by George Zamora


SOCORRO, N.M., – October 10, 2003 - New Mexico Tech has entered into an agreement with Well Control School (WCS) of Harvey, La., to better provide certification and training courses to thousands of oil industry engineers and field technicians throughout the nation via the research university’s distance-education capabilities and technologies.

wcs people
Pictured (from left to right) are: Carl Foster, New Mexico Tech Research& Economic Development Office; Lonnie Marquez, acting vice president of administration and finance at New Mexico Tech; Richard DeBuys, former president of WCS; Steve Vorenkamp, director of marketing at WCS; and Peter Anselmo, chair of the New Mexico Tech Department of Management.

Representatives from New Mexico Tech and WCS recently met on the university campus in Socorro to formally sign a contract that will allow New Mexico Tech students to begin working on a pilot project to determine whether electronic dissemination of interactive technical training modules developed by WCS is an effective and efficient means of providing the company’s services to a larger audience.

WCS currently offers its oil-industry training and certification services through either conventional instructor-led classroom instruction or complex computer-based systems, which require specialized computers to run the associated software programs.

“Well Control School utilizes some fairly complex software in its training and certification programs, particularly its System 21 Well Control system, which employs different processes and tasks all running at the same time,” says Peter Anselmo, chair of New Mexico Tech’s Department of Management and member of the faculty ad hoc committee overseeing the new pilot project. “It’s as close to real life as you can get.”

The System 21 Well Control training program, which is fully accredited by the International Association of Drilling Contractors, covers more than 2,000 topics and skills and uses high-end computer graphics and virtual reality scenarios to educate students in well control concepts, procedures, and teamwork strategies.

“If distance education methods and technologies being used at New Mexico Tech are shown to work as well as computer-based systems, then Well Control School can get out of the PC inventory business and concentrate more on what they’re really set up to do, which is the oil well training business,” Anselmo relates.

WCS Director of Marketing Steve Vorenkamp pointed out at the recent signing ceremony that anywhere between 14,000 and 15,000 people employed by the worldwide oil industry are certified each year in specialized areas such as drilling, well completion, well servicing, and offshore operations, with most of them requiring re-certification every two years afterwards.