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Applying VR-Delivered Learning to the Energy Decommissioning Sector

The value of using virtual reality in learning how to decommission energy installations – notably in the oil and gas industry – efficiently, effectively and above all, safely, is being further emphasised in a presentation on 20th May to delegates at Decom Week 2021. The event, which runs from 17th to 21st May, is organised by Decom North Sea, a body that works across the energy sector – encompassing renewables, oil and gas, and nuclear – to share knowledge, facilitate collaboration and maximise business potential for its members.

The presentation – by Emma Dickson, of the digital learning and assessment specialists, eCom Scotland – examines eNetReality, a virtual reality (VR) authoring tool specifically designed for use in learning and assessment.

“The benefits of using VR in teaching people how to work safely, effectively and efficiently when engaged in potentially hazardous activities such as decommissioning energy installations are well-known,” explained Emma. “They include the ability to learn skills in the safety of a virtual environment, eliminating risks for the learner as well as eliminating the potential for expensive and disruptive mistakes with costly materials in the ‘real world’.”

Designed as a VR authoring tool that ‘non-technical’ people could use to create their own VR learning and assessment experiences, eNetReality delivers its output across any device – from headset (for a fully-immersive experience) to smartphone or desktop. It can work with any SCORM-compliant learning management system – including eCom’s own LMS, eNetLearn® and, since it has xAPI capability, it can produce highly granular reports as required.

According to Energy Live News, decommissioning oil and gas infrastructure now represents nearly a tenth of the oil and gas industry’s overall expenditure and will cost some £15.2bn over the next decade. Furthermore, it reports that a recent report by Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) suggests that, while decommissioning activity on the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) is expected to increase, annual expenditure will remain consistent thanks to improving efficiency performance.

“This suggests that the competitiveness and efficiency of the UK’s decommissioning sector is growing,” said Emma. “Hopefully, using eNetReality to train those who’re decommissioning this infrastructure will contribute to this increasing competitiveness and efficiency – since, at present only some nine percent of all platforms installed on the UKCS have been decommissioned.

“Looking at the global market in decommission energy installations – and some 53% of eCom’s annual revenue is generated outside the UK – the OGUK report predicts that $85 billion (£67bn) will be spent shutting down oil and gas assets over the next ten-year period and, in the UK alone, some 1,630 wells are expected to be decommissioned over the next ten years.”

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