What Does a Piping Supervisor Do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A piping supervisor works in the oil and gas industry to manage the installation and maintenance of pipelines. This technical work requires good communication and coordination skills in addition to an understanding of the engineering involved in pipeline development. Some employers may expect supervisors to have college degrees, while others accept applicants with extensive experience on work crews and in supervisory roles. Travel to remote sites may be necessary and some opportunities for international travel could arise to support operations in other nations.

Piping supervisors are in charge of the installation and maintenance of pipelines.
Piping supervisors are in charge of the installation and maintenance of pipelines.

When oil and gas companies plan pipelines, they work with engineers to develop systems that meet their specifications and adhere to any legal requirements. A piping supervisor reviews the engineering documents and may meet with engineers to discuss the project. With this information in hand, the supervisor can order components and dispatch workers to get the job going and move it smoothly through the process of production.

Piping supervisors must ensure that engineering plans are properly adhered to.
Piping supervisors must ensure that engineering plans are properly adhered to.

Some fabrication of components for pipelines may take place at central facilities. The piping supervisor needs to inspect products, make sure they meet tolerances, and approve them for shipment. Once on site, they can be installed by workers and tested to confirm they are in good working order before adding the next section. Piping supervisors need to make sure engineering plans are followed while working in tough terrain and planning ahead to limit the possibility of delays in the installation of the pipeline.

The sheer length of a pipeline can mean that numerous work crews are involved in production at any given time. A piping supervisor may work with subcontractors to make sure all work is performed. Supervisors can also process bills, payroll, and related financial materials associated with the installation. As sections are finished and put into operation, the maintenance and repair aspects of the job come into play. Supervisors may need to establish maintenance schedules, respond to reports of failures, and make sure the system continues to run safely.

Work in the oil and gas industry may come with a number of benefits, especially for ranking positions like piping supervisor. Benefits available depend on the employer, the region, and the level of seniority. For workers in remote areas with extended projects, the employer may pay for vacation off site, which can include transit to a more populated area along with a replacement crew to handle operations while the regular team is gone. Piping supervisors can be responsible for ensuring that employees are rotated for vacation regularly to limit fatigue and increase job satisfaction.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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