Affordable Web-Based Process Training to Improve Operator Effectiveness

Presented with RWD Technologies, Inc. 2004 National GPA Meeting

Bill Roberts eSimulation, Inc. Houston, Texas, U.S.A.

Al Khakoo RWD Technologies, Inc. Houston, Texas, USA


Many midstream executives today recognize that a source of great competitive advantage is the know-how their people possess. The ability to leverage a company’s knowledge across its current and future employee base is often the difference between a successful company and a mediocre one. Today, some companies are deploying knowledge management systems to assess, capture, manage and leverage their company’s information and core competence. These systems capture and disseminate company knowledge and can provide a basis to define and establish best practices. They have also proven to be successful strategies for providing education and job training.

Gas plants, like the commodities they manufacture, are often viewed today like commodities that can be bought and sold. While midstream assets are bought and sold on a seemingly weekly basis, the impact on the people who support and manage these assets has been dramatic. As a result of the consolidation and increased employment risk, many experienced operations personnel have left the process industries, pursued careers in other companies, or chosen to retire. In certain geographic regions, many of the operations personnel have remained, yet many of them will retire over the next three to five years. These demographic realities pose some serious challenges in keeping midstream operations running effectively, reliably, and safely. Ensuring operators are properly trained or training new operators to replace the experienced work force will be daunting.

Given the competitive nature of the industry, midstream companies have focused on reducing their fixed and variable costs, improving the efficiency of their assets, and improving the productivity of their workforce. As a result, the amount of operations personnel on shift has been reduced. In addition, internal training resources and the infrastructure that was once common in many companies have basically disappeared. Many health, safety and environmental departments have been reduced to small or one man teams of professionals who have multiple roles, manage a large volume of administrative duties, and spend their remaining time auditing and validating compliance with required regulations. The role of operations training has been, for the most part, delegated to the site.

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