Pipeline Inspector Spotlight

Before they’re built and long after they’ve started moving oil and gas across the country, Canada’s pipelines need the careful eyes of Pipeline Inspectors. Informed by standards and regulations from both government and industry, they keep watch on pipelines’ plans and processes.

What a typical day looks like:

A Pipeline Inspector’s day depends on the stage the pipeline is currently in. Before the trench for a new pipeline is even dug, inspectors are reviewing construction drawings, specifications, conditions, commitments, work plans and procedures.

When construction finally begins, inspectors monitor excavation activities to verify that they conform to ground disturbance requirements. As the pipe is lowered in, a Pipeline Inspector is there to make sure it’s adequately supported and that lowering in doesn’t damage the pipe. And when it’s time to cover the pipe back up, inspectors verify that the material being used to backfill is suitable and that the process doesn’t damage the pipe or its coating.

After all that, the pipeline still needs to be maintained. Because of the need for excavation during subsequent maintenance, Pipeline Inspectors often work with a construction crew and other engineers, examining pipeline systems for faults such as leaks and corrosion.

The kinds of problems Pipeline Inspectors solve at work:

If they do identify a leak or corrosion, it’s a Pipeline Inspector’s job to make recommendations to improve systems. Because pipelines are built to last, the biggest problems happen over the long term, and the best solutions follow the same timeline.

Skills used most on the job:

To be able to assess things like welding, bending, and stringing coating, a Pipeline Inspector needs to understand these skills intimately. They may even perform some of these same operations themselves during maintenance. And with those hands-on skills come an exhaustive understanding : Pipeline Inspectors have to understand company and client requirements, stipulations, policies, procedures and costs, all while meeting environmental regulations designed to keep all Canadians safe.

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