Jobs at Oil and Natural Gas Refineries
Once crude oil has been located and brought to the surface, it will usually be delivered to a refinery via a pipeline, although sometimes it is transported by barge or tanker ship. Crude oil is sold in barrels and each one contains 42 U.S. gallons, which comes to approximately 44 gallons of petroleum product. Processing it increases the volume of oil by different degrees, depending on the final product.
Of all the crude oil processed in the U.S., about half of it goes to gasoline to power our cars and planes. Roughly 25 percent is turned into diesel fuel, and the other 25 percent becomes a wide variety of products from asphalt to pave the streets to gases that heat and cool homes. Refineries are labeled depending on what type of refining is done at the facility. Different types of refineries include topping, hydro-skimming, distillation, conversion, treatment and complex. Regardless of the size or type of operation, it takes many employees to get these refineries running around the clock. Some refineries make more than just one product.
Did You Know? Crude oil that has not been processed is not really useful because its lighter elements can be hazardous as they can form explosive vapors. But once refined, they can be used for many things.
Working at a Refinery
Oil refineries around the world require hardworking individuals to make the plants operate smoothly. Although most refinery jobs are technical in nature, there are also jobs like janitors, food service staff, administrative and management positions, analytical specialists and more. Some refineries are quite remote, and this can often lead to increased benefits and more compensation for those who work in them. The work schedules are usually quite flexible and often jobs include incentive packages with bonuses and other perks. The owners of refineries don't want to hire people just for the short term, so they offer great incentives for people to enter the field and stay for decades.
An apprenticeship is the perfect start to a career in oil and gas when you have no previous experience or any type of advanced degree. Apprenticeships are considered entry-level positions and individuals who take them will be trained on the job. After some experience, a person can become a type of journeymen doing welding, pipe fitting and millwrighting. The next step up is to become a foreman. Refineries generally like to hire internally for these positions by promoting the hard work of journeymen.
Foremen oversee projects, schedules and staffing. At the top rung of the refinery jobs are skilled workers who have degrees, such as engineers. They tackle the technical aspects of running the refinery such as planning, evaluation, safety and development.
Refineries and The Future
There are many oil refineries in almost every country of the world, and these refineries are in constant need of hardworking individuals to join their team of personnel. Refineries operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and employ people for both entry-level positions and jobs that require highly skilled individuals - it takes thousands of people to make a refinery run successfully. There are always advancements being made that change the way refineries work. and all that new technology serves to add more jobs.
Many of the top oil and gas companies own refineries all over the globe and employ hundreds of thousands of people. Most of these big companies offer training courses for their employees in order to ensure that they are up-to-date on all current advancements and technologies in the industry. This allows them to retain highly qualified individuals that not only perform well today, but are prepared for the future, as well. As the industry advances, the refineries must maintain qualified and capable people to run them effectively.
Did You Know? The largest five oil refiners in the United States are ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, Valero and Royal Dutch Shell. They control 56.3 percent of domestic oil refinery capacity, and the top ten companies control 83 percent.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the oil and gas industry in the U.S. and on a global scale, we'll take a look at job vacancies - how to find them, how to apply for them and more.
Refinery Jobs Overview
- Refineries take crude oil and make products that we use every day of our lives.
- About 50 percent of all crude oil is processed into gasoline that fuels cars and planes.
- Entry-level positions require no experience and allow a worker to get promoted to better paying jobs after some work experience.
- Advanced degrees like engineering allow individuals to enter the workforce with little to no experience.
- Most large refineries are owned by major gasoline companies that train their employees to keep up with advancements for the future