Training departments in today's oilfield industry are faced with the challenge of equipping new employees with the ability to lookup technical information and to perform accurate, routine calculations in a short period of time. Traditional methods include classroom instruction for a group of students who follow along with a personal computer or hardcopy manual. Hardcopy manuals are relatively inexpensive to produce in large quantities, but they are a bulky resource to carry around after the course. Personal computers and laptops are powerful tools, but a plan to assign laptops to individuals or to dedicate a number of computers to a classroom may be cost prohibitive.

Another tool that is becoming more popular is the PDA or PDA-phone. As portable as a cell-phone, powered by a PC-like operating system, and at a cost somewhere between those two cousins, the PDA has gained the attention of trainers and students. Teaming the training department with the software applications group, a plan was conceived to improve and customize an oilfield PC application for use on a PDA. Once that plan became a project, a search began for other, existing PDA software applications that could be useful in the oilfield.

This paper follows the success of one software application that was made available for both PC and PDA, and how students were empowered to give quick, accurate answers to common, difficult questions – with the tap of a stylus. It also outlines the direct benefits to the training department, trainees, employer, and ultimately to the customer. Finally, the paper evaluates the cost-benefit of PDA ownership and the potential for other applications or information to be made available for the PDA.

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