A new training facility for Northern Lights College students celebrated its completion last week.
The college completed construction of the simulated well site training facility on Oct. 12. The training facility, which is now officially finished, will give students the opportunity to learn and train on the equipment they will be expected to use upon entering the oil and gas industry.
The project was started almost a decade ago and has since been an effort financially supported by more than 50 agencies. One of the key contributors was the Government of Canada who gave $930,000 in funding for this project through Western Economic Diversification Canada.
“The opportunity to train more people on the safety aspects of the drilling site before they get out into the field,” said Laurie Rancourt, President and CEO of Northern Lights College. “It’s also allowed us to bring together pieces of equipment that we had individually and to turn it into what is actually a model well site.”
The model well site is a three-acre fenced compound in the southwest corner of the Fort St. John Campus. The training facility consists of a 40-metre triple cantilever, beam-leg mast drilling rig called Rig 62, which was donated in 2002 by Nabors Canada and their partner Shehtah Nabors LP.
“The rig hadn’t worked for some time and it’s one of those rigs that was particularly hard to market because of the particular style and given the new technology that’s in the industry now… so through an arrangement that we had with our partners, we managed to release the rig out of the partnership so that we could donate it to the college,” said Joe Bruce, President and CEO of Nabors Canada. “Because they already have the service rig here… this actually complements the well servicing rig, generally you would have a drilling rig first and the service rig comes afterwards so this bring the whole process together.”
Rancourt says the training facility is going to draw students that are looking for that training and who are looking to get into the field. However she explained that the college already graduate about 136 people in the oil and gas trades, trades that are related to the oil and gas industry and this is going to allow us to increase that by about 70 so to about 200 students.”
The Simulated Well Site Training Facility is the only one of it’s kind in British Columbia and will aid in the learning and training of students taking programs related to the oil and gas industry. In fact, the university is now able to offer new programs such as Drilling and Well Servicing, Introduction to Production Operations, Pipelining and Gas Processing as a direct result of the completed simulated well. In addition, a Rig Technician program is also currently being developed.
Bruce thinks that this facility says, that there’s so much focus on safety, this is the type of stuff we need in the industry to make sure that people do go to work and work safely and go home to their families.”
“There’s a need for a simulated training facility and Northern Lights College is absolutely ideally located to provide that.”
While the training facility has not become operational yet, the training system will be operational for students to use this semester, according to Brad Lyon, Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations for NLC.