Dan Carter, Kinder Morgan Canada’s Central Region Operations Director, is responsible for operations including the Edmonton Control Centre, the Leak Detection department, Edmonton Terminal and approximately 700 kilometres of the Trans Mountain Pipeline from Edmonton to Clearwater, BC. We recently connected with Dan to learn about operations changes related to the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.

Will the expansion create more pipeline operator jobs?

As part of the Expansion Project, we will be hiring 12 new Control Centre operators. They will join our operating team for the Trans Mountain Pipeline. We will train them to work at our Control Centre in Edmonton, which is in operation around the clock, every day of the year. Outside of the Control Centre, there will also be operations-related positions filled as part of the expansion.

What about the pipeline’s operating systems — are they also expanding?

Kinder Morgan Canada has two computer-based systems our Control Centre uses to operate and monitor the Trans Mountain pipeline. SCADA, or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System, monitors the rate of product flow in the pipeline as well as pressure, temperature and density. This information is received from various locations along the pipeline and is the primary system our operators use to operate the pipeline. We also have a Leak Detection System that can detect abnormal operating fluctuations using SCADA data and will immediately alert the Control Centre operator in Edmonton. Our operators are empowered to shut down operations and dispatch crews to investigate at any time of the day or night.

As part of the Expansion Project, we will expand our SCADA system to include all the new piping, stations, tanks, measuring devices, etc. Our leak detection abilities will also be enhanced with a second, stand-alone leak detection system. These improvements will allow us to continue to operate the pipeline safely and efficiently. If there’s ever a requirement for emergency response, we will be able to respond very quickly.

How is Edmonton Terminal expanding?

We’re building four new tanks at Edmonton Terminal as part of the expansion. Some of the safety and environmental features will include fire suppression and vapour recovery systems. We will also be constructing a new pump station that will be the starting point for the new Trans Mountain Pipeline.

We’ve already built a number of new tanks at Edmonton Terminal. Our capacity has over the last 10 years gone from four million barrels of storage capacity to more than 10 million barrels. This allows us to pump at the required flow rates to move our customer’s oil from Edmonton through Alberta and into British Columbia and Washington State.

What kind of questions are people asking about the Expansion Project?

In the past few years, I have attended many open houses in the Alberta area. The types of questions I am typically asked are about operations as they relate to safety, emergency response, employment opportunities; general questions about how the oil is moved through the pipeline and how we conduct maintenance. It’s no surprise safety and emergency response are the most common questions.

What’s it like to work for Trans Mountain?

Trans Mountain has been operating in this area for more than 63 years. I’ve been an employee of the company for 22 years. We’ve got a good reputation. We’re a safe company. We care about the environment. For our corporate neighbours and the residents living around us, I hope they think the same things I feel about the company — we’re safe and we have built and maintained a good long-term track record.