IADC/SPE: BP changes training, development focus

To meet the increasing complexity of drilling and completing wells in higher pressure and temperature environments that are deeper and have longer deviations, Scott Sigurdson, vice-president of drilling and completions for BP PLC said the company's focus now is on training and development of engineers as specialists rather than its previous emphasis on generalists.

Guntis Moritis
OGJ Production Editor

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 2 -- To meet the increasing complexity of drilling and completing wells in higher pressure and temperature environments that are deeper and have longer deviations, Scott Sigurdson, vice-president of drilling and completions for BP PLC said the company's focus now is on training and development of engineers as specialists rather than its previous emphasis on generalists.

Sigurdson gave his remarks Feb. 2 at the International Association of Drilling Contractors and Society of Petroleum Engineers Drilling Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans during a plenary session to discuss the topic: Is technology outpacing competency?

He said wells now are being planned or drilled with bottomhole temperatures of 500° F. and wellhead pressures of 25,000 psi. Well deviations are also greater such as in the case of BP's planned development of the Liberty field off Alaska's North Slope.

The wells drilled from an existing island will have step-outs of up to 40,000 ft and 10,000-ft true vertical depths. Parker Drilling designed and constructed the rig, which arrived on ANS in July 2009 (OGJ Online, Nov. 23, 2009).

A BP predecessor discovered and appraised the field, an eastern satellite of Prudhoe Bay oil field, in 1997. Liberty is in federal waters 5 miles off the coast and 11 miles southeast of giant Endicott oil field (OGJ, Nov. 7, 2005, Newsletter).

Sigurdson said that BP will no longer assume competency but will require testing which is already being done for entry level engineers and is also being developed for engineers with 3-10 years of experience.

BP has developed specific roadmaps for personnel advancement, he said. For example drilling engineers have 15 elements while completion engineers have 18 elements.

The roadmap includes job experience, formal training, and assessment elements that still need to be finalized, Sigurdson said.

Contact Guntis Moritis at guntism@ogjonline.com.

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