IADC leads drilling industry into new era of well control training with launch of WellSHARP
New program features expanded simulations, role-specific training, electronic testing, standardized knowledge test
By Amy Rose, Director External Relations, IADC
A competent drilling sector is one of the most important enablers for the global oil and gas industry, and effective well control is the key to safe, clean and efficient drilling operations. This philosophy is at the heart of IADC’s new WellSharp well control training and assessment program.
WellSharp replaces the former WellCAP training, offering an enhanced program and training standard that provides rigorous training and assessment to every person with well control responsibilities, whether office-based or rig-based.
“IADC’s WellSharp provides the industry with the necessary tools and support to deliver significantly improved performance in the area of well control,” Stephen Colville, IADC President and CEO, said. “Further, it is owned and nurtured by the whole industry and will play an important part in improving the industry’s overall performance and improving safety.”
The well control training and assessment program was revamped and revitalized at the request of industry. Working in collaboration with the WellCAP Advisory Panel, the IADC Well Control Committee and other industry workgroups, the WellSharp program represents an industry-led effort to redefine well control training.
“The wide engagement by our industry has produced a standard and training program which can truly claim to be an ‘industry standard.’ WellSharp is the product of a root and branch collaborative revision of well control training by subject matter experts from across the industry,” Mark Denkowski, IADC Executive Vice President, Operational Integrity, said.
“Further, it is a standard that the industry owns and will continue to improve using agreed mechanisms. In addition to the overall performance benefits, the reputational positives of the industry collaborating to review existing standards, determine the need for an entirely new approach and design and build a superior alternative, as we have done, are considerable.”
In the past, IADC’s well control training has centered on operations and task-oriented skills. WellSharp will continue to offer training in those areas but has also transitioned to emphasize:
• Prevention and management of the well;
• Greater risk awareness and assessment;
• Understanding of additional barriers outside of the BOP that can be utilized to maintain a safe and reliable work place; and
• New technology and terms referencing unique drilling situations that have come about through new equipment and capabilities.
“I believe that the industry has succeeded in working together to create a training standard that addresses and resolves systemic defects in all existing training standards. The whole industry, and regulators, agreed that these defects were not amenable to quick-fix or bolt-on solutions. Consequently, we deliberately took a carefully considered approach to reach industrywide consensus regarding the standards, training and testing required,” Mr Denkowski said.
“Despite this challenge, and because of the commitment of IADC members to the process, we now have something that is internationally recognized as the industry’s standard, developed by the industry, for the industry.”
WellSharp introduces significant improvements to the previous well control training program, including:
• Expanded course offerings: Well control training has expanded from three course levels to five. The courses include Awareness, Introductory, Drillers, Supervisors and Engineer;
• Role-specific training;
• Expanded simulations;
• A standardized knowledge test will be made available in all languages in which the training is delivered;
• Independently proctored, electronic testing;
• Enhanced guidelines for skills assessments;
• Enhanced instructor capabilities/qualifications; and
• Better quality assurance with pre-accreditation audits, and a set program audit frequency.
Upgrades to the testing process are particularly noteworthy. WellSharp offers an electronic testing process, with a database of test questions managed by IADC. The testing system will allow IADC to monitor every test given to every student worldwide, providing the capability to immediately highlight and respond to any issues. It will provide a barometer of success of each training provider and an opportunity to easily determine areas for improvement, which will enhance the quality and integrity of the knowledge test. Additionally, as part of the testing process, students will be asked to complete a survey about their course experience, providing real-time feedback on the quality of courses administered around the world.
The testing will be independently proctored, which represents a significant change. IADC has partnered with Lloyd’s Register North America to provide proctoring services for WellSharp training providers. Lloyd’s significant international footprint, objective and credible presence and its years of experience in the oil and gas industry, particularly in the area of quality assurance, further ensures the integrity of the WellSharp test.
“As the list of improvements demonstrates, this new training program is not a re-working of anything existing but a complete rebuild. This approach was necessary in order to address industry’s need for IADC to produce a single standard, single governance and single administration for global well control training,” Mr Denkowski said. “The result is a training and testing program which uses the latest technology to manage and address previous program shortfalls such as knowledge gaps, practical/theoretical imbalance, variable teaching standards, skill fade, language and robust and transparent testing methods.”
Over the coming months, IADC accredited training providers will be transitioning their programs to align with WellSharp requirements, a process that is expected to conclude by the end of Q2 2015.
“The new WellSharp training and assessment program demonstrates that our sector is accountable and capable of delivering operational excellence and meaningful self-improvement without the need for regulatory sanctions or legislative incentive,” Mr Colville said. “We are confident that WellSharp will make a huge contribution to improved performance and safer operations and will play an important part in enhancing the well control performance of the global drilling sector.”