Gas Plant Operators
51-8092.00

Distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.

Sample of reported job titles: Compressor Station Operator, Engine Room Operator, Gas Controller, Gas Dispatcher, Gas Plant Operator, Gas System Operator, Liquefied Natural Gas Specialist (LNG Specialist), Liquefied Natural Gas Technician (LNG Technician), Liquid Natural Gas Plant Operator (LNG Plant Operator), Plant Operator

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Monitor transportation and storage of flammable and other potentially dangerous products to ensure that safety guidelines are followed.
  • Monitor equipment functioning, observe temperature, level, and flow gauges, and perform regular unit checks to ensure that all equipment is operating as it should.
  • Control operation of compressors, scrubbers, evaporators, and refrigeration equipment to liquefy, compress, or regasify natural gas.
  • Start and shut down plant equipment.
  • Record, review, and compile operations records, test results, and gauge readings such as temperatures, pressures, concentrations, and flows.
  • Adjust temperature, pressure, vacuum, level, flow rate, or transfer of gas to maintain processes at required levels or to correct problems.
  • Clean, maintain, and repair equipment, using hand tools, or request that repair and maintenance work be performed.
  • Collaborate with other operators to solve unit problems.
  • Determine causes of abnormal pressure variances, and make corrective recommendations, such as installation of pipes to relieve overloading.
  • Read logsheets to determine product demand and disposition, or to detect malfunctions.
  • Test gas, chemicals, and air during processing to assess factors such as purity and moisture content, and to detect quality problems or gas or chemical leaks.
  • Contact maintenance crews when necessary.
  • Change charts in recording meters.
  • Distribute or process gas for utility companies or industrial plants, using panel boards, control boards, and semi-automatic equipment.
  • Control equipment to regulate flow and pressure of gas to feedlines of boilers, furnaces, and related steam-generating or heating equipment.
  • Control fractioning columns, compressors, purifying towers, heat exchangers, and related equipment to extract nitrogen and oxygen from air.
  • Calculate gas ratios to detect deviations from specifications, using testing apparatus.
  • Signal or direct workers who tend auxiliary equipment.
  • Operate construction equipment to install and maintain gas distribution systems.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology
Hot Technologies are requirements most frequently included across all employer job postings.
In demand
In Demand skills are frequently included in employer job postings for this occupation.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education
Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, desktop publishers, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters and simultaneous captioners, and medical assistants.
SVP Range
1-2 years of preparation (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
  • Repairing — Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.

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Knowledge

  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 43%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 39%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required
  • 11%
     
    responded: Some college, no degree requiredmore info

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Response Orientation — The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

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Interests

Interest code: RC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

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Work Styles

  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$37.43 hourly, $77,850 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
15,300 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Decline (-2% or lower)
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
1,400
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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