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Careers in Oil & Gas

Oil and gas drive world economies

It's literally around us. The lights in your room, your toothbrush, the bus or subway, and even the plastic coffee cup you’re drinking from are all made possible by oil. Oil and gas drive world economies. Their prices can alter the economic prospects of entire countries and a single value fluctuation can have a wide-ranging impact on stock markets worldwide. And when you think of how oil and gas from deep underground into nearly everything around you – including the computer or smartphone you’re reading this article on – you probably think of men in hard hats working on heavy machinery. But in reality, that’s just one aspect of the industry.

The oil and gas industry is comprised of three major sectors, each categorized according to the specific operations that take place in the process of getting oil from the earth to the consumer.

Check out these six examples of careers in the oil and gas industry:
This sector deals with the first step of the process: getting oil and gas out of the ground. Companies involved in the upstream operations search for underground or underwater oil fields, drill exploratory wells and oversee operations to redirect crude oil to the surface.

Land Agents
Before starting the extracting process, oil companies have to make sure that everyone – the landowners, the government and the law – is on board with the plan. Land agents secure land rights on behalf of the company, which involves negotiating agreements with stakeholders (farmers, ranchers, aboriginal groups and the government) and addressing any of their concerns.

Geoscience Professionals
Extracting oil isn’t just about digging holes in the ground – you have to know where to look first. Geoscientists locate possible mineral, geothermal and petroleum deposits by studying the rock formations, soil compositions and topographical identity of the land.

Safety Managers
Safety managers maintain healthy and safe environments for employees, contractors and nearby communities by providing adequate training about hazardous materials, first aid and safety equipment. They develop unique policies to minimize workplace accidents, conduct regular evaluations to ensure compliance and make any necessary improvements to the programs.

Once extracted, the midstream sector takes charge of gathering, storing and transporting the oil and gas from the drilling sites to the refineries. Transmission pipeline companies and firms specializing in the transport of oil and gas are major players in midstream operations.

Pipeline Design Engineer
Pipeline design engineers work alongside project managers to provide reliable and cost-effective plans for pipeline facilities and infrastructure. In addition to personally overseeing assembly and installation, pipeline engineers also supervise an operation team in charge of carrying out the pipe laying procedures and provide technical support during system overhauls and repairs.

Pipeline Control Centre Operator
Using sophisticated computerized equipment, pipeline control center operators monitor the operations of complex pipeline structures, keeping track of oil as it moves through the pipes and controlling product batches as they enter and exit the system. They also ensure the safe and timely delivery of oil products by preventing changes in pipeline pressures or potential leaks in the pipes’ infrastructure.

Known as the retail sector of the industry, downstream operations are involved in refining crude oil into petroleum products for public consumption, as well as distributing, marketing and selling them to customers. This sector includes oil refineries, gas processing plants, petroleum product distribution companies, and retail outlets like service stations.

Petrochemical Engineer
Using scientific and mathematical principles, petrochemical engineers develop formulas that break down complex molecules in oil. This process allows them to derive simpler components which form the basis for a wide range of consumer products, such as lubricating oils, polymers, plastics, synthetic rubber and synthetic fibers.