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New state-of-the-art Well Control School launched

Drilling engineer Munther A. Al Osilan experiences firsthand some of the new Well Control School’s state-of-the-art equipment as he takes a seat in the facility’s cyberchair simulation while instructor Haythem M. Elkamash offers some guidance.


A new state-of-the-art facility recently launched by our Drilling and Workover (D&WO) Training Division has doubled the number of participants the organization can bring in to meet Saudi Aramco’s demand, all while enhancing the learning experience and exceeding international standards in well control training.

Ambitious beginnings

Planned, developed, and implemented over a number of phases, the project transformed a warehouse into a state-of-the art well control school. Adding to its international quality measures, the D&WO Training Division that oversees this new facility is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET).

D&WO Training rigorously seeks to keep its programs current, relevant, and educationally sound by maintaining ACCET and keeping other accreditations current such as the International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC).

D&WO’s in-house well control training not only maintained the international standard of well control training and certification, but also exceeded many aspects, including:

  • Increased hands-on training and simulation time performance by at least 36% more than IADC and IWCF well control training providers
  • 10% higher certification passing scores
  • An additional assessment of Saudi Aramco well control policies and procedures.

A greater intake for training

The new school includes two state-of-the-art classrooms — with space for 24 participants — in a facility that holds four different types of well control simulators and its one-of-a-kind visualization wall.

With this new facility, D&WO is doubling its annual intake. Over the past five years, it has succeeded in certifying more than 2,500 employees to handle all well control situations. It has also assessed more than 500 experienced new-hire foremen before field deployment as an additional quality safety measure to meet Saudi Aramco’s additional quality and safety standards.

Classrooms and high-tech equipment at the new Well Control School in Dhahran have provided an expanded platform upon which to better train company employees.

Well control skills and offered courses

Well control training plays a critical role in the development of a competent crew. Being able to respond quickly and successfully to alerts and incidents saves time, money, the environment, and most importantly, the lives of people. Well control certification is the first line of defense Saudi Aramco has against well control situations.

By ensuring that professionals in the field have the proper certifications, the training helps protect against any potential well control situations. Judging a professional’s reaction during a well control scenario is priceless. Having a well control certification gives us the extra assurance, control, and confidence to run safe operations.

The well control school offers five well control courses ranging from introductory to advanced levels for drilling engineers and field personnel all the way up to supervisory level. It also offers a stuck pipe prevention course.

Each course is assessed with a combination of exams, in addition to a practical assessment where participants must demonstrate the practical and technical skills required to complete the well kill operation. A number of essential leadership and problem solving skills are embedded in these courses, boosting decision making processes required for critical operations.

The future outlook

Along with training and certifying employees, the school has started providing opportunities to field management to simulate and test real operations in a safe and realistic environment before commencing drilling. Test data is plugged into the system to run scenarios, and the machine then analyzes and runs expected results in audio, video, and data formats, allowing for calculated decision making.

To boost the value of the school, D&WO plans to work towards graduating its first batch of well control specialists, among other specialties serving D&WO and representing the organization technically and academically on local, regional, and international levels while producing valuable research input in the area of well control.

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