Oil is big, big business. Virtually anything that moves (which isn’t alive) is reliant on the black stuff.
This industry offers a remarkable variety of career opportunities; whether you’re involved in the hunt for new sources of oil and the extraction of it, or taking the raw materials and turning them into a commercial product.
Alternatively, you might be interested in becoming one of the individuals that buys, sells and generally trades what the oil industry produces, making literally billions of pounds for companies off the back of all the sourcing, extraction and production activities.
How big is the UK oil industry?
Let’s put it this way: the UK consumes two million barrels of oil per day. There is huge scope to get involved and it’s an industry crying out for talent.
For us in the UK, the hub of activity focuses around the North Sea. Offshore locations by Aberdeen, the Humberside, Norfolk and Liverpool take centre stage for oil-based activities. This is where the majority of the exploration, drilling, storing and processing takes place, although other locations, such as Dorset and Surrey, do get in on the action too.
The oil and gas industry has well over 500 employers and over 240,000 people in direct employment. The majority of those jobs will be found in the locations mentioned above. However, if you’re working as a consultant for more than one company, you could literally be working anywhere at any time.
What fields of expertise are integral to the oil industry?
There are two main camps in the oil industry: the characters that find and source the fossil fuels, and the individuals that convert it into a commercial product. For both areas, engineering is at the forefront of most activities.
First off, geologists are required to identify potential pockets of crude oil; then rig operators and mudloggers are required to oversee the physical extraction of the fossil fuel; finally, scientists and engineers do their thing to help create the many fuels that are made from crude oil.
Where do people in the oil industry work?
Do not expect to work in the City of London. Working onsite is very much the order of the day with this industry. You are much more likely to be working in the more ‘scenic’ reaches of the UK and further afield. If pipelines are your area of focus though, then it’s your job to assist the movement of oil from the source to the end user, so you can literally work anywhere (as long as there is a pipeline nearby!).
Despite the contentious nature of the oil industry, the environmental debates and the continual efforts of governments and others to reduce our dependency on it, it is still very much at the forefront of all our energy needs and will remain so for many, many years to come.
So, whether you’re a crude dude or a slick chick, there’s a barrelful of graduate jobs spilling out of the oil industry.