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.
- Is comfortable with shift
- Like practical, hands-on problem
solving and solution identification.
- 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) outdoors at production sites, in
sometimes-remote locations. Opportunities for paid overtime can be
- Safety-sensitive positions have
stringent requirements related to being drug and alcohol
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
- 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 fascinating work. The site also includes member companies that
you can research as potential employers.
- Learn about seismic technology by
reading articles and internet based information at geomore.com.
- 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
- Participate in National Technology
Week which is held each November and offers a host of activities
along with interactive and fun resources to explore technical
- Check out the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling
Contractors website. It provides a list of drilling and well
services contractors and other useful websites.