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Drilling training goes virtual at Malaga Drilling School

Internationally renowned Malaga Drilling School has switched to online teaching during the pandemic for its IWCF-approved drilling and well control training using virtual simulators.

Malaga Drilling School is using the iDrillSIM cloud-based drilling and well control simulator. iDrillSIM uses tried-and-tested well control software to create a virtual drilling experience in the cloud, enabling students to undergo simulator training and assessments online rather than travelling to a training centre.

This innovation has proved invaluable for Malaga Drilling School, which has seen business cut substantially due to travelling and lockdown restrictions around Covid-19.

Malaga Drilling School is world-renowned and attracts delegates from all over the globe from Canada to Australia and South Africa. Usually delivering up to three weekly drilling and well control classes, the impact of coronavirus in March 2020 significantly reduced the number of candidates able to visit the centre to attend courses.

“Any initial scepticism about the effectiveness of online simulator training has been completely blown away after successfully running five remote courses.”

Peter Blakeston, Founder, Malaga Drilling School

Now Malaga Drilling School is successfully pioneering the use of the iDrillSIM for the delivery of IWCF Level 3 and 4 assessments and is inundated with enquiries for its twice monthly courses.

Founder of Malaga Drilling School, Pete Blakeston explains: “Despite the pandemic the global energy and oil and gas sector still needs to operate and drilling industry personnel need to ensure they are competent with fresh skills.

“All the global restrictions made physical training on the drilling simulators within our centre impossible for some of our clients so we worked with Drilling Systems to implement online simulator training using the iDrillSIM.

“Any initial scepticism about the effectiveness of online simulator training has been completely blown away after successfully running five remote courses. The iDrillSIM is extremely easy to use and the experience comes very close to operating a DrillSIM physical simulator with the same realistic representation of the conditions faced when drilling.

“We have been careful to replicate the same high-quality experience and use two simulator assessors, as well as the course instructor, to ensure students are well supported throughout the course. In actual fact, there have been benefits to remote training as we find people tend to be more focussed and relaxed learning in their own environment and the overall assessment marks have increased by an average of 6%. Virtual simulator assessments have also remained consistent with the level of assessments on a physical hands-on simulator showing the training to be equally as effective.

“We are delighted at these results. They have certainly exceeded our expectations and we see virtual drilling training as an extremely effective tool which is helping to maintain safety standards across the industry now and beyond the pandemic.”

Clive Battisby, director of simulator operations for 3t Energy Group, said: “We are delighted to hear that our cloud-hosted DrillSIM software is proving so effective for Malaga Drilling School. Our software has been developed and fine-tuned over many years to create a highly realistic experience so that drilling crews can be fully prepared for real-life operations. We see this developing further in the future to support remote learning for continuous competency assessment.”