What is a Petroleum Pump System Operator?

Petroleum, or oil, has been utilized since prehistoric times to provide warmth and light, in warfare, and for medicinal purposes. It is an essential resource which is used daily in most parts of the world. A petroleum pump system operator oversees petroleum refining and processing. Both the manifold and the pumping system will be controlled, governing the circulation of liquid materials through a refinery.

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What does a Petroleum Pump System Operator do?

A petroleum pump system operator signals other workers to operate pumps, open and close valves, and check temperatures, pressures, and flow rates. Signals are by phone or radio. Such a worker records operational data, such as products and quantities pumped, timings, gauging results, and stocks used. Control rooms are highly automated. This kind of operator receives schedules and instructions from the dispatcher. They will synchronize operations with other pump houses to make the flow of products continuous and to minimize contamination. This worker will liaise with technical personnel to research and resolve problems. Research will often take the form of inspecting equipment, materials, and structures. Computers and other means will be used to direct processes. Events will have to be monitored, and immediate action will often be required. Electrical and mechanical equipment will have to be maintained. Information will be recorded in written or electromagnetic form.

Petroleum pump system operators will use handwheels to open line valves and direct the flow of products. Another key aspect of the job is starting the batteries of pumps and observing pressure meters and flowmeters. Controls will have to be moved to exact positions. Objects will be installed and moved. There will be considerable use of the arms and legs, with much stooping, walking, balancing, lifting, and climbing, so agility is required.

What does it take to be a Petroleum Pump System Operator?

Anyone wishing to become a petroleum pump system operator will have to have completed high school. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 58 percent of petroleum pump system operators had no more than high school education, while 38 percent had a college education, and 5 percent had at least a bachelor's degree. Apprenticeships are available, but otherwise it is likely that years of experience will be required.

The refining of oil relies on people with a wide range of skills. A petroleum pump system operator will control the operations of equipment and systems, watch dials, gauges, or other indicators, repair machines and systems using tools provided, and adjust actions in relation to those of other people. Hence, mechanical aptitude is required. They also must coordinate shutdowns.

Information will have to be conveyed verbally in a clear manner. Items will have to be arranged according to set rules. Actions will be repeated. The worker will have to read and understand ideas given in writing, which includes lab analysis reports. They must understand the designs, uses, and maintenance of machines. Strong mathematical skills are necessary, including arithmetic, statistics, calculus, geometry, and algebra. A person would have to be detail oriented to do this job. Strong vision would be advantageous. Units might be metric or imperial. It will be necessary to work in all weather conditions and times of day.

What is the workplace of a Petroleum Pump System Operator like?

An oil refinery is a facility where crude oil is broken down and then recombined into such products as gasoline and jet fuel, and so it is a massive maze of pipelines and chambers. A petroleum pump system operator works at a petroleum refinery or a large ship pumping station. It is a very popular job. A workplace can be evaluated by obtaining turnover rates and working hours. It is best to dress as other employees do. A website recently named the job of petroleum pump system operators as one of the 10 best jobs in Louisiana.

How much does a Petroleum Pump System Operator earn?

Some of the most well paid jobs in the world are found in oil refineries. A petroleum pump system operator is paid an average of $59,760 per year. Salaries have increased by an average of 23 percent since 2004. The highest salaries are in manufacturing ($62,380), utilities ($57,590), and transportation and warehousing ($57,260) while the lowest are in management ($43,270), public administration ($49,840), and wholesale trade ($52,250). Geographically, the highest salaries in the United States for this job are in Alaska. Using data supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Forbes magazine determined that the job of petroleum pump system operators was the fifth best paid blue collar job, coming in behind elevator installers and repairers, powerhouse, substation and relay repairers, transportation inspectors, and oil and gas rotary drill operators.

In the United States, the highest paid 10 percent of petroleum pump system operators receive a salary of $81,360. There would be a requirement for petroleum pump system operators in any country where petroleum is produced. There are currently a number of positions in Nigeria and recruitment by J.K. Randle Consultancy was described as "massive." The United States produces 7,513,000 barrels of oil and petroleum by-products per day, so the demand for petroleum pump system operators is unceasing and thousands more will be hired in the United States by 2016. The rising price of oil drives exploration and production as well.

Learn more about being a Petroleum Pump System Operator

Employment Stats

Certificate or Associate's degree required

Shrinking by 5.1% over the next 8 years

$61K Average annual salary