Operational Drilling Technology

This ten-day course is our comprehensive class on drilling operations, from spud to completion. Well control training and certification is also included.

Well control certification testing for both IADC and IWCF is done on laptops, online. If you'd like to get a feel for IADC online testing, click here. IWCF also provides registered candidates an opportunity to practice on a "Mock Assessment".

Locations Offered

Houston Training Center   → Register now!

Course Fees

  • $5100.00 per student for IADC WellSharp certification
  • $5300.00 per student for IADC WellSharp + Completion/Workover certification
  • $5500.00 per student for IWCF certification
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Objective & Philosophy

Our objective is to teach drilling practices and problems from spud to completion for all levels from assistant driller to drilling manager. The course is taught by hole-intervals starting with top-hole problems related to big-hole and normal pressure. After an appropriate casing string has been set, drilling continues into the abnormal pressure zone and heavy mud practices and problems are discussed. Well control is introduced as one of the drilling problems and taught by hole-interval, with training enhanced by hands-on simulator practice. Associated problems such as lost circulation and stuck pipe are discussed along with well control.

IADC WellSharp Supervisor and IWCF Level 4 Well Control certifications are offered. Students must select which certification they desire when enrolling in the course. Individual student evaluation reports are written at the end of the session and these, along with the extensive workshops and exercises required, enable the instructor to assess the student’s operational or technical strengths or weaknesses.

The Murchison Drilling School philosophy and approach to Drilling Technique Training evolved to meet the needs of operational people. The MDS trains people how to supervise every facet of the drilling operation. Too often a gap exists between the theoretical approach and practical application, a gap that prohibits effective communications and effective cost-control.

The Murchison approach is realistic, designed to capitalize on the varied educational backgrounds of our students, and to blend the knowledge and experience they bring to us. Classes include contractor drillers, toolpushers, drilling superintendents, engineers and operator representative personnel. All combine to approach drilling operations as a team.

Our approach presents each drilling practice or problem in the same sequence as it would occur on the rig. Problems or operational practices are introduced and reintroduced by hole intervals as students "drill a theoretical hole" through the use of a simulator.
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How We Teach the Course

By Hole Interval

Our objective is to teach drilling practices and problems from spud to completion for all levels from assistant driller to drilling manager. The course is taught by hole intervals starting with top hole problems related to big hole and normal pressure. After an appropriate casing string has been set, drilling continues into the abnormal pressure zone and heavy mud practices and problems are discussed. Well control is introduced as one of the drilling problems and taught by hole interval, with training enhanced by hands-on simulator practice. Associated problems such as lost circulation and stuck pipe are discussed along with well control.

By Actual Case Histories

Bill Murchison has over fifty years of drilling operations experience. One of the keys to his success in the training business is directly related to the comprehensive set of case histories he has collected in his career. Bill kept detailed records of wells, their problems, causes and events that led to the problems, successful and unsuccessful attempts to correct the problems, and outcomes. These case histories help students understand what they are learning and how to apply their knowledge in their own operations.

With Multi-Media Presentations

MDS invested in developing a full set of PowerPoint slides for the students. Principles, formulas, charts, and illustrations were created to graphically convey the lectures and enhance learning. Additionally, students are given handouts of the PowerPoint to help them follow along and to facilitate better note taking.

MDS also uses videos, audio-visual slide presentations and computer-animated presentations in their course. The varying multi-media presentations keep students alert, interested and enhance their ability to grasp the material.

With Homework

Daily homework is given to students to reinforce what is taught during the lectures. Students have the opportunity to ask questions about specific problems before submitting their homework. The homework is turned in each morning, graded and then returned to the students. The homework gives regular feedback to the instructor, lets him know how well the students are grasping the material, and what areas need to be reviewed.

The homework is usually done in groups. The students are encouraged to work together and help one another. They gain from each other's experiences and expertise as they work together. Conference rooms are provided to the students at the hotel to facilitate the groups working together on the homework.

With Well Control Simulators

Well control simulators are used to teach both offshore well control and land operation well control. Students work in teams and alternate roles so that they learn the varying responsibilities of the tool pusher, driller and foreman. Students must prepare kill sheets prior to their simulator time. Students are graded on their well control simulator work and this goes into their final grade and evaluation.

With Lectures And Discussions

The course is taught using a combination of both lectures and discussions. The discussions help the students glean from the wealth of experience that the other students have. Students come from all different parts of the world and from many different drilling operations. The discussions also help the students to participate in the learning experience.

With Testing And Evaluation

Students are given an initial test before the course begins and a final exam upon completion of the course. Students are also graded on their homework and their well control simulator work. A student’s final grade is determined by looking at all the homework assignments and tests. Students are then evaluated by comparison to the industry average, the class performance and by their individual improvement during the course. (Industry averages for these tests have been kept for the past 27 years.)

The student evaluations are sent to the management of the participating companies. The testing and evaluation gives companies very objective and useful evaluation of their personnel.
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Daily Topics

Day 1


Introduction
Entrance Test
Pre-Spud Meeting & Considerations
Problem-Solving Model
Hole Trends
Drill String Design
Simulator Training

Day 2


Drillout Considerations
Leak-Off & Formation Capability Tests
Well Control Principles
Kick Recognition
Shut-In Methods
Methods of Well Control
Limitations To Control Capability
Kill Sheets
Simulator Training

Day 3


General Mud Topics
Mud Solids
BOP Equipment and Accumulator Considerations
Well Control Problem Diagnosis and Solutions
Simulator Practice

Day 4


Horizontal Drilling
Lost Circulation - Top Hole
Deviation & Stuck Pipe
Simulator Practice

Day 5


Lubricating/Stripping/Snubbing
Tripping Practices and Considerations
H2S and Safety
Simulator Testing

Day 6


Causes of Abnormal Pressure
Transition Zones and Red Flags
Diagnosing and Preventing Shales Problems
Wellhead Installation
Casing & Cementing
Simulator Testing

Day 7


Good Mud Practices
Logging & Perforating
Advanced Well Control, part 1 - Shallow Gas, Volumetric, Lube & Bleed
Simulator Testing

Day 8


Lost Circulation in Abnormal Pressure Zone
Advanced Well Control, part 2 - MPD, HPHT, Kill Sheet for Deviated Well
Overview of Bits
Differential Sticking & Freeing Techniques
Kick-Off Plugs
Well Control Reviews
Simulator Practice - Volumetric & Lubrication

Day 9


Gas Cap-Introduction & Drill Stem Test Considerations
Gas Cap Drilling
Squeeze Cementing
Workover & Completion
MDS Final Test

Day 10


IADC WellSharp Test (IADC Candidates)
IWCF Equipment, and Principles & Procedures Tests (IWCF Candidates)
Individual Evaluations, Photos, Awarding of Diplomas
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Why Attend?

Here are some of the main reasons for Oil Company, Contractor, and Service Company personnel to attend the Operational Drilling Technology Course.

  1. Learn How to Supervise Drilling Operations
    • On the Rig
    • From the Office
  2. Learn How to Implement the Drilling Program
  3. Learn How to Minimize Unscheduled Events
    • Stuck Pipe
    • Lost Circulation
    • Blowouts, etc.
  4. Understand How the Hole Communicates With the Driller and Other Drilling Supervisors
  5. Learn How To Communicate
    • On the Rig
    • From the Rig to the Office
    • From the Office to the Rig
  6. What Service Companies Need to Know to be a Knowledgeable Drilling Team Member
  7. What Contractors Need to Know to Implement a Drilling Program and Drilling Contract.
  8. All Drilling People Need to be Certified and Trained by an Experienced Drilling Person
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Student Testimonial – "Career-Builder"

Mike was a student in 1990 that we got to visit with in the summer of 2014. This is what he wrote about our Ten-Day Course.

On occasion people ask me what I do, and my response is simply put and always the same – I build successful teams. I am grateful to many for helping me refine my craft over the years, a process that continues with as much energy today as when I first threw a tong on a drill floor 30 years ago. Help and influence in defining my career past, present and future has come from all directions, and I am privileged to acknowledge that my time with Bill Murchison on his 10 day school was a significant turning point for me, one that I frequently revisit in my various team development conversations and efforts.

The 10-day school helped me in various ways, including:

  • I received an immediate confidence boost (I was just a derrick hand in a group of Toolpushers and Rig Managers, who were much more senior in age and rig experience)
    • The ‘Murchison way’ landed well with me, and I was able to attain a very high rank in the school’s initial and final assessments and in daily work assignments
  • My career focus immediately sharpened
    • Bill’s personal guidance helped me recognize a path of opportunity that had been staring right at me
      • My eyes were opened to the potential for new opportunities with my employer that I previously was not able to recognize
      • the restlessness and occasional frustrations I had previously been experiencing with my career immediately started to fade
  • I immediately became a more effective contributor,
    • I refined my approach to operational problems, identifying effective and practical solutions became easier, and I communicated better
  • My contributions were recognized, and then rewarded with increasingly challenging projects and promotions
  • Recognizing the value of training in building successful teams/companies
    • I benefited from being part of a company, Santa Fe, that recognized the importance of and invested heavily in training at all levels (Santa Fe succumbed to my persistent pleading to attend the school despite not meeting eligibility requirements)
    • Training has since become a critical part of the development of all the teams I have led
  • Recognizing the importance of assessing your team capability
    • The school provided Santa Fe management with a valuable technical profile of its current and upcoming leaders and used this information to provide and influence career choices for its leadership team
  • Recognizing the importance of credibility (knowing your subject, theory backed up with practical experience)
    • Seeing how Bill’s knowledge and experience on a wide range of subjects helped captivate and lead leaders through the school was inspirational
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Cancellation Policy

We request that all cancellations be made at least one week before the class start date. You may reschedule this class without any penalty. However, a $250 fee will be charged for cancellations received less than one week before a class begins and for no-shows. Cancellation penalties and any fees incurred by Murchison Drilling Schools will be deducted from refunds.
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Important IWCF Information

  1. We currently only offer IWCF certification at our Houston Training Center and at the Trinidad Training Center.
  2. We are required to order IWCF tests ten days before the test date. Therefore, IWCF candidates must enroll no later than one week before the first day of class.
  3. IWCF Candidates must register for an account on IWCF FORUM. Once registered and approved by the IWCF, a candidate ID number will be issued. IWCF candidates will need their candidate ID before registering for a well control class.
    Click here for information on registering at IWCF FORUM and for the Candidate User Guide.
  4. IWCF is providing a "Mock Assessment" for registered candidates. You can practice with IWCF's online testing.
    Click here for more info.
  5. We do online testing at Murchison. For now, it is still possible to do the IWCF tests on paper.
    If you would like to take your IWCF tests on paper:
    • You must let us know at least ten business days before the test date.
    • There will be an additional $500 fee to cover the expenses associated with paper testing.
  6. IWCF has made significant changes to the Equipment assessment. Read Bill's article about these changes.
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