9232 Central control and process operators, petroleum, gas and chemical processing

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Lead statement

Central control and process operators in this unit group monitor and operate petroleum, petrochemical and chemical plants and monitor, adjust and maintain processing units and equipment in these plants. They are employed by petroleum and natural gas processing, pipeline and petrochemical companies and industrial, agricultural and specialty chemical and pharmaceutical companies.

Example Titles

  • acid plant operator
  • chemical process operator
  • chemical processing chief technician
  • chlor-alkali plant cell room operator
  • gas field production operator
  • gas plant operator
  • gas recovery operator
  • master operator – chemical processing
  • oil refinery process operator
  • panel operator – chemical processing
  • petroleum process operator
  • pharmaceutical processing operator
  • pipeline compressor station operator
  • process technician – chemical processing
  • refinery process technician

Main duties

Central control and process operators in petroleum, gas and chemical processing perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Operate electronic or computerized control panel from a central control room to monitor and optimize physical and chemical processes for several processing units
  • Control process start-up, shut-down and troubleshooting
  • Monitor outside process equipment
  • Adjust equipment, valves, pumps and controls and process equipment
  • Authorize or co-sign maintenance work orders
  • Shut down, isolate and prepare process units or production equipment for maintenance
  • Sample products, perform tests, record data, carry out statistical process control on process operations, and write production logs
  • Develop operating procedures for normal operation, start-up or shut-down of unit
  • Participate in safety audits and programs and provide emergency response when required
  • Ensure adherence to safety and environmental regulations
  • May rotate between different processing units during shift cycles
  • May work in a team with shared supervisory responsibilities and participate in training other workers
  • May be cross-trained in a skilled trade and work in the trade during shift cycles.

Employment requirements

  • Completion of secondary school is required. Mathematics, chemistry and physics subjects are often specified.
  • A college diploma in process operation, sciences or a related subject may be required for some positions.
  • Petroleum and chemical process operators and process technicians require completion of several years of formal company training.
  • Experience as a petroleum or chemical process operator in all the operating units controlled by the central control room is required for chief operators.
  • Company certification as a petroleum process operator or technician may be required.
  • A provincial power engineer licence, compressor operator or refrigeration certificate may be required when certain kinds of equipment are included in the process.
  • Certification in the transportation of dangerous goods (TDG), first aid, firefighting, or workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS) may be required.

Additional information

  • There is considerable mobility among jobs within a company, often as part of a formal development or training program.
  • Mobility to other petroleum or chemical processing plants is possible, but may be limited by the usual practice of training and promoting workers from within the establishment.
  • Progression to supervisory or managerial positions is possible with experience.
  • Personal protective equipment may be required for occupations in this unit group that may involve exposure to hazards of toxic, flammable or explosive chemicals.

Exclusions