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SPE paper shows drilling the rig on a simulator (DWOS) boosts human performance by 63%

A DWOS project to train Petronas crew members for a specific deep-water drilling campaign has shown how human performance can be improved by 63% by drilling the well on a simulator beforehand.

Details of the project’s success have been presented at the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) in a Whitepaper entitled “Operational Performance Training Using High Fidelity Simulations and Advanced Human Performance Techniques” to demonstrate how this type of training can be used to positively support the oil and gas industry.

Within the oil and gas sector, 92% of well control events can be attributed to human factors, however the vast majority of drilling training focusses on technical excellence. The Petronas project and resulting SPE paper shows how combining human factors training with technical training can significantly improve the performance of drilling crews and reduce human error.

The project began when Petronas commissioned Drilling Systems’ mobile ‘On-the-Rig’ (OTR) drilling simulator to prepare its crew prior to starting a deep-water drilling campaign. A digital twin of the well-specific and equipment-specific conditions was created on the OTR to enable Petronas personnel to drill the well on the simulator (DWOS) beforehand using the exact environment and conditions they would face operationally to fine tune skills.

Coaching specialists, Salos worked closely with Drilling Systems to identify and design eight realistic scenarios and challenges for Petronas personnel to undertake on the OTR. These scenarios were based on previous deep-water project experiences and included: Drilling Ahead, Well Control, Stuck Pipe, Shallow Flow, Total Loss of Circulation, DP Status Change, Stripping and Losses, Ballooning and Wellbore Breathing.

Complete teams comprising of both drilling and supervisory personnel practised each of these scenarios together in their operational roles and were assessed on 11 elements: six relating to human factors such as communications, teamwork and decision-making and five technical skills including downhole understanding, procedure knowledge and programme knowledge.

The scores showed a marked improvement over the course of the training with average marks increasing from 54% to 86% from the first simulator session to the last. This represented an overall improvement of 63%.

Grant Wallace, managing director at Salos Sunesis Ltd said: “This project was extremely successful and backs up what we already know from academic research. Studies show that knowledge retention levels are significantly increased when personnel can directly apply the training to their work situation. The coaching approach embeds the learning directly at the work site and the Drilling Systems On-The-Rig (OTR) simulator enhances this learning process. It is only through combining technical training with Human Factors training that we will equip teams to face those less visible dangers and in turn improve operational safety and performance. As well as increasing technical competence, training like this can help effect appropriate behavioural change on the frontline.”

Clive Battisby, Chief Operating Officer at Drilling Systems, said: “The Drilling Systems’ OTR simulator provides a great tool for reducing drilling risks by allowing crews to practice drilling scenarios on a realistic, virtual model of the well.

“This collaborative project between Petronas, Salos and Drilling Systems shows that tailored and realistic training can not only help improve technical excellence, but it can help to create strong teams with excellent communication, who all work effectively together. As well as helping to mitigate human factors, this ultimately improves overall safety for the industry. We are delighted to see it used to such good effect by Petronas.”

You can view the SPE paper titled Operational Performance Training Using High Fidelity Simulations and Advanced Human Performance Techniques via this link.