This paper represents a case history covering a span of 4 years during which personnel were recruited, trained and developed to staff a very large offshore drilling operation in a relatively new area starting in 1972. Included in the paper are some details of the reasons why certain groups of personnel were selected and how they were placed into the overall operational framework of big, semisubmersible drilling rig operations. A description of the training center is included as well as how it was used to carry out the development program for personnel at all levels.


In 1972 SEDCO had a single large semisubmersible drilling rig, the SEDCO 135-F, working offshore Scotland in the North Sea. Shortly thereafter 5 new semisubmersibles of a new design with propulsion were phased into the operation, one at a time, while 3 additional existing rigs from other areas were also moved to this operating zone. Scotland at that time had a very low population of skilled rig personnel and worldwide there was developing a shortage of drilling personnel of all nationalities.

In recognition of this it was decided that a massive training effort was needed by SEDCO to fulfill its responsibilities of supplying as well qualified people as possible. Further, since these new rigs involved a lot of new technology and many unknowns in operations connected with the thrusters and newer systems, an infusion of personnel with higher level educations was needed.

During the past 4 years a multi-front program was conducted to provide a suitable number of skilled rig personnel as well as technical support on the rigs by developing the following 3 groups:

  1. Locally hired U. K. citizens predominantly from the area around Aberdeen with high school education equivalent.

  2. Engineer Trainees who are mostly U. S. citizens broken down into 2 groups:

    • Graduates from conventional Engineering colleges.

    • Graduates of Maritime Academies.

  3. Liberal Arts College graduates mainly from the U. S.

Fortunately, SEDCO, as a large, worldwide drilling contractor, was able to supply by transfer and promotion most of the key people for the new rigs so that it was possible to concentrate on the :more elementary building process involving the 3 groups mentioned. The purpose of this paper is primarily to elaborate on the concepts and execution of these three developmental programs in concert with a center for training of offshore drilling personnel.


With the SEDCO l35-F unit as the only operational rig in the area in early 1972, it was decided to use this to the extent the operator would permit for on-the-job training of newly hired Scottish nationals who would spend part of their time ashore in a formal training center. To this end, special quarters were erected on the rig, and with space available on the helicopter the earliest recruits were indeed worked as Extras on the rig.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.