What do Gas Plant Operators Do?
Homes, offices, storefronts and more are often heated via gas heat. That gas must be processed and distributed safely, accurately and per industry guidelines, and that’s where gas plant operators are required. They use their skills and knowledge to maintain the pressure on the pipelines, sending that gas out to consumers as required. They are responsible for the safety of the equipment, employees, and consumers involved in the process, and for ensuring that the gas is delivered per the requirements.
Gas Plant Operators Skills and Abilities
Some knowledge of mechanical processes and an ability to think in terms of mechanics is necessary. Several things should be at the forefront of a gas plant operator’s mind, including safety, production efficiency and customer service. Necessary skills include proficiency in computer use, critical thinking, analytical monitoring capability, and quality control. Physical requirements center on good vision, good hearing, precision in adjusting controls, reaction time and perception speed. As a gas plant operator, you will find yourself making minute adjustments to the controls that regulate the distribution of a highly flammable material, so your attention to detail, accuracy and precision will be paramount. Much will depend upon you and your duties, including your safety and the safety of everyone around you, so those physical and mental capabilities must be well-honed.
Gas Plant Operators Duties
Generally, duties will consist of whatever work is required to ensure that gas is delivered according to requirements. That means safely, timely, and accurately. In addition to monitoring the processes by which that happens, a gas plant operator will also be responsible for equipment upkeep, report analysis, review of data and subsequent collaboration with required parties, and possibly supervision of subordinate employees. Testing, regulation, analysis, monitoring, diagnosing, and operation will all be integrated into the daily work of a gas plant operator.
Gas Plant Operators Tools and Technology
Tools and technology in use will span from computer equipment to gas distribution equipment to hand tools used to adjust the distribution equipment. The individual seeking employment as a gas plant operator should have some basic knowledge of hand tools and computer use in order to supplement with on-the-job and formal training. Computer software may and probably will be used to supplement mechanical measuring equipment as a means of regulating the distribution of the gas, so you’ll need to be able to manage that technology with some ease. You’ll also be required to compile data for your superiors, so some basic office skill will be required.
Education and Training for Gas Plant Operators
Although a high school diploma is the only requirement for education, gas plant operators typically receive extensive training in the operation of the equipment specific to the company for which they work, as well as some outside training provided by the employer. Knowledge on safety, processes, materials and more will be useful in assisting the employee in the best performance of their job.
Gas Plant Operators Salary
Nationally, salary ranges for gas plant operators reach from $40,000 per year to $85,000, with a median annual salary of $64,000. Of course that pay scale will fluctuate across the country according to cost of living, employment supply and demand, and individual needs and resources.
Gas Plant Operators Jobs by Geography
As one might expect, the positions available to gas plant operators are centered in those areas where gas companies are located – the bulk in Texas, California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Salaries range across the nation, with the highest in Wisconsin, California, and Colorado and the lowest in North Carolina. Positions might be had in companies that distribute natural gas or transport crude oil, in a local government that supplies gas to it’s residents, in an oil and gas extraction company, or in a chemical manufacturing setting. If you intend to break into the field or make a lateral move to a new location, you’ll need to take all of these options into account.