Pipe-related Businesses in Oklahoma You Should Know

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Oklahoma, thanks to its robust energy industry, has a booming array of pipe-related businesses. Job fields related to pipefitting, including oil and gas production and transportation, are thriving in the state. Here’s a look at what pipefitting entails and where the industry is headed in Oklahoma.

Pipe related business
Pipe related business

Pipefitting: A Versatile Field
Pipefitting, is a catchall term covering pipe assembly, maintenance, and repairs. Branches of pipefitting include steam fitting — which requires an especially high emphasis on safety — plumbing, and pipelaying. These jobs require diverse skill sets: familiarity with different equipment, experience with varied building materials, and design ability all come into play.
 

Oklahoma’s Oil and Gas Industry
Oklahoma’s natural resources have led to great opportunities for oil and gas production and, by extension, for the pipefitting industry. Per an article from NPR’s StateImpact project, Oklahoma’s thriving energy industry has helped carry it through the nation’s recent recession and beyond. Citing rising demand and high prices, Dan T. Boyd of the Oklahoma Geological Survey has painted a bright picture regarding oil and gas production in the state’s future.
A 2011 survey by the Oklahoma City Geological Society found that drilling activity in the state was on the rise. That same year, Oklahoma ranked among the top five states in both crude oil and natural gas production. Texas, which is much larger than Oklahoma, was the only other state to rank in the top five in both categories.
Oklahoma’s oil supplies were tapped much earlier than its natural gas reservoirs; thus, while both remain viable resources in the state, natural gas production is still earlier in its life cycle than oil production. New discoveries of natural gas reservoirs outpace those of oil supplies. High prices for both lend optimism to Oklahoma’s long-term profitability in the energy industry. Further utilization of both resources will, of course, require pipefitting to access them.
 
Transportation and Infrastructure
Aside from large resource reserves, Oklahoma boasts impressive infrastructure for producing, storing, and transporting oil and natural gas. The storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma is the country’s largest. In Oklahoma and throughout the country’s midsection, the pipeline industry has reconfigured pipelines to better access resources in response to demand. Furthermore, General Electric and Chesapeake Energy Corp. — a natural-gas producer based in Oklahoma — have teamed up to improve natural-gas infrastructure across the country.
 
Opportunities for Pipefitters
The healthy status of Oklahoma’s energy industry continues to produce job opportunities and a need for training. The Tulsa Welding School, citing a projected 26% increase from 2010-2020 in steamfitter, pipefitter, and plumber employment, has created a 6.5-month pipefitting program. The program provides training in installation, blueprint and documentation reading, and safety, among other skills.
 
On top of the increase in demand, a decrease in the supply of workers may further boost the need for qualified pipefitters: According to the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, the industry could face problems over the next decade as its workforce begins to retire en masse. As such, there could be plenty of opportunities for new pipefitters to enter the field in Oklahoma.

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