Control centres monitor pipelines 24-hours a day, seven days per week from remote control centres across the country. For this installment of the People of Pipelines series, we’d like to introduce you to a hardworking Canadian whose job it is to man one of these control centres:
Sherwood Park Control Centre
Five years 10 months
The education required to be a control centre operator is prior experience in the pipeline industry or completion of a related technical school program.
During the first two weeks of employment there is training with the Control Centre training supervisor or designate, followed by six months of training at the desk with a qualified control centre operator. Throughout employment there are various re-qualifications required on the various desks along with required safety training.
My job involves operating the pipeline in a safe manner, while monitoring flows and pressures and responding to alarms. This also includes interacting with outside operations to allow for any maintenance and repairs that are required to any equipment along the pipeline. In addition, I monitor leak detection systems and interact with the Simulations and Controls group if any leak alarms occur.
As a control centre operator, I monitor for any abnormal operating conditions that occur with flows or pressures in the pipeline. This includes responding to any leak alarms or alarms that occur while the pipeline is in operation. I also have the right to shutdown the pipeline if I feel that a situation has arisen that will compromise the safety of the pipeline.
In the case of an emergency, I would shutdown the pipeline and isolate any sections of the pipeline if required. This would involve interacting with all outside personnel along the pipeline as well as interacting with the Incident Commander and various supervisors. During an emergency I would also be responsible for keeping detailed logs of all events and participating in any required conference calls.
I most enjoy interacting with other control centre operators, customers and maintenance and operations personnel along the pipeline. I enjoy working in a team environment, where all departments must work together to operate the pipeline in a safe and efficient manner.
Canadians would be surprised at the amount of procedures and regulations a control centre operator must follow to operate the pipeline in a safe manner. All events that occur during the operation of the pipeline are documented and reported to supervisors.
Now that you’ve gotten to know Wayne, check out our other People of Pipelines:
The Canadian Energy Pipeline Association represents Canada’s transmission pipeline companies who operate approximately 110,000 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.