What is the job of a Petroleum Engineer?

Petroleum Engineer


The objective of a petroleum engineer is to find and exploit a source of oil. Often posted abroad, he may be called upon to work on off-shore installations, at sea, or on-shore, on land. As a technical manager, he prepares the operating program, designs and also manages the equipment, studies the most suitable techniques, ensures that safety standards are followed.


  • The responsibilities of a petroleum engineer involve creating and designing oil and gas extraction techniques, equipment, and procedures.
  • Study drilling, transport, and processing techniques adapted to the location and also the type of operation
  • Ensure technical follow-up
  • Ensuring unit safety
  • Analyzes a natural deposit;
  • Determines the costs of drilling oil and gas wells, as well as the restoration of the field after the development
  • Evaluate the conditions and specifics of oil or gas production.
  • Participates in the preparation of technological regimes for the operation of wells and other production facilities
  • Controls the volume and also the quality of the working agent, injected into the reservoir.
  • Organizes timely preparation of oil and gas facilities for repair
  • Controls the quality of repair work at oil and gas facilities
  • Regulates the rational use of material and technical means and transport
  • Keeps records of accidents in production wells and also process units
  • Analyzes the causes of accidents, take part in the development of measures for their prevention and elimination
  • Knows, understands, and applies the current regulatory documents relating to its activities.
  • Knows and fulfills the requirements of regulatory acts on labor and environmental protection
  • Participates in the preparation of orders (job orders) for underground and also work-over wells
  • Complies with the norms, methods, and techniques for the safe performance of work

Education and Licensure

To become a petroleum engineer, you must have followed a general education in an engineering school or a university. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum to practice as a petroleum engineer in the United States. And this takes about four (4) years to acquire. Although, some colleges offer a five (5) year program that leads to a master’s degree.

The coursework for petroleum engineering includes principles in engineering, thermodynamics, and geology. To gain admission into an ABET-accredited program, students must have taken courses in maths, physics, chemistry, and biology during high school. It is also important to note that studying in an ABET-accredited engineering program is a minimum requirement for some employers.

License is not relevant for entry-level jobs in petroleum engineering. However, some states in the United States require petroleum engineers to be licensed. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021, state licensure requires:

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • Relevant work experience typically at least four (4) years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam.
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam


The average yearly salary of petroleum engineers in the United States is $137,330. The salary, however, ranges from $78,620 and $208,000. Most engineers work full-time. Petroleum engineers who function in the management of companies and enterprises receive the highest pay compared to others.

Petroleum Engineer

Career Developments

The major oil groups can offer career prospects, especially internationally. A petroleum engineer can, with experience, create his own design office.
The labor activity of a petroleum engineer can be carried out both in an office environment and with a visit to the field site. The work of petroleum engineers is usually associated with business trips to distant corners of the country. In addition, a specialist can also take part in research conferences, symposiums, and exhibition events.

Knowledge and skills

A qualified petroleum engineer must have fundamental education and practical experience. The primary skills of a petroleum engineer include:

  • Availability of specialized higher professional education;
  • Practical experience in conducting geological exploration and surveys, as well as the presence of a minimum work experience;
  • Excellent skills in working with a computer and software in the field of graphic modeling, for example, knowledge of AutoCAD;
  • Possessing the skills of strategic management, planning, and leadership of people;
  • Good knowledge of English and the ability to perform technical translations.
  • The specialist must always be ready to be sent on long business trips and also work in non-standard conditions. A petroleum engineer belongs to the category of managers, his experience and high level of responsibility presuppose a high salary level.


  • Adaptability
  • The ability to work in a team
  • Rigor and also organizational qualities

Leave a Comment