Oil and Gas Production Technician

Recognized Skill Standards
May 11, 2010


The Oil and Gas Production Technician Skill Standards were developed by the Gulf Coast Process Technology Alliance (GCPTA), an industry-driven alliance of employers, labor, and educators of production technicians, under National Science Foundation funding through the Center for the Advancement of Process Technology. The GCPTA was established in 1996 to establish standards for Process Technology education that meet the industry’s needs and to increase the availability of production technicians in the chemical and refining industries along the Gulf Coast. The skill standards were originally recognized on November 1, 2005 at the request of the GCPTA, on behalf of the GCPTA membership.

On May 11, 2010, the updated Oil and Gas Production Technician skill standards were recognized at the request of the GCPTA.


The Oil and Gas Production Technician Skill Standards were originally developed and validated by major oil and gas production employers and labor representatives in Texas or the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Exploration and Production Task Force. Participants represented major Texas employers such as ExxonMobil, Dupont-Sabine, Eastman Chemical, Shell Chemical, and others. Education partners include College of the Mainland, Lamar Institute of Technology, and others.

Developers used the DACUM (Developing A CUrriculuM) process to collect and organize job specific data. Over 50 individuals from 22 industry sites in Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, Texas, and Wyoming contributed to the resulting skill standards. Subject matter experts were selected to represent diversity in company size, and geographic and demographic areas.

Developers used an online survey as the skill standards validation technique. Twenty six companies of various sizes from four states including Texas participated in the survey. The survey was targeted to the participating companies’ top three to four production technicians with a minimum of five years of experience.

For the 2010 review, the GCPTA recruited Texas-based subject matter experts to review the skill standards to ensure their ongoing validity and accuracy. Experts from several oil and gas production companies with plants in Texas including Shell Oil, Enbridge, Exco Resources, Stomaco Energy Services, and Goodrich Petroleum participated in the review and recommended changes to reflect updated work practices in the field.

Importance to Texas

According to Texas Workforce Commission data for standardized occupation code 47-5013 Service Unit Operators, Oil, Gas, and Mining, the average hourly wage for the occupation in 2008 was $19.61. For the projected time period between 2006 and 2016 the occupation was expected to grow by approximately 4,000 openings from 12,500 in 2006 to 16,650 in 2016.

According to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts’ 2008 The Energy Report, in 2006, more than 312,000 Texans, or 3.1 percent of the state work force, were employed in the oil and natural gas industry, which accounted for $159.3 billion or 14.9 percent of Texas’ gross state product (GSP). For comparison, in 2003 the industry contributed $85.6 billion to GSP, 10.3 percent of the state GSP.

Likewise, oil and gas industry wages have risen substantially in recent years. In 2006, wages totaled $30.6 billion, or about 6.9 percent of all wages in Texas. In Texas in 2003, oil and gas industry wages were $20.9 billion or 5.8 percent of all wages.

Historically, the oil and natural gas industry has accounted for approximately 10 percent to 25 percent of the state’s GSP, a trend that roughly tracks the price of oil.