Anyone seeking employment in the oil industry should definitely take a hard look at the opportunities available in Houston. Houston’s thriving economy is rooted in oil and the related industries that support the oilfield. Natives consider Houston ‘Oiltown USA’.
Since oil was first discovered in 1905 in Humble, a small bedroom community on the northeastern outskirts of Houston, the industry has grown exponentially and covers the areas of exploration, drilling, and refining. In 1992 alone, seven refineries (Amoco, Exxon, Chevron, Mobil, Lyondell, Shell, and Star Enterprise) had the capability of handling 200,000 barrels a day individually. Exxon, located just east of Houston, is now the largest refinery in the USA. Houston’s oil community currently produces one quarter of the United States’ oil reserves.
If you have the knowledge and skills and are looking to climb the corporate ladder, many of the world’s largest oil companies are headquartered here along the ‘energy corridor’ area of town. A few of these are Conoco Phillips, Baker Hughes, National Oilwell Varco, and Marathon Oil. Quite a number of smaller companies are located here as well.
The large number of refineries in the general area (oil, gas, and petrochemical) have need for all worker positions from general labor to specialty occupations such as welders and pipe-fitters. Pay rates can be quite high and the benefits offered are outstanding.
If staying in one place, such as a refinery, isn’t for you, then check into becoming a rig worker (roughneck). These men set up the rigs, drill, and dismantle to head for the next location. Your options here are for either on-shore or off-shore. Roughnecks with little to no experience can expect from $19.00 – $24.00 per hour.
Houston is also home to some of the largest pipe yards in the country. These are where the majority of pipe used in refineries and rigs are kept and maintained – a good starting place for anyone with little experience.
As with any occupation, the oil industry has had its ups and downs. Right now, the industry is holding steady. Generally speaking, though, as long as there is a need for oil there will be a need for people to work in this field.