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Innovative KCA Deutag training services unveiled at new RGU Energy Centre

Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University (RGU) has unveiled industry-leading drilling and rig training services on its Garthdee campus, thanks to a strategic alliance with international drilling and engineering contractor KCA Deutag.

KCA Deutag’s DART® training facility is now located in a new, bespoke complex within the university’s Energy Centre, making RGU the only university in the world to boast facilities of this type.

Through the partnership, the training services at RGU will be available for use by external clients and KCA Deutag employees, as well as postgraduate students at the university. The facility presents an excellent opportunity for KCA Deutag and RGU to work together to provide tailored courses to suit oilfield drilling industry requirements.

The training services provide a full-scale reproduction of an offshore fixed platform, land rig, semi-submersible, deep water vessels and jack-up rigs, complete with state-of-the-art touch screen consoles for both driller and assistant driller.

3D graphics of the rig’s drill floor and automated or remotely-controlled equipment are projected onto a 60ft long cinema screen at the front of the drilling control cabin. As the driller operates the rig floor equipment, the simulator depicts realistic and dynamic graphics and sounds to illustrate what the driller would see and hear on the rig.

Built up over a period of 10 years, DART® has become an acknowledged, industry-leading facility for accelerating 'hands-on' learning for both new mechanised rig training and subsequent drilling optimisation workshops. KCA Deutag currently has DART® training facilities in eight locations including Aberdeen, Tyumen, Baku, Nigeria, Norway, Sakhalin and Oman, and Dubai.

The project further strengthens already well established links between KCA Deutag and RGU, with the company providing hands-on industry placements to third-year students while putting its fast-track graduate recruits through a specially designed RGU postgraduate programme.

Senior vice president of commercial at KCA Deutag, Martin Thomson, said: “Collaboration is essential in our industry and I am a great believer that we are stronger when we work together.

“DART® has the reputation throughout the energy sector as one of the best drilling training services available and RGU has a renowned history in education for the sector. Working with the university, which is regularly considered the best modern university in the UK, enhances the credentials of DART® and ensures the future talent of our industry have access to the highest standards of training.

“The training services feature the most up-to-date drilling software available which includes land rigs and semi-submersible deep water vessels, in addition to platform simulations for fixed platform and jack-up rigs. This gives users a realistic drilling experience in all of these situations.”

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of Robert Gordon University, said: “This is a very exciting moment for the university and we are delighted that we can in this way strengthen our strategic relationship with KCA Deutag. At RGU we are committed to providing our students with the key skills and knowledge that employers are looking for, and having a fantastic facility such as this will really help to prepare them for their entry into the oil and gas sector.

“It also opens up the potential for a variety of exciting new collaborations aimed at bringing the best of industry and academia together. There is a lot of work being undertaken in this area at the moment and I look forward to being able to announce more details on these efforts in the coming months.”

Malcolm Webb, Chief Executive of Oil & Gas UK, said: “By making its DART® available for use by RGU students, KCA Deutag is playing its part in highlighting the exciting and challenging careers on offer in the UK’s flourishing oil and gas supply chain. The industry and government must work to ensure that sufficient numbers of skilled people are available to overcome the technical challenges involved in maximising recovery of the remaining 24 billion barrels of oil and gas offshore in the UK. The drilling sector alone generates over £6 billion of the supply chain’s total £27 billion revenue a year, making it a real driver for economic growth, innovation and job creation.”