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Well control training takes new direction

20 August 2015

Five years on from Macondo and the incident is still shaping how well control training is approached. Following the tragedy, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) made its recommendations calling for a sharper focus on the technical content of well control training. 

These recommendations have brought positive changes to well control training, with new standards being introduced to improve knowledge and competency.  IWCF has taken a number of steps to address the technical shortfall including reviewing and updating the syllabus, setting up technical taskforces to shape exam content, introducing new levels of courses and increasing audits of training centres. 

To meet the changing needs of the organisation and enhance the user experience for both centres and candidates, IWCF has launched a new online system, FORUM. Stage one of the roll out is the implementation of the admin system which will allow accredited centres to log in and schedule courses and exams. Candidates can then be allocated places, if they have registered and created their FORUM profile. 

This gives candidates the added benefit of storing their IWCF qualification history in one place with the ability to request replacement certificates. It will also enable candidates to verify their qualifications, all new certificates and the wallet card include a QR code which, with the appropriate app on a smart phone, can be scanned to check with the online system.  This will help reduce instances of fraud with offshore personnel, employers and potential employers able to authenticate qualifications straight away. 

The most significant change will come in stage two of the roll-out when online exams will be added to the system.  Following industry feedback, paper exams will still be offered to give candidates the flexibility to choose the format they are most comfortable with using.  A third option for USB exams will be available, this is designed for test centres in areas without access to a reliable internet connection.

IWCF is truly independent with elected representatives and a global network of branches, representing the entire industry.  The organisation exists to improve well control training, assessment and certification programmes for personnel employed in the well operations sector of the oil and gas industry.  Since 1992, IWCF has certified over 160,000 people in almost every continent more than 220 accredited training centres. 

Improvements in technology and management systems have been proven to reduce safety incidents; however, a culture shift in behaviour and attitude is still needed.  Investigations into the Macondo incident revealed that processes where people could question, challenge or take action were not always followed. 

Although the changes mentioned each play a part in driving well control safety forward, there is still more to be done across the industry.  IWCF is committed to delivering a step-change in process safety and operations throughout the life-cycle of the well, this can only be achieved though industry collaboration and changing behaviours by making individuals feel empowered to act.   


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