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Oil Pipeline Control Centre Operator

Oil pipeline control centre operators use sophisticated computerized equipment to monitor and control pipeline activities for large regions (for example, all of Alberta and British Columbia) from one centralized control centre.

  • Avg. Salary $115,418.00
  • Avg. Wage $53.85
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 7,500
  • In Demand High
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Interest Codes
The Oil Pipeline Control Centre Operator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Petroleum, Gas and Chemical Process Operators

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


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


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

Updated Dec 16, 2016

Oil pipeline control centre operators and maintenance workers ensure that pipeline systems operate safely, efficiently and reliably. Pipeline systems transport oil and oil products via:

  • flow lines that connect oil wells to oil batteries (storage facilities)
  • pipeline gathering systems that connect production fields to main pipelines
  • main pipeline transmission lines that carry oil from major points of production to refineries or to other markets.

Oil pipeline control centre operators' duties vary considerably depending on the complexity of the system they operate (for example, a single line or multi-product pipeline). In general, however, control centre operators:

  • monitor flow and product quality measures, storage levels and leak detection devices
  • operate control valves, block valves, product separation and pumps
  • divert or shut off the flow of products in emergencies or for maintenance
  • provide information to gaugers, maintenance and other personnel (for more information see the Oil Pipeline Operators and Maintenance Workers occupational profile)
  • supervise emergency situations and dispatch crews when required.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Pipeline control centres generally are located in urban areas where pipeline companies have their operating headquarters. Oil pipeline control centre operators usually work in offices surrounded by monitors, phones and other electronic control equipment.

Pipeline systems operate 24 hours a day, year round, so control centre operators often work eight or 12 hour rotating shifts. Shifts may include nights, holidays and weekends and on-call shifts on a rotational basis. Overtime also may be required.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Oil pipeline control centre operators need the following characteristics:

  • able to work changing shifts and remain alert
  • precise, analytical and detail oriented
  • responsible, able to take charge and handle high pressure situations 
  • flexible
  • excellent problem solving and decision making skills
  • a safety conscious attitude
  • good oral and written communication skills
  • good colour vision to interpret colour computer graphics
  • able to work effectively as a member of a team.

In an emergency, oil pipeline control centre operators must be able to evaluate the situation and respond to it quickly and correctly. The safety of a number of people and the efficient operation of the oil pipeline system often depend on their good judgment.

Oil pipeline control centre operators should enjoy controlling equipment, instruments and machinery, analyzing information to solve problems and working with others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Most employers offer extensive internal training with console training simulators and guidance from experienced operators.

There are no standard education requirements for oil pipeline control centre operators but employers generally prefer to hire applicants who have at least one of the following:

  • a two year technical diploma in a related discipline such as engineering technology, instrumentation, electrical, mechanical or petroleum technology.
  • power engineering certification
  • field experience such as instrumentation, electrical or mechanical maintenance in field compressor or pumping stations and facilities.

An excellent understanding of how the oil and gas industry works including knowledge of petroleum products, their characteristics and transportation methods is an asset.

Related Education

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

Grande Prairie Regional College

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Northern Lakes College

Red Deer College

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Oil pipeline control centre operators are employed by:

  • major international pipeline companies
  • national and regional pipeline companies
  • mid-stream oil and gas companies
  • integrated oil and gas companies.

Oil pipeline control centre operators 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.

In Alberta, the J112: Petroleum, Gas and Chemical Process Operators occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 60 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

The Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada employment demand forecast indicates that over 30% of the workforce in the oil and gas industry is expected to retire in the next few years. The number of people presently retiring already exceeds the number of new workers joining the industry today.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Salaries for oil pipeline control centre operators vary depending on the plant and the qualifications of the operator.

Petroleum, gas and chemical process operators

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
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $24.56 $66.54 $46.80 $41.35
Overall $28.00 $66.54 $53.85 $52.40
Top $30.00 $66.54 $55.75 $54.33

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

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 16, 2016

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) website:

Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) website:

Enform website:

Petroleum Human Resources (PHR), Careers in Oil and Gas (COG) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 29, 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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