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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.

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

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
  • Strength Required Strength requirements vary

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.

Traits & Skills
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
  • Minimum Education Varies

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.

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

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 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

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

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
$50.78
Per Hour
Average Salary
$105,676.00
Per Year
Average Hours
40.3
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 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

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $27.85 $62.02 $39.46 $37.00
Overall $35.13 $74.99 $50.78 $50.62
Top $44.85 $90.80 $59.57 $57.50

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
51%
51%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
11%
11%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
5%
5%
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

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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