What Types of Careers Can I Have in the Oil and Gas Industry?

March 24, 2021

U.S. Oil and Gas Employment Statistics

In 2019, 6.8 million Americans had jobs in the energy sector, according to the 2020 U.S. Energy and Employment Report. That’s almost five out of every hundred people in the workforce and an increase of about 2 percent over the year before—and employers are still hiring. In the fuels category, oil and natural gas added more than 18,000 new jobs in 2019 and anticipated adding more in 2020. What’s all that mean? Employers are hungry for oil and gas workers. Nearly 85 percent of employers surveyed reported that human resources departments are struggling to find qualified workers. These employers cited lack of training as a top reason. Enter TOP Energy oil and gas training courses.

Why You Should Work in the Oil and Gas Industry

Oil and gas companies are hiring and many are now diversified energy companies. Oil and gas jobs pay well, come in a variety of shapes and sizes and locations, and are interesting. Because of constant technological advancements, workers in the oil and gas sector are learning all the time — developing new skills, navigating the ever-changing updates, and growing their knowledge to stay current. If you have a passion for learning, the oil and gas industry is for you, and TOP Energy Training can help.

What Kind of Jobs Are in the Oil and Gas Industry?

TOP Energy focuses on “upstream” job functions and careers. The oil and gas industry is divided into three major sectors: upstream, midstream and downstream. The upstream sector includes the part of the industry described as “exploration and production” or “E & P”. Activities include searching for potential oil and natural gas fields, drilling wells, and operating the wells to recover and bring the oil or natural gas to the surface. Job seekers with a variety of career goals related to the upstream sector would benefit from capabilities that TOP curriculum can help develop. Even those working within midstream and downstream sectors may wish to better understand the ‘bigger picture’ of the industry, and thus they are also candidates for our courses.

The growing and exciting oil and gas sector needs professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds, skills, and interests. The industry offers opportunities both for people who like the predictability of a nine-to-five and for those who prefer hands-on, outdoors work. The sector welcomes a diversity of people — people who like to move and shake as well as introverts who work best in a room by themselves. Workers with advanced degrees can find careers here, and so can talented, trade-oriented people with less formal education. What exactly do those jobs look like?

Reservoir engineer: Use fluid science and geology to analyze oil and gas reservoirs. Reservoir engineers help forecast the financial potential of a given reservoir by analyzing the amounts and behavior of crude oil, natural gas, and water in rock formations.

Drilling engineer: Ensure safe and economic drilling. Drilling engineers design well-drilling procedures in such a way as to minimize cost and maximize output without compromising worker safety or environmental integrity.

Exploration geologist: Search for oil or gas in rock formations. Exploration geologists may live and work outdoors, traveling, hiking, exploring nature, and handling specialized equipment. They may work in an office studying photographs or images created by satellites or other remote-sensing instruments to determine likely hydrocarbon deposits. They use their expert understanding of geology and environmental science to improve affordable access to energy.

Oil and gas attorney: Lawyers who work in the oil and gas sector deal with property and mineral rights. Who owns the land below which oil and gas exist? Who owns the right to mine (drill) for it? What conditions are required for extraction? Attorneys in this field help sort out permitting, leasing, property boundaries, and split estates (when property owners sell the oil and gas rights to their land but keep the land itself).

Oil and gas regulatory inspector: Government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, and countless state, provincial, and regional agencies employ inspectors to ensure compliance with legislation regarding land usage. They monitor the environmental impact of drilling operations. They work to keep drilling sites safe for workers, community members, and the environment.

Mudlogger: Mudloggers—an apt name for a hands-on-the-earth job—collect samples of rock to describe and record it. By examining samples with binocular microscopes and via thin-section analysis, they interpret the geology of a site. Their work helps drilling engineers make decisions about how fast and how deep to drill.

Oil and gas governmental affairs: Oil and gas regulations change quickly, and oil and gas extraction companies have an interest in monitoring, as well as attempting to influence, those changes. Professionals in governmental affairs understand the legislative environment. They advise legislators on the impact of proposed rule changes, and they advise oil and gas executives on regulations.

Oil and gas accountant: As with accountants in other industries, those in oil and gas keep financial records and prepare financial statements. They may create and track budgets, handle tax calculations, or maintain a company balance sheet. 

Carbon and sustainability manager: Sustainability is so critical to the world that much of the industry has adopted the sustainability goals from the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Aligning with these goals leads to greater efficiencies, cost savings and competitiveness, and enhanced social license to operate. For example, the oil and gas industry can be a key part of the solution to address climate change through the management of mitigation technologies such as carbon capture, utilization, and storage.

Considering Employment in The Oil and Gas Industry? Start with TOP Energy Training

Once you have exhausted Google’s search results in learning more about each of these careers, you can take a deep dive with TOP Energy Training courses to learn more and see what most interests you.

Our course on Petroleum Geology is a great place to start learning about exploration geologist or reservoir engineering careers, for example. The course offers lessons on the global energy marketplace, the history of extraction, hydrocarbons and petroleum, petroleum systems, and hydrocarbon exploration.

If you’re wondering about legal careers in oil and gas, our Petroleum Geology course can help you with its lesson on leasing and permitting.

The Petroleum Engineering & Technology course has more specifics for those considering drilling engineer or mudlogger as a career. The course presents the anatomy of a drill site, the drilling process, potential drilling problems, evaluating geological formations, and topics related to stimulation, production, decommissioning, and reclamation. 

Environmental specialists involved in the oil and gas industry will find relevant content in our Environmental Stewardship course, with topics focused on the water within the energy sector in general, as well as in the oil and gas sector specifically. Additional topics cover other environmental considerations, such as methane emissions, drill cuttings, naturally occurring radioactive materials, and other areas.

People interested in inspection, sustainability, or governmental affairs careers will find answers to their questions within the Emerging Trends course, which covers underground injection, carbon capture utilization and storage, induced seismicity, and subsurface containment. 
Government affairs specialists and regulatory personnel would find useful skills and knowledge in the Effective Communications course, which teaches about rhetorical strategies, social networks, and navigating difficult situations.

For any questions or to get more information on our courses, contact TOP Energy Training today or complete the form below!

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