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University and industry join forces to increase safety and reduce cost for oil and gas companies

DrillSIM 6000 at Robert Gordon University (RGU)Oil and gas companies are making huge savings and boosting safety thanks to a unique industry partnership between leading simulator developer, Drilling Systems and Robert Gordon University (RGU).

The Oil and Gas Institute at RGU is working with Drilling Systems and its innovative drilling, well control and lifting simulator technology to help oil and gas companies identify ways to improve efficiencies and raise safety standards, which in turn is leading to substantial cost savings.

Over the past 12 months, the partnership has worked with several oil and gas companies to help them reduce non-productive time and optimise drilling.

Each client’s project is different, but one of the most popular and cost-effective activities being undertaken is to review, analyse and amend individual company processes and procedures. Often new procedures are written prior to operations, but within the simulator suite at RGU, clients are able to test out how procedures work in practise. This enables potential gaps to be identified long before new procedures are implemented in a live work environment and has helped prevent costs in lost time and ineffective drilling practises. In one particular case, a client changed 74 critical procedures based on what they had learnt on the simulator.

Using the simulators to train and assess competency prior to live operations has also reaped rewards for clients. As well as enabling safer, smoother and more efficient rig reactivations, simulator training is helping oil and gas companies ensure staff competency and improve on-the-job performance. For one customer, non-productive time was reduced by up to 40% following a training programme for new and existing crew members.

Clive Battisby, chief operating officer at Drilling Systems, said: “We are delighted that our unique working relationship with RGU is helping oil and gas companies save time, money and improve safety. 

“Our simulators create an extremely realistic environment, which mirrors the equipment and conditions faced on a rig. In this risk-free setting, operators can practise every day manoeuvres and specific emergency scenarios which test competency, so that when they start work in-the-field they are confident and comfortable with the task in hand and operating at maximum efficiency.

“Our simulators are also enabling oil and gas companies test the effectiveness of procedures for new equipment or process changes in a safe environment avoiding costly mistakes or downtime on a live rig.”

Phil Hassard, Oil and Gas Institute Drilling Simulator Manager at RGU, said: “This is a perfect example of a university and industry working together effectively to raise standards and identify better ways of doing things for the oil and gas sector.

“Thanks to simulator technology, our clients have potentially saved millions of dollars this year alone through improved efficiencies and have reduced non-productive time significantly. Working closely with Drilling Systems has also enabled us to develop innovations such as decommissioning simulators and mobile training units and we anticipate this relationship to continue. Together we can ensure the sector has well trained, highly competent workers, well equipped for the needs of the industry moving forward.”

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