was conducted to examine what simulator could offer the best capabilities.  

One of the things identified in terms of drilling was the human performance aspect. The client required a training centre where all the supervisors could come, make mistakes, and learn from them. Equipment was needed to offer that capability. So, with the ability to train staff, supervisors, and other rig crew, the DrillSIM:5000 was selected. 

Having developed training matrices and plans year after year, the cost of meeting these training needs became a growing concern for the client who had been outsourcing simulator training to international providers. This ultimately led to a decision to bring the training in-house.   

After conducting a needs analysis by the Wells Operations team, it became apparent that there was a gap around the operational readiness of the crew and supervisors working on high-risk projects. The client needed its people to practice and prepare for potential encounters at the well site. For the client, it was clear that simulation-based learning would help them close that gap.   

The cost to outsource training was typically very high due to the limited number of high-quality regional training facilities that could cater to the company’s specific requirements. While travelling outside of the region brought more options available, this brought its’ own cost implications. 


Justifying the Cost

At a glance, the initial cost can seem difficult to justify. However, when looked at as a business case based on operational pain points such as lost time in dealing with an incident or putting the safety of your crew at risk, well-specific training enables more control over these events to minimise the associated risks. For example, non-productive time (NPT) with a stuck pipe can be disastrous, with some incidents costing millions of dollars in lost time alone.  

Alternatively, investing in simulation-based training enables the client’s supervisors to deal with subsequent drilling and well control problems effectively. Having confident, competent workers because of the simulation-based training has saved the company millions and reduced its NPT by 50%. By bringing the training capabilities in-house, the client could customise training scenarios based on specific operations, enabling the operations team to take on more projects with more complex downhole conditions. 

Although several HPHT wells were drilled by the client, they had no in-house capabilities to deliver appropriate training. Instead, they required external support, significantly driving up the cost. The alternative would have been to proceed without the training, which would have brought avoidable risk to operations. The risk of potential issues during operations was unacceptable, and the ongoing cost of training was too high. Therefore, it was necessary to close the gap with a simulator. 

Having the right in-house capabilities allows the client to take on more HPHT projects due to a higher degree of confidence at a management level that the staff and supervisors are trained better due to the training capability in-house. 

With the high-risk nature of HPHT wells, specific training is needed to ensure well control incidents are at a minimum and training of this kind can be costly when outsourced. Having the capabilities in-house provides the client with ongoing development, meaning the workforce is equipped to deal with any number of wells, giving the company considerable financial benefit from the initial investment.


Investing in the Future of its Workforce

Knowing that your personnel can handle well control incidents quickly and efficiently, having had all the necessary training on the simulator is crucial to the business, not only for the competency and safety of well site personnel but for the reputation of the business. Having the training in-house enabled the client to have full confidence in its personnel as they ensure that all supervisors have valid well control training. 

Advanced well control training can only be completed using an advanced simulator, so, typically, the client had to rely on training in America or Europe to get that experience. Within the client’s wells division, it’s mandatory for all our supervisors and team leads to complete this training because the risks of well control incidents are well-known.  

Before accessing the DrillSIM:5000, the gap in training had been identified for years now, with the client aware that the simulator was necessary to provide the ability to get crews ready to detect warning signs of well control or stuck pipe events and be able to respond effectively. The DrillSIM:5000 offers the ability to do that.   


Enabling a Shift in Business with the MultiSIM

With the shift towards rigless well intervention activities in the West African region, the need to train and invest in supervisors for well intervention operations became a priority and ultimately led to the need to bring on board the MultiSIM. This portable simulator provided the flexibility to train supervisors in all the necessary skills whenever and wherever needed.  

For the client, bringing the MultiSIM in-house enabled the business to shift to perform rigless work with more confidence in its supervisors. After several unfortunate incidents which lost the company a lot of money in NPT, the client identified the need for supervisors to have a greater understanding of coiled tubing and wireline operations to facilitate working hand in hand with the service companies to deliver more efficient operations. As a result of how the client manages its assets, the company is accountable and responsible for operations over and above the service companies. Therefore, knowledge and practical skills gained through enhanced training would be key to effective supervision.  

Not only has the MultiSIM enabled the client to expand its operations, but it also provided a basis for big plans to enhance an existing supervisor training program. The client plans to do Well Control Training beyond the IWCF Rotary Drilling Well Control and Well Intervention Pressure Control courses, covering all the key well control methods. A coiled tubing and wireline training school will eventually open using the MultiSIM, later incorporating stuck pipe prevention training and well control training using the DrillSIM:5000.   

Further to the learning outcomes for experienced engineers and supervisors, the training centre will also be a powerful tool to onboard and upskill new hires and junior personnel. Using the simulators, they will be able to familiarise themselves with the equipment used in the field and how the equipment and systems are managed by the company during both routine and non-routine operations.   


Human Factors

As a result of incorporating and considering Human Factors within the training, the company’s well site personnel are more competent and confident in dealing with and preventing incidents. In addition, the client has seen a significant cost benefit by bringing the training in-house. Just on IWCF training alone, the simulator has paid for itself within five years. For NPT, training using simulators has already reduced its NPT by 50%. The business aims to reduce this further and to have zero stuck pipe incidents in the next two to three years. 

Ultimately, most issues boil down to human factors in one way or another. By implementing simulation-based training, students can make mistakes, learn, and experience real-life situations in a safe environment. 

Responding to well control incidents effectively is directly linked to human factors – not just the operation of equipment, but also how proper communication ensures equipment is operated to the appropriate procedures and at the right time. Operational performance is strongly tied to human performance, and training and competence play a vital role in that, which is why, moving forward, the company’s advanced well control course has continued to include a greater focus on human factors. 

For the client, investing in 3t Drilling Systems advanced simulators has brought a host of benefits to both its workforce and the business in general including:  

  • Time-saving: By bringing the simulation-based training in-house, there’s no longer a need for the workforce to travel to the training elsewhere in the world, wasting valuable work and training time. Owning the training infrastructure has also given the client full control over course scheduling, rather than having to share simulators with other companies.
  • Cost reduction: In-house simulation-based learning has alleviated any need for the workforce to travel to another country to attend training, resulting in a large saving on travel costs and outsourced training costs. Money has also been saved thanks to the results seen by the use of simulation-based learning, with the most significant being the dramatic 50% reduction in NPT.  
  • Increased employee engagement: Enabling employees to hone their skills in real-time in hazardous working environments but without real-life consequences is one of the best ways of investing in the workforce. It builds competence and confidence, creating an engaged, work-ready crew. The ability to customise the scenario based on a specific well makes the training more relevant and immersive, further helping ensure maximum engagement.
    Improving employee safety: This method of delivering training and increasing competence using simulators enables your workforce to learn and familiarise themselves with their high-risk role in complete safety. People learn from mistakes, so our training allows them the freedom to do that with no real-life consequences.

By choosing to work with 3t Drilling Systems, the world’s number one provider of simulator technology, you are making a sound investment in the success of your business whilst securing better learning outcomes. We work in partnership with you to ensure that our simulator-based learning solutions set you apart from your competition and ensure you have a safer, smarter, and more efficient workforce now and in the future.