Petrofac begins water safety and survival training at NASA facility
Mark Denkowski, IADC’s Vice President of Accreditation and Certification, comments on the current status of HUET in the Gulf of Mexico and IADC’s efforts to standardize the training in the video above.
By Joanne Liou, editorial coordinator
From outer space to offshore drilling rigs, workers in both industries are sharing common ground at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. In a partnership with Petrofac Training Services and Raytheon Technical Services Company, the center’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory (NBL) recently evolved into a multipurpose facility that houses courses in water safety and survival training for the offshore oil and gas industry.
“The facility here is meant to focus on training outside of the space station, which is a high-consequence training environment, so there is really no room for failure in the training mission,” David Appel, senior director of operations, training and logistics at Raytheon, said. “Being here in Houston, in the heart of the oil and gas market, the characteristics of safety, reliability and high-consequence training are natural for the types of training we do here.”
Using the 6.2 million-gal, 40-ft deep NBL pool, helicopter underwater egress training (HUET) is one of the first programs being implemented. Taking place in the same pool that contains the full-scale replica of the International Space Station and where astronauts train, the survival training programs for the oil and gas industry began in December and offers drilling contractors, operators and service companies another outlet to train in a realistic environment.
Rowan Companies is considering the program to train its employees. “Rowan is building three new drillships, and with the increased number of jackups coming into the market, the number of employees is increasing drastically,” Aaron Mueller, global training manager at Rowan. “There’s a slim number of opportunities for this type of training within the Houston and southern US area. To have an option outside of what we currently use is highly beneficial.”
The availability of space and technology at NASA’s NBL creates the potential to train more people in various courses. “Given the capability we have among the organizations, the capacity to train here is a lot higher than what we have in other facilities,” Marc Pretorius, survival and marine team leader at Petrofac, said. “We have an immense amount of space dedicated to us. We can definitely be running nine to 12 courses a week.”
Petrofac plans to add basic offshore safety induction and emergency training (BOSIET), as well as major emergency management training (MEM), to its program this year and is seeking accreditation from IADC and OPITO.
Click any image to zoom