Introduction to Operator Qualifications

Introduction to Operator Qualifications

February 5, 2024 | Online :: Central Time

“Tom did a great job, I liked that he drew many examples from his previous industry experience.” – CITGO

An Operator Qualification (OQ) program evaluates individuals that perform specific tasks during the operation and maintenance of a pipeline system and is required by the PHMSA for operators of natural gas and/or petroleum pipelines. Through these evaluations the company can assure that those performing those tasks are qualified and can do so in a safe and valid manner.

This intensive one-day course will go into detail on each of the key elements of an OQ program and explain the intent of each element while providing examples of how a company might comply with each of the specific regulatory requirements.

By registering today you will gain the information needed to have a valid program that addresses the wide array of operational and maintenance tasks performed on a pipeline system necessary to operate safely and comply with both Federal and State pipeline safety regulations.

Learning Outcomes 

  • Describe the primary elements of an Operator Qualification program
  • Discuss the 4-part test used to identify covered tasks and understand what qualifies as covered tasks
  • Determine which individuals must be qualified
  • Review evaluation (testing) methods used to qualify individuals
  • Assess how to prepare for audits (internal/external) and identify risks
  • Review record keeping & documentation


Monday, February 5, 2024 : Central Time

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.
Log In and Welcome

12:30 – 1:15 p.m.
Lunch Break

9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Course Timing



  • Welcome and introduction
  • Class agenda and objectives

Description of A Typical Operator Qualification Program

  • Manual/procedures
  • Process
  • Applicability

Cover the 4-Part Test to Identify Covered Tasks

Determine Who is Subject to the Requirements of the Regulation

  • Company personnel
  • Contractor personnel

Methods That May Be Used to Evaluate Individuals

  • Written-oral exam
  • Work performance history review
  • Actual performance of task
  • Simulation

Evaluation Process

  • Who can be an evaluator
  • In-house vs. contract evaluators
  • Steps in the evaluation process
  • Documentation

Span of Control

  • Qualified vs. non-qualified individuals
  • Applicable to which covered tasks

Preparing for Internal and/or External Audits

  • Identify risks

Record Keeping

Summary & Comments


Thomas Lael, formerly with ConocoPhillips Pipeline Company

Mr. Lael has been involved with the pipeline industry for over 45 years. He has worked for various State Pipeline Regulatory agencies (Illinois, Connecticut, and California) and the Federal government (Transportation Safety Institute, now known as Training and Qualification’s [T&Q]).  More recently, Mr. Lael has worked for major petroleum pipeline operators as a code compliance officer and Operator Qualifications Administrator. He has been responsible for determining the operator’s compliance with Federal and State pipeline safety regulations and determining the intent of current and proposed PHMSA regulations.

Mr. Lael spent 10 years working with ConocoPhillips as the OQ administrator for the company OQ program. His employment with ConocoPhillips evolved from his initial employment with Tosco Corporation starting in 1999, merged into Phillips Pipeline Company in 2001, and finally into ConocoPhillips in 2002. He was responsible for the OQ qualifications for approximately 950 employees and over 1,500 contract individuals.

Mr. Lael has worked as an expert witness on legal cases concerning pipeline safety and accident/incident investigations. Mr. Lael has investigated numerous natural gas and petroleum pipeline explosion and fires.

Online Delivery

We will be using Microsoft Teams to facilitate your participation in the upcoming event. You do not need to have an existing Teams account in order to participate in the broadcast – the course will play in your browser and you will have the option of using a microphone to speak with the room and ask questions, or type any questions in via the chat window and our on-site representative will relay your question to the instructor.

  • Microsoft recommends downloading and installing the Teams app if possible. You may also use the Edge browser or Chrome.
  • You will receive a separate email with a unique link to a personalized landing page which will include links to join all sessions of this event.
  • If you are using a microphone, please ensure that it is muted until such time as you need to ask a question.
  • The remote meeting connection will be open approximately 30 minutes before the start of the course. We encourage you to connect as early as possible in case you experience any unforeseen problems.


Please Note: This event is being conducted entirely online. All attendees will connect and attend from their computer, one connection per purchase. For details please see our FAQ

If you are unable to attend at the scheduled date and time, we make recordings available to all attendees for 7 days after the event


Introduction to Operator Qualifications

February 5, 2024 | Online
Individual attendee(s) - $ 895.00 each

Volume pricing also available

Individual attendee tickets can be mixed with ticket packs for complete flexibility

Pack of 5 attendees - $ 3,580.00 (20% discount)
Pack of 10 attendees - $ 6,265.00 (30% discount)
Pack of 20 attendees - $ 10,740.00 (40% discount)

Your registration may be transferred to a member of your organization up to 24 hours in advance of the event. Cancellations must be received on or before January 05, 2024 in order to be refunded and will be subject to a US $195.00 processing fee per registrant. No refunds will be made after this date. Cancellations received after this date will create a credit of the tuition (less processing fee) good toward any other EUCI event. This credit will be good for six months from the cancellation date. In the event of non-attendance, all registration fees will be forfeited. In case of conference cancellation, EUCIs liability is limited to refund of the event registration fee only. For more information regarding administrative policies, such as complaints and refunds, please contact our offices at 303-770-8800




EUCI is accredited by the International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) and offers IACET CEUs for its learning events that comply with the ANSI/IACET Continuing Education and Training Standard. IACET is recognized internationally as a standard development organization and accrediting body that promotes quality of continuing education and training.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 0.7 CEUs for this event

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must log in and be in attendance for the entirety of the course to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

PowerPoint presentations, group discussions, and active participation.

Upon successful completion of this event, program participants interested in receiving CPE credits will receive a certificate of completion.

Course CPE Credits: 8.0
There is no prerequisite for this Course.
Program field of study: Specialized Knowledge
Program Level: Basic
Delivery Method: Group Internet Based
Advanced Preparation: None

CpeEUCI is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its web site:


Who Should Attend

Operators of natural gas and/or petroleum pipelines. This would also be of benefit to electric and/or water utility companies that may have pipelines that transport natural gas or petroleum to their power plants or pumping stations.