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IWCF launches pilot scheme for behavioural well control training on fifth anniversary of Macondo

24 April 2015

The International Well Control Forum (IWCF) has initiated a pilot scheme to trial new behavioural training aimed at reducing problem areas in well control safety relating to human factors. Crew Resource Management (CRM) has been designed to improve non-technical skills and encourage a change in attitude to raise awareness of human factors in well operations.

CRM participants at The Well Academy - Image: The Well Academy
CRM participants at The Well Academy - Image: The Well Academy

The CRM course aims to create a unique environment in which wells personnel can practice dealing with simulated well control situations in an interactive way. Participants are given tools that improve the sharing of information in teams and optimise decision making skills.  Teams also get more skilled in working together as a group and supervisors enhance their operational leadership abilities. 

Several IWCF accredited training centres are running the pilot scheme, BP America in Houston, Maersk Training in Denmark, Shell and The Well Academy in the Netherlands. 

Jan Willem Flamma, Director of Training Development at The Well Academy, said: “Initially, participants have been sceptical as they feel they have completed IWCF courses to a high level many times before.  However, after working on their first scenario in the simulator they soon change their mind and see the value of CRM training.  We have received nothing but positive feedback and participants have told us it’s the best well control course they have done. 

“CRM training and scenario based well control training has been carried out in the industry for some time but now five years after Macondo the industry is still struggling to implement the learnings.

"By taking part in the IWCF pilot we are confident CRM training will be promoted and convince operators, drilling contractors and service providers that it is the right thing to do.”

The course is focused on the individual worker in a team setting as ‘portable team skills’ are needed for whatever crew they find themselves in.  The emphasis is on the candidates taking responsibility and during the course they are educated to identify the signs and indicators that reflect a decline in their own and others use of interpersonal skills. It will also enable them to identify when their behaviour or their actions may be interfering with effective team working.

IWCF is the independent organisation that sets global training standards for well control.

David Price, CEO of IWCF, said: “While we know that improvements in technology and management systems have reduced safety incidents, a culture shift in behaviour and attitude is still needed.  Following the Macondo incident, investigations revealed that processes where people could question, challenge or take action were not always followed. On the fifth anniversary of Macondo it is important that these lessons are not forgotten.  We believe that by changing behaviours and making individuals feel empowered to act, CRM training is an important step to ensuring the welfare of everyone on an installation.”

Founded by the oil and gas operators in 1992, IWCF administers well control training, assessment and certification programmes and is committed to creating a step-change in well control knowledge. Since then, IWCF has certified over 160,000 people in almost every continent through more than 220 accredited training centres.

IWCF is investing in new facilities at its headquarters in Montrose, UK to improve training for well control assessors and instructors who address drilling operations and well intervention activities. The organisation is also introducing new levels to well control training including a new level 1 introductory online course, which will be available free to anyone with an interest in the industry. 

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