1. Energy careers
  2. Operators
  3. Petroleum Plant and Facility Operator

Petroleum Plant and Facility Operator

NOC #93101, #92100

  • Environment Primarily outdoor work
  • Education High school diploma
  • Average salary $61,000 to $104,000

Career profile

Petroleum plant and facility operators control, operate, monitor, inspect, maintain and troubleshoot vital process control systems and equipment in plants and facilities found in the upstream petroleum industry. They play a key role in a company’s ability to operate efficiently and meet oil or gas production targets.

Petroleum plant and facility operators oversee equipment and processes in the field. This can range from small gathering pipelines that deliver oil or natural gas from one or more wells to a system of tanks and other surface equipment designed to separate and measure oil, natural gas, and water.

Their roles are also required in central processing plants that are designed to separate oil, natural gas and bitumen from other substances, remove impurities and prepare the products for transportation. As well, they are required in pipeline facilities such as pump stations, tank farms, terminals and compressor stations that transport oil, natural gas and bitumen for further processing or to market.

Oil and gas services, Pipelines, Oil sands

In this occupation activities may include:

  • Controlling the upgrade process (e.g., hydrogen addition, carbon rejection or carbon concentration and removal)
  • Shutting down, isolating and preparing process units or production equipment for maintenance
  • Operating specialized equipment used to separate, measure and store products coming from a well
  • Operating specialized equipment required to convert raw natural gas to sweet or sour gas (e.g., reciprocating and centrifugal compressors, absorbers and regenerators, sulphur recovery units, centrifugal pumps and steam turbines)
  • Controlling the heavy oil (in situ) production process (e.g., using hot steam to lower the viscosity of oil)


  • A high school diploma (or equivalent) and an aptitude for mathematics, computers, mechanics, chemistry or physics are typically required. Some employers prefer a post-secondary diploma in petroleum, electrical, mechanical or instrumentation engineering technology or a production field/gas process operations certificate. Plants and facilities that use pressurized equipment will require operators to have a power engineering certification. Specific skills and knowledge are dependent on the type of process and equipment used.


  • Standard and emergency first aid
  • H2S Alive®


  • Most employers require a valid Class 5 driver’s licence

  • Travel likely required
  • Shiftwork/variable work hours
  • Primarily outdoor work
  • Physical work
  • Safety-sensitive environment
  • Work away from home/in camps

You’re mechanically inclined and a problem solver. Your energy and adaptability helps you keep up with a variety of demands at the plant.

  • Production and processing
  • Computer use
  • Monitoring operations
  • Controlling operations
  • Attention to detail
  • Law and government
  • Evaluating systems
  • Complex problem solving
  • Judgment and decision making
  • Troubleshooting