Piping Engineer: Types, Roles, Career, Skills, Jobs

Piping Engineer is one of the famous engineering groups in Oil & Gas, Petrochemical, Refinery, Chemical, Power-Plant, Steel, Water, and Pharmaceutical sector. They are responsible for designing the piping systems that carry water, steam, gas, oil, two-phase mixture, waste, or other fluid. They are involved in design, erection, troubleshooting, and all other aspects of the creation of these piping systems. Depending on their job profile they perform, there are various types of piping engineers. Let’s start to explore Piping Engineer types through this article.

Broadly, Piping Engineers can be grouped into the following classes:

  1. Piping Design Engineer or Piping Layout Engineer
  2. Piping Materials Engineer
  3. Piping Stress Engineer
  4. Piping Field Engineer/ Piping Commissioning Engineer

What is a Piping Design or Layout Engineer?

Piping Design Engineers deals with the piping routing design of the entire plant. They utilize various design software such as SP3D, PDMS, CADWORX, SOLIDWORKS, AutoCAD, PDS, Microstation, E3D, etc. They use their knowledge to define the most suitable economic pipe-routing, type of fittings, space requirement, and various parameters in the design. A major part of their job involves coordination with other departments and the resolution of conflicts as and when they occur.

Examples of 3D model by piping design engineers
Fig. 1: Examples of 3-D model by piping design engineers

Roles of a Piping Design Engineer

In addition to above, they are responsible for the following jobs:

  1. Preparing Work Instruction for Designers.
  2. Discussing and Analyzing problems that arise during Design.
  3. Preparing Piping MTO
  4. Providing technical support to the team.
  5. Planning and Scheduling work activities for the piping team.
  6. Reviewing Vendor drawings, Inter-disciplinary item checking.
  7. Click here to know more about the major qualities that are required to be a good piping design engineer.

What is a Piping Material Engineer?

Piping Material Engineer prepares project piping class and material specifications. They prepare MTO, review valves and special items. Click here to know complete roles and responsibilities of a Piping Material Engineer.

What is a Piping Stress Engineer?

Piping Stress Engineer is a Piping professional who provides technical expertise on piping design. They develop Static and Dynamic piping models and analyze system stresses using software like Caesar II, CAEPIPE, AUTOPIPE, & PASS/START-PROF, Rohr-2, etc. He is the final barrier to whether the piping design is good to proceed for fabrication/construction or not. He verifies the piping layout and supports and ensures sufficient flexibility of the piping system. Click here to know the complete roles and responsibilities of a Piping Stress Engineer.

Example of Pipe Stress analysis.
Fig. 2: Example of Pipe Stress analysis.

Field Piping Engineer / Piping Commissioning Engineer

There are also piping engineers who specialize in field job. Their task is to ensure all the piping that have been installed are based on the design. They will solve any problems on site and communicate to design engineering department in case there is any changes required. They will work from installation of the piping until the commissioning. Sometimes, the piping design engineers are deputed to site to perform the on field piping engineering job.

In Subsea structure, or small scale projects, all the above tasks (ajj jobs of design engineer, materials engineer, stress engineer and field engineer) are done by a single piping engineer.

Is Piping Engineering a Good Career Option?

Piping Engineering was one of the best career options earlier. But from the last few years (2014 onwards), due to lower crude oil prices and with the advancement of electrical vehicles, the oil market suffered a huge loss. So the number of new piping projects reduced which reduced the requirement of qualified piping engineers.

At the same time, many piping engineering institutions around the world are producing a large number of piping engineers each year. So competition is increasing each day which directly impacted the Piping Engineer’s Salary and remuneration.

Also, in recent times, there is a sudden surge of many experienced freelancers. So many companies are providing jobs to them without the need for preparing the required infrastructure to build a design team.

Skills Required for a Piping Engineer

As Piping Engineering is almost 95 % technical job, to become a successful piping engineer, one need have good imagination, knowledge and willingness to learn. The following skills are required for a good piping engineer:

  • Observational Skills
  • Analytical Skills
  • Project Management Skills
  • Written and Verbal Communication Skills
  • Drafting Skills

Normally, Mechanical and Chemical Engineers opt for the piping engineering profession.

Piping Engineer Jobs

There are various companies that offer jobs for a piping engineer. Few of the most reputed companies are:

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Ahmad Anas

Self-motivated professional with unique technical skills from piping design/analysis, material, corrosion, and inspection. More than 7 years of experience in providing technical expertise for piping analysis, piping fabrication, and in-service piping maintenance. Provides technical analysis and asset management procedures for various upstream and downstream projects/assets worldwide.

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