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Control Centre Operator Spotlight

Control Centre Operators know what’s flowing in, what’s flowing out and all the processes in between. Using sophisticated instruments and systems, they monitor a plant, facility or pipeline remotely and make key decisions to ensure it operates safely and efficiently.

What a typical day looks like:

Control Centre Operators watch over everything that is happening in processing plants and pipelines from a centralized control room. In a processing plant, they spend most of their time watching monitors for any changes in data registered by instruments in tanks, towers or other plant equipment. In the pipeline sector, Control Centre Operators monitor the flow, pressure and qualities across the pipeline system using a computerized control and communication system. They monitor, they adjust, they maintain.

While they watch the monitors, Control Centre Operators record and compile operating data, instrument readings, documentation and results of laboratory analyses. They compare this data to the specifications, schedules and laboratory recommendations to determine if all of the equipment is working properly. If adjustments need to be made, they use sophisticated instrumentation to remotely open and close valves or change temperatures.

Since Control Centre Operators are at the heart of the real time information for a facility, they 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.

Control Centre Operators are a critical part of the team that operates the control room. The size of the team depends on the size of the plant or the complexity of its processes. Typically employed in the exploration and production (E&P), oil sands, and pipeline sectors of the oil and gas industry, they often work rotational shifts including nights, holidays and weekends.

The kinds of problems Control Centre Operators solve at work:

Control Centre Operators are often the first to detect any potential operational issues since they will notice changes in systems, data trends and quality issues. They are experienced operators who make key decisions on adjustments and provide information to other operators and maintenance staff within the facility. When a potential problem is found, Control Centre Operators work closely with people in the facility to get areas inspected, repaired or shut down as needed.

Skills used most on the job:

Control Centre Operators must have a solid understanding of the integrated processes and systems required within the facility, as well as the product’s inherent characteristics and customer specifications. They combine this knowledge with a strong command of chemistry, physics and mathematics to be able to troubleshoot problems with equipment. They are also detail-oriented, critical thinkers and fond of continuous learning.

Control Centre Operators are responsible for the safe and reliable operation of oil and gas processing plants and pipelines.

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