What does a Lease Operator do?

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  • Written By: Christine Hudson
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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A lease operator is a man or woman hired by an oil company to monitor, tend to and document oil extraction at the pumps owned by the company. This person will typically be expected to monitor equipment to make sure that it is functioning properly, as well as fix any problems or hire the appropriate professionals who can repair issues quickly. An operator is also required to document thoroughly any oil taken from the ground. This documentation can include how much oil was taken during the day, where it went and how it was transported.

In effect, a lease operator is much like a manager of an oil rig or some other type of location with large machinery. It is important that a company have a lease operator so that there is someone to handle the day-to-day functions of this expensive machinery and any problems or questions that may pop up. An on-site manager may be a necessity in case of emergencies and to give employees a sense of structure and support. Companies that own large oil rigs or other machinery are likely to hire a lease operator.


As a lease operator needs to be able to maintain expensive machinery, it is generally good for the applicant to have some type of mechanical training. Most rigs and machines also utilize computer components, so some experience with electronic systems is also necessary. In-office systems used to file the paperwork may also require some training and experience. Though there is no special degree for lease operators, there are a certain set of skills and mindsets that are beneficial to the applicant.

For example, a person who considers himself creative and is not comfortable doing paperwork and being in the same area for a long period of time will probably not enjoy the position of lease operator. On the other hand, the type of person who works well under a strict set of rules and regulations will likely flourish in this job. Those who are well-equipped for physical labor and know a thing or two about mechanics will also have a higher chance of being successful.

Once hired, an applicant will undoubtedly go through a company-provided course or training to better equip him or her for the tasks to be performed during regular duties as a lease operator. Having an understanding of the oil business, as well as a higher education, may help an applicant obtain the position. Field knowledge is generally very important to oil companies looking to hire lease operators, so it is very common for them to hire from within.


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