Workers on the line: Peter Marks and Michael Walters

How long have you been working in the pipeline industry?

Peter Marks: I’ve been in it for about 20 years

Michael Walters: About five years for me.

What is your favourite aspect of working in the pipeline industry?

PM: The travel probably, I get to see a lot of the country. And I get to meet a lot of interesting people.

MW: Yes, much the same. You meet a lot of good people, meet a few bad ones but most of them are good, and you have a good time. They’re like a second family sometimes.

What has been your favourite project to work on and why?

PM: Probably the Eastern Gas Pipeline; met some good people on that pipeline.

MW: Mine would have to be the Century Mine – Kurumba Slurry Pipeline in the Gulf of Carpentaria – that was a good project.

Has there been anything different about working on this project?

PM: The accommodation isn’t a camp. Usually we’re in a camp and spread out all over the place, not in towns, and that’s makes it a bit of a challenge.

MW: I’ve learnt to cook, haven’t learnt to wash up… but I’ve learnt to cook so that’s all right!

(Background): Toast isn’t a meal, Mick!

Can you outline a typical day in the field?

PM: It’s pretty much just welding! Keeps us pretty busy. We meet out on site at 7:00am, keep working until 5:30pm, then we go home!

MW: A lot of dust and dirt!

Do you have any advice from those just beginning their careers in the pipeline industry?

PM: Get as many tickets as you can. It’s all about safety these days; it’s the biggest part of the job. It used to be about production, now it’s all safety. I think if they come into the industry focussed on that rather than production they’ll go a lot further I think because it’s been hard for people who are trying to change into that mindset. It’s a good industry for young people to get into, good money and good experiences.

MW: I agree, and if you don’t know something, ask questions. They’ll tell you what to do, what’s right and what’s wrong. You just have to make sure you look, listen and learn and don’t be a smart arse!

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