There are a wide variety of different gas and oil industry jobs, from unskilled laborers to highly educated scientists. Each phase of the exploration, extraction, refining, and distribution process has a different set of jobs. Oil exploration is typically performed by scientists who do land surveys and examine samples to determine if there are economically extractable hydrocarbons in an area. The extraction phase includes both skilled and unskilled labor in addition to engineers and other positions that require significant amounts of education. Other gas and oil industry jobs relate to the refining process and distribution systems.
The first category of gas and oil industry jobs are related to hydrocarbon exploration. Scientists, such as geologists and geophysicists, typically perform this type of work. These highly trained scientists typically use seismic data to determine which areas are likely to hold stores of oil or natural gas.
Geologists known as mud loggers are also employed during exploratory drilling to examine the strata removed from new wells. Careful examination of these cuttings can sometimes reveal the presence of hydrocarbons. Reservoir engineers can also be employed to design wells and optimize drill sites at this point.
During the drilling phase, many other gas and oil industry jobs can come into play. Unskilled laborers who assist in the drilling process are typically known as roustabouts. These individuals can assist more skilled laborers and often perform various maintenance operations around drill sites. The skilled laborers are often known as roughnecks, and they typically perform various tasks that relate to the drilling process. This process is often overseen by an individual known as a driller, and involves various other highly skilled manual labor jobs.
Offshore gas and oil industry jobs include divers and the various crew members required to operate vessels and stationary rigs. Divers are often hired to repair broken equipment and can be based off boats or oil rigs. Boats that are used to deliver divers to work sites require various skilled crew positions, and oil rigs also have a variety of support staff. Engineers are typically employed to design oil rigs and mobile drilling platforms, though they can also be employed to plan and oversee particular operations.
Gas and oil industry jobs at refineries tend to involve skilled labor, knowledge of a trade, or an engineering degree. The job of a refinery operator is to monitor the various equipment and oversee the starting and stopping of refinery processes. Most refineries also employ a variety of instrument technicians, electricians, and maintenance mechanics. Other positions include chemical, electronic, and mechanical engineers.