Oil Job Hunting Guide

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Oil Industry Jobs

If there's a larger industry in the world than the petroleum we'd like to know about it. Oil and gas drive the economies of the world. It seems there's never enough oil to fill the demand and with every price increase stock markets are impacted. In every newspaper just about every day there are articles about some aspect of the petroleum industry.

There is tremendous pressure inside oil companies to find and get at new oil reserves, which can help quench the world's thirst for oil. Supply is shrinking in large part because former third world countries, like India and China, have huge needs for oil to feed their growing industries. China overtook Japan as the world's second-largest consumer of oil in 2003 and is closing in on the US, with demand for oil growing at about 15% a year.

Western Europe and Japan are heavily dependent on oil imports as production cannot meet massive domestic demand.

The gas-guzzling US is the world's largest per-capita oil consumer but produces much of its requirements itself.

Producers in the Middle East, where oil costs so little, are also heavy users. Poorer countries consume much less per head.

Oil companies are forced to find ways to extract more oil from known reserves and to find new ways of getting oil.

Where Is Oil Exploration and Production (E&P) Taking Place?

Oil companies are looking for oil all over the world. Here's where most of the oil came from in 2005:

Middle East: 31%
Europe & Eurasia: 21.7%
North America: 16.5%
Africa: 12%
Asia Pacific: 9.8%
S. and Central America: 9%

The Middle East remains the biggest player in oil.

The region dwarfs the rest of the world, when it comes to reserves, ensuring its prominence on the global political stage. Saudi Arabia alone possesses 21.9% of the world's proved reserves.

The North Sea and Canada still have substantial reserves.

Essentially, the oil industry is ever changing and it needs -- it demands -- more people to find and get at the oil. There's a huge demand for petroleum engineers and geoscientists worldwide as well as for 'blue collar' workers who get their hands dirty working drilling jobs and on pipelines and in refineries.

You may already have an idea as to what kind of petroleum job you're seeking. Entry-level, labor. White collar, management. Administrative. There are many options, most of which will become clear to you soon enough. Despite the global nature of the industry, the types of jobs are very similar regardless of where in the world you are.

The oil industry is broken into three sectors: Upstream, midstream, and downstream.

Upstream activities are those related to oil exploration and production (drilling). A company like British Petroleum (BP) is most definitely a part of the upstream sector. In addition to large companies like Shell and BP you've got contractors who specialize in servicing oil rigs, drilling, manufacturing equipment, running seismic tests, ad so forth.

After the upstream sector you've got the midstream sector, which is involved with moving oil from production facilities -- via pipelines and oil tankers for instance -- to refineries. Refining is also a midstream activity.

At the end of the line are your downstreamers: petroleum product wholesalers and retailers (gas stations).

During the 1960s, multinationals such as Mobil, BP, and Shell had access to more than 80 percent of global oil and natural gas reserves. Western multinationals control just 10 percent of the world's oil, while state-run firms exercise exclusive control over roughly 77 percent, according to a November 2007 paper by Doug Young at Rice University's James Baker Institute.



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