Gas and Oil
As Ohio moves forward into the future, all indications show us that the oil and gas industry will be an integral part of the equation. If you’re looking for employment and have the skill set that the oil and gas companies are looking for, there are quite a few reasons why working in the gas and oil industry can be an ideal choice. Here are just a few.
Reason #1: You’ll Get Top-Rated On-the-Job Training
While most jobs and employers are cutting corners and costs where and when they can, when it comes to training, the oil and gas industry has been consistently different. You see, on-the-job training isn’t just a good thing in this industry — it can mean the difference between a safe job and one that ends in disaster. Due in part to the fact that so many oil and gas companies are in the spotlight, and wish to improve their safety and environmental records, you can bet they’re going to want to train you to do the job the right way, the first time.
Reason #2: It’s One of the Most Adaptable Industries Out There
Believe it or not, there is a significant ability to shift and change your career if you want to within the oil and gas industry. From working at the refineries, to on an offshore oil rig, to managing client accounts, to handling emergency spills, there are lots of ways that your skills can be used in this industry. It is also one of the most flexible when it comes to switching from one career path to another one. Sometimes it just takes a conversation with your supervisor to get the ball rolling.
Reason #3: The Demand For Skilled Labor Has Never Been Higher
The oil and gas industry uses a lot of machines and technology, and truthfully, not everyone has the skill set needed to keep these things in prime working order. Because of this, people in skilled trades such as mechanics, technicians, construction and repair have never been more vital. Don’t believe me? Take a moment and visit your neighborhood oil well when they’re not in production and ask them who is the most vital member of their crew. My bet is that if they answer honestly, they would be pointing at the drill maintenance person.
Reason #4: Travel!
One of the most attractive parts of working in the oil and gas industry, at least for me, was the ability to see parts of the country that I would never have been able to see, and meet people that never would have crossed my path. I have literally been to every state save Hawaii and Alaska, driven through practically every mountain range in the continental United States and met everyone from senators to homeless men. In each case, my life has been made the richer for it.
Reason #5: You Could Shape the Future of the Energy Industry
Today, perhaps more than any other time in this countries history, the energy industry is changing. While oil and gas will most likely play an integral part, the nature of that part can and should be dictated by the future generations, and the skilled people who work in the industry now.
So there are a few reasons why working in the oil and gas industry might be a good idea for you. What are some others?
The collection and production of natural gas and oil has long been a part of Ohio, and many would venture to say that the latest form — that of hydro-fracking — is merely the latest in a long line of methods used to meet Ohio’s increasing need for energy.
However, like any other method of energy production, especially ones that deal with fossil fuels, there are considerations that must be taken into account. These include things such as how much is produced, the refining process, the effect on the water and land, and the effect on the health of the people and the community. It is a balancing act, of course, but many people are beginning to note that the respiratory health of the people and the community is not always the largest part of the plan.
One aspect of the process of oil or natural gas production that is gaining more notice is the idea of air emissions. By their very nature, the drilling and refining processes used in the industry release various emissions into the surrounding air. These include things that can be considered not harmful — such as water vapor — or those who can contribute to various health issues, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), which are known to cause cancer. Also, with the volatile nature of the compounds released, most of them can easily travel far and wide on the air currents; understanding their concentration in the air, their overall health effects and their overall location becomes vital.
The Environmental Protection Agency has determined through various biological and environmental studies what it considers to be safe exposure levels for many of the chemical compounds that are present in air emissions for drilling or refining activities. They are based on how much a certain individual, usually an adult, would need to be exposed to in order to start experiencing adverse effects within a short period of time (this is sometimes referred to as an “acute” exposure), or over the long term (long-term exposure). These concentrations are then used as a marker for air quality in the area being tested. If the concentrations are found to be below the exposure limits, no action is warranted. If they are found to be close to or above the limits, action may be taken by the various local, state or federal enforcement agencies to encourage companies to bring their emissions into compliance. These actions can include compliance violations, fines, work stoppages, civil suits and sometimes even criminal charges.
In truth, most of the oil and gas companies that operate in Ohio have very respectable records when it comes to air quality. They use various methods to keep their emission concentrations below what would be considered dangerous. However, in some cases, the sheer quantity of oil and gas production in an area can simply overwhelm the efforts of the individual company. For example, according to a recent news report published in “Inside Climate News” by David Hasemyer, researchers obtained air samples from Carroll County, Ohio. This county contains one of the largest numbers of gas and oil wells in the state — 480 permitted wells in total. The study found that in the worst-case scenario, one in which a person was exposed to the released contaminants for 24 hours over twenty-five years, the lifetime risk of getting cancer was nearly three times the acceptable risk as noted by the EPA.
While it should be cautioned that these findings cannot and should not be extrapolated for every situation, it does show the very real need for people in the community to understand the potential dangers that inherently exist in this process.
What are your thoughts? Is the balance between energy needs and the respiratory health of the community being maintained effectively in your community? What can be done to help the situation?
With the warmer months upon us, construction projects large and small are in full swing. This usually means some sort of excavation or digging, whether it’s to dig a new foundation, put in a garden bed or to expand a roadway. If you’re digging into the earth below your feet, for either work or pleasure, it is important to remember that there are more than just worms and dirt. There are also underground utilities. Things such as gas lines, water lines, sewer lines and electrical conduits are sometimes buried beneath the ground, and caution needs to be taken if you’re planning on breaking the ground. Significant damage, injury or even death can occur if a utility line is damaged by mistake. Here are a few tips on what to do.
Tip # 1: Map Out Where You’re Planning on Working
This might sound a bit silly to say, but it is very important that you map out specifically where you are going to dig. Whether it’s for a garden or putting in a new garage, knowing the location of the project can help the utility companies to determine if you’re digging dangerously close to one of their utility lines. The best course of action is to take a can of white marking paint — something you can buy at most hardware stores — and paint a box around the area that you want to excavate or dig in.
Tip #2: Call 8-1-1 At Least 72 Hours Before
The 8-1-1 Utility Hotline is a free service that operates nationwide and serves as a connection between the different utilities in the area and the general public. Essentially you call 8-1-1 at least 72 hours before the start of your project, and the service determines what utilities are located in your area and contacts them for you. The owners of the utilities (gas, electric, phone, etc) then send their technicians out the area to mark where the underground utilities are located using specific colors. Usually, gas lines are marked with yellow, electric is marked with red, and water is marked with blue. However, the lines are usually also labeled with the characteristics of the utility. For example, a high-pressure gas line 8 inches down will be marked in yellow, with the words “8 in H.P. Gas” or “8 inch H.P. Petrol.” It is important to remember that once the utility companies are contacted, they have a total of 72 hours to come out and mark their utilities, so plan accordingly.
Also, keep in mind that this service usually only marks the main utility line in the area of your excavation- not the private lines servicing your house. It may be in your interest to have a private contractor to come out and do a private property locate. Many private locators will either use ground penetrating radar or tracer lines to extend the marks of the utility company to where they are on your property. They do charge a fee, but considering the cost of a broken sewer or having the electricity cut off from your house, it is a reasonable investment.
Tip # 3: Begin Your Work and Pay Attention to the Utility Marks!
Remember that the marks on your ground for the utilities denote the center line of the pipe or conduit. Usually, the lines extend beyond the mark about 2-4 feet on either side. So, be sure to play it safe and stay at least five feet from the mark when you start to dig. If you absolutely must get closer than that buffer zone, consider asking that the utility company send someone out to oversee your work and offer advice on how to proceed. Better safe than sorry, after all.
Tip #4: Always Call, No Matter How Small or Large the Job
Many homeowners think that they can skip calling 8-1-1 before they dig because they are only planting a tree, or perhaps putting in a new mailbox. However, did you know that utility lines are in many more locations than you think, and can be located between 2 inches and 12 feet below the surface? That means that the shovel that you’re using to plant the tree may be capable of causing significant damage, just below the surface.
So whether you’re planning on excavating for a new driveway or planting a row of bushes outside your home, the importance of calling 8-1-1 before you start your project cannot be stressed enough. Doing so could not only prevent you from having to pay unexpected repair costs, it could also save your life.