Some people wanted to know what kind of technical questions that oil & gas companies might ask during an interview for a process engineering role at a refinery.
Here some information from the experts:
1. What do you know about our process?
2. What do you know about our refinery?
3. Why should we hire you?
4. A certain supermajor might ask how a fin fan heat exchanger works and what sort of things could decrease efficiency. Or to draw and describe a distillation column and internals. Know unit op basics: key operation variables, what makes them go bad and how to fix it at a basic level. This helps to know the keywords.
5. Be able to draw PFD and talk about your problem-solving approach.
6. They will certainly test you on typical process engineering fundamentals, but not necessarily topics you would have learned at university. Be prepared to explain your thought process (and maybe even calculate) on questions relating to:
- Pump sizing, NPSH, cavitation
- Pressure drop in pipe flow (Bernoulli)
- Heat exchanger design and selection
- Ideal gas calculations
- Vessel inerting/purging method and calculations
- and of course, distillation operation and improvement
They may also get you to present the technical content on one of your university projects so make sure you understand yours inside out.
7. I’m currently working at a major oil & gas company and got almost these exact questions on my interview and I know friends who have gotten the same or similar interviewing for other O&G companies. I work in refining personally so I would say generally knowing the basic operation of refining processes is also useful (hydrotreating, FCC, etc.). I was not required to do any calculation on the spot but certainly had to be able to explain the basic principles of each of the above points. Additionally being able to sketch or evaluate a PFD and P&ID is a must.