Pipeline Integrity Specialist Spotlight

Nobody likes imagining the worst-case scenario, but that’s exactly the job for a Pipeline Integrity Specialist. With most of the oil and gas industry’s products moving through pipelines, it’s a Pipeline Integrity Specialist’s job to think about all the ways that those pipelines could fail, then find ways to make sure that the worst case never happens. 

What a typical day looks like: 

Typically working as part of a larger integrity team, a Pipeline Integrity Specialist analyzes pipeline systems and develops integrity management plans to prevent leaks from happening in the first place. Guided by their company’s policies, they pore over technical plans, considering elements like how pipeline materials corrode, and what can be done to keep them working well. They will also consider whether the pipeline is buried to a sufficient depth, and whether there are any nearby hazards that need to be considered.

Once the pipeline has been built, they conduct regular inspections and oversee repairs.  

Employed in the exploration, production and pipeline sectors of the oil and gas industry, Pipeline Integrity Specialists mainly work in office environments, but are also required to travel to remote locations, requiring long drives to field sites. 

The kinds of problems Pipeline Integrity Specialists solve at work:

Generally, a Pipeline Integrity Specialist is there to make sure problems don’t happen in the first place, but their job doesn’t end with the beginning of a project. Throughout construction, they’re there to supporting the project’s execution with analysis and reporting. And once the pipeline has been built, it’s the job of a Pipeline Integrity Specialist to work with the operations team to continue monitoring for corrosion, assessing risks, and even reviewing the annual budget.  

If a company identifies a potential leak in an existing pipeline, a Pipeline Integrity Specialist might conduct ultrasonic and magnetic particle testing to take a look without having to physically access the pipe. 

Skills used most on the job: 

Pipeline Integrity Specialists need to have knowledge that goes as deep as a safely designed pipeline system. They need to understand industry codes, standards and regulations, along with their company’s unique safety policies and procedures. They also need to understand the engineering of the pipeline itself –  how its metal can corrode and how methods like chemical inhibition and cathodic protection can protect it in the long term. 

Pipeline Integrity Specialists also need to be constantly learning, assessing the work that’s been done and working to make every subsequent project the best it can be. 

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