The natural gas distribution industry is comprised of businesses and organizations that are responsible for the transport, storage, and distribution of natural gas. This includes activities such as pipeline operation and maintenance, natural gas marketing, and trading, and storage and transportation services. The industry is vital to the economy as it provides a crucial link between producers of natural gas and consumers / consumer services. It also plays an important role in ensuring the security of energy supplies by providing a reliable source of fuel for power generation and other essential uses.
Natural gas is typically transported through an extensive network of pipelines, which can span thousands of miles across the country. The distribution industry is responsible for operating and maintaining this complex infrastructure. Pipeline operators must adhere to strict safety regulations to ensure the safe and efficient transportation of natural gas. They must also monitor the condition of the pipelines and perform regular maintenance to prevent leaks and other hazards.
What do professionals in Natural Gas Distribution earn?
The natural gas distribution industry employs a wide range of professionals, from entry-level positions to highly skilled and specialized roles. Salaries in this field vary depending on experience, education, and job responsibilities. Entry-level positions in natural gas distribution typically earn annual salaries of $30,000 to $40,000. These positions may include customer service representatives, meter readers, and field technicians. Skilled positions in natural gas distribution, such as supervisors and project managers, earn annual salaries of $50,000 to $70,000. These roles may require several years of experience or specialized training. Positions that require a high level of technical expertise, such as engineers and system operators, earn annual salaries of $80,000 to $100,000. These roles may require a four-year degree in engineering or a related field. Senior executives in natural gas distribution companies, such as presidents and chief operating officers, earn annual salaries of $200,000 or more. Let’s look into the different job types and how much they earn on average.
1. Gas Service Managers ($135,018 – $173,553)
As a gas service manager, you will be responsible for overseeing the operation and maintenance of gas service equipment. This includes managing a team of gas service workers, ensuring that all equipment is properly maintained, and coordinating with other departments to ensure smooth operation of the gas distribution system. Gas service managers typically earn a salary in the range of $135,018 and $173,553 per year according to Salary.com.
2. Gas technician ($43,460 – $90,740)
Gas technicians in natural gas distribution typically earn between $43,460 to $90,740 per year. They are responsible for the installation, maintenance, and repair of gas pipelines and associated equipment. Gas technicians must be able to work safely and effectively in all weather conditions. In order to become a gas technician in natural gas distribution, you will need to complete training programs and potentially have a degree in a related field.
3. Pipefitters and Plumbers ($36,700 – $99,920)
Pipefitters and plumbers in natural gas distribution are responsible for installing and maintaining natural gas pipelines. They typically earn an average of $59,880 per year. Pipefitters and plumbers must be able to read and interpret blueprints and pipeline specifications in order to properly install or repair pipelines. They must also have a strong understanding of physics, specifically the principles of hydraulics and pneumatics, in order to calculate the correct amount of pressure required for each pipe. In addition to their technical skills, pipefitters and plumbers must also be physically fit, as they often have to lift heavy objects and work in awkward positions. They must also be able to work well under pressure, as natural gas is a flammable substance that can be dangerous if not handled correctly.
4. Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators ($44,260 – $100,690)
Stationary engineers and boiler operators in natural gas distribution work in a variety of industries, including utilities, manufacturing, and commercial and institutional facilities. They operate and maintain machines that generate and distribute electricity or power plant steam. Most stationary engineers and boiler operators work full time. Some work more than 40 hours per week. The median annual wage for stationary engineers and boiler operators was $63,500 per year in 2022. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44,260, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $100,690.
5. Welders, Cutters, and Welder Fitters ($31,350 – $63,660)
Welders, cutters, and welder fitters in natural gas distribution are responsible for the installation, maintenance, and repair of natural gas pipelines. They may also be involved in the construction of new pipelines. Welders, cutters, and welder fitters must have a high school diploma or equivalent. They must also complete an apprenticeship program or have welding experience. The median annual salary for welders, cutters, and welder fitters in natural gas distribution is $47,010 per year. The top 10% earn more than $63,660, while the bottom 10% earn less than $31,350.
6. Pipelayers, Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters ($36,700 – $99,920)
Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters in natural gas distribution are responsible for the installation and maintenance of pipelines that carry natural gas. They typically work in teams under the supervision of a project manager or foreman. Pipelayers install new pipelines and layering them with protective material. Plumbers connect pipes to fixtures and appliances. Pipefitters cut, thread, and bend pipe to specifications. Steamfitters install and repair piping systems that carry steam. Natural gas distribution workers generally work full time. Some may work overtime or be on call 24 hours a day in case of an emergency. They may work outdoors in all weather conditions and at heights. Workers must be able to lift heavy materials and equipment and work in cramped spaces. Most natural gas distribution workers are paid hourly. Median annual wages were $59,880 per year in 2022. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,700, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $99,920.
7. Maintenance Workers, Machinery ($35,010 – $ 76,110)
Maintenance workers in natural gas distribution are responsible for maintaining and repairing the piping systems that deliver natural gas to homes and businesses. They install, inspect, and repair these pipelines, as well as the meters and other equipment used to regulate the flow of gas. These workers typically earn an annual wage of $ 53,570 per year. Salaries may vary depending on experience, employer, and location. Maintenance workers in natural gas distribution typically work full time and may be required to work overtime hours, particularly during emergency situations.
8. Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand ($23,560 – $46,930)
Labor workers and freight, stock, and material movers in natural gas distribution typically do a variety of tasks to help keep operations running smoothly. They may load and unload trucks, move materials around storage facilities, or operate machinery to clean and repair pipelines. In some cases, they may also be responsible for monitoring equipment or performing basic maintenance tasks. Most laborers and freight, stock, and material movers in natural gas distribution work full time. Some jobs may require shift work in order to maintain 24-hour operation of natural gas distribution facilities. Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers in natural gas distribution typically earn an hourly wage. Pay varies depending on the specific job duties and responsibilities, but average wages fall between $23,560 – $46,930, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
9. Forklift Operators ($23,560 – $46,930)
Forklift operators in natural gas distribution are responsible for transporting and moving large volumes of natural gas within pipelines. They typically work for gas companies or energy firms and may be responsible for operating and maintaining the equipment used to move the gas. In addition to their transportation duties, forklift operators in natural gas distribution may also be responsible for performing safety checks on the equipment and pipelines, as well as monitoring the flow of gas through the system. Forklift operators in natural gas distribution typically earn an hourly wage, which can vary depending on their employer and experience level. Some jobs may offer benefits such as health insurance and paid time off. Forklift operators can expect to earn around $40,003 per year.
10. Distribution expert ($24,000 to $52,000)
The primary job of a Distribution expert in Natural Gas Distribution is to oversee the distribution of natural gas within a designated area. This includes ensuring that the gas is delivered safely and efficiently to customers and coordinating with other departments to ensure that all aspects of the distribution process are running smoothly. Distribution experts typically earn a salary in the range of $60,000-$80,000 per year.
Why is Natural Gas Distribution an important job?
As a natural gas distributor, you play an important role in the safe and reliable delivery of this essential energy resource. Natural gas is one of the most versatile and clean-burning energy sources available, how growth is hampered currently due to supply disruptions and the war in Ukraine. Nevertheless, demand for qualified natural gas distributors is relatively stable.
In order to be successful in this field, you must have a strong understanding of the distribution process and be able to troubleshoot any issues that may arise. You must also be able to effectively communicate with customers and other professionals in the industry. Excellent customer service skills are essential in this career, as is the ability to work well under pressure.
How Can You Learn More About Natural Gas Distribution Careers?
If you’re interested in a career in natural gas distribution, there are a few ways to learn more about the industry and what it takes to be successful. One way is to read industry publications, such as Gas Technology magazine or the Natural Gas Intelligence newsletter. You can also check out websites like GasCareers.com, which offer job postings and information on training and education requirements. Another simple way to learn more about gas distribution as a career path is to take an online course. Finally, talking to someone who already works in the industry can give you a better idea of what it’s really like and what kinds of skills and knowledge you need to succeed.