Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers
SOC: 51-8093.00


Operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
42,400 employed

Projected (2024):
43,400 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Absorption Plant Operator
  • Blender
  • Board Operator
  • Boiler House Operator
  • Cat Cracker Operator
  • Control Board Operator
  • Control Operator
  • Control Panel Operator
  • Crude Unit Operator
  • Dock Operator
  • Dock Pumper
  • Field Gauger
  • Fractionation Plant Supervisor
  • Fuel Distribution System Operator
  • Gas Blender
  • Gasoline Plant Operator
  • Gauger
  • Head Operator
  • Houseman
  • Hydro Operator
  • Hydrotreater Operator
  • Oil Gauger
  • Oil Pipeline Dispatcher
  • Oil Pipeline Operator
  • Oil Plant Operator
  • Oil Process Stillman
  • Oil Pumper
  • Oil Refiner
  • Oil Refinery Operator
  • Operations Boardman
  • Operator
  • Outside Operator
  • Petroleum Plant Operator
  • Petroleum Refinery Control Panel Operator
  • Petroleum Refinery Operator
  • Petroleum Refinery Worker
  • Petroleum Refining Equipment Operator
  • Petroleum Supply Specialist
  • Pilot Plant Operator
  • Pipeline Dispatcher
  • Plant Operator
  • Pressure Controller
  • Process Control Board Operator
  • Process Operator
  • Product Blending Supervisor
  • Pump House Technician
  • Pumper
  • Pumper Helper
  • Refiner
  • Refinery Operator
  • Refining Equipment Operator
  • Stillman
  • Tank Terminal Gauger
  • Terminal Gauger
  • Transfer Pumper
  • Unit Operator

  • Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed


    Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.


    These occupations usually require a high school diploma.

    Job Training:

    Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Equipment Selection
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Equipment Maintenance
  • Troubleshooting
  • Repairing
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Design
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Geography
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Monitor process indicators, instruments, gauges, and meters to detect and report any possible problems.
  • Start pumps and open valves or use automated equipment to regulate the flow of oil in pipelines and into and out of tanks.
  • Control or operate manifold and pumping systems to circulate liquids through a petroleum refinery.
  • Operate control panels to coordinate and regulate process variables such as temperature and pressure, and to direct product flow rate, according to process schedules.
  • Signal other workers by telephone or radio to operate pumps, open and close valves, and check temperatures.
  • Verify that incoming and outgoing products are moving through the correct meters, and that meters are working properly.
  • Read automatic gauges at specified intervals to determine the flow rate of oil into or from tanks, and the amount of oil in tanks.
  • Operate auxiliary equipment and control multiple processing units during distilling or treating operations, moving controls that regulate valves, pumps, compressors, and auxiliary equipment.
  • Plan movement of products through lines to processing, storage, and shipping units, using knowledge of system interconnections and capacities.
  • Read and analyze specifications, schedules, logs, test results, and laboratory recommendations to determine how to set equipment controls to produce the required qualities and quantities of products.
  • Record and compile operating data, instrument readings, documentation, and results of laboratory analyses.
  • Synchronize activities with other pumphouses to ensure a continuous flow of products and a minimum of contamination between products.
  • Patrol units to monitor the amount of oil in storage tanks, and to verify that activities and operations are safe, efficient, and in compliance with regulations.
  • Maintain and repair equipment, or report malfunctioning equipment to supervisors so that repairs can be scheduled.
  • Collect product samples by turning bleeder valves, or by lowering containers into tanks to obtain oil samples.
  • Inspect pipelines, tightening connections and lubricating valves as necessary.
  • Conduct general housekeeping of units, including wiping up oil spills and performing general cleaning duties.
  • Coordinate shutdowns and major projects.
  • Perform tests to check the qualities and grades of products, such as assessing levels of bottom sediment, water, and foreign materials in oil samples, using centrifugal testers.
  • Prepare calculations for receipts and deliveries of oil and oil products.
  • Lower thermometers into tanks to obtain temperature readings.
  • Clean interiors of processing units by circulating chemicals and solvents within units.
  • Clamp seals around valves to secure tanks.
  • Calculate test result values, using standard formulas.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Adjustable handwrenches
  • Allen wrench sets
  • Calibrated hydrometer
  • Chain boomers
  • Compressor control panels
  • Digital feeler gauges
  • Electric centrifuges
  • Fencing pliers
  • Flat cold chisels
  • Gauge lines
  • Groove joint pliers
  • Hacksaws
  • Hand centrifuges
  • Handheld digital thermometers
  • Laptop computers
  • Lease automatic custody transfer LACT units
  • Measuring tapes
  • Moving bars
  • Multipurpose hammers
  • Multipurpose screwdrivers
  • Needlenose pliers
  • Oil field pumps
  • Oil sampling pumps
  • Oil squirt cans
  • Personal computers
  • Petroleum sampling equipment
  • Petroleum trucks
  • Pipe wrench sets
  • Pocket knives
  • Precision file sets
  • Pressure testers
  • Punch sets
  • Safety goggles
  • Socket sets
  • Straight tinners snips
  • Vacuum trucks
  • Vernier calipers
  • Wire cleaning brushes
  • Wire cutting tools
  • Email software
  • Inventory tracking software
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software

  • production

    industry stats

    SOC: 51-0000

    Total Employed: 9,073,290

    Average Annual Salary: $36,220