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The Oleum training center: In a class by itself

14 Oct 2014 | A region on the move, Advanced Materials

In June the Total Group officially inaugurated Oleum, a full-scale technical training center in Dunkerque—the only one of its kind in Europe. Its mission is to train Total employees from around the world using equipment in the former Flandres Refinery.

Full-scale training

Total’s idled Flandres Refinery in the Dunkirk suburb of Mardyck has begun a new life as a technical training center where Group employees can learn the skills they need to work in the oil and gas sector. “Using the premises as a teaching facility combines theory and practice, allowing students to learn on real equipment. They encounter the situations they’ll have to handle in real time out in the field,” says Stéphane Rémy, who heads the center.

Students from around the world

Oleum employs some 30 workers—14 of them former Flandres Refinery operators who have completed their own training to become instructors—and has already graduated 150 trained operators from a twelve-week course. “Students come primarily from our refining operations, but increasingly we’re accepting participants from exploration/production and other areas throughout the Group. Today we can say that this facility is the product of a successful conversion,” says Vincent Stoquart, head of former refinery.

Today 54 young Italians are on an operator training course at Oleum in the run-up to a major Total project at Tempa Rossa, in southern Italy. “We don’t have this type of teaching facility down there, and training was a problem,” says Jean-Bernard Vignal, Total’s head of health, safety and environmental training. “But now Oleum has proven itself, and our interns have begun the third stage of their training—the last before we start up operations at our facility in southern Italy.” In October, 15 young people will travel from Abu Dhabi to train at Oleum, which is hitting its stride with 3,000 operator training days delivered in 2013.

No oil or gas

While Oleum simulates refinery operations, it doesn’t present the same risks—though students are under pressure due to the nature of the training center, classified as a Seveso II site under EU industrial safety rules. “There are no risks from oil or gas, because we don't use any,” notes Stéphane Rémy. “We reproduce the necessary pressures and temperatures with water and nitrogen instead.” Total budget for modifying the facility’s equipment: €2 million.

Full-scale training program

Today Oleum’s courses extend well beyond Total’s training needs. In addition to training future on-site operators for the oil and gas giant, the center has partnered with the Opal Coast Chamber of Commerce & Industry to create a full-scale technical training program that serves local businesses by helping their employees learn new skills. The Chamber acts as intermediary between clients, industry specialists, trainers, and the Oleum facility.

 

 

Source: Voix du Nord

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