This paper examines the simulator-based training methods employed in the oil and gas pipeline industry to develop and maintain competent pipeline operators. The most popular methods are described, and the impact of simulator-based training over traditional methods is examined. The simulator-based methods that are described come from a variety of sources. These methods include:
These methods represent fundamental approaches to implementation of simulator based training, and should not be assumed to represent actual products available from vendors. In some cases, vendor products are hybrid implementations of the fundamental approaches. The training requirements are examined based on the available literature in the human resources field and the appropriate use of simulation technology in training is also described.
The pipeline is most economic and safest method of moving crude oil, petroleum products, natural gas and other industrial fluids from the point of production to the point of consumption. Safety and economics are obviously not automatic and must be thoroughly considered for each aspect of the pipeline life cycle: design, construction, operation and retirement. Safety and economics are also conflicting objectives: increasing safety margins means increasing pipe wall thickness, lowering MAOPs, curtailing deliveries while improving economics implies the opposite. The successful pipeline company must negotiate a balance between the economic and safety requirements. Within this scheme of conflicting objectives, the job of the pipeline operator has special responsibilities which demand a requirement for training procedures that are both rigorous and effective. Furthermore, the complexity of fluid behavior and pipeline operation make Within this scheme of conflicting objectives, the job of the pipeline operator has special responsibilities which demand a requirement for training procedures that are both rigorous and effective. Furthermore, the complexity of fluid behavior and pipeline operation make computer simulation an ideal component of training course implementation. In an attempt to present a clearer picture of the demand 1 supply situation currently prevalent within the industry with respect to training, a survey was performed that comprised a search of the technical and commercial literature. In addition, selected companies were contacted directly. The primary objective of the survey, the results of which are detailed in this paper, was not to develop a comprehensive report but rather to provide a picture of the ongoing direction of training.
Training in this paper means training of pipeline operators, also referred to as controllers or dispatchers. These people are the ones in the control room who, through the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system, make the decisions on how to control the pipeline.