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Gas Pipeline Operators and Maintenance Workers

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

Also Known As

Control Room Operator, Gas Compressor Operator, Maintenance Personnel, Pipeline Maintenance Worker, Pipeline Operator

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Petroleum, Gas and Chemical Process Operators (9232) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Petroleum, Gas and Chemical Process Operators (J112) 
  • 2011 NOC: Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators (9232) 
  • 2016 NOC: Central control and process operators, petroleum, gas and chemical processing (9232) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Petroleum, Gas and Chemical Process Operators
2006 NOC : 9232

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group

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

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

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 for this NOC group 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 About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Duties vary from one employer to another. In general, gas pipeline operators and maintenance workers operate pipelines. Different types of operators perform different types of duties.

Gas compressor operators monitor compressor and metering equipment and maintain station areas. Gas pipeline companies may have different categories of compressor operators. Operators typically are in charge of one station or compressor. At meter stations, they may operate and monitor the operation of gas wells feeding into gathering systems. They may analyze flow characteristics. They also may:

  • Monitor, program, and adjust electronic and pneumatic measuring devices
  • Record the temperature, pressure, and volume of gas in the pipeline
  • Submit daily reports on facility operations

At compressor and measurement stations, they may:

  • Ensure that all equipment is operating normally
  • Perform minor mechanical maintenance, adjustments, and repairs
  • Take readings from the various gauges and instruments
  • Make manual adjustments to valves or equipment

Operators must be aware of unusual changes in compressors and metering operations. When problems occur, they usually are responsible for handling the problem and recommending any necessary changes. They also may direct maintenance requirements. This may include taking charge of painting, washing, cleaning, and general housekeeping at each station.

Gas control operators work in highly automated gas pipeline systems, where they may control compressor stations and meter stations at other locations. They also may:

  • Monitor meters, gauges, indicators, and alarm systems at any one place along the pipeline or at meter or compressor stations, which provide data about:
    • Gas temperature and flow
    • Pipeline pressure
    • Amount of gas
  • Keep regular records
  • Respond to problems when they occur
  • Direct pipeline maintenance to resolve problems

Operators’ duties vary with the level of automation of the pipeline system. Those working with highly automated systems may handle problems and make adjustments with equipment in a control room. Those working with less automated systems may instruct other personnel to make manual adjustments where the problem is located or at another control area.

Gas pipeline maintenance workers may work within different categories of gas pipeline maintenance. As individuals learn more about compressors, metering, and pipeline components, they are given more responsibilities and move up in operations.

Gas pipeline workers usually work at several different pipeline and meter stations. At meter stations, they may operate and monitor the operation of gas wells feeding into gathering systems. They may analyze flow characteristics. They also may:

  • Operate and maintain dehydrators and other wellsite equipment
  • Take gas samples and conduct basic tests
  • Add chemicals to flow lines as required
  • Repair, replace, and service pipeline components, such as valves and pig traps
  • Perform road and surface maintenance, such as snow removal or weed control

At compressor and measurement stations, they may:

  • Ensure that all equipment is operating normally
  • Perform minor mechanical maintenance, adjustments, and repairs
  • Take readings from the various gauges and instruments
  • Make manual adjustments to valves or equipment

When problems occur, they usually are responsible for handling the problem and recommending needed changes. They direct maintenance requirements. They may be required to paint, wash, clean, and do general housekeeping at each station.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 20 kg

Gas flows through pipelines around the clock, every day of the year. This means gas pipeline operators may work 12- to 24-hour shifts. They also may be on call outside their regular Monday-to-Friday working hours. Some overtime may be required.

Gas pipeline maintenance workers work outdoors in all kinds of weather and in remote locations. They drive to a variety of stations to check and repair equipment. All operators and workers must do some heavy lifting.

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

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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 outside in all weather conditions
  • Working with computers and technology
  • Working alone and on a team
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education High school diploma

There are no formal education requirements for gas pipeline operators and maintenance workers. Employers generally prefer high school graduates with experience or post-secondary education in electronics, electrical systems, mechanics, or instrumentation. They should have a Class 1 or 3 driver’s license and H2S training. For those working with hydraulic pickers, knowledge in mechanics is an asset.

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

Some companies offer to cover instrumentation courses for their employees. This helps workers progress within the field.


Related Education

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

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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

Gas pipeline maintenance workers may be able to advance to gas control operator positions. This will depend on their qualifications and experience.

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 [pdf] 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 (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 9232: Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.3% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 78 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

 

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Central control and process operators, petroleum, gas and chemical processing

2016 NOC : 9232
Average Wage
$38.03
Per Hour
Average Salary
$80,155.00
Per Year
Average Hours
41.5
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.6
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 9232 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

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.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

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.


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 $16.50 $53.81 $32.22 $30.00
Overall $17.00 $56.59 $38.03 $34.66
Top $17.00 $66.60 $44.27 $41.59

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.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information
Manufacturing
ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

33%
33%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

0%
0%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

0%
0%

Vacancy Rate

N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Energy Safety Canada website: www.energysafetycanada.com

PetroLMI, Career in Oil and Gas (COG) website: careersinoilandgas.com

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. 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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