PetroStrategies, Inc. 
Topics 

bullet

Home

bullet

About Us

bullet

Classes

bullet

Graphs

bullet

Learning Center

bullet

Oil & Gas Value Chains

bullet

Oil & Gas Basics

bullet

Crude Oil Operations

bullet

Exploration

bullet

Drilling

bullet

Fracturing Operations

bullet

Production

bullet

Transportation

bullet

Refining

bullet

HF Alkylation Concerns

bullet

Marketing

bullet

Gasoline Taxes and Pump Prices

bullet

Gasoline Tool Kit

bullet

Running on Empty?

bullet

Deepwater Horizon Disaster

bullet

Natural Gas Operations

bullet

Exploration

bullet

Drilling

bullet

Fracturing Operations

bullet

Production

bullet

Transportation

bullet

Processing

bullet

Marketing

bullet

Industry Structure

bullet

Players

bullet

Corporate Taxes

bullet

People

bullet

International

bullet

Libyan Situation

bullet

The Middle East and North Africa in Turmoil

bullet

Student Reports

bullet

Statistics

bullet

Fast Facts - API 2010 data

bullet

U.S. Energy Information Administration

bullet

International Energy Agency

bullet

Independent Petroleum Association of America

bullet

National Petrochemical & Refiners Association

bullet

Energy Forecasts

bullet

Glossary

bullet

Oil & Gas FAQs

bullet

Oil & Gas Library

bullet

Oil & Gas DVDs

bullet

Oil & Gas Top Ten Lists

bullet

Photo Galleries

bullet

Offshore

bullet

Old Gasoline Stations

bullet

Teaching Resources

bullet

Links



PetroStrategies, Inc.
PO Box 260415
Plano, Texas 75026-0415
Email

Web Site


PetroStrategies recommends

 

Home | Contact | Feedback | Search | Site Map

People Who Work in the Oil and Gas Industry


Topics

  1. Geoscientists

  2. Petroleum Engineers

  3. Mechanical Engineers

  4. Chemical Engineers

  5. Industrial Engineers

  6. Analysts and Traders

  7. Oil Drillers and Seismic Crews

  8. Oilfield Workers

  9. Pipeline Workers

  10. Plant Operators

  11. Terminal Operators and Truckers

  12. Service Station Attendants

  13. Landmen

  14. Petroleum Attorneys

  15. Petroleum Accountants

  16. Human Resources

  17. Information Technology

  18. Administrative Assistants


Many different people help to provide consumers with refined products, natural gas and petrochemicals.  In 2000 the upstream part of the industry (oil and gas extraction) employed about 311,000 people.  This workforce is divided between two segments: Crude petroleum, natural gas, and natural gas liquids with about 129,000 jobs, and oil and gas field services with about 182,000 jobs.  Over 75% of the industry's workers are located in just four states: California, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.   More than 7 out of 10 companies employ fewer than 10 workers, although more than half of all workers in this industry work in establishments with 50 or more employees.  Almost 64% of the workers are between 35 and 54 years of age.

The downstream segment of the industry (petroleum refining) employed 83,340 people.  

Please see the following resources to learn more about people in the oil and gas industry:

bullet

Oil and Gas Extraction

bullet

Petroleum Refining

bullet

American Petroleum Institute

bullet

National Petroleum Council

bullet

NAICS - 211100 - Oil and Gas Extraction

bullet

NAICS - 324100 - Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing

bullet

NAICS - 325000 - Chemical Manufacturing

bullet

Employment data and job descriptions are from the Bureau of Labor Statistics 


The following table follows the value chain from discovery to end user.  At each step along the process, we have identified the primary technical job title (light blue box), operational job and support position (light yellow box).   Please click on the job title to learn more

Exploration Production Transportation Refining Distribution Marketing
Geoscientists Petroleum Engineers Mechanical
Engineers
Chemical
Engineers
Industrial
Engineers
Analysts
and Traders
Oil Drillers and Seismic Crews Oilfield
Workers
Pipeline
Workers
Plant
Operators
Terminal
Operators
and Truckers
Service
Station
Attendants
Landmen Petroleum Attorneys Petroleum Accountants Human
Resources
Information
Technology
Administrative
Assistants

Overall Employment and Wage Statistics by Title

Occupation Employment Mean
Average
Wages
Human resources 217,440 $58,230
Management analysts 535,850  $82,920 
Accountants and auditors                 1,133,580  $65,840 
Computer software engineers, systems software 381,830  $94,520 
Network and computer systems administrators 327,850   $69,570 
Operations research analysts 60,860  $74,220
Chemical engineers 30,970  $88,760 
Mechanical engineers 233,610  $78,200 
Petroleum engineers      20,880  $119,140 
Geoscientists 31,260  $89,300 
Derrick operators, oil and gas 23,590  $41,980 
Rotary drill operators 27,020  $54,370 
Service unit operators 36,850   $41,320
Roustabouts  62,540  $32,660 
Gas plant operators           14,500  $55,350 
Petroleum pump system operators, refinery
operators, and gaugers
45,710  $54,950 
Service station attendants                84,480   $20,340 
Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators  4,050 $44,410 
Wellhead pumpers       17,050  $39,430 

Source: Table 1 Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2008

Go to Top of Page


Geoscientists

Petroleum GeologistsGeoscientists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the earth.  Using sophisticated instruments and analyses of the earth and water, geoscientists analyze the earth's geologic past and present in order to make predictions about the presence of hydrocarbons. 

Geologists study the composition, processes, and history of the earth.  They try to find out how rocks were formed and what has happened to them since formation.  They also study the evolution of life by analyzing plant and animal fossils.  
Geophysicists use the principles of physics, mathematics, and chemistry to study not only the earth's surface, but also its internal composition; ground and surface waters; atmosphere; oceans; and its magnetic, electrical, and gravitational forces.

Geoscientists search the world for reservoirs containing oil or natural gas.  Using seismic technology they try to develop a "picture" of the rock formations below the surface.  They compare these formations with areas containing oil and gas to develop analogies.  They look for source rock where hydrocarbons may have formed and traps that can hold the hydrocarbons and prevent migration.  They work with drilling crews to examine rock fragments and petroleum engineers to determine the best techniques to extract oil and gas from the reservoir.

There were 4,222 geoscientists employed in the crude petroleum, natural gas and gas liquids industry in 2000 out of a total employment of 25,497. 

Please see the following resources to learn more about geoscientists: 

bullet

American Geological Institute

bullet

Geological Society of America

bullet

American Association of Petroleum Geologists 

bullet

American Geophysical Union

bullet

Society of Exploration Geophysicists

bullet

American Institute of Professional Geologists

bullet

Petroleum Industry Careers - Society of Petroleum Engineers

Go to Top of Page


Petroleum Engineers

PumperOnce oil reservoirs are discovered, petroleum engineers work with geoscientists to understand the geologic formation and properties of the rock containing the reservoir, determine the drilling methods to be used, and monitor drilling and production operations.  They design equipment and processes to achieve the maximum profitable recovery of oil and gas.  Petroleum engineers use computer models to simulate reservoir performance using different recovery techniques.  They also use computer models for simulations of the effects of various drilling options.  Because only a small proportion of oil and gas in a reservoir will flow out under natural forces, petroleum engineers develop and use various enhanced recovery methods.  These include injecting water, chemicals, gases, or steam into an oil reservoir to force out more of the oil, and computer-controlled drilling or fracturing to connect a larger area of a reservoir to a single well.  Petroleum engineers research and develop technology and methods to increase recovery and lower the cost of drilling and production operations.

Petroleum engineers held about 30,880 jobs in May 2011 with 15,720 in Oil and Gas Extraction and 4,450 in Support Activities for Mining

Please see the following resource to learn more about petroleum engineers:

bullet

Society of Petroleum Engineers

bullet

Independent Petroleum Association of America

bullet

Petroleum Industry Careers - Society of Petroleum Engineers

Go to Top of Page


 Mechanical Engineers

Mechanical EngineerMechanical engineers research, develop, design, manufacture, and test tools, engines, machines, and other mechanical devices. They work on power-producing machines such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, and steam and gas turbines. They also develop power-using machines such as refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, machine tools, material handling systems, elevators and escalators, industrial production equipment, and robots used in manufacturing.  Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) are used for design data processing and for developing alternative designs. Mechanical engineering is one of the broadest engineering disciplines. Mechanical engineers may work in production operations in manufacturing or agriculture, maintenance, or technical sales; many are administrators or managers.

In the oil and gas industry, mechanical engineers may work on the design and operation of permanent drilling platforms for offshore production, gas processing plants, pipelines, refineries, tankers and terminals.  They also develop control systems to monitor and operate these operations. 

The oil and gas industry accounted for less than 1% of the 221,443 mechanical engineering jobs in 2000.  Petroleum refining employed 846, Oil and Gas Extraction 300, and pipelines 97. 

Please see the following resources to learn more about mechanical engineers: 

bullet

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers

Go to Top of Page


Chemical Engineers

Chemical EngineerChemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry and engineering to solve problems involving the production or use of chemicals, building a bridge between science and manufacturing. They design equipment and develop processes for large-scale chemical manufacturing, plan and test methods of manufacturing the products and treating the by-products, and supervise production.  Chemical engineers apply principles of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and mechanical and electrical engineering. They must be aware of all aspects of chemicals manufacturing and how it affects the environment, the safety of workers, and customers.  Chemical engineers use computer skills for process analysis, automated control systems, and statistical quality control. Chemical engineers work in the oil and gas industry in petroleum refining developing new processes, managing and optimizing existing operations, and designing and constructing new units and plants.  Chemical engineers also work in upstream helping to analyze fluid flow in oil and gas reservoirs.

Chemical engineers held about 1,250 jobs in Petroleum and Coal Manufacturing in May 2011 out of a total of 27,860 in all industries.

Please see the following resources to learn more about chemical engineers: 

bullet

American Institute of Chemical Engineers

bullet

American Chemical Society

bullet

National Petrochemical and Refiners Association

Go to Top of Page


Industrial Engineers

Industrial EngineerIndustrial engineers determine the most effective ways for an organization to use the basic factors of production-people, machines, materials, information, and energy-to make a product or to provide a service.  They are focused on increasing productivity through the management of people, methods of business organization, and technology.  They develop management control systems to aid in financial planning and cost analysis, design production planning and control systems to coordinate activities and ensure product quality, and design or improve systems for the physical distribution of goods and services. Industrial engineers determine which plant location has the best combination of raw materials availability, transportation facilities, and costs. Industrial engineers use computers for simulations and to control various activities and devices, such as assembly lines and robots. They also develop wage and salary administration systems and job evaluation programs. 

Less than 1% of the nation's 153,636 industrial engineers work in petroleum refining (952). 

Please see the following resources to learn more about industrial engineers: 

bullet

Institute of Industrial Engineers

Go to Top of Page


Analysts and Traders

Analysts and TradersMarket analysts and traders are important players in the oil and gas industry.  Market analysts gauge supply, demand and pricing trends, monitor price changes, and evaluate the impact of new legislation on industry performance.  Energy economists assess the impact of supply and demand on prices and study the cause and effect of various external variables on market behavior. Financial analysts prepare budgets and long range plans.  They determine the best method of financing projects and monitor changes in capital markets. Market analysts, energy economists and financial analysts serve as resources to the corporation and often participate on teams evaluating projects.  

Traders buy and sell crude oil, natural gas and refined products to satisfy company operations. Traders may also sell oil and gas derivatives such as futures contracts to manage the company's exposure to price variations.   

Please see the following resources to learn more about market analysts and traders:

bullet

New York Mercantile Exchange

bullet

International Association for Energy Economics 

Go to Top of Page


Landmen

Petroleum LandmenA petroleum landman deals with the acquisition, maintenance development and negotiations of the property rights used in the search for and production of natural resources.  The landman purchases the rights necessary to explore for and produce oil, gas and other minerals. The rights may be acquired in the form of leases, outright purchases of real property or through other contractual agreements.  He is responsible to see that all pertinent data and obligations are obtained and defined. This involves developing, revising and maintaining a record system which allows the company to track its obligations, such as the payment of rentals, taxes and royalties.  The landman obtains a detailed title analysis of the land.  Petroleum landmen are also involved in securing environmental clearances, pipeline right-of-way, and settling damages with the surface owner prior to drilling. The landman negotiates the various agreements between companies and/or individuals.  Landmen are also involved in the environmental sector in environmental compliance and in conducting environmental site assessments.
While their title may be land
men, there are many women employed in this field. 

Please see the following resources to learn more about petroleum landmen: 

bullet

American Association of Professional Landmen

bullet

Canadian Association of Professional Landmen

bullet

Network of Petroleum Landmen

bullet

Petroleum Industry Careers - Society of Petroleum Engineers

Go to Top of Page


Petroleum Attorney 

Petroleum AttorneyPetroleum attorneys must deal with a variety of state, Federal and international regulations that affect how the international oil and business is conducted.  Contracts to lease land for drilling vary from state to state.  Lawyers are involved with tax payments to government entities including severance, royalty, sales and income taxes.  Internationally, attorneys oversee the preparation of production sharing agreements with foreign governments.  Environmental regulations keep many industry attorneys busy in ensuring compliance with existing legislation and evaluating the company's exposure to proposed regulations.  Petroleum attorneys must deal with lawsuits over environmental damages from disasters such as tanker accidents and pipeline breaks.  

Most lawyers are employed in crude petroleum, natural gas and natural gas liquids (645), petroleum refining (367), and oil and gas field services (95).  These numbers do not reflect outside counsel who are retained by companies.  

Please see the following resources to learn more about petroleum attorneys: 

bullet

The Canadian Petroleum Law Foundation

bullet

Institute for Energy Law

bullet

American Bar Association

Go to Top of Page


Petroleum Accountants

Petroleum AccountantAs with all businesses, the oil and gas industry needs people "to keep score" and prepare the required tax and investor documents.  The complexities of the upstream oil and gas require knowledge beyond that found in new accounting graduates.  Handling the many complexities associated with how costs and reserves are treated makes this specialty unique.  The petroleum accountant must also prepare the financial statements for operating agreements including joint interest billings, taxes, revenue disbursements and royalty payments. Petroleum accountants also audit non-operated joint ventures, prepare financial statements, annual reports and security analysts presentations.

The oil and gas industry employs nearly 11,600 accountants and auditors with 5,704 in crude petroleum, natural gas and natural gas liquids, 1,791 in petroleum and petroleum products, 1,655 in petroleum refining, 928 in oil and gas field services, and 908 in gasoline service stations. These numbers do not include accountants who provide services through the large accounting firms.

Please see the following resources to learn more about petroleum accountants: 

bullet

Council of Petroleum Accounting Societies

bullet

Petroleum Accountants Society of Canada

Go to Top of Page


Human Resources

Human ResourcesThe human resources staff are important in maintaining the necessary manpower and skills for the organization's development.  Perhaps no other support staff are more important and less appreciated than the people in HR.  In an industry that faces the loss of a sizeable portion of its workforce in the next ten years, recruiting and retaining top people are an important priority of this group.  Employment recruiters screen, interview and test applicants. They also may check references and extend job offers. These workers must be thoroughly familiar with the organization and its personnel policies to discuss wages, working conditions, and promotional opportunities with prospective employees. They also must keep informed about equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action guidelines and laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Compensation specialists establish and maintain the firm's pay system and devise ways to ensure competitive pay rates. They may conduct surveys to see how their rates compare with others and to see that the firm's pay scale complies with changing laws and regulations. In addition, compensation specialists often oversee their firm's performance evaluation system, and they may design reward systems such as pay-for-performance plans.

Employee benefits specialists handle the company's employee benefits program, notably its health insurance and pension plans. Pension benefits might include savings and thrift, profit sharing, and stock ownership plans; health benefits may include long-term catastrophic illness insurance and dental insurance. Familiarity with health benefits is a top priority, as more firms struggle to cope with the rising cost of health care for employees and retirees. In addition to health insurance and pension coverage, some firms offer employees life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance, disability insurance, and relatively new benefits designed to meet the needs of a changing work force, such as parental leave, child and elder care, long-term nursing home care insurance, employee assistance and wellness programs, and flexible benefits plans. Benefits managers must keep abreast of changing Federal and State regulations and legislation that may affect employee benefits.

Training specialists plan, organize, and direct a wide range of training activities. Trainers conduct orientation sessions, arrange on-the-job training for employees and organize management development programs. 

Please see the following resources to learn more about human resources:

bullet

Society of Human Resources Management

Go to Top of Page


Information Technology

Information TechnologyInformation technology is critical in all industries. In the oil and gas industry, information technologists provide systems to collect and analyze seismic data, financial information, monitor pipeline operations and retail operations.  In the upstream segment, IT staff collects and interprets seismic data and well logs, supports real time drilling decisions, collects and assembles field production data.  Pipeline operations use IT to control system flow and pressure, minimize product loss and make sure that shippers cargoes are delivered on time and in the correct volume.  At refineries IT specialists design and implement complex information systems to link process control, inventory and financial systems.  At gasoline stations, IT is used to speed billing and convenience store purchases.  They are also responsible for managing the company's intranet and Internet sites and e-mail.

Please see the following resources to learn more about information technology: 

bullet

Information Technology Association of America

bullet

The Association of Information Technology Professionals  

Go to Top of Page


Administrative Assistants

Administrative AssistantsAdministrative assistants encompasses a number primarily clerical jobs that are integral in the operation of all oil and gas companies.  This staff is the glue that keeps the company operating smoothly.  They work within the highly technical infrastructure and its particular jargon to facilitate information exchange; interface with outside vendors; prepare reports and presentations, memos and letters.  The oil and gas industry employs 19,000 people as office clerks, secretaries executive secretaries and administrative assistants. 

Please see the following resources to learn more about administrative assistants: 

bullet

Association of Desk and Derrick Clubs

Go to Top of Page


Oil Drillers and Seismic Crews

Drilling CrewRotary drilling crews usually consist of four or five workers. Rotary drillers supervise the crew and operate machinery that controls drilling speed and pressure. Rotary-rig engine operators are in charge of engines that provide the power for drilling and hoisting. Second in charge, derrick operators work on small platforms high on rigs to help run pipe in and out of well holes and operate the pumps that circulate mud through the pipe. Rotary-driller helpers, also known as roughnecks, guide the lower ends of pipe to well openings and connect pipe joints and drill bits.  Though not necessarily part of the drilling crew, roustabouts, or general laborers, do general oil field maintenance and construction work, such as cleaning tanks and building roads.  

The US upstream industry employs 16,000 derrick operators, 18,00 rotary drill operators, and 41,000 roustabouts.  

Seismic crews collect field data on prospective sites.  They set geophones to record the sound impulses and use heavy equipment to create sonic waves. They process the data in the field to make sure that it is being collected properly. Offshore they work on seismic vessels and help deploy the towed hydrophones to collect the data.

Please see the following resources to learn more about oil drillers and seismic crews: 

bullet

American Association of Drilling Engineers

bullet

Independent Petroleum Association of America

bullet

International Association of Drilling Contractors

bullet

Petroleum Industry Careers - Society of Petroleum Engineers

bullet

Drilling Ahead - Social networking site exclusively for oil & gas professionals

Go to Top of Page


Oil Field Workers

Oil Field WorkersOil field workers are responsible for the operation of oil and gas production operations.  They perform routine maintenance on equipment and recording instruments.  They travel from site to site to make sure that oil and gas production continue in an efficient and safe manner.  

There are approximately 11,000 oil field workers in the US upstream. 

Please see the following resources to learn more about oil field workers: 

bullet

Independent Petroleum Association of America

bullet

Petroleum Industry Careers - SPE

bullet

"Keep that Oil A-Rollin" (Woody Guthrie/Baldwin Hawes)

bullet

"Boomtown Bill" (Woody Guthrie)

bullet

Drilling Ahead - Social networking site exclusively for oil & gas professionals

Go to Top of Page


Pipeline Workers

Pipeline WorkersPumpers and their helpers operate and maintain motors, pumps, and other surface equipment that force oil from wells and regulate the flow, according to a schedule set up by petroleum engineers and production supervisors. In fields where oil flows under natural pressure and does not require pumping, switchers open and close valves to regulate the flow. Gaugers measure and record the flow, taking samples to check quality. Treaters test the oil for water and sediment and remove these impurities by opening a drain or using special equipment.

In most fields, pumping, switching, gauging, and treating operations are automatic. Gas-pumping-station operators tend compressors that raise the pressure of gas for transmission in pipelines. Gas plant operators distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines. 

There are 12,000 gas plant and gas pipeline operators and 35,000 

Please see the following resources to learn more about pipeline workers:

bullet

International Pipe Line & Offshore Contractors Association 

Go to Top of Page


Plant Operators

Plant WorkersChemical equipment operators operate and maintain equipment to control chemical and refining processes.  They are usually responsible for one process in a large chemical plant or refinery.  They monitor the process using complex controls that record temperatures, pressures and flow rates. They may oversee distillation units, reformers, catalytic crackers or plant utilities. 

The US industry employs 71,000 workers in chemical plants and 35,000 in refineries. 

Please see the following resources to learn more about plant operators: 

bullet

Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical & Energy Workers International Union

Go to Top of Page


Roustabouts

There were 51,540 people who worked as roustabouts in May 2011.  Out of this total 39,070 worked in Support Activities for Mining and 7,740 in Oil and Gas Extraction.

Go to Top of Page


Terminal Operators and Truckers

Terminal Operators and TruckersTerminal operators distribute crude oil and refined products to refineries and end-users.  The terminals include racks to load products into trucks,   railroad cars and tankers. The facilities also contain storage tanks.  The operators oversee loading ensuring that the correct products are loaded and shipped to the right locations.  They use computer programs to schedule deliveries and billings.  

Truckers deliver gasoline to service stations, jet fuel to airports, diesel fuel to truck stops, and home heating oil to homes and businesses.    

Go to Top of Page


Service Station Attendants

Service Station AttendantsService station attendants service automobiles, buses, trucks, boats, and other automotive or marine vehicles with fuel, lubricants, and accessories. Collect payment for services and supplies. May lubricate vehicle, change motor oil, install antifreeze, or replace lights or other accessories, such as windshield wiper blades or fan belts. May repair or replace tires. 

The growth of self-service stations has changed the nature of service station attendants from repair and maintenance to check sales clerks.

Approximately 112,000 people work at US gasoline outlets.

Please see the following resources to learn more about service station attendants:

bullet

Petroleum Marketers Association of America

bullet

National Association of Convenience Stores

bullet

Service Station Attendant - Michigan Jobs & Career Portal

Go to Top of Page


Copyright 2000
PetroStrategies, Inc.
All Rights Reserved