Oil and gas exploration and production are extremely important to New Mexico. Figures from 2005 state the industry employs over 12,000 workers statewide. These jobs are particularly well-paying jobs at more than 24.9 percent higher wages than those in construction and 56.6 percent more than finance.
These two natural resources are important to New Mexico in the form of taxes that pay for such things as education and conservation. These cover more that 10 percent of state revenue.
New Mexico ranks fourth in natural gas reserves and fifth in oil reserves on a state-to-state comparison, so it's no wonder there are so many oil and gas jobs in the state. The oil reserves are located mainly in the southeastern part of the state known as the Permian Basin. The natural gas reserves are mostly in the northwest portion of the state known as the San Juan Basin. Unconventional gas production is also growing in both the Permian and the San Juan Basin.
Jobs with a foundation in either the gas industry or the oil industry are plentiful in both the San Juan Basin and the Permian Basin currently as the price for both oil and gas have skyrocketed over recent years. During the next twenty years, these jobs are secure and stable and will continue to grow although sights may shift on the production of unconventional gas from coal methane toward Devonian Shale.
Geologists, Petroleum Engineers, other Engineers, and Environmental Scientists are in desperate need throughout the state to work either in the field or in the plants. The need for Mechanical Engineers, Project Engineers, and Civil Engineers are required for several aspects of both gas and oil production. Salary is extremely high due to the demand to fill the positions and benefits are of highest caliber. Due to the labor shortage, even entry-level candidates are considered and receiving high incomes in a growing market.
Welders and mechanics are earning well over the thirty-dollar an hour in gas pipeline jobs, even straight out of school and often based only on experience. Truck drivers straight out of a driving academy are being hired at over twenty dollars an hour or more depending on if they have their Hazardous Materials endorsement to haul anything from sand, water, fuel or even crude oil.
Power plant engineers and managers are earning anywhere from $80,000 annually up to salaries well into the six digits. These are jobs that require a great deal of education, but they are willing to take a candidate straight out of school to fill the vacancy. The more experience, the higher the starting wage, as with any job.
Many managerial jobs are currently open, also. Trucking companies, oil producers, various smaller companies all need managers to head up their operations. Right along that same line, administrative assistants are in dire need as are people skilled in human resources and information technology. Beginning wages for a secretary start around ten to fourteen dollars an hour if they have experience in the oil or gas field in order to better understand the terminology used.
There is a severe shortage of dispatchers, field technicians, and pipeline technicians. Anyone with this kind of training can easily demand top pay as long as they are familiar with oilfield and/or gas production.
Anyone that is interested in working as a buyer for a gas or oil related company, this is an exceptional time and place to jump into the deep end of the job pool. These positions are a little harder to get started in as they generally require a fair amount of general knowledge in gas or oil operations, but they are fascinating and require some travel and pay particularly well.
Looking for a position where you can get good and dirty and work from the ground up? Roustabouts and roughneck jobs are also available in great numbers as well as pipe pullers and various equipment operators.
New Mexico's oil and gas industry is a great place to get your feet wet and learn more than you ever knew you wanted to. Whether you are working with natural gas, unconventional gasses or crude oil, New Mexico has a job for you.
Bill Edwards write about the oil and gas industry for Oil Job Finder, a website for people seeking oil field careers. Edwards' site includes a job board, position descriptions, and industry facts.