Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Oil and Gas Industry Face Skilled Labor Shortage

The Global Oil and Gas Workforce Survey, just released by Air Energi and OilCareers.com, is a new report that warns of a shortage in skilled labor and trainers in the oil and gas industry, especially in the liquefied natural gas and subsea sectors. The report concludes that this shortage is directly affecting safety in the global oil and gas industry, and that this shortage of a well-trained workforce must be addressed immediately. Factor in that one-half of the industry's skilled workers are set to retire within in 10 years, while the number of skilled positions is constantly rising, and it's easy to see how this conclusion was reached. For example, the Dow Chemical Company recently announced that it will build three new petrochemical facilities on the Gulf Coast of Texas, part of a $4 billion expansion plan to take advantage of the current shale gas and oil boom.

So how does the industry plan to train the skilled workforce that is being demanded? Training simulators of course!

Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc, based in Houston, Texas is one of the oldest deepwater drilling contractors in the world. They recently announced that 187 new offshore oil rigs are either under construction or on order, and those rigs will require thousands of skilled workers over the next few years. Diamond Offshore currently employs 5,300 people worldwide, and is expected to hire another 970 before the end of the year.

Diamond Offshore is no stranger to training simulators and recently opened their $10 million Offshore Technology Center. This center contains some of the most advanced training simulators in the world, and will be used to put together an army of workers that will operate the new rigs that are currently under construction.

Diamond Offshore Drilling Training Simulator Facility

The Offshore Technology Center is located in a renovated parking garage on their Houston campus. The facility contains more than 20 simulators, including a large 3D projection dome that was constructed over the windows of a replicated driller's control room. Digital projectors allow trainees to learn and tackle the spatial relations challenges posed by working on a drilling pipe string that extends 100 feet above the deck of the oil rig.

Diamond Offshore CEO, Lawrence Dickerson said:
"There is no substitute for experience on the rig, but we can replicate the kinds of situations that might take five or six years of experience on the rig to see on a full-cycle basis. So we can go through that in much shorter order."

Charlie Williams, Executive Director of training facility, believes that training simulators will become just as important to the offshore oil rig operator, as they are for the airline pilot:
"In really difficult critical situations, people depend not only on their training, but they depend on their experience. The way to prepare them is to train them on simulators."

Modern mining companies, in every sector, from shale to deepwater, understand the value and impact of using 3D training simulators to improve the skills of their workforce. Training simulators produce operators that are more productive and make fewer mistakes, which leads directly to overall cost-savings for mining operations.

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