Career as a Petroleum Engineer


A Petroleum Engineer is someone who locates reservoirs of natural gas and crude oil beneath the earth's surface, and then determines if the effort of extracting the product will be worth the time and money for the company he/she works for. After the decision has been made to drill, it is the job of the petroleum engineer to find the best and most cost efficient way to extract the product. Basically, petroleum engineers are concerned with four main areas: finding oil, evaluating whether it has potential, recovering the oil, and transporting/storing it.

A Petroleum Engineer will study the engineering and geological data to determine the most likely areas that oil can be sourced. They often have to travel to foreign countries and reside there for a time, as a petroleum engineer is involved in nearly all phases of production, from finding the oil or natural gas, right through to refining and distributing it.

They work with teams of specialists to develop more effective, cost-efficient methods of petroleum recovery through the application of principles from chemistry, mathematics, engineering, and geology. There are three types of petroleum engineers who differ only by the stage of the drilling process that they are involved in. Reservoir engineers monitor the geological formation for the best strategic method of extraction. Drilling engineers generate computer simulated models of the drilling formation and equipment to ensure they use the best tools for the most effective method of extraction. Production engineers manage the interface between drilling and extraction by managing machinery and production costs.

Work Environment

Petroleum Engineers may work in the offices of petroleum mining companies, or they may work on petroleum mining rigs. Those working in offices usually work regular hours but may be expected to work longer hours when necessary. Those working on oil and gas rigs usually stay on the rig for extended periods, working and living in close proximity to other staff. Weather conditions on the rig may be harsh.

Entry Level Education

Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, preferably in Petroleum Engineering.

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