Training our wells workforce

High-tech simulations and real-world experiences are helping our wells teams prepare for situations they could face on the job

The professionals who drill and manage BP’s oil and gas wells spend their working days at the front line of our efforts to develop oil and gas resources safely and reliably. They can face immense technical challenges, especially as our industry moves to recover oil from harder to reach reservoirs. We are developing new high-tech learning opportunities to helping them prepare for the various situations they could face.

A new learning centre for upstream

In 2014, we opened a new learning centre in Sunbury in the UK, which complements our US facility in Houston, Texas. The new centre can host 250 classes a year and is designed to suit all levels of learning – from new joiners to experienced drilling crews and project leaders. It features a state-of-the-art drilling simulator, an operations training suite to support building capability in instrumentation and control room operations, a range of learning rooms and augmented reality features.

A key role of the centre is to help deliver the systematic training programme offered by our global wells institute. The institute provides more than 30 technical courses, from basic cementing to subsea well intervention.

Learning and working as one team

The focus of the US and UK centres is on hands-on learning means training extends beyond the structured curriculum to include in-situ experiences, one-on-one coaching and independent assessments.

We use the drilling simulators at the facility for training teams on well control – how to prevent an unplanned release of oil, gas or other fluids during operations. In the applied deep water well control course, rig teams, including BP and contractor personnel, work together to practice a variety of situations that may occur on land or at sea. Meeting these simulated challenges requires team deliberations and quick, collective decision-making – with the goal of improving team cohesion and giving participants enhanced skillsets that they can take back to their drilling sites.

Modernizing learning

Both the UK and the US centres have the technology to run sessions remotely, which makes it possible for people to train without having to leave their main workplace. This will enable us to bring hundreds of learning events out of locations such as hotel conference centres each year, into a space where learners can be immersed in BP’s values, projects and technologies.

Attention to detail applies to everything in the building. For example, the viewing angles and acoustics in the learning rooms simulate the sound of well drilling, which helps to recreate the environment out on a rig or platform.

Nicola Wright, a BP graduate who cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of our UK facility in June 2014, said, “The quality of training and development for new graduates was one of the main reasons I was so keen to work for BP”. She added, “The quality of this centre, and the opportunities it offers me to keep learning throughout my career, are very influential in any decisions I make about my future.”

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