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Laws, Rules & Regulations on IWCF Requirments
19 February 2018

Good afternoon dear Colleagues.

Are there any laws, rules or regulations in one of the countries you work or worked in in the past, on the requirement to have a valid IWCF or equivalent certificate?

When reading all the various investigation reports on the Macondo Well Incident I never came across anything, where the existence of an IWCF or equivalent certificate of the various crew members were discussed.

Is having an IWCF (or equivalent) Certificate mandatory in some countries? If so, for whom of the drilling, completion and well services crews (only rig crews or also office crews) would it be mandatory for? Normally the drilling, completion and well services engineers in the offices around the world never come close to a choke with the need to kill a well, so do they need such a certificate, too?.

If your company (or any laws) requires the whole crew to have such a certificate are you sending them ALL to the courses every two years?

Thanks a lot for your feedback on this matter, too in advance!

Best regards,


5 answer(s)
Managing Director (
Relentless Pursuit Of Perfection Ltd.
Total Posts: 413
Join Date: 10/01/05
Hi folks

Thanks Heiko (who I work with when we do DWOPs etc at Sasol), Wally (who I worked with at Shell back in the days of Brent), Scott (who I went to Uni with 1979-1982), Peter (who has been a loyal member of SPREAD since DAY ONE, and who puts a lot back into the industry through Kingdom Drilling).  Where was I ? Oh yes ..

Until recently, it has not actually been a requirement/deliverable of our Workshops to assess competency, but we are starting to get asked that nowadays, particularly for the more difficult wells and/or where the crew are less-experienced.

The first time I saw this was 4 years ago, with Niko here in Jakarta, where the Drilling Supt (Nelson Emery) set up scenario-based well control training for the key players. This involved portable simulators.  One mud-logger stated that he was not comfortable with the expectations and asked to be re-assigned; this was a good result for him and the team!

Three months ago, we teamed up with a world-class Well Control trainer to deliver just this training, as well as a THE authority on WOCRM (Well Ops Crew Resource Mgt), to ensure that the office and wellsite team know what to do when the expected (in their wellplan) occurs, as well as when the unexpected rocks up in their well.

What does everyone else do?

Documents uploaded by user:
Niko Indonesia Testimonial.pdf
Total Posts: 113
Join Date: 05/03/08
Hello Heiko,

As a Consultant, I have always been required to have an IWCF (or equivalent) certificate, even though it's been a couple of decades since I've been based rig-site.

From my own experience, the requirement of who does and does not need certification (not just IWCF) has been driven by the Company more than Govt regulations.

In terms of who pays for the time/cost of certification, it's always been down to me as a Consultant, but Staff have always been paid by the Company.

Peter raised two very pertinent points; being intelligent does not necessarily mean they have common sense, and frequently these days, office based personnel have a lot less practical experience than they used to.

On the first, I saw this clearly when I did my degree at Imperial College. Lots of incredibly smart people, but there were more than a few that I wouldn't give a pair of scissors to carry...

I suspect many of us in recent years have also seen (suffered!) the MBA effect as well - smart people with no real experience, but because they had an MBA, they thought they knew better than everyone else how a business should be run.

On the subject of office based personnel lacking practical (i.e. rig-site) experience, I have seen this more and more in the last decade - people graduating and going straight into the office to sit at the Computer all day, never getting the practical experience needed to become a more rounded individual.

The office you and I worked in a few years ago was a classic case in point.

During your time there, do you remember how often the Drilling Engineer assigned to a Rig actually went out to the field? In the entire time I was there, only ONE of them did. That was rarely and given his background, he was the one that needed to the least.

It is up to Management to recognise when people lack this sort of experience and to make sure they get it, or at least ensure someone on the team has the requisite experience.

With respect to competence testing, this can be a very tricky subject, as different Companies have different standards and ways of assessing how competent people are.

Again using the office we worked in as an example, the three people by far the most capable of actually doing the job came bottom in the rankings, because of the way the assessment was performed and how some skills were weighted over others.

Perhaps Dave Taylor can give us an insight as to how RPP go about evaluating the competence of a team when they do DWOP's etc?

From a practical point of view, when starting up a project I would always follow up on references (it's surprising how often this is not done) and ALWAYS go back to the certifying authority (e.g. IWCF) to check the validity of a certificate - there are far too many from certain Countries who have either paid someone else to take the exam, or simply bribed the examiner.

These days, the issue of liability also has to be taken into account.

We all know that, in practical terms, it is irrelevant if a 20+ year engineer in the office has an IWCF certificate that is a few months out of date - but in the event of an incident, you can guarantee that the Lawyers will focus on this.

Best Regards

Head of Well Engineering
State Supervision of Mines
Total Posts: 13
Join Date: 09/11/15

The mining laws and regulations in the Netherlands require the operator to have competent personnel.

it is then up to the operator how to measure and implement this competency. So the choice of well control certificate, and even the need for one, is up to the operator.

In checking the programs and execution thereof by the State Supervision of Mines(SSM), the SSM will for sure comment if the rig supervisors would not have a certificate, and can stop the operation on the grounds of the operator not being in a position to  ensure that no damage will be done.

Drilling Specialist/Well Engineer/Training Consultant
Kingdom Drilling
Total Posts: 361
Join Date: 10/01/05

For general discussion.

We all know, even this basic level of competency certificate is perhaps often not enough. i.e. Depends on type of well, operating location, environment etc. 

e.g. People intelligent enough straight from school, can gain such certification without hardly ever seeing or staying on a rig. So what is this really worth, is their real value in this?

The issue of 'competency' well servicing, drilling completions, etc is far bigger and wider, the view of many. That only management can decide and act on.

Case study: North Sea Platform late 80's. 

Operator wanted to get drilling on another well. So after being completed and plugged, drilling moved off well earlier than normal. Well handed over to Completions where all that was left was to circulate well to brine. (note: Drilling typically did this task)

DSV received a call at three in the morning 1400psi on annulus and 1100psi on drillstring on recently completed well. DSV quickly concluded 300-400barrel hydrocarbons oil/gas subsequently flowed in annulus during circulation to brine) Expectancy was zero. Well was supposedly plugged and pressure tested? 

To cut a long story short the isolation valve was leaking at the bottom of the well. (and why inflow tests on such items are still a topic of much debate!) Completions supervisor etc had not prepared a step down graph for circulating to pick up any early warning signs that anything was going untoward. 
Drilling also made an incorrect assumption completions personnel understood such basic stuff (many had degrees!) ? Another lesson learned, i.e. teamwork!.

Basic well control? and why since the 80's and with many more similar events (most of that never get reported) as none of this is seen as safety, another topic for discussion at a later date! 

As an industry then HAD TOO? evolve certain degrees of well control assurance and competency requirements for all well operations personnel both onshore and offshore as a have to have.

Also those who are writing the programs today, are often office based and furthest from the point of contact, with far less rig time than in the past. So how do we address this added risk?. 
Is surely more in need to be competency tested and assured, not less?  

Please don't fall into the intelligence trap. 
i.e. Don't assume someone with a engineering degree or PM title, in an office is competent enough to write a basic circulation or top hole or jetting drilling procedure etc. Theory and practice are poles apart, yet both are demanded for a best practice to be recognised and assured to exist (Based on triangle of success studies conducted.?).

Personally the industry should be assuring they all have (office or rig based) the required skills, knowledge, work site experience and hands on competency badges (well control assurance) certificates etc on their lessons of life sleeves also.

'Intelligence trap' article sourced from a major operator's (be the best) documentation, attached. :)



Documents uploaded by user:
The intelligence trap.pdf
Well Services Supervisor
Total Posts: 3
Join Date: 17/03/11
Hi Heiko, I have been asked for a Well Control certificate on every job I've gone for since probably around 2003. The requirement for Completions people is not to shove the Driller or Pusher out of the way to get to the brake, but to understand sufficiently the controls required for a safe operation. We are the ones writing the programmes onshore or driving the operation offshore so we need to know, and be conversant with, well control or we will never get any help from the Drilling people, and that is a major need.
Every time I've been asked for an IWCF rather than an IADC cert . A lot of companies ask for the Intervention ticket (Level 2) but a lot now are asking for the Supervisors ticket (Level 4 now).
Best Regards,

Wally Burnett
Posted by

Heiko Fuchs

Well Services Manager

Sasol Ltd

Total Posts: 5
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