Petroleum Engineer Job Descriptions, Average Salary, Interview Questions

Oil-based fuels and chemical compounds are vital to the world economy. A petroleum engineer designs the equipment and systems used to extract oil and gas used in the creation of these products. Petroleum engineers design drill equipment for onshore and offshore activities and recommend plans based on the cost, the effort involved, and the potential return on investment of time and resources. Petroleum engineers also evaluate the production of oil and gas wells through surveys and testing.

Petroleum engineers work with geoscientists and other specialists to understand the rock formations surrounding oil and gas deposits. For this reason, petroleum engineers must possess interpersonal communication and teamwork skills. A petroleum engineer must also have advanced research skills, as they are often required to find new ways to extract as much oil and gas as possible from underground reserves.

Sample job description #1

The Petroleum Engineer/Specialist will bring their expertise in applying technologies (physics-based, data-driven, and hybrid) to monitor, analyze, and optimize asset performance for conventional and unconventional reservoirs, and the advancement of these analytical and emerging solutions within the customer organizations.


  • BS or MS in Petroleum Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, or any other related discipline
  • 5+ years of relevant work experience
  • Strong background in petroleum engineering, black oil and compositional reservoir simulation, PTA/RTA, and integrated production modeling applied to field development, reservoir management and production surveillance for conventional and unconventional reservoirs
  • Experience with artificial lift design, diagnosis, and optimization for common lift types
  • Demonstrated ability to carry out independent analysis and problem solving based on digital oilfield practices and technologies for field development planning, reservoir management and production optimization
  • Experience in machine learning, data analytics, deep learning, system modeling, and control systems are beneficial
  • Working knowledge of commercial reservoir simulation, well testing, and nodal analysis software packages
  • Experience with software development and product ownership will be preferred
  • Familiarity with design and execution of data acquisition programs (PVT, SCAL, etc.)
  • Proficiency in programming languages (C++, C#, Python, Java) and mathematical packages (Python, R, Matlab)
  • Strong analytical skills and sound business awareness
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Must be able to work in highly charged, fast-paced work environment and be able to handle multiple projects


  • Support implementation and deployment of new solutions in software platform for customers
  • Perform end-to-end modeling, uncertainty analysis and optimization workflows for integrated asset management
  • Ensure customer satisfaction and capture value on deployed projects by providing a high level of customer service to drive success for our customers
  • Serve as a technical expert and provide technical leadership both externally and internally
  • Bring your ideas and provide critical customer feedback to drive product development activities for advanced digital technologies for field development, reservoir management and production surveillance for unconventional and conventional reservoirs
  • Prepare materials and train personnel on deployed solutions through courses, workshops, and hands-on work sessions
  • Execution of a wide range of projects across core focus areas of Digital Labs
  • Work with internal RD and external technology organizations on key projects

Sample job description #2


  • Engineering Degree Required
  • Petroleum or Chemical strongly preferred
  • Mechanical and Electrical may be considered
  • Superior academic achievement (>3.6 GPA on a 4.0 scale)


  • 1-2 years relevant work experience preferred (Reservoir/Petroleum Engineer)
  • Will consider 0 years for right candidate
  • Must show a strong interest in Upstream Oil and Gas asset valuation

Skills and abilities (required)

  • Strong quantitative and analytical skills
  • Advanced oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to work independently while functioning as part of a team
  • Strong attention to detail and the ability to work in high pressure settings with tight deadlines
  • Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint advanced user
  • Software coding experience (VBA Macro Development, Python, or SQL)
  • Basic understanding of database design and functionality (Microsoft Access)


  • Decline Curve Analysis, SEC Reserve Definitions
  • Experience with IHS Enerdeq or Enverus (DrillingInfo), ARIES, PHDWin, Tableau, or Spotfire
  • Basic understanding of Petroleum Geology

Sample job description #3

Key responsibilities include

  • Design storage field projects and coordinate the completion of these activities with the field supervision. Develop operating and maintenance plans for each of the storage fields
  • Coordinate with Gas Supply and Gas Control to create annual injection and withdrawal plans and maintain the peak day deliverability of each of the storage fields
  • Provide support for the completion of all storage field regulatory data requests and complete all storage related permitting and filings
  • Monitor the gas storage field inventories. Analyze reservoir and well performance using historical data, test results, reservoir models, and wire line surveys. Initiate annual adjustments to storage field inventories as required for maintaining field performance
  • Compile cost estimates, justifications, specifications, designs, work orders, and requisitions for materials and personnel for both long term capital projects and short-term maintenance related projects as required to drill and complete new wells, identify and perform remedial work on wells with lost performance/deliverability, and maintain well integrity
  • Provide on-site supervision of well work activities and remedial well workover operations
  • Familiarity with API RP 1171 and 49 CFR 192.12. Stay up to date with state and federal regulations to stay in compliance with code requirements. Work with field operations personnel to ensure completion of all well-specific compliance activities as specified in operations and maintenance plans


  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Petroleum Engineering from an accredited college or university required. Four or more years relevant reservoir engineering, gas storage

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a petroleum engineer is $124,000 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$123,300$166,850
Los Angeles, California$139,150$188,250
Denver, Colorado$115,950$156,850
Washington, DC$141,250$191,100
Miami, Florida$115,400$156,150
Orlando, Florida$106,450$144,050
Tampa, Florida$107,500$145,450
Atlanta, Georgia$112,800$152,600
Chicago, Illinois$129,650$175,400
Boston, Massachusetts$140,200$189,650
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$111,700$151,150
New York City, New York$147,550$199,650
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$120,150$162,550
Dallas, Texas$117,000$158,300
Houston, Texas$115,950$156,850
Seattle, Washington$134,900$182,550
National Average$105,400$142,600

Sample interview questions

  • Can you describe the methods used to test analyses?
  • What’s the main advantage of using a pressure drawdown test?
  • Can you describe well logging?
  • What is pseudo pressure?
  • Can you describe bull heading?
  • What do you use to increase the density and weight of drilling mud?
  • What’s the significance of drilling mud?
  • Can you describe drill-stem testing?
  • What is hydraulic fracturing?
  • Can you describe proppant and its use?
  • What is perforation in the context of oil well drilling?
  • Can you describe desanding and desilting?
  • What are the advantages of gas injection down the drill pipe?

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