Process Plant Operator (Oil and Gas)


Process plant operators in the oil and gas industry control, monitor and maintain the plant machinery and equipment to produce, refine and pump chemicals, oil, gas and petroleum.

Duties & Tasks

Process plant operators in the oil and gas industry may perform the following tasks:

  • operate pumping equipment to transfer oil and gas from wellheads to refineries, within refineries or to storage facilities
  • control the flow of oil and gas through pipelines
  • operate and control equipment to process, manufacture or blend refined oil products, gas and additives into petroleum and gas products, such as LPG, fuels and lubricants
  • set controls through local and computer controlled systems, and observe gauges and instruments on equipment
  • prepare equipment to enable access for maintenance crews
  • collect, process and analyse samples and record data
  • monitor equipment performance for malfunctions, test well pipes for leaks and fractures and request maintenance activities when required.

Working Conditions

Most refineries and processing plants use sophisticated computers to control the equipment and processes. Knowledge of chemical and mechanical processes and equipment performance is very important in order to safely optimise production quantity and quality.

Process plant operators usually work in remote locations, possibly on a fly-in, fly-out basis, usually flying from a base location to the worksite, where they work for a number of weeks and then return to the base location. Shiftwork may be required.

Process plant operators work in physically challenging environments, with heavy machinery and potentially hazardous chemicals. Strict safety procedures and regulations must be followed to minimise the risk. There is zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol at these worksites and workers may be required to submit to regular testing.

Personal Requirements

  • mechanical aptitude
  • able to work as part of a team
  • good written and verbal communication skills
  • able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • safety-conscious
  • good mathematical skills
  • technical, problem-solving and analytical skills
  • an aptitude for working with computers and learning and using new technologies
  • good hand-eye coordination.

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