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Oil Pipeline Control Centre Operator

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

  • Avg. Salary $80,155.00
  • Avg. Wage $38.03
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook below avg
  • Employed 6,400
  • In Demand Medium
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) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

33%
33%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • 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
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 Mar 31, 2019

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

  • Flow lines, which connect oil wells to oil batteries (storage facilities)
  • Pipeline gathering systems, which connect production fields to main pipelines
  • Main pipeline transmission lines, which carry oil from major points of production to refineries or other markets

Operators’ duties vary a great deal. They depend on how complex a system they are operating. For example, is it a single line or a multiproduct pipeline? In general, control centre operators:

  • Monitor flow and product quality measures and storage levels
  • Monitor leak detection devices
  • Operate control valves, block valves, product separation mechanisms, and pumps
  • Divert or shut off the flow of products in emergencies or for maintenance
  • Provide information to gaugers, maintenance workers, 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 Mar 31, 2019

Most pipeline control centres are located in urban areas where pipeline companies have their headquarters. Most oil pipeline control centre operators work in offices surrounded by monitors, phones, and other electronic control equipment. They often deal with multiple situations at once, from instrument analysis to responding to personnel.

Pipeline systems operate 24 hours a day, year-round. Control centre operators often work 8- or 12-hour rotating shifts. Shifts may include nights, holidays, and weekends and on-call shifts on a rotational basis. Overtime may be required.

  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Oil pipeline control centre operators need:

  • Mental alertness
  • The ability to be precise and pay attention to detail
  • The ability to take charge of and handle high-pressure situations
  • Flexibility
  • A safety-conscious attitude
  • Communication and problem-solving skills
  • Colour vision to interpret colour computer graphics
  • Ability to work as a team member
  • Multitasking skills

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

Operators should enjoy controlling equipment, instruments, and machinery. They should be comfortable analyzing information to solve problems. They should like working with others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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. However, employers generally prefer to hire applicants who have at least one of the following:

  • A 2-year diploma in a related discipline, such as engineering, 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 is an asset. This should include knowledge of petroleum products, their characteristics, and transportation methods. Operators should understand how fluid reacts within a pipeline under various conditions. This will help them safely operate various pipelines in different gathering systems.


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 Mar 31, 2019

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Oil pipeline control centre operators work for:

  • 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 (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  (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.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Salaries for oil pipeline control centre operators vary. Factors include the plant and the operator’s qualifications.

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
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.

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
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

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) website: www.capp.ca

Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) website: cepa.com

Careers in Oil and Gas (COG) website, Petroleum Labour Market Information (PetroLMI) Division of Energy Safety Canada: www.careersinoilandgas.com

Energy Safety Canada website: www.energysafetycanada.com

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 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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