Entry Senior

Control Centre Operator

Photo courtesy of Cenovus Energy

About This Career

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.

Education: 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.

Employment: This occupation is found in both onshore and offshore environments and is typically employed in the exploration and production (E&P), oil sands, and pipeline sectors of the oil and gas industry.

Example titles: Gas Controller, Oil Movement Coordinator, Control Room Operator, Process Control Operator, Panel Operator, Pipeline System Controller

Work Activities
Applying Health and Safety Principles
Participating in safety audits and programs, and providing emergency response when required.
Ensuring adherence to safety and environmental regulations.
Applying Information
Responding to alarm conditions as they arise including initiating front line emergency response measures.
Responding to SCADA system alarms to provide safe and reliable service.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers or Subordinates
Communicating with pipeline field operations personnel to ensure safe and efficient operations.
Signalling other workers by telephone or radio to operate pumps, open and close valves, and check temperatures.
Communicating with gas schedulers and pipeline operations.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Remotely operating the mainline and booster pumping stations along the pipeline.
Operating and controlling the flow of natural gas through pipelines and/or gathering systems from a central control centre.
Documenting/Recording Information
Recording and compiling operating data, instrument readings, documentation and results of laboratory analyses.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Maintaining collaborative working relationships.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events or Information
Providing daily forecasts of system-wide gas requirements and adjusting to differences between forecasted and actual product volumes.
Getting Information
Reading automatic gauges at specified intervals to determine the flow rate of oil into or from tanks, and the amount of oil in tanks.
Interacting With Computers
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 losses, product blending and batch logistics.
Monitor Processes, Materials or Surroundings
Monitoring flows, pressures and gas qualities across the system using a SCADA computerized control and communication system.
Monitoring process indicators, instruments, gauges, and meters to detect and report any possible problems.
Constantly monitoring for any inconsistencies, which may indicate a potential leak or equipment failure.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices or Equipment
Starting pumps and opening valves (or using automated equipment) to regulate the flow of oil and gas in pipelines and into and out of tanks.
Quality Assurance
Verifying that incoming and outgoing products are moving through the correct meters, and that meters are working properly.
Solving Problems and Making Decisions
Diagnosing potential problems related to alarm conditions.
Judgment and Decision Making
Production and Processing
Public Safety and Security
Operation and Control
Operation Monitoring
Computer use
Career Path
  • Assistant Shift Supervisor
  • Chief Engineer
  • Chief Inspector
  • Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) roles
  • Lead Operator
  • Process safety roles
  • Production Foreman
  • Shift Supervisor
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Working Conditions
  • Office
    Office Based
  • Arrow
    Shift Work
  • Longshifts
    Long Shifts
  • Overtime
    Some Overtime Required
Similar Jobs In Other Industries
Careers also exist in the following industries:
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Mining and quarrying
  • Paper manufacturing
  • Petroleum and coal product manufacturing
  • Plastics and rubber products manufacturing
  • Primary metal manufacturing
  • Public administration, including regulatory
  • Rail transportation
  • Utilities, including renewable energy
  • Wood product manufacturing
Job Details

Job Category




Oil sands

Exploration and production


9232, 9241

Qualifications + Experience


  • High School Diploma (or equivalent)


  • Compressor Operator or Refrigeration certification may be required
  • Standard and emergency first aid
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods (TDG)


  • Provincial Stationary Engineer license may be required