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Career Spotlight: The Maintenance Superintendent

Posted by: James Cant
29/06/17

In the Oil and Gas industry, a Maintenance Superintendent will often be based offshore, overseeing a rig. A Maintenance Superintendent will likely be involved in the safe, economic, and efficient operation of the rig in accordance with a Rig Management System (RMS). A Maintenance Superintendent’s role is almost easier to define by the very few things that a Maintenance Superintendent is not required to do, rather than what one is, and a high calibre  Maintenance Superintendent probably does those things as well! 

As well as a near-encyclopaedic knowledge and many years of experience in the energy industry, a Maintenance Superintendent will be expected to execute the following tasks (warning! This list isn’t exhaustive…)

  • A Maintenance Superintendent will be responsible for overseeing all maintenance functions (this includes mechanical, electrical, instrumentational, and telecommunication) and the technical integrity of a rig’s hull, of tanks, of topside vessels and equipment.
  • A Maintenance Superintendent is expected to be responsible for ensuring that there is sufficient “bunker” on board, as well as managing and preparing further bunkering operations. 
  • If you become a Maintenance Superintendent, you will liaise with the Offshore Installation Manager (OIM) to garner reports regarding the advance of proceedings in accordance with company and regulatory policies. These conversations will also involve the planning of rig maintenance and of operation activities.
  • Maintenance Superintendents are expected to provide input to both budget and control expenditure.
  • A Maintenance Superintendent will help to shape a healthy and vibrant corporate culture on board a rig, and will assist in maintaining a positive working environment for all staff.
  • One of the most important jobs of a Maintenance Superintendent will be their responsibility for the control of hazardous substances that will be used within the Maintenance Department. Proper storage of these hazardous substances is essential.
  • Spare parts and consumables might also fall under the remit of a Maintenance Superintendent. 
Beyond this list, a Maintenance Superintendent might also need to prepare and administer reports regarding a project/operation, as well as reports on key staff members. There might be accidents and other unexpected incidents that occur during the operation, and the Maintenance Superintendent’s job responsibilities will include leading or at least participating in investigations to discover the causes of any incidents, and to act in accordance with company procedure to provide solutions.


As expected, therefore, a Maintenance Superintendent will also be expected to be a member of the rig’s Emergency Response Team in the event of serious incidents. 

So far, we’ve covered the role and the responsibilities, which are indeed serious and certainly illustrative of a high calibre of engineer. But what about a candidate seeking a role as a Maintenance Superintendent? What sort of person do you need to be to attain this job? 

Experience. It can take as long as 15 years in some instances before a company believes you have the required experience to qualify as a Maintenance Superintendent. Most respectable companies will hope that you are able to provide at least seven years of experience as an engineer in the Oil and Gas industry, and a minimum of two years in a supervisory position will be a must.

Education. A would-be Maintenance Superintendent needs to have already been employed as a Chief Engineer on a rig and have a relevant mechanical degree. In some circumstances, many years of experience within the Oil and Gas sector will suffice if an educational certificate such as a degree is lacking. An extremely useful guide for pursuing an Oil and Gas job of any kind in the United Kingdom can be found here.

Knowledge. The minimum requirement for a Maintenance Superintendent will necessitate you to be a student of the Oil and Gas sector. Rig knowledge will be essential, and in some cases, there might be an expectation to have a strong understanding of Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) systems. You could also be expected to be aware of Floating Liquefied Natural Gas vessels, too. While FPSOs are still relatively new in the broad scheme of the Oil and Gas sector, their relevance is growing with each operation, given that the more companies seek to explore, the more operations will take place where no pipeline infrastructure has previously been entrenched. This might be because the establishment of constructing a pipeline would be cost-prohibitive. If you want to familiarise yourself with FPSOs, some handy information can be found here.

Computerised maintenance management systems are another vital element of the Oil and Gas industry that you will need to have a strong knowledge of when applying for a Maintenance Superintendent position. Furthermore, good knowledge of the relevant requirements of the classification societies and international rules and regulations will be welcomed by an employer. 

Traits. What will an Oil and Gas company expect from a Maintenance Superintendent-to-be? 

  • Strong organisational skills are vital, given that much of a Maintenance Superintendent’s day-to-day activities will involve the planning and preparation of meetings, maintenance, and of writing or evaluating reports. 
  • Leadership is a must. A rig can be an isolated place with a huge focus on the job at hand. The Maintenance Superintendent will be expected to perform a prominent role in the maintenance of positive team morale; good personal energy from you will help to keep your team motivated and make the operation seem manageable if met targets are continuously acknowledge and lauded by you and your management staff.
  • Financial acumen. In order to be involved in the planning and control of budgets and expenditure, a solid economic mind will be required. This can of course, to a large extent, be learned.
  • Resilience. You will be away from home for long periods of time; away from friends and family and luxuries, in order to complete a crucial job role that requires all of your mental faculties. A strong-willed personality will thrive in the role of Maintenance Superintendent. 

If the role of a Maintenance Superintendent is something that interests you, then great places to learn your craft are institutions such as the School of Engineering and Built Environment, in Glasgow, Scotland.

Here is an example of an Oil and Gas specific postgraduate degree.

Check out our Oil and Gas jobs today!

Recent Comments
I am ready to provide and be able to exploit my experience and expertise. I am capable to come over problems, doing my duties and achieving organization objectives.
Syed Afroz Alam, 30 June 2017
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