RigUp Roles: Chief Inspectors

What is a chief inspector?

A chief inspector in the oil and gas industry is a contract professional working on behalf of a service company who is responsible for the inspection and integrity management of pipelines in midstream or downstream operations either in the field or in refineries. A chief inspector oversees the project’s completion, ensuring compliance and efficiency, managing the inspection team, coordinating with the construction team, and performing quality control checks.

What are the responsibilities of a chief inspector?

A chief inspector is responsible for the oversight of the project commissioned by the midstream company to be completed by the service company. This contractor manages all pipeline and welding inspectors throughout the project, documenting issues and resolutions in the form of issue logs available for review by the midstream company. They are the primary point of contact for the midstream company, sometimes called to meetings. A chief inspector ensures the work is performed according to the company’s specifications and within regulation. Whether in a refinery or in the field, the chief inspector coordinates inspectors, inspects new materials, executes the Integrity Management Program (IMP), performs reliability tests, and documents changes.

What is the required experience or career path for a chief inspector? 

Five to fifteen years of experience in pipeline or other oil and gas construction is preferred in a prospective chief inspector. This position does not typically require an undergraduate or technical degree, but a degree is preferred. Most chief inspector positions require various certifications such as technologist or welding, piping or pressure vessel inspector certifications.

Where does a chief inspector work?

A chief inspector spends about 80% of their time at the pipeline location or in the facility and the remaining 20% at a service yard or in an office, sometimes traveling for meetings.

What is a chief inspector's schedule?

A chief inspector’s schedule is dependent upon the job for which they are hired. Inspecting several small lines may mean the chief inspector’s schedule is intermittent. More involved jobs such as facility construction may require constant maintenance.

Who does a chief inspector report to?

In the field the chief inspector reports to the midstream or downstream company that commissioned the project, though they are contracted by the service company completing the project most often.

Who reports to a chief inspector?

The chief inspector manages and coordinates efforts between the pipeline and welding inspectors on a job. The chief inspector oversees these contractors whether or not they are contracted by the same company.

How much does a chief inspector make?

A chief inspector makes on average $75,000 annually. Salaries range between $60,000 and $120,000 depending on experience, specialties, and location.

Reach out to RigUp to learn how we save Chief Inspectors up to $30,000/year.