About a month ago Leonard Roe, founder of Rig-Site Drilling Club (http://drillingclub.proboards16.com) based in England, taught a class in Aberdeen, Scotland for drillers and toll pushers. The lesson led to a discussion on in-flow tests. The attendees had no idea what Roe was talking about or why an in-flow test was performed.
"Some of these guys are coming up too fast, and they're not seeing what's going on, so they don't understand the problems when they arise," Roe says.
In an effort to help educate some less experienced drillers in the industry, Roe created the Rig-Site Drilling Club. His main goal was to build a site that people can visit and exchange information on drilling-related issues.
"The industry is just getting so far behind," Roe laments. "In the next five or six years, so many of what's left of the good people will be retiring or leaving the industry.
"What I've tried to do is construct a Web site with a drilling club that experienced people can come in and help inexperienced people. They ask the questions and they also reply."
Roe began by sending out 700 e-mails to different well-control schools and people who were involved in the well-control industry. Only four replied. That didn't stop Roe. Since then, he has written more than 15,000 e-mails with only 11 replies to companies asking them for permission to use their equipment as an example or to use some of their information from the company's Web site.
"I wanted to make it easier for people to see pictures and the writing right along side it," Roe explains.
Since the drilling club started last January, the club has grown to 635 members -- most of whom have years of experience and just want to help out the industry. Most of the information on the site has been taken from the members' experience or gathered from other sites on the Internet.
Roe got started in the drilling industry around 1959 by working on oil rigs in the Middle East during his time off from the parachute battalion in the army. Working on the rigs paid more than the army did, he reasoned. In 1979, Roe became one of the first five people in the drilling industry to enter North Korea. Roe and a few others went in and ran the rig they brought and educated the North Koreans.
A few years ago, the company Roe was working for went into financial trouble and Roe was laid off. Already having started a drilling Web site back in 1996, in June 2000 Roe decided to design a new Web site focusing on training. He developed the WorkOver site (www.workover.co.uk) and then creating a site that was capable of more, he started Rig Site. In January of last year, Roe took the next step and began the Rig-Site Drilling Club. Always looking toward the future, Roe currently is working on writing information in PowerPoint, so people can better see what actually happens on a project.
Since it's just Roe working on the sites and the club -- he's still searching for some corporate sponsorship -- news about the sites simply spread by word-of-mouth. By the end of last year, he projected he would have more than 700,000 pages read by about 250,000 visitors.
"The people who go on the Internet are looking for information," Roe says. "They don't want to know that this company is the greatest company in the world, because all companies in the industry are competitive. It doesn't take the average drilling man long to figure out what's good or what's bad. But, they've got to be able to see the equipment. It's just unlocking some of the doors that have been locked too long."