Search 3t

An interview with Drilling Systems’ Chief Operating Officer Clive Battisby

Oil and Gas Vision (OGV) discuss new simulator technology and the aims of Drilling Systems with its Chief Operating Officer, Clive Battisby.


The full interview is available on the Oil and Gas Vision (OGV) website, and you can read the questions and answers below.

This technology could have a big impact on the way training is done, how important is this for the industry?

It makes practical sense within the supply chain of the oil and gas industry. Obviously the cost base has been challenged fundamentally with the massive downturn and people are going for the bare minimum level of training. If you think about sending people ‘off-hitch’ you’re paying extra travel, accommodation and training costs. So the course cost isn’t the only cost and in some cases that might be the cheapest cost. You also have all the other costs that go with it. Therefore, it certainly optimises the operations and gives the people at the work site the benefit of training and working at the same time. I think this has been proven to be one of the best ways to do it. You learn from the mistakes, so if you can replicate these mistakes on a training simulator then that’s the best place to do them. Ultimately it creates higher safety standards, lower training costs and more competent people.

Health and Safety is a big factor. Do you think this technology could help improve this long term?

The industry is certainly looking to technology to drive change. I think digital twin is the latest buzz phrase and the OTR is providing that digital twin on the simulator at the work site. To allow the group the time to do that, you always want to plan something before you do it and this has been proven to be a much more efficient way of doing things. I think it just makes a lot of sense, we certainly see it being used in old rigs that have been reactivated.

You’re bringing in a crew, maybe big or a small and you’re now trying to up crew and rejig that rig into a position where it’s ready to go. I think that’s where the biggest risk is in terms of an HSE incident, because you’ve got a lot of fresh people that won’t have that experience because a lot of that industry experience has gone and hasn’t returned to the industry.

What do you predict for the future of the industry when it comes to simulation?

We have several clients now using OTR platform and we feel we know more about how they use it, certainly the likes of Stena Drilling and Pacific Drilling, have focused on rig reactivation.

It’s a little bit too early to say how the industry’s use of the technology will develop but certainly group competence is a big issue and equipment damage can be a concern. Clients don’t want people damaging equipment so focusing on contract security is important.

What are the next steps for Drilling Systems when it comes to technology like this?

I think we will look to roll the same methodology out across our simulator range including coiled tubing simulators, wireline simulators and crane simulators. In fact we already have crane on our OTR platform, so it’s not just drilling and well control, we can be doing crane operations on rig sites too. We have many other drilling related simulators but I think we’ll take this from a learning management system that underpins this platform and that will be rolled out across our simulations. For example, you’ve got a training passport and as you go on to any one of our systems, you would register that it is you on that system and then it’s got a digital record of your performance and competency. You get to track yourself and see your progression or areas that you can improve in. You can also look to see if you need to take an e-learning course or get some more hands-on experience on operating a certain piece of equipment because it shows your skills gaps.

What kind of response have you had from demonstrations of the jack-up software?

It’s been very good. We have been doing learning events where people or teams can come in and they can use the system. For example, it was demonstrated to the likes of Stena Drilling and they have subsequently taken more of the OTR units. We have another couple of customers that we can’t mention now, but again they are taking the OTR on a lease contract now. So, it is being shown as an effective tool. They will have one at ADIPEC, Offshore Europe and others in between. We’ve got systems to demo in India, Russia, Middle East and Aberdeen.

Can you tell me about your crane simulator?

The crane system is still an important part. If you look at the number of reported lifting incidents that have happened, crane is something that certainly the UK HSE agency was very keen to drive incidents down on. Many years ago we were involved with that project along with the HSE in developing an offshore crane simulator and that’s what we have now put onto the OTR as well. So we will be rolling out crane simulation. We’ve got it on the drill-ship and we can add different types of crane to the system too. From a cost point of view for the end user they can get quite a lot of value out of that. Ultimately that is what it comes down to – what is your training cost per head?

Do you find new technology is challenging the traditional way that training was implemented?

Yes, we will link that with the online dashboard we have, so although in some rigs obviously internet connectivity is difficult, the system is designed so that if an incident is reported we can design a scenario on the OTR specifically for that event and then we can push that new scenario out to the cloud. All the OTRs download that scenario, it’s added to appropriate individuals’ competency matrix and then the next time they log on they’ll see there is a new exercise to complete. Then there will be an exercise brief, perhaps some well data and then they go and actually do that particular exercise.