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Rolling out the next Simulator Generation

Upstream magazine, 30 August 2002 http://www.upstreamonline.com
 

MOST exploration rig managers will rarely experience the reality of a jack-up rig's leg punching through the sea bed, a semi-submersible losing a mooring line in a storm, or a ship colliding and causing structural damage.

However, with next week's inauguration of a million dollar multi-purpose marine simulator at drilling contractor Transocean's Aberdeen training centre, they will at least have a chance to get an idea of how it would feel, while remaining in the relative tranquility of a heaving cabin in an Aberdeen warehouse.

"As far as we know, this is the only simulator in the world that combines training in semisubmersible stability and jack-up operations along with emergency response in a single package" says Transocean's training manager Jim Finlay.

Sweating safely: the simulator cabin Photo. SYNECTICA

The unit can hold up to eight people and the six-tonne cabin is mounted ona computer controlled platform that simulates vessel motion. As well as the cabin, the new facilities include an instructor's suite and an observation room.

"It's very realistic," says Finlay. "We can throw in a force 12 gale, knock engines offline, simulate blackouts, lose anchors or break a mooring. We can simulate the effects of inclination, wave motion on a floating vessel, and the jolts, judders and lurches that might be associated withjack-up punch-through or leg subsidence, shifting of weights on deck, explosions, structural failure and collision."

Aberdeen-based software company Pisys won the simulator contract in August last year. Martin Delaney, of specialist marine sub-contractor Synectica, who acted as project manager for Pisys, says: "We have four rig models: a jack-up and three classes of semi - a Sedco 700 series, an Aker H4 and a GVA 4000."

"The simulator can provide a 15-degree tilt in any direction, which is about the limit before a rig starts downflooding and is in danger of capsizing."

There are two or three simulators sround the world covering ballasting and marine operations, but this unit is the first to include major emergency training, adds Delaney.