Wintershall Maria Project

Thor Oliversen, Wintershall.

Now Wintershall is preparing for Maria’s startup

By Ane Madsen Knoph
Published 28.02.2017 06:42 / Updated 05.05.2017 11:12

To prepare, Wintershall has collected previous pilots from the United States. Together they shall ensure that the risk of human failure is minimized.

March 20, Wintershall starts drilling at the Maria Field in the Norwegian Sea. The wells will be drilled with Deepsea Stavanger, which has been on the CCB at Ågotnes since the summer of last year. Within a short while, the rig will be out of hot circulation, and Wintershall has been working hard to prepare its crew as best as possible. To do that, they have put together a unique concept.



  • The Maria Field is 300 meters deep on Haltenbanken in the Norwegian Sea.
  • Wintershall is the operator of the Maria Field, with a 50 percent stake. Petoro has 30 percent and Centrica Resources (Norway) owns the remaining 20 percent.
  • The chosen development solution for the field is a seabed production facility associated with several host platforms in the Norwegian Sea.
  • Investments in Maria, including wells, are estimated at around NOK 15.3 billion. The field is estimated to contain up to 180 million barrels of oil and gas, mainly oil.

Crew from Odfjell and Halliburton, together with Wintershall, have participated in preparing for the drilling in the Maria Field. The operator has challenged five suppliers, all of which have their special expertise in training, training and coaching. Oiltec, CAVU, Maersk Training, eDrilling and K & M have made a joint integrated Training program to prepare all personnel involved in drilling operations, both offshore and on land.

Want to learn from the Macondo accident
Much of this is technical training, but also the human factors are strongly emphasized.

Wintershall has a strong focus on safety and efficiency. Following the fatal Macondo accident in the Gulf of Mexico, the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers has given a direct recommendation to oil companies to train on different scenarios, not just technical but also on other interpersonal factors that may affect drilling and safety.

“Comparing all who are going on board is incredibly important to us. We must work together as a team, “says Nils Petter Norheim, head of the drilling operation at Maria to Sysla Offshore.

Exercises on the Maria Wells
The training consists, inter alia, of a two-day course that teaches theoretical training on drilling of horizontal wells. To achieve this in a realistic way, Maria wells are built in simulators. Here it is based on well-controlled exercises, potential challenges and the theoretical principles of the course. Much of this is crew resource management.

“People who are going to sit offshore driller have also been in the simulator supplied by Oiltec.  Here we train on cooperation and management.  Up to 75 employees have been up to now. For Wintershall it was important to get in other aspects than just simulator training, “says Norheim.

Maria is Winterhall’s first subsea field in Norway.

“There are risks of starting up with a new crew on a rig that has been laid out.  With regard to efficiency and safety, it is important for us to set up as realistic training as possible, with a high focus on real challenges and potential well control events.

Now the rig is ready for operation with the installation of third party equipment.  In no time will it reach Haltenbanken and Maria Field.

Mirror image of the wells
“Oiltec with partners has been on for a long time with this development work. Our dynamic drill simulator provides a mirror image of the well to be drilled. Borecrews thus have a unique opportunity to get as realistic training as possible, “says Tom Bremer, CEO of Oiltec.

He is impressed with Winterhall’s plans.

Several CAVU employees are former hunter pilots who have a lot of experience with simulator training and team training.  This way of planning and exercising is your routine.  They have long experience and education in teamwork and leadership.  These people train crew from Odfjell and Halliburton.  The combination of theory, simulator training and coaching has never been done in Norway. From the airline industry, we know how much the human factors play.  Through our Crew Resource Management training program in the simulator , we transfer this methodical training approach to the oil industry,” says Bremer.

Experience from defense and aviation
David Burnham is CEO of CAVU. According to him, Winterhall’s Maria-training is a relatively new concept with the oil companies.  The method has been used in the US military for half a century, and in all US commercial airlines for decades.

“Experience is an important human factor that can affect both positive and negative outcomes.  In a simulator we can quickly generate years of “equivalent experience”.  By exposing the crew to major problem scenarios, they develop skills in early identification, stabilization of the situation, and to return to normal operation: everything in a controlled environment. This is exactly how pilots and astronauts exercise their entire career because they do not want the first time they see a problem to be in the real world, with real consequences.  Performance levels must be continually improved, maintained and verified, which is often impossible in operational environments, but can easily be achieved in a simulator environment” Burnham told Sysla Offshore.

All the coaches the company uses has more than 10 years of experience in military management, teamwork and training. They also have backgrounds from aviation, nuclear power, and special forces.

“It makes them very well suited to cope with the challenges in the offshore industry.

Great activity in waiting
Wintershall will drill six wells at Haltenbanken: four production wells and two water injection wells. Two seabed frames are installed at 300 meters deep. 94 kilometers of pipeline are laid to connect the reservoir to Åsgard B, Kristin and Heidrun.

The operation lasts around 580 days.  This leads to great activity, especially in Kristiansund.  There will be helicopter traffic four days a week, with daily calls of supply boats.

CAVU coaches will continue to work with the drilling bolts offshore.

Wintershall Norway’s Maria project off to a great start with CAVU Crew Resource Management training in the beautiful Training Academy provided by Oiltec Solutions near Stavanger, Norway. more

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