Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers
Operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.
Sample of reported job titles: Board Operator, Crude Unit Operator, Gauger, Hydrotreater Operator, Outside Operator, Pumper, Refinery Operator, Stillman, Unit Operator
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Monitor process indicators, instruments, gauges, and meters to detect and report any possible problems.
- Start pumps and open valves or use automated equipment to regulate the flow of oil in pipelines and into and out of tanks.
- Control or operate manifold and pumping systems to circulate liquids through a petroleum refinery.
- Operate control panels to coordinate and regulate process variables such as temperature and pressure, and to direct product flow rate, according to process schedules.
- Signal other workers by telephone or radio to operate pumps, open and close valves, and check temperatures.
- Verify that incoming and outgoing products are moving through the correct meters, and that meters are working properly.
- Read automatic gauges at specified intervals to determine the flow rate of oil into or from tanks, and the amount of oil in tanks.
- Operate auxiliary equipment and control multiple processing units during distilling or treating operations, moving controls that regulate valves, pumps, compressors, and auxiliary equipment.
- Plan movement of products through lines to processing, storage, and shipping units, using knowledge of system interconnections and capacities.
- Read and analyze specifications, schedules, logs, test results, and laboratory recommendations to determine how to set equipment controls to produce the required qualities and quantities of products.
- Record and compile operating data, instrument readings, documentation, and results of laboratory analyses.
- Synchronize activities with other pumphouses to ensure a continuous flow of products and a minimum of contamination between products.
- Patrol units to monitor the amount of oil in storage tanks, and to verify that activities and operations are safe, efficient, and in compliance with regulations.
- Maintain and repair equipment, or report malfunctioning equipment to supervisors so that repairs can be scheduled.
- Collect product samples by turning bleeder valves, or by lowering containers into tanks to obtain oil samples.
- Inspect pipelines, tightening connections and lubricating valves as necessary.
- Conduct general housekeeping of units, including wiping up oil spills and performing general cleaning duties.
- Coordinate shutdowns and major projects.
- Perform tests to check the qualities and grades of products, such as assessing levels of bottom sediment, water, and foreign materials in oil samples, using centrifugal testers.
- Prepare calculations for receipts and deliveries of oil and oil products.
- Lower thermometers into tanks to obtain temperature readings.
- Clean interiors of processing units by circulating chemicals and solvents within units.
- Clamp seals around valves to secure tanks.
- Calculate test result values, using standard formulas.
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- Electronic mail software — Email software
- Industrial control software — Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software
- Inventory management software — Inventory tracking software
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
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- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
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- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Depth Perception — The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
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- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning.
- Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of water, cleaning solutions, or other liquids.
- Operate pumping systems or equipment.
- Operate energy distribution equipment.
- Signal others to coordinate work activities.
- Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.
- Plan production or operational procedures or sequences.
- Study blueprints or other instructions to determine equipment setup requirements.
- Direct operational or production activities.
- Record operational or production data.
- Test chemical or physical characteristics of materials or products.
- Monitor equipment fluid levels.
- Calculate costs of goods or services.
- Maintain production or processing equipment.
- Notify others of equipment repair or maintenance needs.
- Repair production equipment or tools.
- Collect samples of materials or products for testing.
- Calculate weights, volumes or other characteristics of materials.
- Inspect production equipment.
- Lubricate production equipment.
- Clean production equipment.
- Analyze test results.
- Seal gaps or cracks to prevent leakage or moisture intrusion.
- Clean work areas.
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- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 93% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 89% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 85% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 71% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 67% responded “Very important results.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 63% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 74% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 51% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 60% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 56% responded “Some freedom.”
- Consequence of Error — 76% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 61% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 55% responded “Some freedom.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 58% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
- Time Pressure — 49% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 54% responded “Extremely important.”
- Electronic Mail — 55% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 67% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 38% responded “Very important.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 38% responded “Extremely important.”
- Exposed to High Places — 50% responded “Every day.”
- Letters and Memos — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Outdoors, Under Cover — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 50% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 30% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 32% responded “More than half the time.”
- Degree of Automation — 48% responded “Highly automated.”
- Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Wear Specialized Protective or Safety Equipment such as Breathing Apparatus, Safety Harness, Full Protection Suits, or Radiation Protection — 34% responded “Every day.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 37% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 53% responded “More than half the time.”
- Spend Time Walking and Running — 45% responded “Less than half the time.”
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|Title||Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed|
|Education||These occupations usually require a high school diploma.|
|Related Experience||Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.|
|SVP Range||(4.0 to < 6.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|72||High school diploma or equivalent
|6||Some college, no degree|
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Interest code: RC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
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- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
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- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$37.90 hourly, $78,840 annual|
|Employment (2020)||40,600 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Average (5% to 10%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||4,400|
|Top industries (2020)||
Transportation and Warehousing
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers
- International Union of Operating Engineers
- United Steelworkers
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