Energize Your Job Search – High-Paying, Secure Jobs Are Available in the Energy Industry

The recent drop in oil and gas prices has slowed the growth of much of the energy industry, but veterans can still look to that industry for high-paying, secure careers. Both traditional and new segments of the industry are still growing, and across the United States there is a demand for new workers with all kinds of skill sets. Before the drop in oil and gas prices, much of the demand was due to the impact of unconventional oil and gas development. That energy surge has slowed – for now. But if one thing is certain, people are always going to need energy. In addition, the renewable segments – wind, solar, etc. – have come to the forefront in recent years. There are more options than ever. It also pays to pay attention to the industry. Just a short time ago, the U.S. energy industry was in turmoil. Less than seven years ago, the industry was facing a great recession, natural gas prices were high, and jobs were being exported to China. But then the situation improved. And even if the industry is a little less predictable right now, the country is not going to “go dark” on energy all of a sudden. We have continued to create new ways to find energy, and there are exciting new ideas all the time. Technology has revolutionized oil and gas extraction over the past decade; this transformation was key to the remarkable recent growth in upstream oil and gas in the United States. Innovations in renewable electricity generation have also contributed to job creation and economic growth. Areas with fewer natural resources have relied more on the renewables. In the wind industry, for example, the scale of the turbines promotes substantial local or regional supply chains, which create many additional jobs. Energy use rises each year, even with all of our efforts at conservation. Our constant and growing need makes energy a career field with a lot of juice – and a lot of job security. The industry also supports a substantial number of jobs beyond those actually producing energy because it has a long and extensive supply chain. Electric power is available in nearly every part of the United States, so patient job seekers should be able to find opportunities in areas they prefer. Careers in the energy sector range from line workers, operators, dispatchers, engineers, customer service workers, and mechanics to information technology workers, accountants, human resources personnel, and more. While energy companies need workers to monitor and inspect power plants, they also need employees who can keep computer networks running smoothly, get the bills paid, and hire and retain the right personnel. Many of the jobs in the energy field require both manual and mental skills. A good understanding of tools and basic mechanics is a must for most people who work out in the field. Problem-solving is helpful on every level, and employees with science and math backgrounds tend to have easier times securing positions. Good communications skills are also essential. Some energy jobs require off-hours shifts and possibly being on-call, especially during abnormal events such as power outages. If you are concerned about injuries or dangerous assignments within the energy industry, don’t be. The energy field has fewer injuries than the average for all industries. Federal and state regulations ensure that all energy organizations take extra precautions when it comes to keeping their employees – and their customers – safe. ************************************************************************************ **Upstream, midstream, and downstream - What’s the difference?** Descriptions of jobs in the oil and gas industry often refer to upstream, midstream, and downstream processes. **Upstream processes** involve locating and extracting oil and gas. **Midstream processes** involve the processing, transportation, storage, and marketing of the product after it has been extracted. **Downstream processes** include the refining of crude oil and the purifying of natural gas as well as the marketing and distribution of the products of refining and purifying. ********************************************************************************** **Conventional and unconventional - What's the difference?** Descriptions of oil and natural gas deposits commonly use the terms “conventional” and “unconventional.” [The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER)] (http://www.aer.ca), the regulator of energy development in the Canadian province of Alberta, provides the following definitions: **Conventional:** Pools in which wells can be drilled so that oil and natural gas flows naturally or can be pumped to the surface. **Unconventional:** Regardless of how they are produced or the rock they come from, unconventional oil and natural gas are essentially the same as their conventional counterparts. The term “unconventional” simply refers to the methods that are used, as well as the types of rock from which the oil and natural gas are produced. The AER refers to unconventional oil as: * tight oil: oil found in low-permeability rock, including sandstone, siltstone, shale, and carbonates The AER refers to unconventional natural gas as: * tight gas: natural gas found in low-permeability rock, including sandstone, siltstones, and carbonates * shale gas: natural gas locked in fine-grained, organic-rich rock * coalbed methane (CBM): natural gas contained in coal **************************************************************************************** **Gas production and gas gathering - What's the Difference?** **Production** is the removal of gas from a well. **Gathering** is the collection of gas from several wells via small-diameter pipelines and the delivery of the gas to a processing plant.