ENGINEERING competency standards introduced for offshore pipelines in April will see the industry covered by a single system.

The offshore competency standards will be added to the already-developed onshore competency standards to form a complete system covering all pipeline engineering.

Australian Pipelines and Gas Association (APGA) president Shaun Reardon said the move would reduce the potential for vulnerability where offshore and onshore pipelines meet.

“The system is a new way for engineers and their supervisors to understand, assess and document competency,” he said.

“It has been entirely funded and resourced by the members who have been determined to ensure that pipeline engineers continue to achieve the levels of competency required by our industry standard.”

“That standard, AS 2885, has underpinned the achievement of an enviable safety record in pipelines in Australia,” he added.

The competency standards system introduced in Australia was developed in response to the fact that no dedicated pipeline engineering university course exists in Australia, APGA said in an announcement.

Pipeline engineers in Australia gain a degree in another engineering discipline, such as mechanical or chemical engineering, and then acquire their specialised knowledge and expertise on the job and via short courses.

Mr Reardon said the system enabled engineers to plan their careers so they become more competent in their chosen areas of practice, making decisions for the safe design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-pressure hydrocarbon transmission pipelines in Australia.

“The competency standards have been recognised nationally and they form the basis for registration on the National Engineering Register, and with the Queensland engineering registration system RPEQ, in the special area of practice of oil and gas pipeline engineering,” Mr Reardon said.

“Internationally, the system is the first of its kind and is being examined with a view to implementation by the overseas pipeline industry.”

In developing the competency standards with offshore pipeline engineers, APGA has worked with the Society for Underwater Technology’s Perth branch which is producing a set of competency standards for all subsea engineering.

The competency standards for offshore pipelines will become an integral part of the subsea set, further spreading consistency through the oil and gas industry.