APGA launched the Pipeline Engineering Competency System (PECS) in 2016 after a development project that spanned several years. The PECS was developed to address generational change as those engineers who had helped design, construct and operate Australia's transmission pipeline systems began retiring from the industry.
The system enables understanding, assessing and documenting of competency for pipeline engineers. It is based on competency standards, and there are sets for both onshore and offshore pipeline engineers. The system is underpinned by a philosophy for defining and describing competency that is succinct and internally consistent and reflects the nature of engineering as leading to expertise rather than just skills.
The competency standards form the core of the system which, when fully implemented, enables organisations to develop pathways to ensure their engineers acquire the knowledge and experience they need to
become competent in the areas required. Each competency is described in a template format that includes consistent elements and this enhances understanding of the requirements of competency in every area of all streams of pipeline engineering. The Standard for the Australian pipeline industry, AS 2885, requires competent persons to make decisions or give approval in a range of circumstances. The system assists licensees and pipeline owners to understand what a competent person looks like in each of those circumstances.
Maintaining the relevance of the APGA Pipeline Engineering Competency System to the pipeline industry and the engineering profession and its continuing value to APGA members is the core role of the PECS Committee which, through a program of review and revision, ensures its continued fitness for purpose.
The PECS Committee works through subgroups of working groups which are divided into three areas: Offshore, Operations and Maintenance and Design and Construction. The working groups determine their annual review plans, taking into account developments in the industry.
The PECS Committee also liaises with the Competency Panel and the Assessment Panel for Oil and Gas Pipeline Engineer Registration from Engineers Australia. Registration is based on the PECS.