The people of pipelines: Jim Mason, terminal operations manager

Transmission pipeline terminals are the Grand Central Stations of energy transportation – energy products flow into and out of terminals on a journey to fuel everything from our vehicles to our economy. Jim Mason is in charge of the operation of Enbridge’s Edmonton terminal, which is a main starting point for the company’s mainline crude and liquids system. Jim’s People of Pipelines interview will help you understand the role pipeline terminals play in Canada’s energy infrastructure.

Jim Mason, manager of Edmonton-area operations, Enbridge 

Jim Mason

Jim Mason


Enbridge’s Edmonton terminal (Sherwood Park, Alta.)

Time in this position:

I’ve been doing this job, in different locations, since 2000.

Time with Enbridge:

26 years

What my job entails:

My job is to oversee the operations (of the Edmonton terminal) to ensure, No. 1, safety – that our folks are safe, that the work they’re doing is safe.

There are approximately 40 employees that work out of the Edmonton terminal. Our facility runs 24/7, so we have staff here 24/7, 365. We have a pretty huge terminal. We have 33 customers that ship oil into us, and we ship oil to them. Also, we have five main lines that leave here. We have 34 (storage) tanks. My job is to support the staff to ensure the terminal operates as effectively, efficiently and as safely as possible.

How I got started in the industry:

I originally started as a journeymen electrician in Cromer, Man. (where Enbridge has a terminal).

How my job contributes to the overall safe operation of pipelines:

That’s what I am responsible for – to ensure that we are operating safely and efficiently, that our staff have the proper training to ensure they are safe and also that the procedures are there to make it safe.

My role in the event of a pipeline emergency:

If there were an emergency, my role would support the ICS (Incident Command System) structure.

I’m also the chair of the Strathcona District Mutual Aid program, which supports Strathcona emergency services. So that’s around 25 different industrial companies, within Strathcona (a county in Alberta), that are part of a mutual-aid group that would provide resources, equipment . . . stuff like that, in the event that there was ever an emergency.

What I most enjoy about my job:

I enjoy change. I’ve had the opportunities to go to different places and to meet new people. (Jim has lived in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the Northwest Territories.)

I like to be challenged. A busy station, I like that. The Edmonton terminal is a hub and it’s very busy, so your daily routine isn’t the same every day.

What you might be surprised to learn:

Enbridge is involved in the green-energy sector. For example, at the Regina terminal our day-to-day job was not just looking after the pipeline but looking after wind turbines as well.

Learn more about some of Canada’s other People of Pipelines:

The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 115,000 kilometres of pipelines in Canada. In 2012, these energy highways moved approximately 1.2 billion barrels of liquid petroleum products and 5.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Our members transport 97 per cent of Canada’s daily natural gas and onshore crude oil from producing regions to markets throughout North America.