Pipeline Scheduler Spotlight

Every year, trillions of cubic feet of natural gas liquids and billions of barrels of crude oil flow through Canada’s pipeline system. Pipeline Schedulers are the ones tasked with making sure that every unit is accounted for, arriving at their destinations when they’re expected. 

What a typical day looks like: 

Pipeline Schedulers are all about making sure that everything is in the right place at the right time for the right price. They analyze storage levels in pipelines’ destinations and adjust shipping schedules to make sure that the right oil or gas product is in the correct pipeline, in the correct delivery timeframe, at the price both parties agreed to. 

Keeping track of all of those customers, products and destinations means a daily routine of calculations, communications and collaboration. A Pipeline Scheduler needs to be in constant contact with the pipeline system’s information and with the shippers, producers and other pipeline companies whose relationships define the business. 

Pipeline Schedulers work an office environment, which may involve daytime, evening or night shifts. 

The kinds of problems Pipeline Schedulers solve at work:

A Pipeline Scheduler has to be able to juggle, making sure everyone gets what they’re looking for in the safest way possible. That means considering the schedules of the on-the-ground operators and truckers to make sure that the products being put into the pipelines are moving in the safest and most efficient ways possible. 

But no matter how well the schedule has been planned, interruptions happen. Pipeline Schedulers also need to be able to deal with unexpected disruptions to the supply chain. Then, the products are moving, they need to be able to confirm that volumes are where they’re meant to be. 

Skills used most on the job:

Pipeline Schedulers are masters of the schedule, considering the relationships they build with customers at the same time they’re thinking about the production numbers that underlie the material being shipped. To master those schedules, they need to have in-depth knowledge of the pipeline systems, other modes of transportation, customer requirements and market conditions. Being able to understand and synthesize all of that complex information means the difference between products being in the right place at the right time, and having to deal with unsatisfied customers. 

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