Background: The pool of experienced oil, gas and chemical plant operators, mechanics and other plant personnel is not keeping pace with demand in active oil and gas hubs like in the State of Qatar. Many individuals new to the oil and gas and related industries are being hired. A premium is being placed on getting these individuals quickly trained and qualified to assume increasing job responsibilities. This places great pressure on training functions within existing production units. A solution to this challenge is to develop advanced training tools that could be specifically used in oil, gas and chemical plants. Objectives: This research effort, undertaken by ExxonMobil Research Qatar, aims to develop immersive 3D training simulators for training of personnel in oil and gas production, processing, and transportation facilities. Realistic training scenarios developed for simulators range from routine operations, to developing competencies and assuring operational excellence responding to high consequence/low probability events. Results: This research effort led to the development of 3D visualization platforms for use in training process operators and young engineers joining the workforce. The platform supports the development of small-scale 3D immersive training simulators that combine dynamic process simulators with fully functioning and interactive 3D models. 3D models include compressor skids, re-liquefaction plants and other small-scale processing units. Extensive libraries of 3D models for process equipment, instrumentation, piping and field structures were developed and leveraged to promote efficiency when developing further 3D models. The platform is designed for multiple field operators training simultaneously through connectivity with other 3D display systems. Ongoing software and hardware upgrades have enhanced performance, widened applicability and allow for more complex and ultradetailed 3D models. Work is ongoing to develop a full-scale training simulator of an actual LNG facility process unit located in the State of Qatar. Augmented reality work-aids, for procedure verification in the field, have been developed for training and competency assessment. The research effort yielded a patent application for novel and innovative developments in the field of 3D immersive simulators. Future work includes learning management systems to track progress and scoring for trainees and further enhancement of realism in 3D environments.


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