How to find a job in the oil and petroleum industry

Finding a job for financial security

The petroleum industry employs in more than 2,000 separate occupations. The types of work range from that of the searching for oil to that of selling to consumers the gasoline, lubricating oil, and chemical products of petroleum.

Occupations Requiring Training and Skill

The men who begine the search for oil, using scientific methods, and instruments, are geologists, and geophysicists, or "earth physicists." The geologists survey the surface of the ground and look for signs that indicate underground formations in which oil deposits might be trapped. Geologists are also present when a well is drilled, to examine cuttings and to record their findings in a log, or history, of the well. The geophysicists use such instruments as the seismograph to gather the measurements for mapping underground rock formations.

Landmen assist in nontechnical exploration by negotiating the lease of possible drilling sites. Scouts gather detailed information on wells which are being drilled in various areas.

When the decision to drill a well is reached, petroleum engineers take over. These specialists recommend the type of drilling equipment to be used. They supervise the drilling and, if oil is found, oversee production from the well. Mechanical, electrical, electronic, civil, and metallurgical engineers are also employed in the petroleum industry.

Crude oil from a new well is analyzed by chemists, who determine how the oil may best be used. Chemists also develop new products and processes and improve existing ones. Hundreds of chemicals have been made from oil.

The chemists' discoveries are turned over to chemical engineers, who determine whether new products or processes can be put to profitable commercial or industrial use. These engineers also design chemical manufacturing plants. Other technical occupations which require less training for employment in the petroleum industry are those of surveyors, drafstment, radio operators, laboratory assistants, and technicians.

Opportunities in the Mechanical Trades

Nearly all the mechanical trades engaged in the handling of tools and materials are employed by the petroleum industry. Some of these jobs have become specialized. Rigbuilders erect the tall derricks that support the strings of tools which are lowered into wells. Driller operate the tools that bore into the ground, often two or three miles deep.

The drillers' helpers are floormen, or roughnecks. Tool dressers keep the drill bit sharp, and enginemen operate the engines that rotate the drill pipe and bit. Tool pushers, or drilling foremen, supervise the operations of one or more drilling rigs. Maintenance men keep the machinery repaired and running; maintenance occupations include those of electricians and machinists. Pipeliners lay the pipelines that transport crude oil and refined petroleum products.

Important work in operation control is performed in oil fields, on pipelines, and in refineries. This work includes responsibility for the proper operation of valves, pumps, and automatic machinery.

Occupations in Sales and Distribution

Service station owners and operators and tank-truck drivers are concerned with the sale and distribution of petroleum and petroleum products. Tank-truck drivers may work either for large companies or for independent oil distributors. Other sales occupations include managerial and administrative jobs in the marketing departments of oil companies. Some salesmen, called sales engineers, are also lubrication, mechanical, or chemical engineers. They frequently serve as consultants to help their customers solve technical problems.

Finance and Administration

The oil industry employs many people who have skills and knowledge in accounting, auditing, banking, credit, taxation, insurance, and office procedures. Tabulating machine operators, typists, and accounting clerks help keep the financial records. Other oil industry specialists make use of data-processing equipment and electronic computers.