UND Cuts Ribbon on Rig Simulator
Friday, October 29, 2021
University of North Dakota officials held a grand opening and dedication last week for one of the largest oil drilling simulators in the world.

The test rig, located in UND's Drilling and Completion Laboratory (DRACOLA), gives petroleum engineering students a hands-on opportunity to simulate drilling operations in the Bakken.

“This $40 million experimental facility doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world,” said Vamegh Rasouli, Professor of Petroleum Engineering and department chair. Rasouli said UND’s petroleum engineering Ph.D. program is now among the top three in terms of student numbers in the United States.

Using real-world drill bits and drill string, the test rig drills into rock simulating real-world conditions of 16,000 psi. UND hopes to make the simulator available to companies' new workers and plans to create a 30-day training course to give workers a glimpse of what they will experience in the field.

“This facility is an important part of our efforts to align our activities with the needs of North Dakota and this region,” said Brian Tande, dean of the College of Engineering & Mines. “DRACOLA will offer unique research and training capabilities to the oil and gas industry in the state, allowing them to increase production and operate more efficiently.”

The simulator was funded by a $2.78 million grant from the ND Industrial Commission and assembly started last year, giving students a first look at how a drilling rig is built. The test rig is currently a few parts away from completion.

Read more about the simulator here.