Pursuing a Career in LNG: What Engineers Need to Know

CHI Engineering

controls technician

The liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry is very active and has a strong outlook primarily in the utilities sector. Due to its ongoing success, many engineers are intrigued by the specifics of the industry – such as qualifications to get in and the market’s outlook.

Types of Engineers Needed

As a highly specialized field, LNG projects are highly  process based. Most large LNG projects are performed on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) basis, meaning a successful firm will employ all disciplines in house to ensure a strong project team. Engineer disciplines include mechanical, electrical, civil, process and controls engineers who work on project teams.

Necessary Experience

The LNG industry is very niche and therefore it can be difficult to find engineers with specific LNG experience. Often, engineers migrate to the LNG industry from the oil and gas industry. Without specific LNG experience, it’s helpful for engineers to have a background in:

  • Process piping and equipment
  • Petrochemical Plants
  • Refineries
  • Cryogenics

Mechanical knowledge is also a preferred quality of LNG engineers.

The required knowledge to be an LNG engineer does not lend itself easily to hiring of recent college graduates and those with less than three years of engineering experience.

Licensing Requirements

LNG engineers are not required to have their Professional Engineering (PE) license but an EPC company will place value on a candidate with a PE license or with the intent to study for the license.

Once an engineer obtains this license, they will be able to sign off on design drawings and documents. Many LNG firms encourage their engineers to receive this license, and will even pay for it — not to mention offer an increase in base salary once the licensing is complete.

Education

The lowest level of education required to be an engineer in the LNG industry is a bachelor’s degree in an engineering discipline.

Work Conditions

LNG engineers have similar work conditions as other types of engineers. Working for an EPC company provides the engineer with an opportunity to be part of a multi-disciplined team and to see projects from design and construction phases all the way through to start-up, training and commissioning. The team environment also promotes cross-discipline training and knowledge gain.

Travel

An LNG engineer working for an EPC company will spend some time traveling for client meetings, kickoff meetings, site visits during construction of their discipline and startup and commissioning when required. It can be very satisfying for an engineer to have the opportunity to travel to the site and see their designs in the construction phase, and take part in the start-up of the process.

Hiring Process

When hiring new talent, LNG firms use direct hire as well as recruiting agencies that specialize in placing engineers.  Once an LNG firm finds a candidate they are interested in, the prospective employee may be sent a behavioral assessment and general intelligence assessment before being asked for an interview.

The interview process begins with a 30- to 60-minute interactive Skype video call with the human resources manager, the hiring manager and an owner of the company. This is the engineer’s chance to chat about their experience, much like a traditional interview.

If there is a second interview, the candidate is brought to the office for an in-person interview. This is their chance to meet the team, tour the facility and ask any questions about the role.

If the firm decides to move forward with the candidate, they would perform a reference check, background checks, drug testing and any other final vetting processes.

Working at CHI

CHI Engineering is a privately held, process-driven LNG firm with over 35 years of experience in the industry. Employees don’t have to worry about a bureaucratic environment. CHI is an adaptable, team-oriented company with a strong focus on culture and community.

As an engineer at CHI, employees can take advantage of:

  • Continuous education and training
  • Profit sharing plans
  • Competitive pay
  • Career ladders
  • Collaborative environment

Every LNG plant is unique. Each has their own challenges of integrating into an existing facility or developing a new facility from the ground up. Each project needs engineering expertise, which offers employees the opportunity to learn, grow and excel in their field.

The LNG industry may be a small, niche market but it’s a very stable environment. Those that make the switch to LNG tend to stay in the field throughout the majority of their career. If they do decide to make a future career change, the knowledge and experience gained from working in LNG will help them succeed in other fields.

Interested in working for CHI on LNG projects? Check out our careers page to learn more about our benefits or to apply for a position.

 

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