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Quest for Oil screen shot

What’s More Fun than Oil Drilling? Playing Computer Games.

Quest for Oil screen shotAs oil and gas companies struggle to find skilled workers, two Illinois colleges have launched new training programs in the field of oil and gas drilling — and at least one company, Maersk, has turned to recruitment via a computer game.

Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg and Rend Lake College in Ina this week signed a cooperative agreement in which both schools will offer a safety program and other training, the Associated Press reports. Southeastern Illinois College has submitted a custom training certificate program for state approval and Rend Lake College plans to establish an associate degree program in oil and natural gas, according to the news agency.

The colleges announced the plan after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a new law this week, which sets rules companies must follow during hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Meanwhile Maersk is trying to recruit and train new employees though what it calls a “first of its kind” free online game. Quest for Oil: A Sub Surface Gaming Experience allows players to virtually drill for oil in the deep waters off Qatar and the North Sea. Also on the game website: a career page, advertising hundreds of careers with Maersk all over the world in oil and gas, transport, offshore or onshore.

Maersk says Quest for Oil is a real-time strategy resource management game. In it, gamers face real-life oil exploration challenges including seismic analysis, reservoir identification, placing and drilling wells, and setting up and optimizing production, including getting the oil ashore.

Earlier this month, Siemens Energy developed a free online game that challenges the user to design a sustainable energy system for a city. The simulation game Power Matrix aims to generate an understanding of the mechanisms and rules of the energy market and to provide insights into the interaction between different power generation types and power grids, Energy Manager Today reports.

By 2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will “gamify” those processes, Toronto Sustainability Speaker Series senior editor writes in an Environmental Leader guest column published last week.

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