Petroleum Engineer

Job Description

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.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

  • Design equipment for extracting oil and gas from onshore and offshore reserves deep underground
  • Create plans for drilling in oil and gas fields, and then recovering the oil and gas
  • Develop ways to inject water, chemicals, gases, or steam into an oil reserve to force out more oil or gas
  • Ensure oilfield equipment is installed, operated, and maintained properly
  • Evaluate the production of wells through surveys, testing, and analysis

Education and Background

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering, preferably with a major in petroleum engineering. Also acceptable are job candidates with mechanical, civil, or chemical engineering degrees. Some employers prefer applicants with a master’s degree or Ph.D. for certain positions.

Skills and Competencies

  • Analytical, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Advanced mathematics skills
  • Teamwork and interpersonal communication skills
  • Strong technical writing ability
  • Experience with database and spreadsheet software
  • Demonstrated expertise in solving highly technical problems
  • Working knowledge of geology or thermodynamics

Compensation

According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Petroleum Engineer with

1 Year of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $70,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $73,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $74,000
  • Miami, Florida: $79,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $70,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $80,000
  • Houston, Texas: $75,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $84,000
  • New York City, New York: $89,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $79,000
  • Overall: $75,000

5 Years of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $82,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $83,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $85,000
  • Miami, Florida: $88,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $80,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $90,000
  • Houston, Texas: $80,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $91,000
  • New York City, New York: $94,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $85,000
  • Overall: $89,000

Similar Job Titles

  • Energy Engineer
  • Field Engineer
  • Reservoir Engineer
  • Drilling Engineer
  • Completions Engineer
  • Production Engineer

Career Path

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering, preferably with a major in petroleum engineering. Also acceptable are job candidates with mechanical, civil, or chemical engineering degrees. Some employers prefer applicants with a master’s degree or Ph.D. for certain positions. Many companies also require a Professional Engineer (PE) license, which requires a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, on-the-job experience, and a passing score on the Principles and Practice of Engineering Examination. Successful Petroleum Engineers can advance to overseeing larger-scale drilling and extraction projects and receive greater independence to design and evaluate projects and processes.

Position Trends

According to the professional services firm Deloitte, one key trend in the Petroleum Engineering field is the decreasing global demand for oil. One reason for that is the push in some countries to move away from dependence on fossil fuels. Another is that petroleum production has increased in several countries, leading to a more secure supply of oil.

Another trend in the industry is the expectation of increased efficiency from oil and gas investors. Despite the global economic slowdown and another slowdown in production from oil and gas wells, investors are looking to petroleum companies to find new ways to save costs. They say investors could be hesitant to spend more money in the oil and gas industry until they see it.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for Petroleum Engineers is expected to grow by three percent between 2018 and 2028. That’s slower than average.

Typical Hours

The typical work hours for a Petroleum Engineer are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, many Petroleum Engineers work longer hours to hit project deadlines or troubleshoot production issues.

Where You Can Find Jobs

  • 4 Corner Resources
  • Career Builder
  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster 
  • Zip Recruiter
  • Engineering.com
  • Engineering Jobs
  • National Society of Professional Engineers

Are You Interested in Becoming a Petroleum Engineer?

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