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Occupational Profile

Gas Pipeline Operators and Maintenance Workers

Gas pipeline operators and maintenance workers monitor the day to day operations of meter and compressor stations essential to the distribution and smooth flow of gas through pipelines.

  • Avg. Salary $93,360.00
  • Avg. Wage $44.65
  • Minimum Education High school diploma
  • Outlook Down
  • Employed 6,000
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Control Room Operator, Gas Compressor Operator

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

90%
90%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Gas Pipeline Operators and Maintenance Workers is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Petroleum, Gas and Chemical Process Operators
NOC code: 9232
OBJECTIVE

Interest in controlling process start-up, shut-down and troubleshooting; and in operating electronic or computerized control panels from a central control room; and in shutting down, isolating and preparing process units or production equipment for maintenance

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing information to develop operator procedures for normal operations, start-up and shut-down of units; and in participating in safety audits and programs, and in providing emergency response when required

directive

Interest in speaking with team members and trainees to authorize or co-sign maintenance work orders; in ensuring adherence to safety and environmental regulations; may work in a team with shared supervisory responsibilities and participate in training other workers

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Duties vary from one employer to another but, in general, gas pipeline operators and maintenance workers perform the following types of duties.

Gas compressor operators monitor compressor and metering equipment and maintain station areas. Gas pipeline companies may have different categories of gas compressor operators. As people learn more about compressors and metering, they usually are given more responsibilities and move up to higher levels.

Gas compressor operators usually work at several different compressor stations and meter stations. At meter stations, they may:

  • operate and monitor the operation of gas wells feeding into gathering systems
  • monitor, program and adjust electronic and pneumatic measuring devices
  • operate and maintain dehydrators and other wellsite equipment
  • record the temperature, pressure and volume of gas in the pipeline
  • take samples of gas and conduct basic tests
  • analyze flow characteristics
  • add chemicals to flow lines as required
  • submit daily reports on facility operations.

At compressor and measurement stations, they may:

  • ensure that all equipment is operating normally and perform minor mechanical maintenance, adjustments and repairs
  • take readings from the various gauges and instruments
  • make manual adjustments to valves or equipment.

Gas compressor operators must be aware of unusual changes in compressors and metering operations. When problems occur, they usually are responsible for handling the immediate problem and recommending any necessary changes. They also may be required to paint, wash, clean and do the general housekeeping necessary at each station.

In highly automated gas pipeline systems, compressor stations and meter stations may be controlled entirely by gas control operators at other locations who:

  • monitor meters, gauges, indicators and alarm systems that provide information about the temperature, flow, pressure and amount of gas at any one place along the pipeline or at meter or compressor stations
  • keep regular records
  • respond to problems when they occur.

Gas control operators' duties vary with the level of automation of the pipeline system. Those working with highly automated systems may handle problems and make adjustments by using equipment in a control room. Those working with less automated pipeline systems may instruct other personnel to make manual adjustments at the location of the problem or at another control area.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Gas flows through pipelines around the clock, every day of the year, so gas pipeline operators may 12 hour work shifts or be on call outside of their regular Monday to Friday working hours. Some overtime may be required.

Gas pipeline maintenance workers work outdoors in all kinds of weather conditions and in remote locations. They also may be required to drive to a variety of stations to check and repair equipment. All operators and workers are required to lift equipment weighing up to 20 kilograms.

Gas compressor operators, pipeline operators and maintenance workers must be aware of potential hazards and know how to handle emergency situations. Hazards include fluids under high pressure and deadly hydrogen sulphide which often is a component of gas that comes directly from the well.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Gas pipeline operators and maintenance workers need to be:

  • precise
  • responsible
  • handy with tools
  • interested in working with machines and complex equipment
  • comfortable around large, noisy equipment 
  • able to work on their own with little supervision.

In an emergency, they must be able to evaluate the situation and respond to it quickly and correctly. The safety of a number of people and the efficient handling of emergency situations often depend on their good judgement.

Gas pipeline operators and maintenance workers should enjoy:

  • doing a variety of tasks
  • controlling equipment, instruments and machinery
  • analyzing information to solve problems
  • working alone and with others in a team.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

There are no formal education requirements for gas pipeline operators and maintenance workers but employers generally prefer to hire high school graduates who have experience or post-secondary education in electronics, electrical systems, mechanics or instrumentation.

In larger companies, new employees usually are hired as utility workers. Initially, utility workers may do many of the physical jobs such as cleaning, painting and maintaining pipeline stations. As they gain experience, they may be given additional responsibilities in other areas of compressor or meter stations. It often takes a few years before utility workers can officially be classified as gas compressor operators. During the training period, utility workers may have opportunities to take in-house and technical school courses on compressor, metering and control room operations.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Apprenticeship Trades

Enform - NISKU

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

People looking for employment in gas pipeline operations should contact companies that operate gas pipelines, and oil and gas companies that operate small compressor stations and gas gathering systems.

Depending on their qualifications and experience, gas pipeline maintenance workers may be able to advance to gas control operator positions.

Gas pipeline operators and maintenance workers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 9232: Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators. In Alberta, 84% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 6,000 Albertans are employed in the Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.0% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 60 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As gas pipeline operators and maintenance workers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for gas pipeline operators and maintenance workers.

In 2014, the Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Enform (formerly the Petroleum Human Resources Council) indicated more than 20% of the workforce  in the oil and gas industry is eligible for retirement, contributing to the labour demand required to support industry.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators
NOC code: 9232

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $32.00 $45.00 $38.23 $39.00
Overall $42.00 $59.78 $44.65 $42.00
Top $46.00 $69.15 $51.03 $46.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Oil & Gas Extraction

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

90%
90%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

6%
6%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

4%
4%

2015 Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related High School Subjects
  • Science
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Electro-Technologies
    • Fabrication
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Enform website: www.enform.ca

Petroleum Human Resources (PHR) Careers in Oil and Gas (COG) website: www.careersinoilandgas.com

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 30, 2015. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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