Common careers include:
Operators are the largest job family within the
upstream petroleum industry. Operator jobs typically involve the
specialized operation of control systems and equipment related to
plant and facilities, heavy equipment, rigs, wells and
Other common work functions for this job family usually include
assembly and disassembly of equipment, operating, monitoring,
assessing readings, troubleshooting and reacting to variable
If you have the following skills, interests and abilities, a
career as an operator might be for you:
- A willingness to work in remote
locations, and/or to be relocated.
- Comfortable with shift
- Like practical, hands-on problem
- Like to work with physical materials
such as tools and machinery.
- Able to follow set procedures,
routines and standards.
- Able to work with data and
- Prefer doing a variety of tasks,
working alone or being busy all the time.
To work in this area, individuals usually require a high school
diploma, combined with on-the-job training and selected technical
course work. A post-secondary education in engineering technology
(e.g., power, chemical, petroleum or mechanical) can help a person
advance in their career. A strong mechanical aptitude, combined
with an interest in working with things that are tangible versus
theoretical, is crucial for many operator roles.
Some companies offer opportunities for summer help, or helpers
and labourers to advance into operator positions based on their job
experience, demonstrated performance, interest and potential.
Advancement opportunities are possible within a particular career
by being moved or promoted through several steps, each with
progressively more responsibility and increased pay. With
experience and extensive formal on-the-job company training,
individuals may move laterally within their company or vertically
to a supervisory or managerial position.
Control centre operators are primarily office-based occupations.
Most other positions in this career option require shift or
rotational work (two weeks on and one week off-site) and are
usually outdoors at production sites, in sometimes remote
locations. Opportunities for paid overtime can be very
Safety-sensitive positions have stringent requirements related
to being drug and alcohol free.
Quick tips & additional resources
- Review oil and gas company websites
to learn how oil and gas is produced. Start with the Petroleum Services
Association of Canada.
- Contact companies of interest and
request a tour of their production process facilities.
- Check out the Canadian Association of
Geophysical Contractors website for brochures, videos and
photos describing this work. The site also includes member
companies that you can research as potential employers.
- Look for summer jobs with seismic
companies and get some experience as a surveyor's or driller's
- Sign up to participate in Seismic in Motion, an
annual event held in October, that involves a field trip with
experts in the industry.
- Check out the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling
Contractors. It provides a list of drilling and well services
contractors and other useful websites.