What do Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers do?

Operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.

  • Monitor process indicators, instruments, gauges, and meters in order to detect and report any possible problems.
  • Start pumps and open valves or use automated equipment to regulate the flow of oil in pipelines and into and out of tanks.
  • Control or operate manifold and pumping systems to circulate liquids through a petroleum refinery.
  • Operate control panels to coordinate and regulate process variables such as temperature and pressure, and to direct product flow rate, according to process schedules.
  • Signal other workers by telephone or radio to operate pumps, open and close valves, and check temperatures.
  • Verify that incoming and outgoing products are moving through the correct meters, and that meters are working properly.
  • Read automatic gauges at specified intervals to determine the flow rate of oil into or from tanks, and the amount of oil in tanks.
  • Operate auxiliary equipment and control multiple processing units during distilling or treating operations, moving controls that regulate valves, pumps, compressors, and auxiliary equipment.
  • Plan movement of products through lines to processing, storage, and shipping units, utilizing knowledge of system interconnections and capacities.
  • Read and analyze specifications, schedules, logs, test results, and laboratory recommendations to determine how to set equipment controls to produce the required qualities and quantities of products.
  • Record and compile operating data, instrument readings, documentation, and results of laboratory analyses.
  • Synchronize activities with other pumphouses to ensure a continuous flow of products and a minimum of contamination between products.
  • Patrol units to monitor the amount of oil in storage tanks, and to verify that activities and operations are safe, efficient, and in compliance with regulations.
  • Maintain and repair equipment, or report malfunctioning equipment to supervisors so that repairs can be scheduled.
  • Collect product samples by turning bleeder valves, or by lowering containers into tanks to obtain oil samples.
  • Inspect pipelines, tightening connections and lubricating valves as necessary.
  • Conduct general housekeeping of units, including wiping up oil spills and performing general cleaning duties.
  • Coordinate shutdowns and major projects.
  • Perform tests to check the qualities and grades of products, such as assessing levels of bottom sediment, water, and foreign materials in oil samples, using centrifugal testers.
  • Prepare calculations for receipts and deliveries of oil and oil products.
  • Lower thermometers into tanks to obtain temperature readings.
  • Clean interiors of processing units by circulating chemicals and solvents within units.
  • Clamp seals around valves to secure tanks.
  • Calculate test result values, using standard formulas.

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