There is a recent increase in trucking jobs and high demand for oil field workers in the United States because of the significant rise in oil production. In fact, the United States is found to have surpassed Saudi Arabia in oil production. The increase of available oil field jobs rose in response, enforcing the need to maintain steady production of oil in the coming years.
The essential jobs in the oil production industry in the United States include a wide range of practices. Geologists are especially important, as the extraction of oil depends on these highly trained professionals. Various mechanical and engineering jobs are also in demand. For example, field engineers and welders are essential for keeping machines, equipment and tools working properly.
Among these positions, truck driving tends to be ranked highest in importance for oil fields. The oil industry gets its revenue from the oil being distributed, so getting strong drivers to transport the oil to refineries and other such factories is essential. Truck drivers in oil fields are compensated generously for their long and exhausting shifts.
Truck drivers are required to work in 14-hour shifts, including eleven hours of driving time. The remainder of this shift is dedicated to eating, resting and fueling the truck. The non-driving time is essential to ward off fatigue, which is the primary cause of truck accidents. Driving in long roads can take its toll on the body. A driver’s eyes and body needs to be in good condition to avoid accidents and, more importantly, get to their destinations on time.
Trucking companies are required to train drivers to be careful yet efficient on the road. Drivers are also trained to repair problems with their trucks. Conveniently, these trucks are equipped with navigation and communication equipment as well as safety and security features to protect drivers and the goods they carry.
Traveling in long roads for hours on end requires a driver with great patience. This patience extends to minor inconveniences like a flat tire, leaking fuel, or a malfunctioning air conditioner. Training in truck driving schools cover what drivers need to know about these kinds of problems, so their work remains uninterrupted.
A truck driver’s skills in remedying mechanical problems are necessary for the job because, given the route they usually travel, road assistance is hard to come by. Road assistance might be hard to reach; and even with quick response, a malfunctioning truck may be hard for road assistance professionals to locate and work on. A truck driver needs to be self-reliant, self-motivated, and responsive to the needs of their vehicle.
Commercial drivers are needed in oil fields to operate oil-drilling trucks also known as fracking trucks. These specialized trucks are complex machines on their own. There are different fracking trucks that may carry specific products, like frac sand, hydraulic fluid, or hydrochloric acid, among others.
Oil products are hazardous chemicals and need to be properly contained in these trucks. Mechanics and truck drivers alike need to make sure that the fracking trucks are in good condition so as to not put the environment, other motorists, and the driver, at risk. Additional training may be necessary for truck drivers to be acquainted with the specifications of different fracking trucks and the tasks they can perform to solve mechanical problems.
The tractor-trailer is the most common truck for most of the trucking industry. Also known as a semi-trailer truck, this commercial vehicle consists of a tractor and a trailer. The tractor is also called the towing engine, which includes the driver’s cabin. Depending on the design of the truck, the trailer can be detached from the tractor. A detachable trailer is called a semi-trailer, which is why the tractor-trailer is sometimes called a “semi” in the United States. Tanks are usually secured to a flatbed trailer, one with no barriers at the edges of the truck bed.
As mentioned earlier, the tanker truck is a prominent commercial vehicle in the oil industry. This truck is distinguishable by the cylindrical tank it carries in its trailer. This tank may carry liquefied petroleum gas, gasoline, diesel, and similar industrial chemicals. Depending on the substance inside and how hazardous it is, the tank may be made from aluminum, fiberglass, or different variants of steel.
Another prominent commercial truck in the oil industry is the fracking truck. Similar to the tanker truck, the fracking truck or frac truck carries a fracture pump. The fracture pump is used in hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is the process of introducing a highly pressurized stream of a mixture of water and chemicals into a wellbore to accelerate extraction of gas, petroleum, or other such substance.
Kettle trucks carry kettle-shaped tanks that also contain hazardous substances. Kettle trucks are specially designed for well casings. Well casings are long cylinders embedded in the earth to extract oil or water from reservoirs deep underground. Well casings for oil fields are called oil rig casings. Extracted substances are carried in the aforementioned kettle-shaped tanks. Kettle trucks carry four of these tanks at a time.
Oil Field Truck Driver Requirements
As mentioned earlier, commercial trucks used in oil fields vary in design and complexity. Naturally, truck drivers need to be skilled in handling any of these commercial vehicles. Aside from driving them and attending to common problems, truck drivers need advanced training to be acquainted with the technology at hand. Like engineers and mechanics, truck drivers need to know their way around complex machinery, so they can protect themselves from potentially hazardous substances they might come in contact with.
There are different types of truck driving schools that give drivers the skill they need to become competent professionals. There are plenty of company-sponsored trucking schools that teach drivers how to operate specific types and models of commercial trucks. Considering the variety of commercial trucks in the industry, this is important to learn especially when entering a career as a truck driver in the oil industry.
The demand for truck drivers in the US oil industry calls for foreign workers interested in working in America. However, working in the United States requires applying for a worker visa. Depending on the type of visa applied for, an immigrant truck driver may later apply for permanent residency, and even later, perhaps American citizenship.