Petroleum Engineer Job Description

Petroleum Engineer Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of a petroleum engineer. Feel free to use our job description template to produce your own. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as a petroleum engineer.


Who is a Petroleum Engineer? 

Petroleum engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the activities involved in the production of hydrocarbons, which can be crude oil or natural gas.  “Petroleum engineers make the world run.” This proud quotation, taken from the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ website, demonstrates how highly they value their profession while also emphasizing the importance of the educational process in preparing the next generation of engineers to meet industry demands.

A petroleum engineer works on practically every level of the oil and gas field appraisal, development, and production process. A petroleum engineer’s purpose is to maximize hydrocarbon recovery at the lowest possible cost while also focusing on minimizing the associated environmental issues. Petroleum engineers design and develop ways for extracting oil and gas from deposits beneath the Earth’s surface as part of their responsibilities. Petroleum engineers are also developing novel techniques for extracting oil and gas from older wells.

Petroleum engineering is approaching the end of its first century as a formal academic course. Clearly, educational techniques, as well as industrial technology, have undergone significant changes, which are reflected in present courses in some way. Apart from studying the principles of mathematics, physics, and chemistry, a petroleum engineer’s basic abilities will include knowledge in the following fields:

  1. Geology
  2. Well drilling technology
  3. Formation evaluation
  4. Oil and gas production technology
  5. Properties of reservoir rocks
  6. Properties of reservoir fluids
  7. Fluid flow in porous media
  8. Reservoir analysis and management.

Expecting a fresh graduate to have the aforementioned set of skills is usually unrealistic. Petroleum engineering education, on the other hand, should aim to offer students the ability to apply their technical background and personal qualifications to acquire those skills in a short period of time after graduation. Although obvious attainment of that goal will rely not only on university infrastructure, laboratory facilities, and well-prepared teachers, recruitment of students considered for such roles should also be given crucial priority.


There are different types of petroleum engineers  and they are  divided  into the following groups:

  1. Completions engineers

Completions engineers are in charge of determining the best approach to finish drilling wells so that oil or gas can flow up from beneath the surface. They supervise the completion of well construction projects, which may include the utilization of tubing, hydraulic fracturing, or pressure-control procedures.

  1. Drilling engineers

Drilling engineers are responsible for determining the best method for drilling oil or gas wells, taking into account a variety of factors, including cost. They also make certain that the drilling process is safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly.

  1. Production Engineers

When drilling is finished, production engineers take over the wells. They usually keep an eye on the oil and gas production of wells. When wells don’t produce as much as planned, production engineers figure out how to boost the amount extracted.

  1. Reservoir Engineers

Engineers who estimate how much oil or gas can be recovered from underground deposits known as reservoirs are known as reservoir engineers. They look at the characteristics of reservoirs to see which methods will extract the most oil or gas. They also keep an eye on operations to guarantee that the maximum amount of these resources is retrieved.


Petroleum Engineer Job Description

Below are the petroleum engineer job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write a job description for your employee. Employers can use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

Petroleum engineers’ job description typically includes the following:

  • Works with geoscientists, production and reservoir engineers, and commercial managers to interpret well-logging results and predict production potential.
  • Using mathematical models to develop detailed development plans for reservoir performance.
  • Determining the appropriate tube size and well equipment for various applications
  • Designing the completion – the part of the well that communicates with the reservoir rock and fluids.
  • Creating systems that aid in the flow of the well, such as submersible pumps.
  • Managing problems that have to do with fluid behavior and manufacturing chemistry.
  • assessing and recommending flow rate improvements such as hydraulic fracturing (pushing fluid into a well to fracture the rock) and acid treatment (to erode the rock and improve the flow path).
  • Monitoring and controlling wells with bottom branches (horizontal and multilateral wells).
  • Using surveillance data and well and reservoir remote sensing technology to manage the reservoir’s value and decide on required technical solutions.
  • Understanding and regulating the interactions between a group of wells
  • Relationship management with contractors in terms of health, safety, and environmental performance.
  • Overseeing well-site operations workers and managing staff at all levels, including crew member training and supervision, to ensure that everyone works together to fulfill deadlines and satisfy clients.
  • Coordinating with several divisions to guarantee proper project progress.
  • Assuming responsibility for equipment maintenance
  • Interacting with clients to keep them up to date on the project.


Qualifications of Petroleum Engineers

  1. Employers look for degrees in physical, mathematical, or applied sciences, as well as engineering. The following subjects, in particular, may improve your chances of landing a job:
    • aeronautical engineering
    • astrophysics
    • chemical engineering
    • civil engineering
    • earth sciences
    • mathematics
    • mechanical engineering
    • petroleum engineering.

Some universities offer first-year degrees in petroleum engineering, but employers are looking for candidates in all of the specialties listed above. The Heriot-Watt Institute of Geo Energy Engineering, which offers Master’s courses and distance learning, has a large base of research activity on this.

  1. It is usually not possible to enter with just an HND or a foundation degree. Most firm recruitment procedures call for graduate or postgraduate qualifications, as well as the necessary personal characteristics.
  2. Postgraduate study isn’t always required, but it can help you get a better job. A postgraduate degree in petroleum engineering may be required by some employers. With a good numerate degree and proof of interest in the petroleum engineering industry, you may be able to enroll in such courses.


Essential Skills of Petroleum Engineers

Analytical abilities: To guarantee that facilities run safely and effectively, petroleum engineers must be able to assemble and make sense of vast amounts of technical data and information.

Creativity: Petroleum engineers must be able to come up with innovative solutions to extract oil and gas because each new drill site is unique and hence poses new obstacles.

Interpersonal abilities: On projects requiring very complicated gear, equipment, and infrastructure, petroleum engineers must collaborate with others. It is critical to communicate and collaborate well with other engineers and oil and gas personnel to ensure that projects satisfy client needs and run safely and efficiently.

Math abilities: Petroleum engineers employ calculus ideas and other complex math topics in their job for analysis, design, and troubleshooting.

Possessing problem-solving abilities: Petroleum engineers must be able to spot flaws in drilling plans because these flaws can be costly. Petroleum engineers must be cautious not to overlook any possible problems and must respond fast if they do arise.


How to Become a Petroleum Engineer

  1. A bachelor’s degree in engineering: Ideally, a bachelor’s degree in engineering is required for petroleum engineers. A bachelor’s degree in mechanical, civil, or chemical engineering, on the other hand, may be sufficient to meet employer criteria. Employers respect work experience as well, therefore college cooperative-education programs that allow students to earn academic credit while also gaining work experience are beneficial.
  2. Employers definitely consider respect work experience as well, therefore college cooperative-education programs that allow students to earn academic credit while also gaining work experience are beneficial in being considered for the position of a petroleum engineer
  3. Some colleges and universities offer 5-year chemical or mechanical engineering programs that lead to bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Some employers prefer candidates with a master’s degree or higher. An engineer with a graduate degree can also work as an instructor at select colleges or in research and development.
  4. Registrations, certifications, and licenses: For entry-level work as a petroleum engineer, licensure is not necessary. Later in one’s career, a Professional Engineering (PE) license can be obtained, allowing for higher levels of leadership and independence. Professional engineers are licensed engineers (PEs). A PE can supervise other engineers’ work, sign off on projects, and give direct services to the public. In most cases, state licensing is required.

4a. An engineering degree from an ABET-accredited program

4b. A passing grade on the FE exam (Fundamentals of Engineering).

4c. Work experience that is relevant, usually at least 4 years

4d. A passing grade on the PE exam (Professional Engineering).

After earning a bachelor’s degree, one can take the first FE exam. Engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns are the terms used to describe engineers that pass this exam (EIs). EITs and EIs can take the second exam, the Principles, and Practice of Engineering, after satisfying the work experience criteria (PE).

4e. Engineers are required to complete continuing education courses in certain states in order to keep their licenses. Most states accept licensure from other states if the licensing state’s criteria are equal to or greater than their own.

4f. The Society of Petroleum Engineers offers certification. To be qualified, petroleum engineers must be members of the Society, pass an exam, and meet additional prerequisites. Entry-level engineers are frequently supervised by more experienced engineers. New engineers may also obtain formal training in large companies. Engineers advance to increasingly complex tasks as their expertise and experience grow, giving them more freedom to develop designs, solve problems, and make judgments. Petroleum engineers may eventually be promoted to lead a team of engineers and technicians. Some go on to become engineering managers or other management jobs.


Where Do Petroleum  Engineers  Work?

Petroleum engineers spend much of their time in offices or on drilling and well sites. To visit these sites or meet with other engineers, oilfield workers, and consumers, frequent travel is essential.

Petroleum engineers sometimes work in foreign countries because large oil and gas firms have operations all over the world. Petroleum engineers must also be able to collaborate with people from various disciplines, such as other engineers, scientists, and oil and gas field workers.


Petroleum Engineers Salary Scale

As of May 2020, the median annual wage for petroleum engineers was $137,330. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $78,620, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $208,000.


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