Qualities of a Successful Oil Industry Professional
Professionals who achieve success in their oil careers tend to possess certain qualities conducive to the industry, such as being flexible enough to easily adapt to shifting circumstances and emerging technologies. The oil industry experiences constant change because of the impact of international events, governmental regulations, and supply and demand. Oil industry professionals may move from one project to another or even switch companies. For example, deepwater drilling engineers may work in the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of Africa. Once a project is completed, the offshore driller will move on to another project.
This type of work is ideal for people who like to travel and welcome new challenges because they are more likely to enjoy and succeed in their jobs. Drilling and pipeline construction companies often assign workers to a particular country, or countries, for four or five years depending on the progress of the project. Often families must relocate to accommodate employees’ transitions from project to project. Fortunately, people who enjoy visiting new countries and learning about other cultures will easily adjust to these frequent moves. Many companies with projects in the United States may not actually relocate employees’ families, but may instead provide temporary housing at the project site for employees' families to use while visiting, and/or pay for employees to visit home from time to time.
Independent thinkers may find success in the oil industry since many jobs require problem solving and creativity under stressful circumstances. For instance, offshore drillers must handle the problems that arise during deepwater drilling, which means drilling in water 500 feet deep or more. When problems occur during drilling, engineers cannot inspect the equipment, so they rely on remote-controlled submersible cameras. Still, they will need to have both intellect and creativity to figure out the source of the problem and its solution. Likewise, tools like the “intelligent pig” were created to travel down gas transmission pipelines that are buried underground to transmit information about areas in need of repair.
Oil industry professionals must also be able to work well with others as teams of experts often consult with project or operations managers to develop solutions to problems.
In this industry, it is also important to have strong oral and written communications skills. Since teams typically work together to complete oil projects, it is vital for employees to communicate well with their coworkers as well as their suppliers, management, and subcontractors. For example, when suppliers create new technology, they need to train the project team members on how to use it. Project managers are responsible for updating management on the status of the project and any issues that have arisen.
Since many oil industry jobs involve problem solving, research and development, and business management, strong analytical skills are equally important. Research and development professionals need analytical skills to find new, more efficient or cost-effective methods for oil drilling and refining as well as gas pipeline construction and operations. Business management professionals also must have analytical abilities to determine whether a project is economically feasible, including how it should be funded and what type of return to expect on this investment.