Oil pipeline walkers are pipeliners who specialize in patrolling oil and natural gas pipelines and systems in order to locate leaks, washouts, breaks in joints, and damaged communication infrastructure such as downed wires and poles. They may be required to do so on foot, via vehicle, even on horseback depending on the location, terrain, and layout of the pipeline.
Line walkers must be able to detect evidence of pipeline leaks such as odors, stains on the ground, dead vegetation, and visible damage to the pipeline itself. Line walkers should have experience in repairing small amounts of damage via caulking and sealants. They must have experience working with hand tools associated with this minor repair work, such as hammers, wrenches, and clamps. Line walkers should also know how to inspect automatic drip bleeders on gas lines and repair clogged valves in addition to troubleshooting other pipeline problems as needed.
For major leaks and washouts, line walkers need to contact the appropriate parties and report on damage to telephone and telegraph infrastructure such as downed wires, fallen poles, and broken insulators as needed.
Unlike your average pipeliner who typically works on a team, line walkers are usually required to operate solo. Problem solving skills are stressed and experience is always a must.