31-Petroleum and natural gas refining plant operators

Job Title: 

Petroleum and natural gas refining plant operators

Job Description: 

Operate and monitor plants and adjust and maintain processing units and equipment which refine, distil and treat petroleum, petroleum-based products and by-products, or natural gas.


Petroleum and natural gas refining plant operators control, monitor and maintain the plant machinery and equipment to produce, refine and pump chemicals, oil, gas and petroleum. Refineries and processing plants use sophisticated computers to control the equipment and processes. Knowledge of chemical and mechanical processes and equipment performance is very important in order to safely optimize production quantity and quality.


Job activities and tasks include:

  • operating electronic or computerized control panel from a central control room to monitor and optimize physical and chemical processes for several processing units
  • adjusting equipment, valves, pumps, controls and process equipment
  • controlling process start-up and shut-down, troubleshooting and monitoring outside process equipment
  • verifying equipment for malfunctions, testing well pipes for leaks and fractures and arranging for maintenance
  • analyzing sample products, performing tests, recording data and writing production logs

Public Safety - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, regulations, standards and strategies to promote effective plant operations for the protection of people, commerce and property

  • Petroleum and natural gas refining operators use computers to report unusual incidents, malfunctioning equipment, or maintenance performed during their shifts
  • Coordination of Material Resources - Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology; This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective production of petroleum and gas and related products and by-products
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models
  • Petroleum and Natural Gas Refining Fundamentals - Knowledge of production processes including by-products, composites and materials encompassing designing and maintaining petroleum and natural gas refining production and process systems and equipment
  • Complex Problem Solving - Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions; Including troubleshooting and determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of oneself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action
  • Quality Control Analysis - Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance
  • Science - Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
  • Time Management - Managing one?s own time and the time of others
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things
  • Category Flexibility - The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways
  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly measure and estimate exact positions
  • English (Technical) Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the engineering related technical English terminologies
  • Information Communications Technology - Knowledge and use of relevant engineering applications and programs
  • Team work or individual - job may require him/her to work alone or in conjunction with engineers, contractors and scientists
  • Work Context: 

    Work at large industrial sites such as gas plants, oil rigs, or power stations. Often are required to work outdoors in all weather conditions, and are exposed to noisy and potentially dangerous situations. Some plant operators work solely indoors in control rooms and offices.


    Diploma in an engineering discipline, higher qualification or equivalent.!!Employers may also seek recent high school graduates for entry-level operator positions with a Secondary School Certificate particularly good results in physics, science and maths.!

    Required Work Experience: 

    3 - 4 years and above

    Probable Employers: 

    ADNOC Group, Masdar, Occidental Oil & Gas International LLC

    Occupational Size: 
    More than 5,000 and less than 30,000
    Expected Earnings: 

    Higher than the industry average

    Projected Growth: 
    Alternate Titles: 

    Examples of job titles:
    Blender operator (petroleum and natural gas refining) - Paraffin plant operator - Still operator (still petroleum and natural gas refining) - Refinery process technician - Petroleum process operator - Gas plant operator
    Examples of some related occupations:
    Chemical processing plant controllers - Chemical products plant and machine operators - Mineral products plant technician - Plastics and composites processor - Polymer plant production operator - Power generation plant operator - Water and wastewater - Plant operator - Auxiliary operator

    UAE Industry Groups: 
    Source Of Info: 
    Occupations and Careers Handbook for UAE Nationals(Copyright NQA ). Referenced from New York University, Abu Dhabhi