Within the oil and gas industry, mechanical engineers face a number of important tasks each day. Whether it’s designing or installing equipment, researching and developing new technologies, or overseeing the oil mining and refinement process, engineers are constantly involved in extremely complex operations. As a result, the challenges they face can be unique and demand high levels of education and experience. To gain a better understanding of the many aspects mechanical engineering jobs entail, here are descriptions of some of the biggest challenges they face on a daily basis.
Large Project Management
Perhaps the biggest challenge of all, large project management is a very important part of mechanical engineering in the oil and gas industry. In most cases, the project involves the design and construction of a new pipeline, which if done incorrectly, can cost a company potentially billions of dollars. To be able to make these projects successful, mechanical engineers must be highly-skilled in such areas as fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, and kinematics. Because these projects require working on a very diverse team of engineers, researchers, and others, it’s crucial that all team members have a thorough understanding of the task at hand.
Along with large project management, mechanical engineers also face the challenge of communicating their ideas clearly in meetings as well as when they are overseeing projects in the field. In these situations, being able to communicate complex engineering concepts and ideas can be difficult, so it’s important for mechanical engineers to remember that in many cases they may be discussing plans with individuals who know far less about engineering than themselves. Therefore, they should know how to explain project details in an easy-to-understand manner.
Due to the field of mechanical engineering constantly changing, engineers are always faced with needing to keep their education up-to-date. Since most engineers in the field have specialized in such areas as civil or petroleum engineering in addition to mechanical engineering, the requirements needed to stay abreast of the latest technology are becoming more stringent. For example, since 3D modeling and design is one of the most important technological advances now used to design and construct new pipelines and offshore platforms, mechanical engineers often find themselves in classes and seminars detailing the latest techniques.
Since mechanical engineers spend much of their time in the field inspecting pipeline projects, they are expected to have excellent troubleshooting skills. Having the ability to review technical data and illustrations, understand potential problems, and provide instructions and feedback to repair crews working on the problem can be vital to ensuring the project stays on time and budget. In addition, engineers may also have to prepare and deliver status reports to executives as well as speak at shareholders meetings.
For those who are able to meet these challenges, the field of mechanical engineering can be one that is exciting as well as lucrative. With opportunities worldwide, it’s a field that’s made for people who like a variety of unique tasks each and every day.