- Career Planning
Mechanical Engineer Spotlight
From wellheads to wheels, every mechanical process in the oil and gas industry has a Mechanical Engineer behind it somewhere. As experts in tools, equipment and processes, they make sure things are designed to work well and keep on working.
What a typical day looks like:
Mechanical Engineers primarily spend their time in two places: the office, where they do design work, and the field, where they oversee operations. As designers, they research and evaluate the performance of existing machines and systems and then develop or improve technologies and processes to help optimize operations. They generate engineering drawings, process flow diagrams and other documentation that will be used to create machines and equipment. In the field, Mechanical Engineers oversee the development and installation of their projects, establish maintenance schedules and protocols and make sure things stay on budget and on schedule. They may also serve as a Drilling Engineer or Wellsite Supervisor.
Mechanical Engineers can also specialize in a certain area, which can add extra responsibilities to their daily work. Stress Engineers, for example, conduct simulations and stress analysis in down-hole drilling equipment. Manufacturing Engineers guide the designing and construction of refineries. Sustaining Engineers update and sustain current tools and technologies.
The kinds of problems Mechanical Engineers solve at work:
Mechanical Engineers are focused on making sure that the equipment is all working as it is designed to work. When something goes wrong, a Mechanical Engineer will start troubleshooting. For example, an operator in the field might not have the right tools to solve a particular problem. A Mechanical Engineer would need to find the right design or, if there was none available, come up with a customized solution.
Skills used most on the job:
Physics, math, engineering and design skills form the technical foundation of a Mechanical Engineer. But while their work may be primarily with machines and processes, Mechanical Engineers also need consider the human elements of the industry: solving workers’ problems, interacting with customers and providing leadership to the teams under them.
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