The people of pipelines: Warren Rowland, supervisor of pipeline field operations

Pipeline safety is the top priority of CEPA’s member companies, so they employ skilled and well-trained Canadians who work hard in the field to ensure pipelines operate safely.

Warren Rowland is one of those hard-working people. For this installment of the People of Pipelines series, Warren discusses his job as a supervisor of field pipeline operations and explains how he oversees the safe operation and maintenance of pipelines.

Warren Rowland, Supervisor of Pipeline Field Operations at Inter Pipeline Fund

Warren Rowland

Warren Rowland

Location:

I work out of both our Coronation and Hardisty (Alberta) field offices.

Time on the job:

I have been the supervisor for the past three years and before that I was the area electrician.

Education/training:

Well, I was originally hired on as the area electrician, so I am a journeyman electrician, and through that I gained valuable experience on operating and maintaining a pipeline to be able to move up to the supervisor of pipeline field operations. Being part of the operations group within Inter Pipeline means that we all have to go through a list of general safety training courses such as First Aid, H2S, WHMIS, TDG, etc., and we are also provided the opportunity to further our training in specialized safety or technical courses to help support our pipelines. Inter Pipeline puts a strong focus on ensuring that our people have the training that they need to do their jobs safely and efficiently.

What my job entails:

My job as a supervisor is to oversee the operation and maintenance of the pipelines within my district to ensure that all regulatory requirements are being met and the pipeline operates safely and efficiently. I work with my team of operations’ staff ensuring that they have what they need to operate the pipeline and respond to alarms in a timely fashion. If there is any support that they need – whether it be external or internal – I will work with them to get that support so they can continue to do their jobs effectively.

My role fits mostly into the operation and maintenance of the pipeline, but the operations group has a part to play in the planning and design phase of the pipeline as well. We want to use the operating experiences that our operations group has to improve the designs of our pipelines.

What my role would be in the case of a pipeline emergency:

I have taken several courses from WCSS on oil-spill response such as Spill Responder, Land Spill Responder, Marine Emergency Duties and Boat Handling . . . to name a few. Inter Pipeline is a member of the WCSS which offers us different spill exercises and courses every year that we must attend plus Inter Pipeline hosts a number of in-house mock exercises that we respond to and deploy our emergency response equipment. If we were to have an incident in my area I would most likely take on the role of the on-scene incident commander responsible for getting the emergency under control as soon as possible to limit the effects on people and our environment.

What I enjoy most about my job:

I enjoy learning from all the different groups within our company because we all have different experiences from our roles in operating our pipelines, and I find that interaction helps our company grow and succeed in this business.

What you might be surprised to learn about what I do:

I think Canadians would be surprised at the amount of work that is put into preventing leaks – from our pipelines from the numerous inspections that we do to the daily maintenance that is performed on the pipelines. We consider even the smallest leak a very serious event that is thoroughly reviewed with recommendations to prevent its reoccurrence.

Now that you’ve gotten to know Warren, check out our other People of Pipelines blogs:


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.