Aberdeen-based offshore oil and gas training simulator celebrates second anniversary

Brian Crichton with PFC’s high fidelity power distribution simulator
Brian Crichton with PFC’s high fidelity power distribution simulator

A power distribution simulator for the oil and gas industry – which is claimed to be unique in Europe – is celebrating is second anniversary after being developed for an Aberdeen-based training consultancy.

Designed by and commissioned by the People Factor Consultancy, the simulator is a training tool for people who are required to control and manage an electrical network.

The company claims it is unique because it is the only switchgear which allows candidates to operate and configure the simulated system without risk of damage to the equipment – or to themselves. The power distribution simulator is based on a hypothetical offshore installation and contains the following systems:

  • Electricity generation
  • Main HV generators
  • HV and LV circuit-breakers
  • Generator control panel

Using his experience as an offshore electrical engineer and, for the past 20 years, onshore electrical trainer, the simulator was designed by PFC technical director, Brian Crichton. In its portable form, the high-fidelity power distribution simulator has been used across the globe since 2008, with the permanent simulator being installed in a purpose-built facility in Aberdeen.

He said: “The system was developed in response to market requirements for a simulator that replicated the power distribution system on both offshore and onshore oil and gas facilities:

“Whilst simulators have been in widespread use across various industries, I had never encountered one that simulated the electrical system on an offshore or onshore oil and gas facility, and I knew that it would add significant value to our technical and non-technical training courses.”

“By providing a realistic system for training purposes, without the need for real switchgear, we bring the theory of electrical safety to life, removing the requirement for delegates to take time familiarising themselves with unfamiliar equipment.

“This is not a classroom context – our delegates are instantly ‘at work’ in the simulator, ensuring their current technical expertise is genuinely demonstrated and assessed, whilst encouraging them to think seriously about what they are doing.”

Dr Margaret Crichton, PFC Managing Director, added; “We offer clients that crucial combination of both technical and non-technical training and assessment which ensures that technical knowledge and skills are subsequently implemented at the optimum level, on a day-to-day basis.”

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