Maersk Training: Making the Best Better By Raising the Bar


Maersk Training takes one of the most crucial operations in the oil industry and rethinks how to prepare for it

How do you take people who may be the absolute best at what they do and make them better?

The answer is you start a course where most other courses end, with a crucial test. Without passing the test on day one you can’t take part in the rest of the course. Maersk Training and the International Well Control Forum (IWCF) see this as the way to drive the oil and gas industry to an even higher standard of safety and compliance.

The current top level is IWCF’s Level 4, to get on the new Enhanced Well Control course, the potential participant must have passed this twice with a minimum of 80% in all three tests. Then on day one of the course they do it again. Once passed, the participant enters a  whole new learning experience, one that will push individual capabilities to previously unthought of heights through collaborative thinking.

Maersk Training has been pushing educational boundaries for decades and is an industry leader in using simulation to create controllable reality, but this is the first time that they have opened up such a course to all drilling contractors. They believe that the best way to raise standards throughout the entire industry is to create a learning environment that can take the best learning practices from everyone.

‘There is no room for in-box thinking in this industry,’ says Jan Olsen, Maersk Training’s chief drilling instructor. ‘People move from rig to rig and company to company, so raising the bar on standards is vital. I was talking to a senior driller who had worked for one company for 25 years and in that time had attended 20 Well Control courses. He was desperately looking for a way to stay fresh and motivated. This course will do it, and more.’

Open Course Opens Minds

Beyond setting a higher standard for the current top level of well control certification, the new five-day course incorporates Crew Resource Management, responding to the fact that the initial trigger to many non-natural incidents lies in the actions of the individual. Globally Maersk Training has championed using and developing the lessons through ‘the human element’ as witnessed and used to good  effect for decades by the airline industry and space travel.

For the first time anywhere, the participants in an enhanced well control course will not come from a single company. It will be open to all players in the industry, but only to senior staff, those who have attained the IWCF Level 4. There will be a maximum of ten participants on each course.

These participants are, as Maersk Training’s Chief Operating Officer, Thorbjorn Anhoj describes them, ‘the key people on the well site that make key decisions that can determine the future of companies, both drilling contractor and operators. So ultimately the whole future of that company is in the hands of a very few people on the rig.’

Thorbjorn believes that as individuals working with the confines of an individual company the boundaries of development are restricted. ‘A closed course is not really changing the whole industry, we work as individual companies improving a little bit here and a little bit there. For the industry to change you really need  everybody to exchange experiences and ideas in order to raise the standards of everyone.

When Best Is Maybe Not Good Enough

Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you have to make decisions that cross the border of no return. It is in making those decisions that the fate of the crew, the rig and  the company, is held in the hands and minds of a few skilled employees. They may think they are the best and cushioned by that, lurks the danger of complacency. ‘To get rid of this risk of complacency you need to open up, listen to others and have a deep look at yourself,’ adds Thorbjorn, ‘and there is no better platform to do it than on an open course with an external provider like Maersk Training who work with all the majors in the industry.’

The Enhanced Well Control programme is not just a course it is a mission to take best practices to continually higher levels. Those best practices are monitored and promoted by the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP) and their recommendations for human factor skills which form the non-technical side of the courses. There are two technical instructors and one human skills specialist as well as an independent invigilator on each course, the first of which is on April 9. It will be held in Svendborg, Denmark, but the open EWC course will also be available in the vital oil hubs of Aberdeen and Houston. 

Course Details
5 days
Enhanced Well Control

Course Contact Details
Daniel Dyhr Thyrring, Sales and Marketing Coordinator
Direct +45 63 21 99 48,

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