Intelligent Energy

Disappearing act: Amid a drilling boom, this fossil fuels job is at risk

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A boom in domestic shale drilling had led to job-hiring frenzy in oil fields throughout North America. But not all segments of the fossil fuels industry are faring so well.

A boom in domestic shale drilling has led to a job-hiring frenzy in shale hotspots throughout North America. But not all segments of the fossil fuels industry are expected to fare as well.

Petroleum pump system operators, the folks who control and operate the machinery used in processing and refining petroleum, is one of 10 disappearing jobs in America, according to data compiled by 24/7 Wall St. from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Matrix. 24/7 Wall St. looked at data on the projected growth or decline of more than 800 different occupations between 2010 and 2020.

The number of petroleum pump system operator jobs is expected to decline 14 percent from 44,200 in 2010 to 38,000 by 2020.

These jobs fall under an important, yet shrinking category: high-income, high school education. The median annual wage of petroleum pump system operators is $60,040, making it the highest income job on the America's 10 Disappearing Jobs List.

Meanwhile, the number of petroleum engineers, who come up with new methods for extracting oil and gas, is expected to rise by 17 percent over the same time period as complex extraction methods become more common, 24/7 Wall St. reported. However, these jobs require a bachelor's degree.

Photo: Flickr user Paul Lowry, CC 2.0

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Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure