Engineering and design

What is it?

This is the "how" which covers everything related to getting the gas or oil out of the ground, to a refinery and then on to the end products.

Almost everything you interact with on a daily basis is a result of an engineering or design process, and in Oil and Gas projects these processes are essential for success.

Where does it belong in the oil and gas project lifecycle?


The most common framework for a project moves through several stages to become operational, all of which have engineering or design elements to them.

These are usually called Concept/Pre-FEED, FEED and Engineering/Detail Design.

Concept is as it sounds, bringing ideas together to see which might be best for a particular scenario. For an offshore project this might include choosing between using an FPSO or tying the new wells back to an existing platform or pipeline infrastructure.

Once the concept is decided on, EPC companies (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) will develop the functional requirements and plans into something tangible. Quite often there will be 2 or 3 such companies providing alternatives in a competitive tender process.

The FEED phase is where the designs will be developed and finalised, and the estimate for the overall project cost will be delivered along with the documents for the following stages. It is here that a project will often have the Final Investment Decision (FID) taken and the EPC phase will be started.

Throughout the EPC phase, engineers will continue to monitor progress and further develop elements of the project. Once a facility is built and producing hydrocarbons, engineers are responsible for monitoring production. Ultimately, at the end of the cycle, they will plan the decommissioning project.

Common job titles in engineering and design

Civil and Structural Engineer

Electrical Engineer

Process Engineer

Mechanical Engineer

Telecoms Engineer

Instrumentation and Controls Engineer

3D CAD Technician

BIM Technician

Piping Engineer

Piping Modeller

Marine Engineer

Project Engineer