Is Oil & Gas Production A Good Career Path? [Complete Guide]

Pursuing an oil or gas production occupation can lead to a successful and satisfying career. Not only can you expect a better-than-average wage, but you also have access to diverging career opportunities with the likelihood of working abroad. To thrive in the oil and gas field, obtaining relevant experience, academic qualifications, and certification is the initial step to getting a job in this industry. The availability of job vacancies in this arena is ideal for people passionate about working with their hands.

1. What Does A Career In Oil And Gas Production Entail? 

Due to technological advancement and a need to consistently navigate the ever-changing industry, you must keep nurturing your skills. If you are passionate about oil or gas production, this industry provides an excellent career path with many diverging career specializations. The oil industry has three major sectors:

  • Upstream
  • Midstream
  • Downstream

Upstream refers to the exploration and production activities that include drilling wells, searching for potential natural gas fields and oil, and managing wells to bring natural gas or oil to the surface. Success in the oil and gas sector needs expertise in varied backgrounds, skills, and interests.

2. Which Job Opportunities Are Available In Oil And Gas Production? 

Drilling Engineer 

A drilling engineer designs drilling processes in a way that minimizes cost but capitalizes on output. They work without compromising on safety or environmental degradation. A drilling engineer plans, develop, and supervises the operations necessary for drilling gas and oil wells.

Responsibilities Of A Drill Engineer 

  • Designs Equipment,
  • Develops Drilling Programmes,
  • Collects Relevant Data,
  • Carrying Out On-Site Engineering Analysis,
  • Prepares Data Sheets,
  • Monitoring Daily Operations,
  • Tracking Expenditures And Recommending Cost-Effective Adjustments,
  • Liaising With Appropriate Vendors, Contractors, And Company Suppliers,
  • Monitoring Processes To Guarantee Safety.

Energy Engineer 

An energy engineer participates in producing energy through natural resources such as extracting oils or gas, biofuels, or other fuels like hydro, solar, and wind power. As an energy engineer, your primary role will be to develop efficient, clean, innovative ways to supply energy.

Responsibilities Of An Energy Engineer

  • Converting, Conveying, And Delivering Helpful Energy To Meet Electricity Demands,
  • Improving Existing Work Processes,
  • Design, Develop And Construct Renewable Energy Technologies,
  • Designing And Testing Equipment,
  • Investigating And Developing New Ways Of Generating Energy To Reduce Emissions From Fossil Fuels To Reduce Environmental Degradation.
  • Carryout Assessments And Energy Studies,
  • Prepare Work Schedules, Feasibility Studies, And Cost Estimates,
  • Negotiate Service Agreements

Engineering Geologist 

An engineering geologist conducts technical analysis of rocks, soil, underground water, and natural conditions to determine the applicability of a site for construction or development. An engineering geologist also conducts risk assessments of geological hazards, works as an adviser, and analyzes locations to identify geological factors and how they affect production.

Responsibilities Of An Engineering Geologist 

  • Plan Detailed Field Assessments By Drilling And Analyzing Bedrock Samples,
  • Conduct Site Analysis,
  • Develop Designs To Meet Environment-Friendly Regulations,
  • Consult And Examine Aerial Photography And Geological Maps To Decide On Site Selection,
  • Compile Data And Generate Reports,
  • Oversee Progress On Specific Contracts,
  • Advise And Make Recommendations On The Proposed Site,
  • Manage Staff Or Other Professionals Like Geotechnical Engineers, Consultants And Contractors.

Mudlogger 

Mudloggers collect samples from rocks to examine, analyze and record findings. They use binocular microscopes to interpret the geology of a site and support drilling engineers in making informed decisions on how deep to drill or the speed with which to do it.

Responsibilities Of A Mudlogger 

  • Monitor And Record Drilling Activities,
  • Provide Valuable Information To The Drilling Team,
  • Contribute To Decisions About Efficiency And Placement Of Wells,
  • Use Lab Equipment, Ultraviolet Fluorescence, And Thin-Section Analysis To Create Mud Logs That Show a Geological Record Of The Site You Are Drilling,
  • Collect Accurate Samples At Appropriate Intervals And Record Any Findings,
  • Monitor Computer Recordings During The Drilling Process,
  • Interpret Information And Redirect Information Back To The Data Engineer And Drilling Team
  • Provide Well-Documented Reports
  • Undertake On-Site Maintenance

Other Career Options In The Oil And Gas Industry Include 

Roustabout 

Roustabouts engage in manual labor such as cleaning and maintaining equipment. It is an entry-level position, and if you’re passionate about it, you can start as a roustabout, work hard and get a promotion, and attain success. Despite it being an entry-level position, the pay is quite good, as it beats the average minimum wage.

Petroleum Engineer 

Petroleum engineers develop oil and gas plans to help extract deposits deep below the surface. These experts create workable extraction strategies and also make improvements to existing methods. They make a lot of money and are responsible for critical duties like creating computer models. These models help find the most appropriate form of extracting oil or gas. It also helps in overseeing drilling operations and testing new equipment.   

Oil And Gas Regulatory Inspector 

An oil and gas regulatory inspector works with government authorities to ensure compliance with legislation regarding land usage. They monitor the environmental impact of drilling activities to guarantee safety for the workforce, environment, and those residing around.

Oil And Gas Attorney 

An attorney specializing in oil and gas deals with property or mineral rights, property boundaries, leasing, and permits.  

Exploration Geologist 

An exploration geologist’s role is to search for oil or gas in rock formations. These experts mainly live and work outdoors. They travel, hike, and explore nature using specialized equipment. They study satellite images using sophisticated sensing instruments to examine hydrocarbon deposits, utilize their knowledge to understand geology and practice environmental science to ensure affordable access to energy.

Carbon And Sustainability Manager 

A carbon and sustainability manager helps companies align with set goals to improve efficiency and minimize costs or competition while helping the company adhere to regulations.

Oil And Gas Governmental Affairs 

Oil and gas extraction companies attempt to alter changes or help to monitor changes in gas and oil extraction. The regulations change quickly, so professionals in the sector offer expert advice and recommendations.

Reservoir Engineer 

A reservoir engineer utilizes fluid science and geology to analyze gas and oil reservoirs. These engineers help forecast the financial potential of a reservoir by analyzing the behavior and quantity of unrefined oil, natural gas, and water in rock formations.

Oil And Gas Accountant 

Oil and gas accountants in this area play a similar role to accountants in other sectors. They maintain financial records, create budgets, prepare statements, track financial spending, file taxes, and maintain the company’s balance sheets.

Where To Begin If You’re Considering A Career In The Oil And Gas Industry

You can start by conducting Google searches to learn more about the available career options that suit you and what they offer. You’ll find that each career path takes you deeper with relevant training courses to help you specialize and learn more.

If you settle for petroleum geology, you’ll learn about exploration geology or reservoir engineering. Likewise, if you’re interest lies in the environment and related studies, you can specialize in courses focusing on the water within the energy sector or oil and gas. Other subtopics include a lesson in naturally occurring radioactive materials, methane emissions, drill cutting, and other environmental deliberations.

The courses you’ll learn will offer knowledge in global energy, the history of extraction, hydrocarbons, and petroleum, and their systems and hydrocarbon exploration. It also has a unit in leasing to help you understand legal jargon.

If you’re into drilling engineering or desire a career as a mudlogger, there are topics related to production, stimulation, reclamation, and decommissioning that can benefit you. There are also more specific courses like the drilling process, navigating potential problems, and evaluating geological formations.

The oil and gas regulatory inspection sector will offer interested learners courses in carbon capture utilization, storage, underground injection, subsurface containment, and seismicity. Likewise, oil and gas government affairs specialists would greatly benefit from practical communication courses that teach more about rhetoric strategies and social networks or offer tips on problem-solving skills.

What Are The Pros Of Working In The Oil And Gas Industry? 

  • The Oil And Gas Industry Tends To Be Highly Lucrative And Boasts High Profits. The Evidence Is That Most Professionals In This Sector Earn High Wages.
  • Oil And Gas Is An Industry Not Many Are Willing To Enter, Making It Highly Rewarding With Minimal Competition.
  • The Oil And Gas Industry Is Ever-Changing, Creating Plenty Of Career Growth Opportunities.
  • The Expertise Gained Can Be Applied To Multiple Sectors Meaning That An Expert Can Work In Numerous Fields. For Instance, An Engineer Can Work In Construction Or Manufacturing, While a Geologist Can Work In Mining.
  • If You’re Passionate About Travelling, Then a Career In Oil And Gas Comes With Plenty Of Travel Opportunities.
  • There’s Improvement In Safety Procedures Which Have Helped In Minimizing Worksite Injuries.
  • The Industry Pays More Than Other Careers Because Of The Existing Risks And Difficulties. Oil And Gas Is a Booming Industry Lacking Skilled Labor, So Rewarding High Wages Help Lure Fresh Talent.
  • Most Career Options In Oil And Gas Don’t Prioritize Formal Education As a Qualification. Nonetheless, There Are Countless Openings For Campus Graduates. If You Get a Chance As An Entry-Level Unskilled Laborer, You Can Work Your Way Up And Attain Great Success.

Drawbacks Of Working In Oil And Gas

There are several setbacks in working in the oil and gas industry. In fact, for many people, these setbacks aren’t worth the effort, which is why this industry has a massive staffing shortage. Here is a sample of setbacks associated with this field.

  • The Oil And Gas Industry May Not Suit You If You Are An Environmental Crusader. If You Are Concerned About Climate Change, Working In This Industry May Not Auger Well For You As You’Ll Be Directly Contributing To The Global Warming Challenge.
  • Oil And Gas Production Is Volatile, Affecting Pricing, And Constantly Fluctuating. These Instabilities Make It Difficult To Plan For The Future. It Also Leads To Job Losses. The First Thing Oil Companies Do Is Lay Off Workers When Prices Drop. The Chances Of Finding Yourself In The Cold Without a Job Are High. Getting Another Job Is Difficult, Especially If You Lack Connections In The Industry.
  • There Is Consistent Exposure To Toxic Chemicals, Which Can Pose a Health Hazard As You Risk Ailing From Respiratory Ailments As a Result Of Prolonged Exposure.
  • Working Conditions In The Oil And Gas Industry Are Often Harsh. You May Have To Operate Under Harsh Weather Patterns.
  • Workers In Oil And Gas Manufacturing Plants Are At Risk Of Becoming Victims Of Fires Or Explosions.
  • The Working Environment Is Quite Challenging. You’ll Have To Work For Long Hours Under Difficult And Risky Conditions. Adjusting To These Harsh Conditions Can Be Pretty Tough. You’ll Have To Spend Prolonged Periods Away From Home, Which Is Tricky, Especially If You Have a Family.
  • It’s Challenging To Make Long-Term Projections On These Jobs Due To The Frequent Changes In Energy Production. Workplace Instability Levels Are High Due To Green Technology And Other Uncontrollable Factors.

Skills And Qualifications For The Oil And Gas Job Markets

Once you decide on the career path you want to take, you should apply for a structured graduate program. You will need academic qualifications to help you enter the job market. Depending on the career specialty you select, specific requirements will determine your course outline. These curricula include business management, digital technology, commercial analysis, and marketing units.

To gain acceptance, you’ll need your high school diploma. Make sure you pass in maths, English, and sciences, including physics and chemistry, to increase your chances of making the cut. The oil and gas field offers numerous opportunities for high school graduates. While formal high school education is beneficial, it isn’t a requirement. However, certifications, internships, or other on-the-job training skills are necessary before becoming eligible for a promotion.

Below we share some skills that will help you understand and mitigate the current changes in the oil and gas industry. With these skills, you’ll also overcome the many frustrating job searches and the challenges arising from poor working conditions. Also, these skills will help you package yourself better to beat the competition when applying for jobs.

Excellent Communication Skills 

Oil and gas industries need frequent communication and collaboration between staff and management. Industry leaders should analyze data to provide employees with clear directives. Effective communication within the industry is not only obligatory but essential to productivity and success.

1. Critical Thinking Skills 

As the oil and gas industry adopts higher levels of technology to help alleviate the ever-increasing setbacks and challenges, the ability to offer solutions or think critically is essential in high demand. If you are an expert in this industry, you must pinpoint problems and find practical solutions to solve them.

2. Team Player 

Most projects within the oil and gas industry need collaboration and input of multiple skills. Whether collaborating on a task, or engaging teams in brainstorming sessions to solve setbacks, there must be goodwill and participation from each individual to complete projects.  

3. Adaptability

Having the resilience to adapt to the ever-changing harsh working conditions is an important aspect that will ensure your survival and success in the industry. Deviations appear from unforeseen setbacks, new challenges, problems arising, or unexpected changes in geopolitics. It would help if you exhibited flexibility and agility as you may sometimes have to spend months on-site or find mechanisms for dealing with the many arising industry uncertainties.  

4. Project Management Skills 

In the current oil and gas industry, managing the complexities of critical projects has never been more necessary. Stakeholders seek an increase in return on investment, a decrease in expenditure, minimized risk involvements, and greater transparency in the management of projects. Successful companies exhibit excellent project management skills that help attract key industry investors willing to partner financially or offer their expertise.

5. Leadership 

Numerous challenges keep cropping up within the oil and gas industries. For companies to effectively handle downturns in the industry, health or safety risks, and labor force challenges, there has to be excellent leadership in place to mitigate all these setbacks.

6. Conflict Management 

Regardless of how professional teams try to keep relationships, there is bound to be conflict or dispute arising from time to time. Your capability to assert yourself, come up with compromises, and look out for the best interests of all the parties involved in a dispute is precious.

7. Time Management 

Time management is essential to help you excel in this industry. The ability to multitask while working under intense pressure or having the skills to prioritize tasks is highly valued. Experts usually handle multiple projects and work on tasks simultaneously, so if you can manage that, you’re on your way to more significant opportunities in your career.  

Conclusion 

The oil and gas industry is a fantastic choice for people looking for high-paying jobs. While the rewards are lucrative, the industry is pretty unstable, so if you’re looking for long-term job opportunities, it is better to consider another alternative. Still, it is good to think about your goals to see if they align with the requirements of the oil and gas industry before giving them a try. Remember, there are many risks involved, so make sure to have a second alternative just in case you need it later.