E-Drilling; SAIT Debuts Advanced Simulator
SAIT Polytechnic’s real world learning goes 3D. With the opening of the Trades and Technology Complex in September 2012, SAIT’s MacPhail School of Energy (MSE) is preparing for the installation of a drilling simulator, the first of its kind at a post-secondary institution in North America.
This interactive 3D simulator will give students virtual rig and drilling operations training in an environment that is identical to what is experienced in the field.
The simulator replicates a rig driller’s control cabin, complete with cyber chair, touch screen consoles and instrument panels. Surrounding the control cabin is a video monitor where the rig’s drill platform and equipment are reproduced multi dimensionally. Simulator software is programmed with information that will affect the drilling plan according to various situations and subsurface conditions.
“This simulator will fill the gap between theory and practice in a 3D world where students can experience a rig’s operation prior to working in the field,” says Mohammad Shaikh, SAIT Instructor.
“The more closely the simulator represents the real environment, the more successful the training and we are only just beginning to see its potential to benefit students and fit into the curriculum.”
As the student driller operates the equipment, the surface simulator provides realistic moving graphics imitating the sights and sounds the driller would experience on the rig. The downhole simulator is programmed with details that affect the drilling process and translate them into visual indicators crews would normally see on gauges in a rig cabin.
While only a small number of students will run the simulator at one time, the remainder will be able to follow along on desk monitors and participate in specific exercises designed by their instructors. Because SAIT’s state-of-the-art simulator realistically models drilling operations, it is anticipated to provide great value to industry and will give students an edge as they are trained to become the energy leaders of tomorrow.
Safety and financial risks are significantly reduced when oil and gas rig operations are learned in a controlled setting. Dr. Faramaraz Azar-Nejad Academic Chair for Petroleum Engineering Technology says mistakes made during simulated scenarios will have no effect on the surrounding environment, serve as an example of what not to do in the field and allow operators to avoid making the same mistakes on the job.
“At SAIT we are committed to turn out highly trained graduates that are job ready,” says Azar-Nejad. “Providing drilling simulation training to all our School of Energy students will contribute to a higher level of efficiency in the workplace, increased safety and reduced effects on the environment, all of which will contribute to a more predictable bottom line.”
SAIT’ simulator is designed to help employers reduce training costs by decreasing the amount of rig downtime, increasing the productivity of the drilling process by having skilled operators on staff and reducing the extra maintenance and equipment damage sometimes caused by inexperienced operators.
While the lab won’t be fully operational until sometime in September, instructors in the various energy programs have been working with the simulator software to explore its potential.
The software mirrors the latest technology being used in the sector in Alberta and around the world and can be configured to different types of rigs, well designs and formation or reservoir characteristics.
Funded by a $1 million donation from Calgary-based entrepreneur Ron Mathison, the Mathison Drilling and Geosciences lab will be part of the 57,000 square foot Ramsay Centre for Petroleum Engineering Technology that will take up the third floor in the Johnson-Cobbe Energy Centre in the Trades and Technology Complex.
The Ramsay Centre will provide training focused on upstream oil and gas technology, representing conventional and unconventional hydrocarbon extraction.
SAIT Polytechnic’s MSE is the first school of energy in Canada and one of only a handful of energy schools in North America. It offers a range of energy training programs and applied research for students at all points in their careers.
The new 740,000 square foot Trades and Technology Complex will engage up to 8,100 more full and part time students each year in experience-oriented learning. It is expected that within 10 years, SAIT will deliver more than 20,000 additional skilled trade workers, technicians and technologists to industry, generating billions of dollars in gross domestic product.
SAIT Polytechnic is one of Canada’s most exciting destinations for post-secondary education, offering more than 100 career programs that position people for success in technology, trades and business. A leader in innovation, SAIT also collaborates with industry on applied research and delivers corporate training worldwide.