Tighter Regulations Fuels Job Growth

While petroleum engineer might be the best job in Oklahoma, it's not the industry's fastest growing.

While jobs typically associated with oil and gas operations — engineers, extractors, geoscientists and equipment operators — enjoyed robust expansion in recent years, the most growth has less to do with drilling and more to do with regulation, according to a new report on the state of Oklahoma's energy industry.

The energy industry's fastest-growing job in Oklahoma: compliance officer.

Oklahoma's oil and gas industry employed 90 compliance officers in 2003. By 2010, that number ballooned to 590 — a 555 percent increase, according to a report (right-click here to download) by economist Russell Evans, the executive director of Oklahoma City University's Steven C. Agee Economic Research and Policy Institute.

Compliance officers with oil and natural gas companies ensure that contracts, licenses, permits and inspections follow appropriate federal, state and local laws.