Picture a busy control centre with a team of operators
monitoring and keeping tabs on complex oil and gas pipeline
systems. Oil and gas pipelines function much like a railway
network, with long and short lines and numerous pick-up and
drop-off points along the way. While trains carry people, freight,
tankers and grain cars above the ground, pipelines move oil and gas
products such as crude oil, natural gas and refined petroleum
products beneath the ground. Products we use every day such as fuel
for our cars, or gas to heat our homes are transported through
these very pipelines. Pipeline Control Centre Operators play a key
role in ensuring safe and timely delivery of oil and gas products.
Operators must respond quickly to changes in pipeline pressures,
identify possible leaks and emergency situations as they arise.
Pipeline transmission lines are complicated structures and
operators must be able to think on their feet and communicate
What does a Pipeline Control Centre Operator do?
Pipeline Control Centre Operators use
sophisticated computerized equipment to monitor theoperations and
status of pipelines. Other duties include:
- Monitoring and tracking the product
as it moves through the pipelines.
- Controlling product batches when they
enter and exit the pipeline system.
- Diverting or shutting off the flow of
products in case of an emergency or maintenance
- Supervising emergency situations and
dispatching crews when required.
All jobs in this occupation are challenging, demanding and
highly accountable. Not all Control Centre Operator jobs are the
same. Operating multi-product pipelines is far more complex than
operating single line systems.
How do I become a Pipeline Control Centre Operator?
A common pre-requisite that new entrants must bring to the job,
is an excellent understanding of how the oil and gas industry
works. Knowledge of petroleum products, their characteristics and
transportation methods are essential. This can be achieved in one
of the following ways:
- Complete a two-year technical diploma in a related discipline
such as engineering technology,instrumentation, electrical
/mechanical or petroleum technology.
- Obtain field experience such as instrumentation, electrical or
mechanical maintenance in fieldcompressor or pumping stations and
Most employers offer extensive internal training, which includes
the use of console training simulatorsand/or guidance from
What are the working conditions like?
Pipeline control centres are generally found in metropolitan
areas where pipeline companies have their operating headquarters.
As a Control Centre Operator, you would typically find yourself
working in office conditions surrounded by monitors, phones and
other electronic control equipment. In most cases, you would be
required to work 12 hour rotational shifts within a 24/7
operational environment. You would become a member of a team that
relies upon and supports one another.
Do I fit the bill?
Want to know if you'd make a good Pipeline Control
It takes a very unique set of skills to stand up to the
challenges and excitement of transporting valuable oil and gas
products across Canada and the United States.
- I am a strong
- I enjoy the challenge of "real time"
- I am detail oriented.
- I am an analytical and "big picture"
- I can react quickly and stay focused
during emergency situations.
- I enjoy finding out how things
- I am interested in technologies such
as instrumentation, electronics, electricity and
- I don't mind working weekends,
evenings and holidays.
- I am comfortable working 12 hour
rotational shifts in a 24/7 operating environment.
- I enjoy working in a team
- I can effectively interact with other
professionals using oral and written communication.
- I believe that following safety
policies and procedures is very important.
- I believe I have what it takes to
become a Pipeline Control Centre Operator!
Quick tips and next steps!
- Visit career fairs and talk to employers who offer jobs and
careers in this occupation. Check with employment centres,
educational institutions, newspapers, petroleum-related magazines
and the internet for information on career fairs.
- While in high school, sharpen your
skills and knowledge in areas such as mathematics, chemistry,
physics and computer science.
- Participate in National
Technology Week which is held annually during November and
offers a host of activities along with interactive and fun
resources to help students, teachers and parents explore technical
careers. See details at: www.cctt.ca.
- Check out websites of industry and
professional associations such as the Canadian Council
ofTechnicians and Technologists at www.cctt.ca.
Want more info?
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