Archives for January 2015

Pipefitters Have Great Career Opportunities in Our Region

Pipefitters play a major role in the construction and maintenance of plant site systems. Pipefitting fabricators generally install and maintain pipe systems in power and petrochemical plants, as well as heating and cooling systems in large office buildings. As mentioned on our CCPI page about pipefitting, pipefitters and steamfitters typically lay out, assemble, install, alter, and repair pipelines or pipe systems that carry water, steam, air, lubrication, or other liquids or gases for industrial production and process systems. Additionally pipefitters apply pipe system knowledge and blueprint reading capability to select pipe size and type, related equipment and materials such as pipe supports, hangars, and hydraulic supports systems according to required specifications.

pipefitters

Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters may use many different materials and construction techniques, depending on the type of project. Residential water systems, for example, use copper, steel, and plastic pipe that one or two plumbers can install. Power plant water systems, by contrast, are made of large steel pipes that usually take a crew of pipefitters to install. Some workers install stainless steel pipes on dairy farms and in factories, mainly to prevent contamination. Plumbers and fitters sometimes cut holes in walls, ceilings, and floors. With some pipe systems, workers may hang steel supports from ceiling joists to hold the pipe in place. Because pipes are seldom manufactured to the exact length needed, plumbers and fitters measure and then cut and bend lengths of pipe as needed. Their tools often include saws and pipe cutters.

Earning your training and education with Texas Gulf Coast Community Colleges will position you in a place to succeed as a pipefitter. Occupations at this level generally require more than 12 months of on-the-job training combined with work experience and formal classroom instruction for workers to develop the skills needed for normal job performance. This category includes formal and informal apprenticeships and short-term, intensive, employer-sponsored training that workers must successfully complete. Pokies rely on luck, and your previous spins won’t affect future spins in any way real money slots.

Several of our colleges offer curriculum designed for a successful career in pipefitting. We offer many programs that put you on the fast track to becoming a pipefitter. For instance, Brazosport College emphasizes hands-on classroom training and provides college credit for on-the-job work experiences. At Lee College, the pipefitting program places special emphasis on hands-on training using its three large and completely equipped labs. Blueprint reading and isometric sketching are given special attention as requested by local industries. Threading pipe, socket-weld and butt-weld pipe fabrication skills and the mathematics needed to build a foundation in this career are all fully covered. Students in training are generally considered to be employed in the occupation, and our community college member schools will give you the tools needed to succeed at a fraction of the cost of a majority of college programs.

What a Degree in Pipefitting Offers

Pipefitters are employed by pipeline construction contractors, maintenance contractors and subcontractors, thermal or steam generating plants, manufacturers, utility companies, oil refineries, gas plants, pulp mills and chemical plants. Pipefitters can expect to progress from entry-level helper, to journeyman to supervisors as their knowledge and experience increases.

Hourly wages for pipefitters can range anywhere from $16 to $25 an hour, while some senior pipefitters will make more. The median wage for all pipefitters is about $25 an hour, but because demand is high in the Gulf Coast region, many pipefitters will work overtime for time-and-a-half wages or more.

Annual income for pipefitters varies widely depending on their hourly wages and the number of hours they work in a year. However, most pipefitters earn somewhere between $35,000 and $75,000 annually. Job opportunities are on the rise since many people working in pipefitting are expected to retire within the next 10 years.

Employment of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Construction of buildings and the need for new septic systems should drive demand for these workers. Overall job opportunities are expected to be good as some employers continue to report difficulty finding qualified workers. Especially in the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas, the economy is humming with a strong need for pipefitting fabricators. You can rest assured that Texas Gulf Community Colleges will prepare you for success in this thriving market.

Petrochemical Manufacturing is a Bright Spot in Today’s Oil and Gas Sector

There has been much doom and gloom in the news lately about the price decline in crude oil, and an impending oil bust in Texas. Oil prices have plummeted by more than 50 percent since June 2014. Currently, crude oil prices are hovering around $50 a barrel. The price per barrel is forecast to dip as low as $31 by the end of first quarter 2015.
petrochemplant

The grim outlook may make you think that the oil and gas sector will suffer, so it may not be wise to work in the industry because there may not be as many jobs. However, this isn’t true. Petrochemical manufacturers actually benefit from reduced oil prices. Outside of the oil and gas sector, even the airline and express delivery industries also stand to benefit from the low oil prices.

To help you understand how petrochemical manufacturers gain from low oil prices, let’s first cover why crude oil prices are falling.

Supply and Demand Issues Contribute to Oil Price Drop

An oversupply of oil is one contributing factor to the oil price decline. Domestic production of oil in the U.S. has surged over the last few years, so oil imports from countries such as Saudi Arabia weren’t needed as much. Those countries that once sold oil to the United States are now competing in the Asian markets. As a result, the oil-producing countries are lowering prices of petroleum.

The drop in oil prices can also be attributed to a lagging demand globally. For instance, in both European and developing countries, the economies are sluggish and consumers are driving more energy-efficient vehicles.

Petrochemical Costs Are Falling

Petroleum and natural gas serve as the raw materials used to extract hydrocarbons such as ethane, propane, and butane, which are then used as feedstocks for petrochemicals. Ultimately, these petrochemicals are used to manufacture the end products. Petrochemicals can be found in so many products that we use every day including cosmetics, furniture, appliances, TVs, radios, items made of plastic, and even medicines.

With the dip in crude oil prices, there has also been a subsequent drop in derivative petrochemical costs. Key petrochemicals in the U.S., such as ethylene, propylene, benzene and methanol are experiencing some of their lowest prices since 2009 when crude oil was about $50 per barrel.

So, the reduced crude oil prices provide petrochemical manufacturers with cheaper feedstocks such as ethane and propane. Steven Craig, a University of Houston economist, sums it up in this KHOU-TV report:

“When petroleum is cheap, petrochemicals do better,” Craig said.

Petrochemical Industry, Manufacturers to Experience Growth

The U.S. petrochemical industry is expected to keep expanding in 2015 amid the upstream oil and gas sector woes. The industry has been investing billions to grow and build new plants to leverage the inexpensive domestic crude oil. Industry experts are optimistic that any surges in oil prices won’t diminish growth around Houston and the Gulf Coast region, according to a Houston Chronicle article that ran in Dec. 2014. The article reports that the industry has planned 215 projects valued at $133 billon. Those projects include building new plants, re-opening shuttered facilities, and expand existing facilities

The future is bright in 2015 for petrochemical manufacturers. So, don’t put your career in the petrochemical industry on hold because of dropping oil prices. There are still many career opportunities for you to explore at petrochemical manufacturing companies. The Texas Gulf Coast Consortium of Community Colleges (TGCCC) has knowledgeable instructors who can teach you the skills needed for high-paying, petrochemical-related jobs. Learn more about TGCCCC’s Community College Petrochemical Initiative and read more about the type of jobs that are available in the industry as well as the courses you need to take.

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