The international oil and gas industry provides approximately three-fifths of the world’s energy need. The industry supplies fuel for automotive consumption, heating, transportation systems and factories. The industry also provides much of the raw material used for chemicals, medicines, fertilizers, plastics and synthetic fiber. Once an oil well has been successfully drilled and completed, the production foreman is responsible for the management of the men and machinery needed to establish and sustain production.
The salary of an oil production foreman is dependent on the employer, geographical location of the well, competitiveness in the market, the level of responsibility the foreman bears and the foreman's years of education and experience. The production foreman may be responsible for several pumping wells in an onshore oil field or the production of one or more offshore oil field production platforms.
The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in May 2010, there were 28,210 petroleum engineers employed in the United States with 13,270 employed in oil and gas extraction with an annual mean wage of $138,130. Although the most petroleum engineers are located in Texas (annual mean wage in May 2010 was $131,730), Alaska offers the highest wages. The annual mean wage in Alaska as of May 2010 was $157,480.
Employment benefits packages typically include disability, life, medical, vision and dental insurance. Many companies offer a pension or 401k plan, travel expenses, paid medical leave, uniforms and production bonuses.
A production foreman must be physically fit, able to lift heavy objects, climb stairs, derricks, towers and scaffolding. A foreman should be detail-oriented, trained in computer skills and have excellent communications skills, both verbal and written to convey orders to workers and to interact with home office personnel. A production foreman is responsible for maintaining well production records, ordering transport of oil, maintenance and repair of production site buildings and equipment and supervising installation of replacement down-hole pumps, pump jacks, gas compressors and well-head equipment. Managing production requires that production foreman stay current with ever-evolving oilfield technology. A production foreman may attend oil and gas industry equipment manufacturer's seminars and training sessions.
Training and Education
The United States Department of Labor reports that in 2008, 161,600 workers were employed in oil and gas extraction. The majority of oil production foremen have gained experience working as a roustabout, pumper or while employed by a well completion service contractors. Well completion service contractors install tubing and down-hole pumps to move fluid, install pump jacks, storage tanks and high pressure pipe. Their work is normally done when the well starts to establish production.
A production foreman may work directly for the oil company that owns the well or work for a service company contractually responsible for maintaining production. Many petroleum production foreman hold a bachelors or masters degree in petroleum engineering, petroleum production, geology or earth sciences. A production foreman may work in the United States or at a diverse array of oil field locations around the world. International production jobs that require extensive travel and long periods away from home, pay more than jobs in domestic production.
Employment Opportunity Outlook
The majority of oil field production foreman jobs are located in the heavy oil producing states which include Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota and California. Most U.S.-based, off-shore production is in the coastal waters of Texas, Louisiana and California. As more and more wells are being brought on-line and new treatments and technology to stimulate old wells is successful, production foremen will continue to be in high demand.