MEM Training Simulator - Petrofac Training


Petrofac Training (now part of AIS Survivex) were one of the first adopters of the Pisys MEM training simulator in the early 2000’s. Here we examine the reasons for adopting the system and the benefits which were gained.


A key element of Petrofac Training’s (now AIS Survivex) service portfolio is Major Emergency Management (MEM) training. The company’s training centers worldwide utilize MEM training simulator systems developed by Pisys. Out of the 287 courses offered by Petrofac Training, seven involve the MEM training simulator. These courses use almost 40 control room configuration models, simulating diverse environments like oil terminals, semi-submersibles, wind farms, and FPSOs. Annually, over 2000 delegates receive accreditation from this training.

The MEM training simulator features a set of computer screens that visually mimic the “real world” screens found in the control room of any rig or platform. Individual screens show continuously updated graphical representations of key systems and processes, including power generation and fire & gas monitoring. By simulating the various types of emergency that might arise, the system provides staff with the competencies they require to coordinate the appropriate responses. Trainees in the simulation control room direct operations by talking directly to individual members of the emergency response team in a mock-up of the physical plant environment. Simultaneously, CCTV simulation enables the trainees to watch events in real time as they unfold through to a successful conclusion.


The initial approach to control room training for oil and gas sector operations was largely paper-based and considered inadequate for preparing staff for critical, life-and-death situations. Working with bits of paper as training media might have been cost-efficient, but it was not sufficient for the high-stakes environment of the oil and gas industry. As Trevor Riley, Head of Quality, Competence & Standards for Petrofac’s Emergency Response & Crisis Management operations, recalls, “Back in the 90s, there wasn’t much of an alternative, and it occurred to us that there was a gap in the market. The opportunity was to provide training with a situational awareness element that wasn’t available on a cost-effective basis in the oil & gas industry at the time.”


In search of a better training solution, Petrofac’s legacy business saw an opportunity to create a more interactive and realistic training environment. They selected Pisys who had developed a configurable MEM training simulation platform.

Ray Allen, Pisys Director responsible for the Petrofac relationship, explains, “As far as I know, our system we developed was the only PC-based simulator on the market at the time. It was a quantum leap, and it provided what the offshore guys wanted: something easy to use and specific to companies’ own operations – e.g., raising flow valves on a particular rig.”

The cPisys product was an MEM training simulator that featured computer screens mimicking real-world control room screens. This system provided continuously updated graphical representations of key systems and processes, including power generation and fire & gas monitoring. By simulating various emergencies, the system equipped staff with the competencies needed to coordinate appropriate responses.

In 2012, Petrofac upgraded to Pisys’ new generation MEM training simulator, which offered improved flexibility, enhanced media capabilities, and ease of modification. This included the ability to run videos, such as CCTV footage, and a drag-and-drop facility for easy modifications. The new system replicated the features and appearance of operational assets such as gas terminals and jack-up rigs.


The upgraded simulator greatly improved business efficiency by embedding the cause and effect database for each client, saving time and effort during training sessions. The system’s robustness was highlighted by Trevor Riley, who noted, “The system is robust. I can’t think of a single MPTS system crash. It was also designed to be simple to modify, and the new drag and drop facility makes it easy to modify. On top of that, the Pisys system is cost-effective to operate in comparison to a full-scale process simulator.”

Petrofac now operates dozens of Pisys simulator systems globally, supported 24/7 by Pisys from Aberdeen. Ray Allen comments, “We get support calls from as far afield as Kuala Lumpur and Louisiana, and from time to time these turn into requirements for new simulation models.”

The relationship between Petrofac and Pisys is characterized by mutual trust and collaboration. Trevor Riley from Petrofac praises Pisys, saying, “They are straightforward to work with, and they stick at it when necessary. We hold diarised meetings every few months to keep on track with ongoing developments, upcoming requirements, and support call patterns. All in all, it’s an arrangement that works very well.”

Ray Allen, Pisys Director, highlights the benefits of simulation over classroom-style training due to its higher interactivity and realistic scenario play. “Simulation delivers much more effective learning than classroom-style training. That’s due to the higher degree of interactivity, but also the realistic scenario playing you get from re-creating environments such as offshore platforms, FPSOs, jack-up drilling rigs, and semisubmersible drilling rigs.”

Trevor Riley emphasizes the business efficiency benefits of the simulator, stating, “The beauty of the Pisys system is that everything is instantaneous. That’s because it contains the cause & effect database for each of our client companies. So you don’t have to look up other sources mid-training session to find out, for example, in what situations you have to hit the shutdown button. And having the cause & effect database embedded in the simulator also saves the instructor’s time getting to know the client’s system.”








 “The proof of the pudding is that the Pisys simulators are still being used many years after they were first introduced. They are still being operated to the same level of fidelity, but there is also continued development.

Trevor Riley Head of Quality, Competence & Standards , Emergency Response & Crisis Management Operations

Our on-premise version allows local installation - If required, we can supply the system installed on a hydraulically activated platform for added realism (also available on FPSO and Jack-up systems). We can also create a bespoke model of your specific asset, replicating all relevant aspects of the control room to provide whatever level of fidelity is required.

We appreciate that it is no longer straightforward to justify the cost of travel to an international training centre. That’s why we have built our Cloud-based training platform – allowing access via the internet while retaining the high levels of realism and effectiveness of the ‘on premise’ system.

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