Becoming a Petroleum Engineer

A petroleum engineer is asked to find methods to increase production at oil and gas wells. They may be asked to determine if and when a new or modified tool design would help to increase production at a drilling site.

These individuals oversee the drilling operation and offer technical advice to help achieve the goal of a satisfactory level of production in a safe and economical manner.

In a situation where the drilling location is on land, the petroleum engineer is asked to find a way to return any salt water discovered with the oil to the ground without spilling it on the surface where it will damage plant life. When the drilling is being done off shore, the petroleum engineer determines how to drill without causing oil to spill into the ocean, where it could affect a variety of marine plants and animals.

The petroleum engineer works with petroleum geologists, who can provide them with information about geologic formations near the drilling site. Many petroleum engineers find work with oil companies, but they can also work for companies that sell equipment to oil companies or find work as consultants. Petroleum engineers may also be hired by lenders who provide capital to oil companies or government agencies.

Petroleum Engineer Education Required

You may be able to get hired as a petroleum engineer with a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. Some schools do offer programs in Petroleum Engineering, but you may also be considered for this type of position with an undergrad degree in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Geology, or Geophysics.


Salary Information

The median salary (excluding any bonuses or benefits) for a petroleum engineer is $113,890.

Employment Trends for Petroleum Engineers

Demand for petroleum engineers varies, depending on the price of oil at any given time. If you are flexible about your work location, you will find more opportunities overseas than in the United States. The forecast for the next several years is that demand for petroleum engineers will grow more slowly than average.

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