What is the value of a competent engineer? How can we be sure that an engineer is actually qualified? As the big crew change progresses, and as regulators worldwide are beginning to require operators to assure the competency of people working in petroleum operations, these questions are becoming increasingly important. This paper presents an approach to address these questions by looking at competency assurance with probabilistic models.

The value of a competency assessment is demonstrated with a decision tree value of information (VOI) analysis and shows that competency assessments are likely under-utilized. In addition to reducing the chance and impact of defective engineering, assessments provide important feedback to the engineer as learner.

A more detailed model uses Monte Carlo simulation for the stochastic (i.e., probabilistic) calculations, to model training, the design process, and multiple review stages during drilling, completion and production operations. The model uses a competency scale and shows the value of incremental competency improvements. With our judgments the calculations show a dramatic underuse of competency assessment. We further demonstrate how a personal learning initiative can measurably increase competency, and how that competency improves a typical project's value.

The simulation model can help management optimize decisions involving staffing, type and days of structured training, work process design, and design review stages. Added benefits of the modeling approach include tools for individual development, career planning, and organizational learning. We also relate competency and competency assessments to risk management, construction, and safe operations.

You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.