by George Weir –
Oil and Gas is an industry that has served American with great pride, and is poised to do so far into the future.
Before starting this article, my intentions were to write about the workers is the oil patch, and to try to bring it to the attention of the public the many, many benefits that this great multitude of people have brought to this nation, from the East to the West, and from the South to the North. The majority of the American people knows someone, or has known someone, or possibly is related to someone that is now, or has worked in the oil field.
I began with some research about the oil patch, and the many jobs that it requires to locate oil, drill for oil, and then process the oil for our benefit, but soon it was evident to me that it would be impossible to list all the many positions in bringing this commodity to our nearest outlet.
I have lived in the oil patch all my life, and for about thirty years I was employed in the drilling of oil wells. Actually I started in the oil patch in 1958, and have seen many changes, and one of the most important of these is the use of fracking. To be discussed later.
For many the idea of an oil well is simple, just frill a hole in the ground, and set up a tank to catch the oil, then sell it to the highest bidder, but, that is not the case. Oil isn’t every where, and it takes a very highly skilled person or persons to locate it, and even then, there is no certainty, and the cost of drilling is not for the faint of heart. True billions have been made, but that is not always the outcome, although, due to the great strides the oil industry has made in the discovery, the chances are better than they were a few years ago.
Seismic exploration has greatly improved the prospects of locating the deposits of oil. The basic concept of seismology if quite simple, but costly. The earth crust is composed of different layers, each with it’s own properties. Sound waves traveling underground interact differently with each layer. Scientist and engineers are able to artificially generate seismic waves and record data as they travel through and are reflected back toward the source by different underground layers and formations.
Seismology is but one method, the use of Magnetometers and the use of logging is also use to gain a picture of the layers that oil and gas may be deposited, but these methods have been the product of years of exploration.
When the Scientist and engineers have discovered what looks to be a promising area for oil, the Landmen, the people that work with property owners in securing the right to drill on said property.
These also requires the right for roads and the laying of pipelines. One can see that subsequent to the drilling of oil, much work has to be done, an I am only covering a portion of the work necessary before a drilling rig is called to began.
After a favorable location has been decided, roads have to be built, and location of the drill site has to be built, and this may include moving fences or building gates that will keep the location secure.
Now that the location is built, water must be hauled, and during times of drought this water may be costly, but necessary.
Now that the work of multitudes of people is finished, it’s time to move in the drilling rig. It takes trucks to move in these rigs, these are (Rig Movers), and throughout all oil producing areas these rig movers are an important part of the community, and these are highly paid employees which brings into these communities much needed revenue.
Once the rig has been moved in to began drilling, We’re looking at more highly paid employees, in the oil patch these are called (roughnecks). Depending on rig size, and location, these rigs usually employ from fifteen to twenty workers, and this number doesn’t reflect the office workers which can vary depending on company size, but, these are American workers, being paid a better than average wage.
During the drilling operation, many other people are involved in completing it’s job, these may include those that oversee the operation, geologist, the men and women that will run logs after the well has been completed, and by the way, there are also women working in these operations.
At this point I would like to say something about fracking. During the past few months I have watched this operation being carried out in the vicinity that I live, for one reason, I have a little interest in some of the wells. But I have noticed that due to the increase in fracking, some of the fields that once were considered depleted, are now producing, and producing well. Fracking is nothing new, it has been done for years, but due to the up-tick in research, the process of fracking has brought much of the old oil field back to life again, and, through this effort and money, it has given well paying jobs to thousands.
Now we continue to another part of the oil field. The up-keep and the pumping of these wells, and the laying of pipelines to carry the oil and gas. These are the workover units that has the task of working on the well when needed, and the employees are usually called (roustabouts), and the men and women that care for these wells are called pumpers, these are responsibly for keeping the operation running smoothly, and, to insure that the people involved are making money.
Now as Paul Harvey might say, “On to the rest of the story”, but in the oil industry, there is no rest of the story, we have just begun.
The oil and gas we have just been discussing will now have to be developed into a usable product, in other words the oil will have to be refined and made into different products that will be on sale through the nation, and by the way, all Americans will be using these products in one way or another, so the rest of the story goes on and on.
I would like to take a moment to talk about (Wind Farms). Yes in my part of the world, we also have these monsters dotting our beautiful landscape, and I suppose they are generating electricity, couldn’t prove it by me, because I never see any crews or workers around these sites. Unlike the oil and gas industry, I suppose they just run themselves, and if that is the case, oil and gas comes out ahead, they hire people, and pay them well.
When they were moving the monstrosities into the area, guess what, they were moving them by diesel trucks, and when they were erecting them they used diesel equipment and no doubt when they take them down, they will be using diesel trucks.
I know that a lot of men and women will say that I didn’t include this or that, and that, and they are right, or that I left out some important parts of the oil and gas industry, and also they would be right. But to include all the aspects of this industry, and to mention all the great people that make up the fabric would be impossible, but I hope that I have painted a well enough picture of the oil and gas industry to give the American people a sense of pride as to how much the oil and gas industry has brought this country from horse and buggy days to the day’s of the interstate highways, and much more.
I am for increasing our knowledge and devising other form of energy, but as for now, the Oil and Gas industry is the favored player, because they employe people and pay them well.