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Natural Gas Distribution as a Career Path with Best Paying Jobs

Improve your understanding of the natural gas industry and discover the various career opportunities that it presents to you. Includes jobs with salaries.

By 

Synkdup Editorial Team   

|  21 February 2024

Natural Gas Distribution Career Path

The oil and gas industry is a lucrative one, and it is very understandable if you are wondering is natural gas distribution a good career path for you.

People working in natural gas distribution are responsible for providing an essential service to the community. Natural gas is used in most homes as the primary energy source for heating and cooking purposes. So, the field can be a great career choice for people who would find fulfillment in serving their community.

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The field is also an excellent option for people who want to do manual work or work outdoors. There are many jobs in gas distribution that involve fieldwork and site visits, such as pipelayer, meter reading reporter, field technician, and so on.

Natural gas is an important fuel that is used to meet energy demands worldwide. It is widely used not only for domestic purposes but for electricity generation and industrial purposes as well. A quarter of the total electricity produced in the world is produced using natural gas. This huge demand for natural gas makes it a stable industry that provides reliable jobs with a certain degree of job security.

Natural gas is also considered a more environment-friendly source of energy than oil and coal, with lower carbon emissions. So, the industry is getting significant impetus from the growing demand for cleaner energy. This means growing job opportunities for people looking for a job in natural gas distribution.

Moreover, jobs encompass a wide range of professions, from customer service to engineering to management. This means the doors of employment are open to people with all kinds of educational backgrounds.

How Many Jobs are in Natural Gas Distribution?

The process of extracting natural gas from reservoirs and supplying it to consumers in a usable form is a really long and elaborate one. This process requires a large number of workers in various domains to be completed efficiently. So, people looking to get a job in natural gas distribution will find no shortage of opportunities.

Moreover, the demand for clean energy is increasing as people become more environmentally conscious. Due to this, the use of natural gas, which is a relatively clean fuel, is expected to only grow in the coming years. This suggests that there is going to be an increased demand for workers in this field.

The natural gas industry has a huge demand for all kinds of professionals, from engineers and scientists to plumbers and pipelayers. The field offers a wide range of outdoor jobs as well as desk jobs. Whether you are a highly qualified science professional or someone with just a GED, this industry has a job for you.

The industry includes many major companies like Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil, TOTAL, and Shell. These multinational companies are always looking to grow and expand their presence. As they scale up their operations, they generate more and more jobs in natural gas distribution.

What are the Best Paying Jobs in Natural Gas Distribution?

Different types of engineering jobs are generally the highest-paying nonsupervisory professions in natural gas. However, what jobs pay the most depends a lot on your location and the organization you are working for.

You should expect lower pay if you are looking to get a job without any experience. The pay is also not going to be much in jobs like customer service, which don’t require much skill.

Generally, the higher the education and experience requirements for a job, the better it pays.

1. Reservoir Engineer

Average annual salary in the US: $166,756 (Source: Salary.com)

Basic education requirement: Bachelor’s degree in engineering

Reservoir Engineers in this field work on underground reservoirs of natural gas to optimize its production. They work closely with geologists, drilling engineers, and other professionals involved in natural gas extraction.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Analyze the reservoir and sturdy factors like reservoir size, rock permeability, fluid dynamics, and pressure.
  • Monitor and maintain reservoir pressures to ensure optimal production.
  • Analyze data to determine the best extraction methods.
  • Continually evaluate and monitor the performance of the reservoirs.

2. Gas Supply Manager

Average annual salary in the US: $160,310 (Source: Salary.com)

Basic education requirement: Bachelor’s degree in civil, mechanical, or electrical engineering.

A gas supply manager is responsible for overseeing and managing the supply of gas in an area. Their primary role is to ensure a continuous and reliable supply of gas to meet the needs of consumers.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Assess the gas demand forecasts and develop supply plans.
  • Negotiate and manage contracts with gas suppliers.
  • They track inventory levels, coordinate with suppliers for timely deliveries, and optimize storage and transportation logistics.
  • Identify potential disruptions, such as natural disasters, regulatory changes, or infrastructure issues.

3. Subsea Engineer

Average annual salary in the US: $128,750 (Source: Salary.com)

Basic education requirement: Bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Subsea engineers design, install, and maintain the equipment and infrastructure used for the extraction of natural gas from offshore fields. Offshore fields are areas beneath the floor of oceans and seas where significant deposits of oil and natural gas are found.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Design and develop subsea equipment such as wellheads, manifolds, flowlines, risers, and umbilicals.
  • Conduct regular inspections and troubleshoot issues in the subsea infrastructure.
  • Work with intervention vessels, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), and other equipment to perform repair activities.
  • Determining the economic viability of projects and developing budgets.

4. Petroleum Engineer

Average annual salary in the US: $101,499 (Source: Salary.com)

Basic education requirement: Bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering

Petroleum engineers specialize in the exploration and extraction of petroleum and natural gas. Their work requires them to collaborate closely with geologists, geophysicists, pipeline engineers, and other professionals on a regular basis.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Plan and optimize drilling operations for natural gas wells.
  • Analyze the properties and behavior of natural gas reservoirs.
  • Conduct reservoir surveillance and implement reservoir management plans to ensure long-term production sustainability.
  • Specify and monitor the use of equipment and technologies required for production operations.

5. Drilling Consultant

Average annual salary in the US: $90,035 (Source: Salary.com)

Basic education requirement: Bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering, drilling, geology, or mechanical engineering

Drilling consultants provide specialized advice on natural gas extraction operations. They have extensive knowledge of drilling techniques, equipment, and industry best practices and ensure the safe drilling of natural gas wells.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Determine the best drilling equipment and methods to be used.
  • Analyze and evaluate drilling performance metrics, such as drilling rate, penetration rate, and wellbore quality.
  • Assist in selecting the appropriate drilling rig based on project requirements.
  • Coordinate with drilling crews and contractors to ensure compliance with regulations and project specifications.

6. Pipeline Engineer

Average annual salary in the US: $88,540 (Source: Salary.com)

Basic education requirement: Bachelor’s degree in engineering

Gas pipeline engineers specialize in the design, manufacturing, operation, and maintenance of pipelines used for transporting natural gas. They are primarily responsible for the safe and efficient delivery of gas to consumers through the pipeline network.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Select the pipeline diameter, material, routes, and perform hydraulic calculations for the pipeline network.
  • Oversee the construction of gas pipes.
  • Carry out inspection, maintenance, and repair tasks to maintain the integrity of the pipeline network.
  • Assess pipeline system performance

7. Gas Distribution Engineer

Average annual salary in the US: $71,834 (Source: Salary.com)

Basic education requirement: A bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Gas distribution engineers are engineers who specialize in overseeing the operations of gas distribution facilities. They are directly or indirectly involved in all technical aspects of distribution systems, from design to regulatory compliance.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Select materials, assess the construction site, and frame the blueprint for setting up the distribution center infrastructure.
  • Assess the environmental effects of proposed pipeline projects and work on methods to mitigate them.
  • Use specialized software to make technical designs and drawings.
  • Perform tests on pipelines and document problems, if any.

8. Chemical Engineer

Average annual salary in the US: $82,690 (Source: Salary.com)

Basic education requirement: Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering.

Chemical engineers work closely with cross-functional professionals at different stages of gas production and distribution. They use their knowledge of materials science to ensure the safe storage and transportation of natural gas.

Key roles and responsibilities:

  • Work with geologists to identify sites for extraction of natural gas.
  • Separate impurities, such as water and sulfur compounds, from the natural gas stream
  • Help in designing processes and systems to efficiently extract, refine, and transport natural gas.
  • Develop new catalysts, membranes, and separation techniques to enhance the efficiency of gas processing operations.

9. Pipefitters

Average annual salary in the US: $50,719 (Source: Salary.com)

Basic education requirement: High school graduation or GED

Pipefitters are skilled professionals in the installation, and repair, of pipes and pipelines used for the distribution of gas. They play a critical role in maintaining the efficiency of gas distribution systems.

Key roles and responsibilities

  • Install and assemble gas pipes by following blueprints and engineering specifications.
  • Install and connect various gas-related equipment like valves, regulators, and pressure gauges.
  • Perform welding tasks and fabricate pipes to fit specific requirements.
  • Perform routine inspections, identify defects, and repair or replace pipes as needed.

10. Gas Compressor Station Operator

Average annual salary in the US: $46,146 (Source: Salary.com)

Basic education requirement: A high school diploma or the equivalent, supplemented by on-the-job training, is the usual requirement.

Gas compressor stations are facilities where natural gas is compressed to increase its pressure so that it can be easily transported over long distances through pipelines. These are crucial facilities, and gas compressor station operators are responsible for the proper operation and maintenance of these facilities.

Key roles and responsibilities:

  • Start and stop compressors, monitor pressure, and temperature levels, and adjust controls.
  • Keep records of meter and gauge readings.
  • Monitor amounts of gas received and dispensed and consumption rate variations.
  • Perform basic maintenance tasks such as lubrication, filter replacements, and minor repairs.

Other common jobs in natural gas distribution include gas technicians, meter technicians, customer service representatives, dispatchers, field inspectors, and GIS (Geographic Information System) specialists.

Pros and Cons of Working in Natural Gas Distribution

Natural gas distribution is an excellent field for individuals with different kinds of preferences and skills. Most jobs in the field involve practical work, and your experience and expertise from this field can carry over to other fields as well. Many jobs in this field also allow for a significant amount of downtime at work, allowing for a relaxed work schedule. Other advantages of working in gas distribution include:

Pros

Job satisfaction: Natural gas is an essential commodity used in households for basic purposes like cooking and heating. So, working in gas distribution can be very fulfilling, as you would be providing an essential service to society.

Job security: You can expect to have a stable and secure career in natural gas distribution, as it is an essential service that is always in demand. You can expect to retain your job even in times of economic downturn when there are lots of layoffs in other sectors.

Diverse Jobs: The field provides a wide range of jobs across various professions. There are opportunities in engineering, pipelaying, environmental safety, and more. This allows you to find job roles that align well with your interests and skills.

New opportunities: Sustainability and environmental conservation are given a lot of importance in most industries today. The oil industry is no exception, and it is becoming increasingly focused on reducing its environmental impact. This creates many job opportunities in domains like environmental management, renewable energy integration, and carbon capture techniques.

Low Entry Barrier: The field is full of starter-level jobs that can be learned perfectly well through on-the-job training. You can easily get one of these jobs without a college degree and rise to supervisory positions as you gain experience. Most of these jobs require only a high-school diploma, GED, or vocational training and are accessible to about anyone.

Technological advancements: The field is evolving fast with new technological advancements. This allows you to work in a dynamic environment and be a part of revolutionary developments in the industry.

Cons

As such, there are no major cons to working in natural gas distribution. However, some jobs in gas extraction may require you to work in undesirable conditions, like oil rig work. There are also jobs that may sometimes require you to work odd hours on emergency duty in case of pipe leaks or breakages. And finally, natural gas is a dangerous substance that is easily combustible, so it comes with a certain degree of risk.

How to Get a Job in Natural Gas Distribution

There are various pathways to getting a job in gas distribution. These include general formal education, vocational training programs, and internships and apprenticeships.

Once you have your credentials down, it is time to apply for jobs. One way is to go down to your nearest gas supply facility and see if there are any vacancies.

To access bulk job openings, make use of the various job posting websites online. Make sure to draft a compelling resume and cover letter before you start applying.

Also, remember to research a company before accepting an offer letter from it. On Glassdoor, you can read up on different aspects of a company, from work culture to pay and benefits. You can also ask questions about the company on platforms like Reddit and Quora and hopefully get useful answers.

Final Thoughts on Is Natural Gas Distribution a Good Career Path

Natural gas is a great industry to work in for people of diverse preferences. In most companies in this field, you can expect to get lucrative pay and benefits of different kinds. Many jobs in this field involve learning primarily on the job. Hence, even if you start in an entry-level role, you can rise to higher ranks with experience. As it is a lucrative industry, you may find a high number of candidates for different job roles. However, there is no shortage of jobs in the field, and with the right skill set, you should not have any problem finding a job.

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