We, at Shell Oil Company, have long felt the need for better trained field personnel. This was reaffirmed when, in 1971, we hired an independent company to survey our field personnel. A large majority of our employees expressed a strong desire for more on-the-job training. As a result of this survey, the Coastal Division established "Programmed Learning", a training and instructional program in 1972. Both PROFIT and PILOT home study books were used. Many slide-tapes were also produced by Shell for this program. The inadequacies of the program were:

  • We needed a coordinator in every production unit. (We used maintenance foremen.)

  • Some field foremen did not see a need for such a program.

  • Some employees felt it was a device to measure their in abilities.

  • Some felt it was too much work for too little reward.

  • The employees were getting only bits and pieces of their overall operations.

After evaluating all of the above, a decision was made to take all this information and make a "Hands-on- Training" school. Most of the equipment shown in the slides was acquired in 1977, when our "Lease Operators School" was established. The name was later changed to "School of Basic Production Operations." I have been invited here to explain the "Hands-on-Training" at shell's Coastal Division School of Basic Production Operations.


The school was established for field personnel only. We had originally decided to train by levels of experience, as follows:

  • New employees (0-2 years in the oil industry).

  • Over 2 years experience.

  • Lease Operators, or those with relief experience.

These employees (150 plus) were the entire field operating force in Shell's Coastal Division. From the start, it was next to impossible to schedule by these levels. Therefore, our classes have had a variety of experienced and non-experienced employees. This did not create much of a problem. I found the exchanging of ideas among the more experienced employees and the open-mindedness of the newer ones worked out very well.

After a year or so, it became evident our school could also help other Divisions and other classifications of employees as well. These are:

  • All of Coastal Division's new engineers.

  • Many of our training specialists throughout Shell Oil Company.

  • Some engineers from other Divisions.

  • Some Operation Technicians.

  • A few foremen (first-line).


The school's objectives are:

  • To provide a realistic set of standards for our field people.

  • To upgrade the job knowledge of present lease operators.

  • Development of less experienced personnel in basic production Operations.

The class is five (5) days long, with a maximum of six (6) participants. The training site is located in shell's Morgan City Terminal in South Central Louisiana, about seventy (70) miles west-southwest of New Orleans. One of our goals was to establish a very realistic facility. We, therefore, installed, equipment to resemble an actual production operation. The planning started in April 1977, with two (2) classes held that year. To date, over four hundred (400) participants, throughout the United States, have completed the course.

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