As home to supermajors, as well as a plethora of smaller, independent energy players, the US boasts one of the largest concentrations of energy personnel in the world. With its insatiable appetite for energy resources, the United States is the world's single largest consumer of oil, using as much as 20.73 million barrels per day as of 2008. Recently, interest has peaked in the vast quantity of untapped natural gas resources in the US, the reserves of which were inventoried in 2008 at 238 Tcf, with producers specifically targeting the nation's promising shale formations for this energy commodity.
In general, process control refers to maintaining the output of a specific process within a desired range. Process control also enables automation, which allows a smaller staff to control a large operation. In the oilfield, many operations are run by process controls including valves, mud pumps, vessels and instruments. Testing and monitoring of systems can also be automated. Jobs in this field vary from engineers responsible for designing and programming equipment, to technicians responsible for maintenance and monitoring of control systems.