How to become a 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.

Personal requirements for a Process Plant Operator (Oil and Gas)

  • 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

Education & Training for a Process Plant Operator (Oil and Gas)

To become a process plant operator you usually have to complete a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 12.


Duties & Tasks of a Process Plant Operator (Oil and Gas)

Process plant operators in the oil and gas industry:

  • 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.

Tasks

  • Patrols and inspects equipment to ensure proper operation and sets operating controls on equipment..
  • Writes reports and maintains records on equipment performance, instrument readings and switching operations..
  • Carries out routine operating tests..
  • Controls the preparation, measuring and feeding of raw material and processing agents into plant..
  • Analyses samples and readings and records test data..
  • Controls equipment that performs continuous and batch processes to process natural gas, manufacture refined petroleum products, and blend petroleum base stocks to produce commercial fuels, lubricating oils and asphalt..
  • Controls records of production, quantities transferred and details of blending and pumping operations..
  • Checks equipment for malfunctions and arranges maintenance..

Working conditions for a Process Plant Operator (Oil and Gas)

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.


Employment Opportunities for a Process Plant Operator (Oil and Gas)

Process plant operators are employed in onshore and offshore oil and gas production and processing plants, as well as in oil refineries, chemical plants and oil storage facilities (terminals). The increase in global energy demands for petroleum and gas has led to the expansion of activity in this area, with growth in skilled employment in conventional and unconventional gas fields.


Specializations

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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    44 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Stable
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    5% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    57 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $3,082
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Medium skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    96% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    4,100 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.0%
    NSW: 10.8%
    NT: 3.8%
    QLD: 29.1%
    SA: 9.0%
    TAS: 0.8%
    VIC: 20.2%
    WA: 26.4%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 0.3%
    20-24: 1.5%
    25-34: 20.4%
    35-44: 30.6%
    45-54: 30.4%
    55-59: 10.8%
    60-64: 4.8%
    65 and Over: 1.1%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 13.3%
    Bachelor degree: 7.4%
    Certificate III/IV: 56.3%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 1.8%
    Year 10 and below: 7.9%
    Year 11: 3.6%
    Year 12: 9.7%
Is the information on this page correct? Request update

Become a member

Already a member? Login Forgot password?

Join the conversation