- Exploration and production
- Oil sands
- Petrochemicals and Refining
- High school diploma
About This Career
So much power…so much control! You are responsible for a plant of tanks, pipes and towers that transforms oil and gas into usable products, such as lubricants and butane. Or, you control the pipelines transporting these products to market. You know what’s flowing in, what’s flowing out and the processes in between. Using sophisticated instruments and systems, you monitor the plant or pipeline remotely and make key decisions to ensure it operates safely and efficiently.
Control Centre Operators are responsible for the safe and reliable operation of oil and gas processing plants and pipelines. In a processing plant, Control Centre Operators monitor and control the operation of its processing units using a distributive control system (DCS) typically located within the plant. They are experienced operators, making key decisions on adjustments to processing units, as well as overseeing other operators within the facility. Control Centre Operators also provide the initial response to an emergency situation or evacuation, and oversee the start-up or shut down of a plant or one of its units.
In the pipeline sector of the oil and gas industry, Control Centre Operators control pipeline activity from a centralized control room. They must have a solid understanding of the integrated processes and systems required for the transportation of oil and gas products, as well as the product’s inherent characteristics and customer specification. Control Centre Operators often are the first to detect any potential operational issues and work closely with operations and maintenance staff to avert any problems or issues.
In this occupation activities may include:
- Using a highly computerized Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system (SCADA) to control and monitor pipeline flow rates, system pressures, temperatures, product quality deviations, pressure loses, product blending and batch logistics
- Responding to alarm conditions as they arise including initiating front line emergency response measures
- Providing daily forecasts of system-wide requirements and adjusting to differences between forecasted and actual product volumes
- Remotely operating the mainline and booster pumping stations along the pipeline
- Communicating with pipeline field operations personnel to ensure safe and efficient operations
- Signaling other workers by telephone or radio to operate pumps, open and close valves and check temperatures
- Entry-level education and experience requirements for Control Centre Operators vary. In processing plants, these operators typically have up to 10 years of operating experience. In the pipeline sector, they require the minimum of a high school diploma (or equivalent). However, some employers prefer a technologist or technical diploma in petroleum, power, chemical, mechanical, electrical or instrumentation engineering, as well as an understanding of the characteristics of oil and gas and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.
- Standard and emergency first aid
- Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)
- Provincial Stationary Engineer licence may be required
- Compressor Operator or Refrigeration certification may be required
You are experienced and bring a strong command of chemistry, physics and mathematics and are able to troubleshoot problems with equipment.
- Production and processing
- Public safety and security
- Monitoring operations
- Controlling operations
- Attention to detail
- Judgment and decision making
- Taking initiative
- Critical thinking
- Computer use
- Continuous learning
- Mining and quarrying
- Public administration
Related Careers in Oil & Gas
Also known as
- Gas Controller
- Oil Movement Coordinator
- Control Room Operator
- Process Control Operator
- Panel Operator
- Pipeline System Controller