With the recent release of our IADC Well Control training online, our IWCF course, and our new IADC Well Control Manual, we wanted to profile some other well control schools across the globe. Here, we take a look at Wild Well Control School.
LearnToDrill is not in any way affiliated with Wild Well Control. And, to be honest, we think our online training is much, much better than any classroom training courses. Our courses are more interactive, more animated, and better at teaching than other training providers. Find out by taking a free course today!
Wild Well Control Inc. is the premier well control company in the world. With more than 350 employees and 39 years full of success, Wild Well Control responds to over 80 percent of blowouts worldwide and 85 percent domestically. However, unlike some of its fellow companies in the industry, Wild Well has maintained a positive media image despite its prominence. Let's take a look as to why.
Wild Well Control Inc. was founded in 1975 by Joe R. Bowden. Back then, Red Adair's company (Red Adair Co.) was the industry leader. Despite Red Adair's world renown at the time, Wild Well Control quickly became successful. Since then, Wild Well Control eclipsed Red Adair Co. (which was eventually dissolved) and has handled several high profile cases.
As the Iraqi troops retreated near the end of the Gulf War, they set aflame hundreds of wells. More than 900 were destroyed. Wild Well Control was contracted by Kuwait Oil Co. to regain control of as many wells as possible. In the course of their time there, the Wild Well Control staff safely capped over 100 wells.
And then, of course, there was the BP oil spill of 2010. This spill, the largest in U.S. history, received tremendous media coverage, had drastic effects on the coasts of Louisiana, and had profound impacts on the oil and gas industry namely in legislation and public perception. When the spill occurred, BP contracted Wild Well Control and Williams Fire & Hazard Control to address the issue.
The Deepwater Horizon Macando proved to be a very challenging well to cap, but Wild Well Control experts like Pat Campbell were confident and unafraid. Of the well, he said "I'm here, I'm touching you, I'm telling you you're dead. You just don't know it yet." Despite the 5000 feet from the surface to the leak, incredible well energy, and access limited to remotely operated robots, Campbell was ultimately right. His confidence is backed by experience.
With such well known and successful cases under its belt, it's no huge surprise that Wild Well Control School is an industry leader and well-liked at that. However, Wild Well Control Inc. plays a bigger role in oil and gas than just capping wells. According to the company's website, its core services include engineering services and technical support, preparedness and response planning, specialized services and response equipment, and well control training.
As part of preparedness and response planning, Wild Well Control offers Well Modelling. The engineering Manager for Wild Well Control, Dan Eby said "A lot of our customers are drilling deep wells and they want to know about kick behavior." Well Modeling allows them to do just this. The idea here is to think proactively and prevent as many instances as possible. For this service, companies will contract Wild Well Control School, choose specific wells and sections of those wells, and have Wild Well Control model these portions. "Typically a major will use the well modelling services we provide because they are the companies that tend to drill the 25,000 ft or 30,000 ft wells, but we are doing similar business with independents and small companies as well" says Mr. Eby.
Also under their preparedness and response planning, Wild Well Control School conducts rig audits and inspections. However, if a full-blown well control event does arise, Wild Well Control will step in with specialized teams to address the problem. For this purpose, Wild Well Control has well control equipment storage facilities in strategic locations around the globe. As measures such as these become more commonplace, we can expect that we will have fewer large-scale blowouts and that we will be more equipped to handle such cases when tragedy does strike.
Though Wild Well Control School has only recently expanded their business to significant well control training services, they now train more than 10,000 industry professionals each year. Wild Well Control's Vice President of Corporate Development, Bill Mahler said "We feel that with our well control experience we can offer a new perspective to the training" and indeed, the company has a lot of experience to pull from. Their well control training includes everything from a "first class rig simulator", as Mr. Mahler put it, to "a series of real case histories from Wild Well Control's years of previous jobs"
Whether in well control training or in actual field well control procedures, safety is integral to Wild Well Control's business and they take it seriously. "Safety is paramount at Wild Well", said Casey Davis, Wild Well Control's Vice President of Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) division. According to Mr. Davis, "we have a commitment to our employee's well-being.Our company would not exist without the skills, expertise, and services that our employees bring to our organization. Secondly, regulation demands that we provide a safe environment for our workforce. Third, there is a fiscal benefit to having safe operations."
Through the use of integrated safety management systems, Wild Well Control Inc. has lowered their underwriting costs and reduced their personnel and equipment losses to zero, says Mr. Davis, saving the company more than $2 million annually. This system has been so effective for the company that Davis advises his oil and gas clientele to consider investing in an integrated HSE management system.
As Mr. Davis puts it, "The regulators determine through evaluation where our health, safety, and compliance management process is. They want to ensure our management system and processes meet the criteria of the regulations. You have to have a mature and robust management system process in place that meets the risk associated to the work we do. Fortunately, we have one." Undergoing over 50 regulatory inspections each year, Wild Well Control has to be completely on top of their game when it comes to safety.
In addition to all this, Wild Well Control Inc. is active in the Houston community. Since 1997 Wild Well Control has hosted an annual golf tournament for Shriners Hospitals for Children. Through it, Wild Well Control employees, vendors, clients, and friends have raised more than $1 million, making them the largest private fundraiser for these Hospitals. Similarly, Wild Well Control School is expanding their community involvement and training to university campuses across the United States where they are now offering well control courses and certifications for juniors in oil and gas programs.
In some ways it may seem obvious why Wild Well Control School has a positive image, after all it's been addressing major well control issues for 39 years. However, to say that its success is only due to this is to do Wild Well Control a disservice. Instead, it is Wild Well Control's consistent and pervasive emphasis on safety, quality business, and giving back that has set it apart and led to such great success. We look forward to the day when other smart, ethical companies will follow in the footsteps of Wild Well Control School and we see positive change in the perception of the oil and gas industry as a whole.