Visualizing Well Control

The most challenging aspect of well control training is visualization. There are so many complex concepts that need to be explained to students who often have very limited previous science background. Even for an experienced engineer, there are many well control concepts that are difficult to visualize because they are so abstract and thousands of feet underground.
With the implementation of the new Well Control Institute, students may soon be required to maintain proficiency through continuing education units (CEUs) on an annular, quarterly, or perhaps even monthly basis!
In classroom well control training, many students become experts on the rig floor. They become experts on what is happening at the surface. But, to really understand well control, you need to understand what is happening deep, deep downhole, thousands of feet underground. The only way to properly visualize what is happening deep underground is through animation.
Learn to Drill has developed many downhole animations that focus on increasing student understanding of fundamental well control concepts. We are not just going for flashy effects; our goal is to use cutting-edge animation technology to explain and portray complex concepts in an easy to understand manner. These animations are a part of our well control training online.
For example, when explaining the Mud Circulation System, Learn to Drill has been able to showcase every single concept through animation. From the internal workings of the standpipe and choke manifolds to mud being pushed down the drill pipe, to mud coming out of the drill bit nozzles, to mud being pushed up the annulus and into mud cleaning equipment. Every single portion of the mud circulation system is shown in a powerful visual manner. Visualization of this continuity is necessary for students to properly understand all of the fluid indicators of a kick.
Similarly, Learn to Drill has animations that show Oil Kicks and Gas Kicks, including animation of Boyle’s Law in the wellbore: as a gas kick migrates upwards. Not to mention, very difficult to visualize concepts such as Swabbing and Surging. Animation is perfect to show these concepts.
Perhaps the most difficult to visualize- and most fundamental- well control concept is the impact of the adjustable choke on bottomhole pressure. Many well control schools will simply gloss over this idea, but, to really understand and visualize the concept, Learn to Drill has developed a powerful series of animations that show vividly how the closing of the adjustable choke can significantly increase backpressure on the bottom of the hole.
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Are you a well control instructor? A huge benefit of Learn to Drill’s mobile well control training is that it can be a valuable supplement to a classroom well control training experience. We understand there are many situations where our well control training may not work for you at the moment. We believe that, even in these circumstances, the Learn to Drill online course could still be a very valuable supplement to your classroom well control training experience.

Let us look at a few examples. First of all, the Learn to Drill course can be invaluable to let students review prerequisite material prior to starting a classroom well control school.

Students in Introductory, Fundamental, and Supervisory Well Control courses can all refresh prerequisite concepts prior to the course. Introductory students can refresh fundamental math & science concepts.

Fundamental & Supervisory students can refresh more advanced concepts, such as basic pressure concepts and kick theory. Students can refresh well control material on an iPad or iPhone while still on the rig or while traveling to the course.

Less class time will be spent on refreshing material, and more time can be spent on the well control simulator. Secondly, homework! Students can refresh material and do problems in between days, letting them come back to the well control school full of questions.

Classroom time can be reduced significantly and optimized to focus on spending time on the simulator. Students can do homework on the iPhone or iPad while back home. More classroom time spent on the simulator! Thirdly, we could help develop an enhanced Well Control Manual; a next-generation manual to take anywhere, anytime.

Enhancing a print Well Control manual, students finished with the course can receive access to a rotating bank of animations and other multimedia content that they can refresh and review whenever they need to. Students can easily access the content on the rig, in the car, or anywhere where they may have access to a smartphone or tablet.

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The Learn to Drill well control training program has hundreds of unique graphics, pictures, and animations throughout the course. Sure, these graphics are nice to look at, but how does it really help the student? Learn to Drill’s media content helps develop truly creative learning! How can we teach any concept in the simplest and most creative way possible?

Let us look at a few examples where Learn to Drill’s graphics have been able to teach well control concepts in really interesting ways. First, let us look at the concept of Formation Pressure.

Many well control courses gloss over this important topic, without truly explaining it to students. Where does formation pressure come from? Why is there so much underground? Why does it suddenly become a problem after drilling a well? Lots of the questions from a curious student!

Learn to Drill has created a series of graphics that show a hypothetical well control instructor stuck deep underground. Then, students have to figure out what pressures are acting on the instructor- both before a well is drilled and after a well is drilled.

Through multimedia, we are able to break a complex concept down into simple pieces. Let us look at another example: explaining the concept of shut-in. A difficult concept is how shutting in the well can stop a kick from occurring.

The important concept to demonstrate is that, after shut in, bottomhole pressure is equal to formation pressure because of the downward acting pressure of the annular preventer.Through multimedia, Learn to Drill offers an in-depth explanation of this concept by comparing it to a shaken soda bottle and soda bottle cap.

Through multimedia, Learn to Drill offers an in-depth explanation of this concept by comparing it to a shaken soda bottle and soda bottle cap. By explaining these two concepts side by side, students can really visualize the role of the blow out preventer in restricted upward acting pressure- just like a bottle cap restricts upward acting soda. Graphics can really make any concept simple!

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Making Well Control fun

In the oil field, everyone hates getting their well control certificate. So many well control courses, both in the classroom and online, are extremely boring. By its very nature, Well Control training tries to force a substantial amount of information, with a lot of repetition, into a very short amount of time.Many students fall asleep during well control training.
Many students stop paying attention, doodle, or daydream. This results in poor retention.
Students may remember enough to pass an exam or receive an IADC well control certificate or IWCF Certificate, but they are bound to forget what they have learned within months, weeks, or even days of completing the course.
As an industry trying to build a strong safety culture, this is dangerous! Online well control training has done very little to solve this problem.Many online well control training courses incorporate little or no interactivity. Students watch course material and then take a quiz. This continues again and again until the course is completed.
Learn to Drill tries to solve this problem through Interactivity. Throughout the course, students are engaged with questions that they must answer before moving on. These questions are aimed at being similar to questions that an instructor may ask in the classroom.
The beauty of online interactivity is that it can be personalized to a classroom of one. With what if logic, students can learn well control material in different ways, based on how they answer questions. Each student can have his own personalized study plan.
In a classroom well control school, one student may answer an instructor’s question with all the other students still falling asleep. With Learn to Drill, every single student must answer every question and engage with the content in order to receive a certificate.
One great example of this is the module focused on Gas Kicks. The module delves into the consequences of letting a gas kick migrate up the wellbore without shutting the well in. Conventional training may do this by using text, graphics, or even animations.
Learn to Drill teaches this interactively! Students are faced with a series of questions that walk them through the process of a gas kick entering the well, migrating upwards, and the subsequent consequences. Students must calculate pressures, make kick theory decisions, and be able to interact with the content. There is no better way to retain knowledge than by really understanding it.
As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” Why can’t this be applied to well control school?

Drilling Glossary of the future

Every well control student learns differently and in different ways. Often, a wide variety of different types of students are put in the same classroom and forced to learn in one way. This problem is amplified in the oil field, where rig workers in the same well control school may be at vastly different levels.
In fact, the diversity of experiences, perspectives, and skill levels in a modern well control classroom is arguably unrivaled across the industry!
Some rig workers may be in a well control class for the first time; some rig workers may have attended many times in the past. Some students may have an advanced engineering degree, while others may have never completed middle school. Some students may understand math and be able to pick up well control concepts quickly; others may really struggle.
The greatest well control school in the world would be a classroom of one- where each and every rig worker could receive a completely unique learning experience customized to his or her knowledge, experience, and learning style. In our online well control school, Learn to Drill tries to bring students closer to this learning experience.
By its very nature, mobile well control learning allows students to learn anytime, anywhere, and at any pace. A student has the option to easily go back and review any confusing well control concepts. Mobile learning allows a student to go through the material at his or her perfect pace.
One of the most powerful features of the Learn to Drill well control courses is a linked glossary. Like many well control schools, Learn to Drill offers a glossary where every single drilling or well control term brought up in the course is defined. However, unlike other courses, the Learn to Drill glossary is linked throughout the course.
What does this mean? Every single time a well control term is mentioned, it is linked to a glossary entry. A student can simply click on the word to pop up the entry in the glossary. Let’s look at an example from the Learn to Drill well control course. In the section on the U-Tube Effect, a student examines an example where the True Vertical Depth of fluid in the drillpipe decreases to balance hydrostatic pressure. Let’s say the student learned about hydrostatic pressure some time ago, or wasn’t paying complete attention, and doesn’t remember what True Vertical Depth is.
In a classroom well control school, a student would have to raise his hand, disturb the entire class, and ask an instructor to refresh the definition. Many students would likely not even ask at all and just continue through their well control training, confused and shaky on this fundamental concept! In most online courses, a student would have to physically go back to the previous section on hydrostatic pressure, navigate to the page, and refresh the concept. In reality, once again, many students would not spend this level of effort.
They would just continue through the well control course, without having a complete understanding of True Vertical Depth, Hydrostatic Pressure, or the U-Tube Effect. And this would compound with more and more complex concepts! The beauty of the Learn to Drill linked glossary is that it makes it very easy and straightforward for the student to refresh any concepts. In this example, a student would just be able to click on the word “True Vertical Depth” and the glossary entry would pop up with a clear and concise definition. Coming closer to a classroom of one!

One of the biggest concerns regularly brought up about online well control training is that students cannot ask questions and cannot learn from other students. Advocates of classroom training like to claim that, in the classroom, a student has the ability to ask the teacher anytime he has a question.

In a classroom well control school, a student could also hypothetically learn from all the other students- unlike online well control training, where a student is forced to tackle everything himself. Learn to Drill has tried to tackle this problem in three distinct ways: a Discussion Forum, a Chat Room, and an email accessible instructor.

In the Learn to Drill discussion forum, a student has the option to ask any and all questions in an online discussion setting. The huge advantage here is that the student is no longer learning from just a small well control class of 5 students from, say, the same West Texas area. Instead, the student is learning from a global classroom of many different types of students from all over the world. A truly global well control school.

Why limit yourself to asking questions and sharing experiences with students who are just like you? The beauty of an online discussion forum is that we are no longer limited by boundaries. A driller from China can learn about cutting edge shale or HPHT techniques from a toolpusher in West Texas. A roughneck in Brazil can learn about different tripping techniques from a Saudi Arabian derrickman. The possibilities are immense! A discussion forum allows the creation of a global classroom.

In a classroom, students can only learn from the other five, ten, maybe twenty students in the well control school at that time. Online, a student can learn from every single student that has ever taken the course. A discussion forum is around forever. As more and more students take the course, as more and more students post well control questions, well control stories, and well control experiences on the discussion forum, it becomes a stronger and stronger resource for students. Since, the Learn to Drill forum is also easily searchable, so many of the most frequently asked questions could be searched for by students- and answered immediately!

Secondly, in case a student would like a more immediate answer, we also offer a Chat Room where a student can speak to any other student who is online at the same time. In this way, a chat room can be considered a lot like an actual classroom environment- except in a global well control school. Not only can the student get answers to a few questions; he can also make a friend from the international oil field! Lastly, if a student would like a more personal touch, we can also guarantee an instructor response to any emailed questions within a 24 hour period. The discussion forum and chat room are great resources, but we want to guarantee help and support in case any student needs it!

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Well Control Anytime, Anywhere

Today, the vast majority of well control training is done in the classroom. To receive an IADC Well Control certificate or IWCF certificate, students must take and retake well control training every few years. Roughnecks, roustabouts, and other junior rig personnel must re-take the IADC Introductory Well Control course every five years. Drillers, toolpushers, and other rig supervisors must re-take the IADC Supervisory Well Control course every two years. With the implementation of the new Well Control Institute, students may soon be required to maintain proficiency through continuing education units (CEUs) on an annular, quarterly, or perhaps even monthly basis!
With classroom courses, well control training is a massive burden on both the rig worker and his company. Every single time a rig worker needs to renew his IADC certificate, he must physically travel to a well control school. Many times, rigs are located far from any nearby well control school. Students must travel many miles away from their rigs or homes to complete their training. Imagine working offshore! Anytime workers need to renew their offshore training certification, they need to physically travel back to land and to a well control school- only to have to return in a week after their training is complete!
While this is a challenge in the US, it is an even greater challenge abroad. Imagine working on an offshore rig in Angola. Or Siberia. Or even in remote parts of Nigeria, India, and China. Often, many of these countries do not have any well control schools at all. Or they have very few, spaced far apart. As a result, an unreasonable amount of time must be spent on well control training. Or, more likely, training may just not take place at all. Talk about encouraging a poor drilling safety culture!
All of this travel is clearly a significant expense. However, in the oil field, the biggest expense is lost time. In this day and age of mobile technology, for a student to have to take an entire week away from the rig to retain well control certification is astounding. E-Learning has tried to solve some of these issues. However, existing CBT well control courses are only available on PCs; a severe limitation! In today’s world, almost everyone- especially the younger generation- spends all their time on the iPad, iPhone, and Android. We need a well control training solution that truly allows for learning anytime, anywhere.
Mobile Learning offered by does exactly that! Our online well control school is accessible on tablet and smartphones devices, letting you truly learn from anywhere.
On the rig and have a few minutes off? Refresh Driller’s Method! Sitting at home relaxing on the couch? Take a quiz about Hydrostatic Pressure on your iPad. Traveling and really bored? What a great chance to learn about Gas Migration on your iPhone. Don’t have the time to travel 1000 miles to renew your IADC certificate? No worries, renew your certificate on your laptop! Everyone has- or will soon have- a smartphone or tablet. Why not embrace the future of learning? Anytime, Anywhere, on Any device.
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