Published on 09-Jan-2024

NDT Supervisor Duties in Oil Industry

NDT Supervisor Duties in Oil Industry

Table of Content

  • Introduction
  • What is an NDT Supervisor?
  • Essential Duties of an NDT Supervisor
  • Essential Responsibilities of an NDT Supervisor
  • Field Supervisor's Role in Oil and Gas
  • Authority and Decision-Making
  • Function and Application of NDT in Oil and Gas
  • NDT Supervisor Qualifications
  • Conclusion
  • Key Takeaways


The Oil and Gas industry stands as a major player in the global energy sector, its significance stretching far beyond mere fuel production.

This industry is the backbone of modern civilization, powering industries, transportation, and contributing significantly to the economies of numerous countries.

Within this critical sector, Non-destructive Testing (NDT) plays a paramount role, ensuring the safety and efficiency of operations.

NDT, a set of analysis methods designed to evaluate the integrity of materials and structures without causing damage, and is essential for maintaining the industry's high safety standards.

It involves advanced techniques like ultrasonic and Eddy Current Testing to scrutinize welds, metals, and other components for flaws and corrosion.

This process is crucial in preventing accidents, avoiding environmental hazards, and ensuring the uninterrupted flow of energy resources.

The role of NDT Supervisors in this industry is pivotal.

They are the custodians of quality and safety, overseeing the application of NDT Techniques across the oil and gas value chain.

From the upstream activities of exploration and production, through the midstream processes of transportation and storage, to the downstream operations of refining and distribution, NDT Supervisors ensure that every phase of oil and gas production meets the highest standards of safety and integrity​​.

What is an NDT Supervisor? 

An NDT Supervisor is a professional responsible for managing a team of technicians who perform Non-destructive Testing in the Oil and Gas Industry.

They play a key role in ensuring that the infrastructure and equipment used in this sector are safe, reliable, and compliant with industry standards and regulations.

NDT Supervisors are responsible for overseeing the entire spectrum of NDT Processes.

They train and guide technicians in various NDT Methods and devices, ensuring that these professionals are adept in using the latest technologies and techniques.

This role involves a deep understanding of policies and regulations surrounding NDT Technologies, as NDT Supervisors must ensure that all operations conform to legal and industry standards.

Their duties extend beyond mere supervision of testing activities.

NDT Supervisors are actively involved in examining processes and methods related to customer concerns and technical issues.

They provide crucial recommendations to the technical departments based on their findings.

Leadership and management are key aspects of their role, as they are responsible for staffing, imposing rules, and ensuring compliance among their team.

This includes evaluating technicians and issuing disciplinary actions when necessary.

In terms of personal development, an NDT Supervisor is expected to continually educate themselves in the latest NDT Technologies and methods.

This often involves participating in seminars and training programs to stay abreast of advancements in the field.

Additionally, they support higher management by applying concepts of improvement and excellence in their area of operation, thereby contributing to the overall efficiency and safety of the plant or industry they serve​​.

The role of an NDT Supervisor is thus integral to the oil and gas industry.

They ensure that the critical infrastructure on which this sector depends is maintained to the highest standards of safety and efficiency.

Their expertise and leadership in NDT not only safeguard the industry's operations but also play a significant role in protecting the environment and ensuring the safe extraction and processing of oil and gas resources.

The Oil and Gas industry, an energy sector behemoth, is intricately structured into three main segments: Upstream, Midstream, and Downstream.

Each sector plays a distinct role in the oil and gas lifecycle, and Non-destructive Testing (NDT) is integral to all three, ensuring safety, efficiency, and integrity throughout.


This sector encompasses the exploration and extraction of oil and natural gas.

NDT upstream involves the use of advanced technologies for examining drilling equipment, pipelines, and structures in offshore and onshore environments.

The role of NDT here is pivotal in preventing environmental hazards and ensuring safe extraction processes.

Techniques like Ultrasonic Testing are employed to detect flaws in welds and structural integrity, which is crucial for preventing accidents and spillages​​.


Midstream refers to the transportation and storage of crude oil and natural gas. Here, NDT plays a key role in ensuring the safe transit of these resources through pipelines and other transportation systems.

It involves the inspection of pipeline integrity, checking for corrosion, and ensuring that the infrastructure used for transportation is robust and leak-proof.

This sector relies heavily on NDT to prevent environmental disasters and maintain a steady supply of resources​​.


In the downstream sector, which involves refining and processing of crude oil into usable products, NDT ensures that the facilities and equipment used in refineries are safe and efficient.

This includes inspecting pressure vessels, storage tanks, and refining apparatus.

NDT Methods are employed to detect cracks, corrosion, and other potential failures that could lead to operational inefficiencies or safety hazards​​.

NDT's role in these sectors underscores its importance in maintaining the oil and gas industry's infrastructure integrity.

Ultrasonic and Eddy Current Testing, for instance, provide safe and effective means to monitor the condition of critical assets, thereby safeguarding the entire oil and gas production chain.

Essential Duties of an NDT Supervisor

In the oil and gas industry, the role of an NDT (Non-destructive Testing) Supervisor is crucial for maintaining the integrity and safety of operations.

Their duties are diverse and integral to the smooth functioning of the industry.

Developing NDT Systems

NDT Supervisors are responsible for developing standard operating practices for NDT systems.

This involves creating comprehensive guidelines that dictate how nondestructive testing should be carried out, ensuring consistency and reliability in the testing processes.

Supervision and Coordination

They supervise and coordinate the work performed by NDT teams.

This role is not just about overseeing but also involves ensuring that the work targets are met in a timely manner and in compliance with applicable norms and standards.

Effective supervision ensures that all testing is carried out accurately and efficiently.

Procedure Development and Authorization

NDT Supervisors develop, qualify, and authorize NDT procedures and associated techniques related to Ultrasonic Testing (UT) and Radiographic Testing (RT).

By doing so, they ensure the deployment of the most suitable NDT methods for specific inspection needs.

Equipment Maintenance

Maintaining and calibrating all NDT equipment is another critical duty. This ensures the accuracy and reliability of the equipment, which is essential for obtaining precise testing results.

Interpretation of Results

Explaining NDT results in terms of existing codes and specifications is a key duty.

They must interpret the results accurately to ensure that the necessary actions are taken based on these findings.

Stock Maintenance

Maintaining the exact level of stock for all NDT consumables is vital to ensure that the necessary resources are always available for testing procedures​​.

In addition to these duties, NDT Supervisors play a key role in ensuring compliance with Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) aspects, especially radiation protection requirements.

They are instrumental in creating initiatives on NDT installations, equipment, and testing techniques, and in ensuring the correct approach of NDT is applied as per the inspection engineer's request.

They establish operating setups and criteria for NDT, provide necessary training to NDT personnel, collaborate on NDT verifications, and maintain contact with equipment suppliers and consumable dealers to promote advances in NDT technology.

Furthermore, they contribute to research and development programs, enhancing the scope and efficacy of NDT in the oil and gas industry​​.

The duties of NDT Supervisors are critical in maintaining the seamless operation and safety of oil and gas industry activities, making their role indispensable in this high-stakes sector.

Essential Responsibilities of an NDT Supervisor

NDT Supervisors in the oil and gas industry have responsibilities that extend beyond their technical duties.

They play a pivotal role in ensuring the overall safety and productivity of operations.

Training and Certification

Ensuring that all NDT Technicians are thoroughly trained and certified is a fundamental responsibility.

This involves both initial training and ongoing education to keep up with the latest NDT techniques and technologies.

Ensuring Safety Standards

A critical responsibility is making sure that all technicians are conversant with Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) aspects of their work, especially radiation protection requirements, and that these standards are strictly adhered to.

Initiatives on NDT Installations and Techniques

Creating initiatives on NDT installations, equipment, and testing techniques is part of their responsibility.

This involves staying abreast of the latest developments in NDT Technology and implementing these advancements in their operations.

Applying Correct NDT Approaches

They ensure that the correct approach of NDT is applied where testing is requested by the inspection engineer, which is crucial for accurate and reliable testing results.

Establishing Operating Setups and Criteria

NDT Supervisors establish operating setups and criteria for NDT operations, ensuring that the testing is conducted under optimal conditions.

Providing Necessary Training

Offering necessary training to NDT personnel is a part of their responsibility to ensure that all staff are competent and capable of performing their duties effectively.

Collaboration and Advancement in NDT Technology

They collaborate on NDT verifications qualifications, maintain contact with NDT equipment suppliers and consumable dealers, and help with research and development programs to promote advances in NDT technology​​.

Field Supervisor's Role in Oil and Gas

The role of a Field Supervisor in the oil and gas industry, while somewhat similar to that of an NDT Supervisor, has its distinct set of challenges and responsibilities.

Supervising Field Staff

A Field Supervisor in the oil and gas industry supervises field staff responsible for maintaining and servicing oil and gas production facilities.

This includes overseeing the testing and monitoring of wells, pumps, storage facilities, and other equipment.

Ensuring Safety

One of the primary responsibilities of a Field Supervisor is ensuring the safety of staff and production facilities.

This involves a thorough knowledge of safety protocols and the implementation of these measures in day-to-day operations.

Experience and Knowledge

Typically, a Field Supervisor is required to have extensive experience in the related area, along with a thorough knowledge of the functional area and department processes.

This experience helps them make informed decisions within their department.

Authority and Decision-Making

Field Supervisors have some level of authority for personnel actions and are responsible for making day-to-day decisions within their group or department.

This requires them to be adept in management and decision-making skills​​.

In comparison, while both NDT Supervisors and Field Supervisors share the responsibility of ensuring safety and effective management of their teams, the NDT Supervisor’s role is more specialized towards nondestructive testing processes.

They focus on the technical aspects of NDT, equipment maintenance, and result interpretation, while Field Supervisors have a broader role that encompasses overall operation management at the field level.

Function and Application of NDT in Oil and Gas 

Non-destructive Testing is a cornerstone practice in the oil and gas industry, crucial for maintaining the operational integrity of its vast infrastructure.

Two primary NDT methods prevalent in this sector are Ultrasonic Testing (UT) and Eddy Current Testing (ECT).

Ultrasonic Testing 

Ultrasonic Testing employs high-frequency sound waves to inspect and measure the internal structure of materials.

In the oil and gas sector, UT is instrumental in evaluating the integrity of welds, pipelines, and structural components of drilling equipment.

This method is highly valued for its precision in detecting internal flaws such as cracks or voids, and for its ability to gauge material thickness, which is crucial in monitoring corrosion and erosion in pipelines and tanks. Here are its common applications

Weld Inspection:

UT is commonly used for the Inspection of Welds in Pipelines and equipment.

The sound waves can penetrate deep into the weld, providing a detailed picture of its internal structure and revealing any hidden flaws.

Corrosion Monitoring:

UT is employed to measure the thickness of pipes and tanks, helping to monitor corrosion rates.

This is crucial for predicting the lifespan of the infrastructure and planning maintenance activities.

Composite Material Inspection:

In offshore rigs, where composite materials are used, UT helps in inspecting these materials for delamination or water ingress.

UT is critical for ensuring the structural integrity of oil and gas infrastructure.

By enabling early detection of potential failures, it helps in preventing leaks and spills, which are both costly and environmentally damaging.

Eddy Current Testing 

Eddy Current Testing involves the induction of a magnetic field into conductive materials and measuring the resulting eddy current flow.

Changes in the flow patterns indicate discontinuities or defects in the material.

In oil and gas, ECT is particularly useful for inspecting heat exchanger tubes, detecting surface and near-surface defects in conductive materials, and for inspecting welds in small diameter pipes.

Here are its applications: 

* Heat Exchanger Tubes:

ECT is ideal for inspecting the integrity of heat exchanger tubes, a common component in refineries.

* Surface Inspection:

It’s used for surface inspections of welds and in detecting cracks or discontinuities in tubing.

* Material Sorting:

ECT can also be employed for material sorting and measuring conductivity in different materials.

Both Ultrasonic Testing and Eddy Current Testing are integral to ensuring the safety and efficiency of the oil and gas industry’s operations.

They are applied in all three sectors of the industry - upstream, midstream, and downstream - for tasks like inspecting drilling rigs, Monitoring Pipeline Integrity, and ensuring the safety of refinery equipment.

The accuracy and non-invasiveness of these methods make them ideal for regular inspection and maintenance routines, crucial for preventing accidents and ensuring uninterrupted operations​​.

NDT Supervisor Qualifications 

NDT Supervisors in the Oil and Gas Industry are required to possess a combination of educational and practical qualifications, with certifications playing a crucial role in validating their expertise.

1. Educational Qualifications

A strong foundation in engineering or physical sciences is often the starting point for an NDT Supervisor.

This educational background provides the necessary theoretical understanding of the principles underlying NDT Technologies.

2. Certification Programs

Certifications are critical in the NDT field, serving as impartial validation of the competence of NDT personnel.

The American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) offers several certification programs, including:

* NDT Level II:

This certification provides standardized Level II written examinations, focusing on specific NDT Methods and satisfying general and specific examination guidelines​​.

* NDT Level III:

The ASNT NDT Level III program is for personnel whose jobs require an in-depth knowledge of the technical principles underlying NDT methods they perform, witness, monitor, or evaluate​​.

* ISQ Oil & Gas:

This program provides advanced practical qualification exams for NDT Technicians, focusing specifically on the oil and gas sector.

It standardizes performance demonstration testing and offers a globally recognized qualification​​​​.

These certifications are not just one-time achievements but require continuous education and periodic renewal, ensuring that NDT Supervisors stay updated with the latest developments in NDT Technology and practices.


NDT Supervisors play a pivotal role in the Oil and Gas Industry, a sector where safety and operational integrity are paramount.

Their expertise in applying NDT methods like Ultrasonic and Eddy Current Testing is fundamental to detecting and preventing potential failures in critical infrastructure.

The qualifications and certifications required for NDT Supervisors underscore the technical complexity and high standards of this field.

Their continuous training and adherence to globally recognized standards ensure that the oil and gas industry operates safely and efficiently.

Thus, NDT Supervisors are not just technical experts but also guardians of safety in one of the world's most vital industries.

Key Takeaways

Non-destructive Testing is vital in the Oil and Gas industry for maintaining safety and operational integrity.

Ultrasonic Testing and Eddy Current Testing are key NDT Methods used in the industry.

NDT Supervisors manage and guide the application of these methods, ensuring compliance with industry standards.

They are involved in training, overseeing safety standards, and implementing new NDT Technologies.

NDT Supervisors require a mix of educational background, practical experience, and certifications like ASNT Level II and III.

Their role is critical in preventing accidents and maintaining the continuous flow of energy resources, underscoring their importance in the industry.

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Application Notes