Careers in the Oil Pipeline Industry

The oil pipeline industry is a very important part of the oil and gas field because it makes possible for the oil to get to the refiners from remote locations or offshore ones. This is the most convenient method in what concerns the price and the safety levels to carry all around the world the oil or gas pumped out of the ground: through an extended network of pipelines. The pipeline companies are in constant need of workers and professionals, so if you want to build a career in the oil industry, this sector is definitely a good start. The biggest pipeline network in the world in the Oil and Gas industry can be found in the United States: over 200,000 miles of pipeline supervised and maintained by many pipeline firms.

  • Building pipelines is an expensive process if we consider the investments made to build an oil tanker. The fact is that in time, the tankers will require additional costs such as fuel costs, staff salaries and maintenances costs, but they are great for offshore transportation. In what concerns the onshore oil transportation, than the pipelines are the most convenient method.

The pipeline system is a complicated one and is monitored by sophisticated electronic equipment. The pipelines usually have 3 feet diameter but the underwater ones are smaller and can be unrolled on barges.

When it comes to what's within the pipelines, we must specify that the pipeline operators don't own what passes along the network of pipelines they administrate.

  • The shipping company is able to contract a certain space, and the pipeline companies are not allowed to make any discrimination, just give space to the first one who asks for.
  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission governs all the conditions and the rates for such contracts regarding the interstate pipeline networks.

An important issue in the oil pipeline industry is the security of the pipelines, which must be assured in order to avoid any spills that might damage the environment. This issue was taken care of by the pipeline companies and the results are noticeable by the fact that today the oil spills have decreased by almost 60% compared to the 1970 period.

If you decide to search for a job in the oil pipelines industry, than you should know that one of the entry levels in the pipeline companies that you will often find is a pipeliner position.

  1. The tasks performed by the pipeliners usually refer to:
    • Maintain and repair the pipelines and the pumping stations that can be found on a distance up to 100 miles near the pipeline.
    • Remove any undesirable substance from the meters or gauges sing blasting equipment.
    • Applying anti-corrosive substances over the pipe.
    • Wrap the pipe with specially designed material that protects the pipe from any leaks or corrosion.
    • Operate heavy equipment (like bulldozers).
    • Install screw pipes and other connections using pipe tongs.

    Job seeking for a Pipe liner position in the oil pipeline industry requires you to be team oriented and be in a good physical condition in order to work for a longer daily schedule.

  2. Looking for employment as a Welder means that your main task is to weld the segment of pipes together.
  3. The Pipe fitter has to form a team with the hoist operator and align the pipe segments. He has to make sure that the joints of the pipe are properly aligned.
    • The Pipe fitter has to guide the insertion of the pipe into the trench and fit spacers between the segments of the pipe.
    • In case he operates with pipes made from a different material than metal, he might have the task to apply glue in order to obtain a better seal of the pipe joints.
  4. Project manager is a position which has as a first main requirement a degree in Mechanical or Chemical sciences. Any experience in the oil and gas industry is an extra asset, as well as a driving license.
  5. The tasks for a project manager are complex and are related to engineering and project management services.

    • A project manager is the person who will outline the project scoping, the estimative costs and schedule of the operations.
    • He must come up with viable alternatives in case any obstacle will appear.

    All the environmental and permit coordination, the management of the contracting and constructing operations are his task, so there is a lot of responsibility if you choose this position available in the oil pipeline industry.

    • In addition, if you have a strong knowledge of the field and great interpersonal skills, than this job could be yours.
    • The compensations match the high responsibility, as you will have a high salary, the chance to travel and the opportunity to build a career.
  6. The Pipe Inspector has to verify the drill pipe, the steel tubing and all the tubular oil well equipment using inspection equipment (optical equipment, magnetic equipment) in order to assure a proper functioning.
  7. He also has to use the scanner around the pipe and read the lines on graph that indicate if there are any metal blemishes or cracks. The interior of the pipe will be inspected using the optical devices. After he will have the results of the pipe inspection, he will report it to the engineers.

  8. If you are looking for a job as a Pipeline Supervisor position, that you should know that you will have to supervise and coordinate the activities of the workers that install the pipes.