Lloyd’s Register (LR), a leading global provider of engineering and technology-centric professional services, put delegates attending OTC 2017 in Houston, Texas, through their paces with an innovative VR Safety Simulator and gaming experience. A short video of the experience and feedback of some of the users who took part in the experience can be seen at https://youtu.be/Mb8HgXtwpXg.
The new VR experience has received a high level of interest in the opening days of the event at LR’s booth where event delegates experienced the ultimate in VR and gaming technology that is on the cusp of re-shaping how training is provided to the oil and gas industry.
The experience is being offered first in America’s flagship energy conference before being used at other events across the world to raise an understanding of the critical nature many workers are exposed to in everyday rig operations.
There are three key issues borne out of real-life incidents which users of the VR experience first-hand through sight, sound and touch. Users can then choose one of three multiple choice answers for each scenario, and the gaming experience is then replayed on the answers the user decides are correct.
The results from the user experience at OTC Houston proves more needs to be done to ensure the risks of getting decisions wrong are fully understood:
1. BOP maintenance incident – 56% of users chose the correct response to prevent the accident from happening. Users correctly identified an X-ray of the BOP to discover a badly fitted outlet part.
2. Drilling platform incident – 39% of users chose the correct answer. A window in the dog-house was broken, and rain water gets inside. A critical console in the dog house faulted from water ingress, causing an unplanned event on the drill floor.
3. Crane lifting operation with a heavy load incident – 43% of users chose the correct solution which identified a poorly maintained lifting eye that needed to be replaced.
So based on these results what can the industry do? Teril Smith, Director of Operations at LR, says: “Training and educating the industry on how to enhance operational safety and improve business performance is at the heart of LR’s business. We hope this VR experience and the results from it can become a catalyst for further industry engagement on best practice training initiatives, which produce a step-up in better, constructive and tangible learning and training results.”
Oil and gas companies understand the value of training and how it can help them save millions of dollars by keeping their equipment operating and reducing downtime due to unexpected failures or incidents. Like any industry, oil and gas companies can improve the quality of maintenance training by focusing on troubleshooting skills. Even though lower oil and gas prices have affected earnings, companies must stay focused on training programs to better develop their people.
Oil and gas operations are commonly found in remote locations far from company headquarters. Now, it's possible to monitor pump operations, collate and analyze seismic data, and track employees around the world from almost anywhere. Whether employees are in the office or in the field, the internet and related applications enable a greater multidirectional flow of information – and control – than ever before.