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14 Oct 2020 / News

Survivex's well control training proves effective for Wellesley


Onboard training by Survivex has contributed towards Wellesley Petroleum delivering its lowest-cost well for 2020.

Survivex was commissioned to deliver well control training to Dolphin Drilling’s crews onboard the Borgland Dolphin in advance of Wellesley’s drilling programme in the North Sea off Norway earlier this year.

Delivered via Drilling Systems’ mobile On The Rig (OTR) simulator, the training needed to be well-specific to help Dolphin Drilling’s crews prepare for the particular conditions. The licence prospect included shallow reservoir conditions with the target depth of 1,100 metres - almost three times shorter than the usual 3,000 metres for the UK and Norwegian Continental Shelf. Shallow wells mean drillers have far less reaction time to deal with well control issues.

Survivex instructor, Steve Dursley, has extensive life experience of drilling, having worked in the field for many years. Crucially Steve had faced similar shallow well conditions himself during his career and was able to programme the OTR to accurately mirror the well programme, creating snapshots and training scenarios specifically designed for the distinct challenges and conditions in the well.

This process even helped to refine the well programme itself. Steve and the drilling supervisors identified areas in the programme that may present challenges in well control. Specifically, they highlighted that there was a flow check stipulated at any drilling break, during which time any influx would have time to rise above the BOP. The drilling programme was updated to shut in at a drilling break to alleviate this potential issue.

The realism of the OTR simulator programme, and the fact that it could be carried out in-situ with the entire team, made it easy to train and rehearse every possible scenario before the rig even left the quayside.

This extensive training and well preparation work helped to deliver Wellesley’s lowest-cost well for 2020, coming in on time and on budget with high quality safety performance.

Callum Smyth, Operations Manager at Wellesley, said: “Oil exploration is all about uncertainty and mitigating risks and our latest well posed particular technical challenges. We were dealing with a shallow target and needed to ensure the drilling crews were at the very top of their game to respond quickly to potential well control issues.

“In addition to the impact on well control readiness, this type of on-site training also helps to create a really strong team spirit, which is the foundation for effective communication. I’ve no doubt that this played a part in helping us deliver such a cost effective and safe well.  In terms of improving safety for the industry this type of on-the-rig training should be considered for every project. We are certainly looking at using the OTR for our next well in 2020.”

Morten Haugland, Rig Manager at Dolphin Drilling, said:” Drilling training can be very generic but the OTR equipment and scenarios created by Steve Dursley allowed us to undergo well specific training on the rig itself during work time. Our team was very engaged by the training process and having everyone involved – even junior members of the team – meant we could share ideas and experiences which really benefitted the entire team. Onboard training also took some of the ‘classroom tension’ away from going to a training centre. It was an extremely worthwhile project and something we would certainly consider again.”

Survivex offers onboard training in a wide range of skills, as well as providing industry-approved well control courses at its Drilling Well Control Centre of Excellence within the Dyce centre. The facility, accredited by the International Well Control Forum (IWCF), features the latest generation of drilling simulation technology – including OTRs. Here delegates can learn about drilling and well control in an immersive virtual environment before embarking on the real thing.

Survivex training instructor, Steve Dursley said: “We were delighted to work with Wellesley and Dolphin Drilling to prepare the crews for their forthcoming drilling project. Onboard training like this is incredibly flexible and allows clients to prepare personnel onsite in the exact conditions they’ll be working in. This can be extremely useful when dealing with time pressures or challenges such as the current Covid19 pandemic. Survivex is very nimble and can mobilise anywhere in the world whenever needed.”


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