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Service Unit Operators, Oil and Gas

Operate equipment to increase oil flow from producing wells or to remove stuck pipe, casing, tools, or other obstructions from drilling wells. Includes fishing-tool technicians.

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    Work Activities

    Work Activities

    • Maintain and perform safety inspections on equipment and tools.
    • Operate controls that raise derricks or level rigs.
    • Listen to engines, rotary chains, or other equipment to detect faulty operations or unusual well conditions.
    • Prepare reports of services rendered, tools used, or time required, for billing purposes.
    • Install pressure-control devices onto wellheads.
    • Direct drilling crews performing activities such as assembling and connecting pipe, applying weights to drill pipes, or drilling around lodged obstacles.
    • Confer with others to gather information regarding pipe or tool sizes or borehole conditions in wells.
    • Operate pumps that circulate water, oil, or other fluids through wells to remove sand or other materials obstructing the free flow of oil.
    • Drive truck-mounted units to well sites.
    • Interpret instrument readings to ascertain the depth of obstruction.
    • Thread cables through derrick pulleys, using hand tools.
    • Select fishing methods or tools for removing obstacles such as liners, broken casing, screens, or drill pipe.
    • Apply green technologies or techniques, such as the use of coiled tubing, slim-hole drilling, horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, or gas lift systems.
    • Operate specialized equipment to remove obstructions by backing off or severing pipes by chemical or explosive action.
    • Close and seal wells no longer in use.
    • Perforate well casings or sidewalls of boreholes with explosive charges.
    • Examine unserviceable wells to determine actions to be taken to improve well conditions.
    • Monitor sound wave-generating or detecting mechanisms to determine well fluid levels.
    • Insert detection instruments into wells with obstructions.


    • Operations Monitoring

      Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

    • Critical Thinking

      Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

    • Operation and Control

      Controlling operations of equipment or systems.


    Applied Math
    Workplace Documents
    Graphic Literacy


    • Arm-Hand Steadiness

      The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.

    • Control Precision

      The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.

    • Problem Sensitivity

      The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.


    • Mechanical

      Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

    • Mathematics

      Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

    • Customer and Personal Service

      Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

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    Ohio Employment Trends

    • Currently Employed 800
    • Yearly Projected Openings 130

    Typical Education


    Realistic: People interested in this work like activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.They do well at jobs that need:
    • Dependability
    • Initiative
    • Leadership
    • Attention to Detail
    • Persistence
    • Self Control


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    • InDemand occupations are considered a priority by the state of Ohio.
    • Bright Outlook occupations will grow rapidly in the next few years, have a large number of openings, or are new and emerging careers.

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