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Career Profile: Gas Plant Operators

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

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 15,100 people employed as gas plant operators in the United States. The median annual salary is $73,000. Entry level employees earn approximately $44,490 per year and senior employees earn approximately $105,770 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
15,100
Annual Openings:
1,500
Increase in Openings by 2030:
-2%
Annual Salary Range:
$44,490 - $105,770
Education Requirements:
High school diploma