Saturday, August 25, 2012

New Poll: What is America's Most Hated Industry?

1. Oil and Gas Industry
Thinkstock> Pct. negative rating: 61%

Nearly two-thirds of Americans have a negative overall view of the oil and gas industry, falling below the U.S. government in the eyes of the public. In 2011, ACSI gave gas stations a score of 74, which placed it 11th from the bottom out of 48 industries. At the time of the 2012 Gallup survey, gasoline prices were on the rise. Plus, as Newport pointed out, people have to deal with the oil and gas industry every day when they put gas in their car “and they see prices inexplicably zoom up, and they’re not sure why.” Increasingly high revenues and government tax breaks may be one explanation for the oil and gas industry’s poor public image. The Gallup report also suggests that some Americans believe the industry has a poor environmental record, which is not always confined to events off-shore, or abroad.


The oil field has been putting food on my table, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and cars in my garage....all my life. My two grandfathers worked in the oil field. My dad worked in the oil field. And I proudly proclaim that I am 'Oil Field Trash'. The world's economy is petroleum based. You can't wake up in the morning and open your eyes without seeing petroleum products all around you. If it weren't for petroleum, you wouldn't have all the little gadgets you like to use every day.

People complain about gas prices, except for those of us in the industry. Instead of working for the government and sucking off taxpayers, oil field workers make their own way and toil in one of the most dangerous industries out there. I have tested equipment that required more than 200,000 pounds per square inch of hydrostatic pressure. I have been present when hundreds of thousands of pounds of load has been lifted at one time, where the slightest mistake could have meant people killed. We go to places that sound exotic, but is quite dangerous. In Nigeria I had to have body guards and we couldn't go outside the well guarded, walled in, electrified, gated compound. In Mexico there were worries of being kidnapped. In Venezuela Americans are disliked. In Trinidad, crime is a concern. A lot of us put our lives on the line to make the money we do and are away from our families for weeks and months on end.

Unlike a lot of industries, we're expected to take risks. It's what we do. More people want to focus on the BP oil spill than on the 11 workers that perished that day. They all had families...wives, children, parents, and friends. Yet, it is the spill people want to remember.

The oil field has allowed me to live in a three bedroom townhouse with all the amenities. I have two Mercedes in my garage. I own a big ass television and five computers. I wear Polo shirts and have the best cowboy boots money can buy...alligator, lizard, ostrich, etc. I have a huge belt buckle on my western style belt that's made of silver with a big gold 'C' on it. I have a Wittnauer wrist watch (Rolex is too gaudy) and diamond rings and wear two gold chains around my neck. I'm in the top three percent of earners in the United States of America and I earned every penny of it by the sweat of my brow, working long hours, putting myself in dangerous places and in dangerous situations, and by spending weeks and months away from home. Not only that, but in this business you work with some of the most ornery folks alive. We can be crass and downright offensive, but we are a family who knows what it takes to make it in this business. It isn't for the faint of heart or the squeamish. We're a tough bunch. Six months after I had a quadruple bypass I was in Nigeria working in incessant heat, pouring rain, disease infested country (having been immunized from cholera, typhoid, yellow fever, hepatitis A thru Z and taking malaria pills every day), among people that might start rioting at any moment; and directing the load out and seafastening and testing of equipment on a concrete dock with guards holding AK47's. One of the men I worked with, a 42 year old and good man, died of malaria while I was there. He left behind a 10 year old daughter. Three more were hospitalized from it. I was one of the lucky ones. And you want to complain about gas prices?

All my life my family has been looked down upon because we make our living in the oil field. I'm glad my industry is the most hated in America. That means that a lot of you won't try to get into it, which makes my expertise that much more valuable. We have a shortage of people, and that's how I like it. So, when you go to the gas pump and pay more than four dollars a gallon and start cussin' the oil companies out, remember one thing. The oil companies have to pay people like me a helluva lot of money to do what we do. They have to pay billions of dollars for concept, engineering, analysis, FEED studies, design, HSE, quality control, manufacturing, testing, shipping, and installation to develop a deepwater field. And that's while the drilling is still being done. Some of these offshore drilling rigs charge a million dollars a day. Some of the huge installation vessels that put the equipment 8000 feet below the surface of the ocean charge a million dollars a day. The equipment itself can cost upwards of a billion dollars. One project off the coast of Australia will cost 30 billion by the time its development is finished. All so you can have gas for your cars, boats, motorcycles, planes. This enables you to have fire for the stove you cook with and hot water so you can bathe your ungrateful bodies in. This industry keeps you warm during the winter. Any time you pick up something made of plastic, think about what it took to get that product to you.

I was one of the client representatives on a platform in the Gulf of Mexico that presently produces a billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. EVERY day. This one platform supplies America with 3% of its natural gas needs. Yet, 61% of America hates this industry. That's okay by me. Keep on hatin'.  Keep on complaining about how you don't get paid enough in whatever profession YOU CHOSE for yourself. Keep on whining about how you can't get ahead in life when you don't have the gumption to get up and do something about it by taking a risk. Keep on hiding in your closet, afraid to get in your covered wagon and explore new territory that might hold promise for a better life. While you're doing that, I'll keep laughing my way to the bank.

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