Crude Oil Industry Offers Sophisticated Career Choices
The U.S. crude oil industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years, creating jobs and economic opportunity for thousands of Americans. The crude oil industry has jobs at a variety of levels, from blue collar workers to skilled technicians working with hydrometers, oil thieves, and other lab supplies in the field or a research facility. Individuals with a strong interest in science, who are interested in working in a challenging, dynamic industry, have many opportunities available in the crude oil industry.
Oil’s American Renaissance
After decades of stagnation and irrelevance, oil is back in the U.S. Spurred by new extraction technologies, geopolitical factors increasing worldwide prices and other economic factors, the U.S. crude oil industry expanded rapidly in the late 00s and early teens. Prices have leveled off in recent years, signaling a retrenchment, but over the medium to long term, economists predict a robust future for the domestic crude industry.
Oil production in the U.S. has risen greatly in the past decade, thanks to new resource discoveries as well as technology, making hard-to-get crude more obtainable. According to Reuters, crude oil production rose 9,000 barrels per day to 9.701 million barrels per day in April 2015, the highest level of domestic production since 1971. Thanks to increased domestic production and better fuel economy standards, U.S. imports of foreign oil have shrunk to their lowest levels in decades.
The increase in domestic production has led to an increase in jobs in the oil industry. According to Forbes Magazine, direct employment in the oil and gas industry grew 40 percent between 2007 and 2013. There is a great diversity in professions offered by oil – the industry employs derrick hands and roustabouts, as well as accountants and geologists.
The oil industry has slowed down somewhat, as prices have dropped in recent months. Economic projections still see a vibrant future ahead for the industry and strong job growth. Motivated individuals with the drive and talent to succeed in a competitive, knowledge-driven, and sometimes dangerous field have many career paths and opportunities available.
Top In-Demand Oil Jobs
- Measure-While-Drilling Field Engineer – These engineers take readings in the field using instruments like hydrometers, thermometers, and other lab supplies during the process of oil drilling. MWD Field Engineers record a lot of data and check its quality, so precise attention to detail is required. These professionals also travel quite often and work varying hours.
The job typically pays between $63,000 and $80,000. Most MWD field engineers have a bachelor’s degree in engineering or science. Lead engineers will typically have several years’ experience.
- Geologist – Geology is the fundamental science behind oil drilling and extraction. That’s why geologists remain essential to the industry. Geologists use a variety of sensitive equipment and lab supplies to determine what type of rocks and earth oil industry professionals will need to bore through to obtain oil. They’re also essential to ensuring safe hydraulic fracturing.
Geologists working for the oil industry can earn lucrative compensation. The average pay for an experienced geologist is in excess of $153,000. Being a geologist for an oil company is a high pressure occupation. Oil companies have millions at stake on drilling for wells, so geologists’ findings need to be spot-on.
Oil industry geologists need a bachelor’s degree in geology, and professionals with a master’s or better have greater career opportunities open to them.
- Mechanical Engineer –Mechanical engineers design, test, and build the devices used by the oil industry. New devices or improved devices can save oil companies substantial sums, so these companies are always on the lookout for top talent in the field. The median salary for a mechanical engineer is more than $78,000. Bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering or related sciences are typically required.
- Welder – Welders are a critical component of the oil industry. Welders help repair and maintain rigs, and are essential to the safe and efficient operation of these devices. Welding requires good hand and eye coordination, and specialized technical skills. Ambitious individuals can quickly earn the certification they need to work as welders in the oil industry, often completing training from a community college or vocational program in two years or less.
Welders are in high demand, as the work force in this field is older, and many welders are close to retirement. Average salaries range from $18 to $28 per hour, but, in many cases, welders can earn much more if they’re willing to travel and work in challenging conditions. It’s a job that is rough on the body – welders will need to be able to handle crawling, crouching, and heavy lifting.
- Petroleum Engineers – Petroleum engineers find the most efficient, safe, and environmentally sound methods of extracting oil and gas. They also analyze older wells to determine whether more oil or gas can be extracted. These engineers use a variety of technology and lab supplies in their work to extract oil and gas in the most profitable manner possible.
This job typically requires a bachelor’s or master’s degree in chemical or mechanical engineering. Median pay is around $144,000, and jobs in this field are expected to grow by 26 percent between 2012 and 2022.
- Derrick Hand – Derrick hands handle the tough, physical labor on drill sites, but they are well-compensated for their efforts. Derrick hands keep track of drilling fluid, maintain pumps and guide drill pipes, and a variety of other tasks on an oil rig. Currently, there is a lot of opportunity in this entry level position, as many current derrick hands are reaching retirement age. Derrick hands on average make about $69,000 per year.
Oil industry professionals need high quality, precision instruments that they can trust. BVA Scientific provides scientific laboratory equipment and supplies to a variety of industries throughout the U.S. The oil industry is a special focus of BVA Scientific’s business, and the company carries many difficult-to-find items such as ASTM hydrometers, centrifuge tubes, wood back thermometers, and oil thieves. BVA Scientific representatives have years of experience in the lab supply business, and can help clients set up labs and keep them stocked with a steady stream of needed supplies.