Simulation-based training in oil and gas (March 2013)

GSE Systems white paper argues that simulation can mitigate a ‘camelback’ workforce.

GSE Systems has just published a white paper arguing the ‘Case for simulation-based training in the oil and gas industry.’ GSE CEO Jim Eberle observed, US universities are producing only about 20% percent of the engineering graduates they did 20 years ago. Industry needs to train recruits faster on systems that are more complex than ever.

Citing a Deloitte study, the white paper describes a ‘camelback workforce,’ with a majority of workers over age 50, a dearth in the 30 to 50 year-old range and a slow influx of younger workers. Another study, by UK-based Visiongain, put a $2 billion value on the global oil and gas simulation and virtual reality market in 2011.

Simulators don’t come cheap. While an entry level system with limited functionality can be had for $10,000 or less, a full-scope simulator capable of modeling the complexity of a platform or refinery may cost between $2–$3 million. The white paper sets out to demonstrate that this is a good investment, putting dollar values on operational cost savings accruing from well trained operators and reducing the likelihood of an incident or emergency. The paper concludes that ‘structured, experiential learning builds competency most efficiently and effectively, from entry level to experienced personnel, as well as in cross-training environments.’

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