As you think about your future career move, law may be an enticing prospect. And if you are in law school, or thinking about making a specialty switch, becoming an oil and gas lawyer is a profession you should seriously consider. The following present the top five reasons to become an oil and gas lawyer:
1. Growing Industry
The oil and gas industry is booming, both in the United States and across the world. To be sure, information published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration highlights that natural gas working inventories are at a 13 percent higher level than last year during the same week, and 16 percent higher than the previous five-year average.
A separate page published by the same source (EIA) indicates that oil and gas industry employment is growing much faster than total private sector employment, indicative of an overall boom of the industry. In fact, from 2007 to 2012, private sector employment increased by about one percent – in the oil and gas industry, employment industry growth over the same period increased by about 40 percent.
2. International Job Opportunities
In addition to the fact that getting a job in the oil and gas industry as an attorney is close to a sure thing, if you are a person who is motivated by an opportunity to see the world or immerse yourself in a new culture, the oil and gas industry presents international job opportunities. Top countries for oil and gas output include (in addition to the U.S.) Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, China, Canada, Iran, UAE, Kuwait, and Venezuela.
3. Stable Income
With a stable market comes a stable income. And for oil and gas lawyers, that income level can be very comfortable. According to an article in State Impact – a reporting project of NPR member stations – oil and gas lawyers in Texas can bill for their time at a rate of up to $1,000 an hour, and even young lawyers start at $160,000 per year.
4. Intellectually Stimulating and Challenging
Oil and gas law is complex, intricate, and evolving. For an oil and gas lawyer, the challenges presented by the job are myriad, engaging, and ever-changing. From identifying mineral rights ownership to resolving disputes and more, the job will certainly keep you stimulated.
5. Job Security
Finally, one of the top reasons to be an oil and gas lawyer is job security. As touched upon above, oil and gas is a growing industry, and as such, lawyers will continue to have a place in the field. There are estimated 18 billion barrels of oil in underwater areas that are off-limits for drilling, and about 100 billion barrels in oil fields in Mexico, Alaska, and California alone. Even with renewable energy sources being explored, oil and gas is here to stay.
Making a decision about your career is challenging, and should not be taken lightly. If you are considering being an oil and gas lawyer, the fact that the industry is growing, combined with the income potential, travel possibilities, job stability, and intellectual challenges presented are all compelling reasons to consider this career.
Dustin Sanchez is a lawyer in Houston, TX. He is a graduate of the University of Houston Law Center, and a veteran of the U.S. Navy. You can find him on the web at www.DustinSanchezTV.com, and on LawyerLand.com.