VAM® Field Service Academy
A new benchmark for rig operations and well integrity
Rig products, applications and operations are increasingly sophisticated with growing expectations on behalf of customers
for high performance, flawless and cost-effective solutions. To ensure optimal pipe and connection efficiency, the VAM® Field Service department sends highly trained and certified experts where it counts, in the field, on the rig.
In an ideal world, casing operations would always be quick and efficient, connections and pipes would always fit perfectly, and sealing would be flawless. In the real world, every rig is different, unique, with specific difficulties and constraints, there are often unforeseen issues or complications during execution and operators are under pressure to work quickly and efficiently. The presence of a connection manufacturer expert reduces operational risks; limits reject rates and increases performance. A technical support from the pipe manufacturer during operations provides the casing crews with guidance. Ultimately, for customers, it enhances well integrity with a 24/7 link to the pipe and connection supplier!
Patrice Brossard, Vice President of Vallourec Global Solutions worldwide, explains: “Our commitment is to ensure that VAM® quality is maintained from the mill to the well during rig installation and for the life of the well. We take great pride in embedding VAM® Field Service representatives with our operators to support and supervise operations for all types of VAM® connections.” But with today’s increasing complexity, as well as client needs for improved performance and cost savings, this commitment is going one step further.
In October 2012, VAM® Field Service created ‘the VAM® Academy’, an intensive certification program designed to validate the knowledge and onsite proficiency of VAM® technicians, making them the ‘highest’ experts of VAM® field support.
Making seasoned VAM® technicians into world-class certified experts
Alastair Brodie, Senior Technical Manager, explains: “VAM® Academy is not about initial training; it’s about upgrading and certifying field technicians into experts, for rig operations.” Their task is key: with an expert on site during installation, Vallourec can provide enhanced support and reduce the risk of well failure due to poor storage, handling or running of the products, enable quicker repairs, reduce reject rates and ensure care checking of the sealing components. Ultimately, Vallourec helps the customer save a lot of time and money. Bernard Wyss, VAM® Field Service Commercial Manager, confirms. “Having a specialist capable of providing assistance, at all times, is an additional safety element, whose cost is negligible compared to the potential consequences of misuse of the pipe connections. This risk-based approach is now a fundamental element of operations in the light of recent, major accidents”.
Jerry Buster, Director Technical Sales and Field Service in USA, says: “Because of its high standards, VAM® Academy doesn’t take “rookies”: all the attendees have a working knowledge of our connections and an extensive experience on the rig before the course.”
Jerry continues: “We select field technicians who have followed core training processes (up to 6 months), we then validate their knowledge and operational efficiency in an intensive 2-3 weeks course. There are three main components in our training: first theoretical training, validating their technical knowledge; secondly operational processes, on a rig, where we simulate all possible mistakes and failures, understanding our attendees’ reaction, implementation and efficiency in correcting the problem; lastly, a full ‘on the job’ assessment to certify our technicians as the most qualified experts for all field conditions.” The certification program takes place in one of the two centers in Houston, USA, or Aberdeen, Great Britain. The two centers provide cross-pollination around the world, assuring our customers that all of our field service representatives are fully qualified to take care of their most critical needs.
One of our greatest achievements is to help customers save costs while improving rig operations, but it’s not always easy to convince the customer before they see for themselves: the hurdle is to show how we can bring concrete added value. Some clients are only converted when confronted with an issue. Nicolas Boruchowicz, Vallourec EAMEA Service Operation Director, recalls a specific case in Angola where, for many years, companies didn’t use VAM® Field Services. “One day, there was a major issue in one of their large strategic projects. They called upon us, in a state of emergency, and we sent two of our VAM® experts in the field. The issue was solved quickly and efficiently. The client came back to us soon afterwards, relieved, and said ‘OK, we can see the significance of having you with us during the project and we’ll work with you from now on!’ We were trusted for many new rig operations and there have been no issues in Angola since. Our value was tangible: by increasing quality, inspecting and correcting in real time, we reduced project delays, reject rates and helped the customer save time and money.”
The paradox is that, while premium connections can maintain high pressure and extreme loads, a connection can be rendered ineffective by improper use or improper running practices. A VAM® Field Service provides validated practices, to relieve any concern regarding improper processes, increasing the comfort level of string being installed.
Most of the time, when VAM® Field Service is deployed on the rigs, there’s no issue: it’s tempting to feel it maybe isn’t necessary… That’s precisely the beauty of it! It’s because VAM® Field Service teams are there that there’s no problem…
Around 230 worldwide VAM® Field Service staff and specialists have been evaluated for operational proficiency. This training effort represents an overall investment of over 2 million USD per year. It is also essential to emphasize that training in itself is not the end of the process. All technicians who complete the VAM® Field Service Academy are assessed according to recognized industry standards (OPITO – a global leader in standards, competence and skills for the oil and gas industry to approve organizations Competence Management System), following the metho-dology of API Q2. To increase customer proximity, VAM® Field Services Centers are deployed in the UK and in the USA, as well as Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Netherlands, Nigeria, Angola, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, China, Singapore, Indonesia, India and Australia.
Patrice Brossard concludes: “VAM® Field Service experts have a shared responsibility in both their responsiveness and availability. They are in the field 365 days a year and can intervene in the most remote corners of the world.” The VAM® Academy certification program has created a new benchmark in the industry. Once again, Vallourec contributes greatly to reducing the Total Cost of Ownership for its customers operations by improving project execution and enhancing well integrity. For any local needs or questions, please visit our website and contact your local VAM® Field Service center.