In the oil and natural gas industry, there are critical stages between removing petroleum and gas from underground and making it available at the touch of a switch in homes, schools, and businesses. Petroleum pump system operators, refinery operators, and gaugers run the equipment that processes and refines crude petroleum, and they start the process of distributing the fuel by testing it, and feeding it into pipelines. Gas plant operators run compressor equipment along pipelines used by utility companies to distribute and process gas. They maintain the all-important specified pressures within the pipelines. Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators run the equipment that transmits and pressurizes gases such as butane, nitrogen, hydrogen, and natural gas. Parts of their work locations may be temperature controlled, but cold outdoor facilities and hot plants filled with noisy machinery are the norm for these workers. Hazardous conditions and extreme temperatures mean they wear protective gear much of the time. Work schedules are typically at least 40 hours per week, and longer hours are common. It’s typically very physical, exhausting work, although staying safe and effective is essential even when stamina is running thin. Most positions require a high school diploma or equivalent, and earning professional certifications may be helpful for job seekers in this field.
What they do:
Operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.
On the job, you would:
Monitor process indicators, instruments, gauges, and meters to detect and report any possible problems.
Start pumps and open valves or use automated equipment to regulate the flow of oil in pipelines and into and out of tanks.
Control or operate manifold and pumping systems to circulate liquids through a petroleum refinery.
Engineering and Technology
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Safety and Government
public safety and security
Education and Training
teaching and course design
keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
quickly compare groups of letters, numbers, pictures, or other things
see hidden patterns
communicate by speaking
communicate by writing
pay attention to something without being distracted
do two or more things at the same time
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Electronic mail software
Industrial control software
Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software
high school diploma/GED or associate's degree usually needed