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Job Description of Project Engineer – My Real Experience (Part 2)

Please check first part of this post to explore my experience as project engineer 😉

I remembered the night when me and my colleagues went to Senoro 5 to show mechanical completion dossiers to our project manager. We brought three dossiers to show him the example. We thought he will be a little happy to check the dossiers and conclude that we are close to ready for gas in. Unfortunately, he didn’t.

At that time, I realized something more important that dossiers. He wanted to see by his own eyes that we’re ready. And dossiers didn’t convince him.

Fortunately, in the end we managed to get all aspects ready for gas in.

Acceleration of Construction Activity

After Senoro 5 was put into operation, we focused on acceleration of construction activity at Senoro 5. I didn’t involve much in this area. I just saw that our higher levels from Jakarta came to Senoro to prepare strategies and plan to make construction activity finished on schedule. My friends from project control department understood this a lot. So I talked with them sometimes (two of my colleagues at project control department were my roommates).

Simplification of Mechanical Completion Procedure

Unlike MC in early start up facility, in facility MC we make the system very simple. This is because we didn’t put the test report on the dossier. We need a lot of binders if we put whole reports. And the project engineer will focus of mechanical completion activities and more site activities. I think this is very good idea. This make me a lot understand about equipment and I was put in condition that encouraged me to read more P&ID.

At that time I really appreciate our clients who approved our mechanical completion procedure. We tried to make the report as simple as possible, but still accessible and informative for them. We used our mechanical completion software a lot, uploaded inspection and completion reports, and see the progress. It is very nice to see we almost improved our progress everyday (although progress rate is not high :D).

Preparing Mark Up Hydrotest (Test Package)

There was a moment when project engineers and some constructions engineer sit together after dinner until 23:30 PM to prepare mark up hydrotest. And it continued for the next two days. So we were really tired after that. But I feel like we are united for one purpose. And our higher levels people, like my boss, construction manager, engineering manager, they were also lack of sleep.

Actually hydrotest packages were already prepared by our process engineers. I was also put into line listing works in first three months as project engineers. However, our construction manager made it more simple. The new packages were large and giant package, and the old ones were quite short. Hydrotest method itself were flexible. If we think the package were very large and it was difficult to be executed at one time, we made it in several sub package.

Piping Completion Walk through

I think this was the hard but simple work as project engineer. When hydrostatic test is finished, piping components are reinstated, we did a piping completion walk through. It is basically to check if everything on P&ID has been installed correctly or not. Simple right? So in which part is the hard one? When we walked a lot (I feel so weak).

Before doing completion walk through, I sometimes check 3D model first to spot the locations more easily. I also sometimes walk through by myself (without client) to learn about site condition first and to check if the intended system is closed to completion or not. I feel our clients who are responsible in this field are very cooperative. Me and other project engineers rarely have hard times with them.

Before walk through we prepared intended mark up P&ID and camera. We checked piping and its components, sometimes equipment also, and see if it is already installed correctly and completely. We check if all instrumentation are installed, piping class is correct, support is installed correctly, all bolts are tightened, and so on. We listed all incompleted works in punch list forms. Then we share the punch list to related department. If it is related to instrumentation (like instrumentation is not yet installed), we inform them and encourage them to finish priority works (punchlist category A). Punch list categoy A must be completed before gas in.

Function Test

The reason I went to site other than walk though is to do function test. It is basically to check if Cause and Effect Diagram is right or wrong when it is put into operation. At the beginning I thought doing function test is hard. It is because you have to command people at site (usually subcontractors) and I’m not good at giving commands (it is my nature to speak very little). I also sometimes feel guilty when I have to command them to go one place to another when sun is right above our head. I can’t imagine how tired they are (although I know we pay them for doing that).

So, sometimes, before I do function test, I check in 3D model location of transmitters and shutdown valves which I want to test. In doing function test, at least we need two person at site, one person to give command, and one person to check DCS. So totally I need four person (including me).

I tried to put one person who injected the signal into transmitter at one location at a time. I tried not to make him go back and forth, bottom and up of vessel, because it was really wasting time and make him more tired.

I also tried to make the second person who checked the effect of the signal not checked the many effects at one location. However, I have difficulty to do that. The second person is almost always the one who go back and forth.

Finding the second person can be really hard because we have limited personnel. I sometimes ask my colleague to do that. I just need to command him to go to this spot to check if, for example, valve is shut.

Being the one who give command is actually pretty fun. I just sit in DCS which is air conditioned. Hehehe…

Ultimate Function Test Job

FYI, I was assigned for completion of gas separation system and acid gas removal system. So I did function test only for that system. However, in the end of project, our client asked us to perform ESD and PCS function test. It cannot be done online because the facility was already put into operation. So they agreed to do this offline.

My friend prepared list of PCS and ESD function test extracted from Cause and Effect Diagram. It is quite a lot. But, the good one about this activity is once a cause is active, many effects are triggered. So, you just need sharp eyes to check if the effect is correct.

It took about a week to finish the job (because I spent about 2-3 hours to do function test). Our vendor of DCS is dedicated for this works.

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Conclusion

I can’t generalized job description of project engineer. I can’t say all project engineer in EPC company do the same as me. In my own team, some of my colleagues have special job which is very much different from me. For example, some of them do daily progress report, maintain vendors, and perform motor solo run test. I didn’t do that activities even once (maybe I helped my friend do daily progress report).

What is the meaning of being project engineer to me?

I think it is about passion, about how you really want to finish the project on schedule. It involves social skill as well as technical skill. It does not require you to be very smart, but to be convincing enough to client and people put trust on you, both clients and colleagues (what am I talking about actually…).

Which one is the hardest, being process engineer and project engineer?

Both have the hardest side. For example, the hardest one being process engineer is to have correct basic understanding/fundamental about everything and to understand basic of technology selection. I don’t understand that approach temperature of shell and tube heat exchanger is 5-10 deg C. If I knew this earlier, I can conclude earlier that one system is possible to be operated or not.

And the hardest one side of being project engineer is to convince clients and to encourage people work with you. My boss is great speaker, convincing, and have a good project management. On the other hand, I’m not even 1% like him. So that my challenges.

So that’s all I want to share. I hope you find it useful. Please tell me if you used to be project engineer like me. Or tell me your work! 😉

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