Sibal supports India's first drilling personnel school

Vol 11, PW 24 (17 Apr 08) People & Policy

DGH boss VK Sibal is giving his full support to India’s first ever school to train oilfield personnel to work on drilling rigs.

Sibal was originally scheduled to inaugurate the new school today (Thursday) April 17 in Mumbai but could not make it to the event because of pressing engagements in Delhi. Set up by oil industry manpower supplier and maintenance contractor OCS Services (India) Ltd, the first batch of 50 students will begin classes early July, at the Tolani Maritime Institute at Panvel on the outskirts of Mumbai.

OCS general manager KP George tells this report that students will undergo a six-month residential training programme that will train them as â€کrustabouts’ (helpers) – the lowest rung in the drilling crew pecking order. “As they will have been trained they can rise to â€کderrick man’ within two or three years,â€‌ says George.

“Normally it takes six to seven years.â€‌ George says the idea to set up a drilling school was necessitated by the acute shortage of drilling crew.

He says the new school will train around five batches of 50 students every year. OCS Services employs 1700 crew working on onland, offshore rigs and platforms.

“We are struggling to get people,â€‌ adds George. “Within the next two to three years about 4000 personnel will be needed as drilling crew in the Asia Pacific region.

â€‌ Course material for the OCS drilling and well services school, has been designed by the Norwegian Drilling Academy and Caledonia Training. “The faculty will be a mix of Norwegians and Indians,â€‌ he said, adding: “Because of our collaborators, students who pass out can get jobs even on North Sea rigs.

â€‌ George said students would get practical training on a 22-metre high wireline rig from Norway. Sibal said such a school is, “the need of the hourâ€‌ because 500 wells would be drilled in India within the next four years.

“These wells will need services.â€‌ Asks Sibal: “Why do we keep running to Calgary, Houston, Australia when we can train our own peopleâ€‌ Sibal says established Indian companies like ONGC and Oil India have poor internal skill sets, “which is why they keep signing MoUs all the time with foreign companies.