Mark Denkowski
Drilling Services Manager for the Gulf of Mexico
RelyOn Nutec
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Technology Playing New Role in Safety Readiness

By Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 01/15/2021 - 13:09

Q: What are your most important functions and responsibilities as RelyOn Nutec’s drilling services manager?

A: I bring to the table a career's worth of knowledge and experience in drilling, well servicing and operations. I know what the industry is looking for in terms of training and competence and my main objective is to broaden awareness of RelyOn Nutec’s course offerings regarding drilling services training in areas such as well control and well servicing.

Q: How have the events of 2020 highlighted new challenges and areas of opportunity regarding safety in the drilling sector?

A: Drilling practices themselves have not changed very much. What has changed are processes influenced by protocols derived from the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic arrived in the midst of what was already a bit of a downturn for the industry and further slowed activity. However, the important role of the oil & gas industry in the global energy supply chain did not really change despite the considerable decrease in demand experienced throughout 2020. Although the demand for Oil & Gas has grown recently, the industry will continue to meet those demands in a safe and responsible manner.

Q: How are offshore drilling crews remaining vigilant and keeping each other accountable regarding COVID-19 safety practices?       

A: The size of crews has not been reduced because of regulations that call for a minimum number of personnel onboard; nevertheless, shifts have sometimes gotten longer, especially due to the accommodations that have had to be made regarding quarantine times and travel restrictions. This has presented its own difficulties. Operators and Contractors continue to focus on safety and on environmental practices, so our job is to complement that focus by making sure all crew members continue to have access to quality training. Additional norms and regulations that have been added to the protocols for operators and workers have increased everybody's diligence regarding safety practices and awareness.       

Q: How would you compare and benchmark the Mexican drilling safety standards against other similar segments?

A: I am somewhat familiar with Mexico’s safety regulations because of IADC’s participated in the original composition of some of those regulatory agencies, including ASEA, while I was with the International Association of Drilling Contractors. IADC’s role was to offer recommended best practices based on the most stringent regulatory regimes at the international level. Nevertheless, I still have a lot to learn and depend on RelyOn Nutec staff locally to stay abreast of relevant regulation. Safety standards in Mexico are quite high, especially now that so many international oil companies and drilling contractors are operating in the region. I believe that there is a continuing drive for improved regulation and Mexico is doing a tremendous job in that regard.

Q: What role will drilling services play in the new training center that RelyOn Nutec plans to open in Tamaulipas?

A: I have not been able to visit the site of the new training center due to travel restrictions that are still in place, so my familiarity with the facility is somewhat limited. However, I can definitely tell you that we are looking to increase availability of all of RelyOn Nutec’s courses including drilling and well servicing in Mexico through the existing and new centers. In addition, through the use of our world class simulation capabilities, we are also working to increase the use of scenario based well control training as well as the use of simulated digital twins of active wells or wells in the planning stages that can mimic experiences and challenges operators and contractors are likely to face. These are some of the new capabilities that we are hoping to bring into the Mexican market through this new training center. This will become increasingly relevant as deepwater drilling becomes more common in the country.

 

RelyOn Nutec (formerly Falck Safety) is an international safety training and equipment services provider for the oil and gas, maritime, industrial and wind power sectors. The company offers over 200 courses from its Mexican headquarters in Ciudad del Carmen.

Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Journalist and Industry Analyst