Petroleum engineering students learn about well completion equipment on virtual visit to Shell Wells Asia Pacific Learning Hub

Miri – 28 October 2021 – Undergraduate petroleum engineering students of Curtin University, Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) made a virtual site visit to the Shell Wells Asia Pacific (IG) Learning Hub at the Sarawak Shell Headquarters in Lutong, Miri last week to learn more about well completion equipment.

Numerous site visits by petroleum engineering students have been organised by petroleum engineering lecturer Associate Professor Hisham Khaled Ben Mahmud over the years but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, recent visits have been virtual affairs.

Nonetheless, this latest visit, which Associate Professor Hisham organised in collaboration with Shell ASIA/PAC Wells Training Centre Manager Philip Richardson, proved highly educational for the students, particularly in relation to their course unit on petroleum production technology.

After being welcomed by Richardson and administration staff member Yieng Ing Kong, the students were briefed on the health and safety procedures that are normally followed during a physical visit to give them the sense of actually being at the learning hub.

Richardson then highlighted the facilities at the training hub such as its well drilling and control system simulator, which gave the students a good idea of how drilling is carried out and what kinds of measurements need to be monitored to prevent blowouts of the wells. He also outlined the various training courses conducted at the learning hub for oil and gas employees.

In addition, the students were shown a series of videos depicting the application of various surface/subsurface and downhole well completion tools such as Christmas trees, wellheads, safety valves, liner hangers, production packers, sliding side doors (SSD), landing nipples and side pocket mandrels (SPM).

The students also learned about the installation and pressure testing of equipment used in well completion following drilling and before production, as well as the importance of well completion equipment ceilings.

All these gave the students not only a broad overview of well completion operations but also insights into the tasks and real-life working environment of professional engineers.

Associate Professor Hisham said the objective of the virtual site visit was to expose the students to well completion operations and the equipment used to bring oil or gas wells to the completion state before production tests can be performed and subsequent commercial production can be started.

“The excellent presentations by Philip and his staff, the demonstration of the simulator and the videos all helped our students to get a clear understanding of well completion, which is very important in providing a safe and secure communication path for the hydrocarbon fluid from the reservoir to the surface facilities,” he said.

“Furthermore, the students learned a great deal about various upstream engineering concepts and saw how they are applied in a real working environment.”

Associate Professor Hisham thanked Richardson and his team for hosting the virtual site visit and for their continued support and engagement with academics and students of Curtin Malaysia’s Department of Petroleum Engineering. He said such visits have always enabled students to gain useful knowledge and improve their learning outcomes.

Curtin Malaysia, Curtin University’s largest global campus and regional hub in ASEAN, offers Curtin’s four-year Bachelor of Engineering in Petroleum Engineering (Honours) where students learn how to evaluate, drill, develop and mine oil and gas reserves.

They study chemical engineering and upstream processes such as drilling, fluid flow through reservoirs, formation evaluation, geology, hydrocarbon phase behaviour, oil and gas field development, petroleum production technology, thermodynamics and well completion engineering.

In addition, they undertake practical study in fluid and reservoir rock and drilling laboratories at the campus, and gain industry exposure through field trips to service company offices, and drilling, exploration and production operation sites. They also gain an understanding of global economic trends and corporate profit margins through the study of economics, risk and project management. In their final year, they undertake a major research project, as well as a field development planning and design project.

For more information on the Bachelor of Engineering in Petroleum Engineering and other courses at Curtin Malaysia’s Faculty of Engineering and Science, visit courses.curtin.edu.my.

Associate Professor Hisham and Richardson on screen with students during the virtual site visit.

Students get overview of Shell Wells Asia Pacific (IG) Learning Hub’s facilities and operations.

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