As oil and gas production figures from U.S. shale plays continue their record-breaking climb, the need for more pipeline capacity is becoming increasingly prominent.
According to the Association of Oil Pipelines (AOPL), over $45 billion will be invested in midstream infrastructure over the next 25 years in order to keep pace with domestic demands – equating into roughly 1,300 miles of new pipeline every year.
For skilled laborers operating in the oil and gas industry, this means job opportunities. A lot of job opportunities.
AOPL estimates that on average, a single major pipeline construction project employs almost 7,000 construction workers and provides these workers (and their families) with over $300 million in salary and benefits.
Approximately 500 workers are needed for every 100-mile stretch of pipeline and this doesn’t include the personnel required to build the necessary pumping stations every 50 miles.
The compensation for skilled workers entering the oil and gas pipeline industry is also attracting attention. Between 2007 and 2012, the average salary of employees in the petroleum transportation field rose nearly 30 percent from $79,000 to over $100,000 per year.
Professionals that are currently in highest demand include welders, heavy equipment operators, engineers, inspectors, quality control experts, and foremen.
The need for more pipeline capacity is rather prevalent throughout all of North America; however, the region most desperate for new infrastructure is undoubtedly North Dakota, where railroads continue to be the main transport method of Bakken oil.