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Gas Plant Operator  What They Do

Just the Facts


Distributes or processes gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Power, Structural and Technical Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Monitors transportation and storage of flammable and other potentially dangerous products to ensure that safety guidelines are followed.
  • Monitors equipment functioning, observes temperature, level, and flow gauges, and performs regular unit checks to ensure that all equipment is operating as it should.
  • Controls operation of compressors, scrubbers, evaporators, and refrigeration equipment to liquefy, compress, or regasify natural gas.
  • Starts and shuts down plant equipment.
  • Records, reviews, and compiles operations records, test results, and gauge readings such as temperatures, pressures, concentrations, and flows.
  • Adjusts temperature, pressure, vacuum, level, flow rate, or transfer of gas to maintain processes at required levels or to correct problems.
  • Cleans, maintains, and repairs equipment, using hand tools, or requests that repair and maintenance work be performed.
  • Collaborates with other operators to solve unit problems.
  • Determines causes of abnormal pressure variances, and makes corrective recommendations, such as installation of pipes to relieve overloading.
  • Reads logsheets to determine product demand and disposition, or to detect malfunctions.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 20 lbs., sometimes up to 50 lbs. You might do a lot of lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposure to pollutants, gases, dust, fumes, odors, poor ventilation, etc.
  • Requires getting into awkward positions
  • Conditions are very hot (above 90 F) or very cold (under 32 F)
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to conditions such as high voltage electricity, combustibles, explosives, and chemicals more than once a month
  • Exposed to hazardous equipment such as saws, machinery, or vehicular traffic more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Picking out a particular sound in the presence of other sounds
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Detecting sounds and hearing the differences between sounds of different pitch and loudness
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Rotating shift work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Engine Room Operator -- Responsible for the control and maintenance of machinery in the main engine and performs daily maintenance.
  • Compressor Station Operator --
  • Liquefaction and Regasification Plant Operator --
  • Liquified Natural Gas Technician (LNG Technician) --
  • Oxygen Plant Operator --