STEM Jobs: Petroleum Engineer
What is a Petroleum Engineer?
Oil and gas are two of the most crucial energy resources we rely upon in the modern world. Oil and gas companies extract the deposits of these resources from the earth and facilitate their distribution as an energy source. But how do they know where to dig? This is where a petroleum engineer enters the picture. Petroleum engineers are tasked with finding oil and gas deposits as well as developing ways to extract those deposits from the ground. They design, plan and execute drilling projects to ensure the safest, most effective way of implementing oil and gas wells.
The day-to-day duties of a petroleum engineer include designing and implementing ideal methods of drilling. Often they are responsible for monitoring the drilling area (including the ground, the rocks and the equipment) to ensure optimal conditions for drilling operations that harvest the maximum amount of oil and gas deposits.
Who do they work for?
Petroleum engineers are most often hired by companies who produced petroleum, but they can also find employment as consultants, researchers, and policymakers with the government. In some sectors petroleum engineers can also be called oil and gas reservoir engineers, well logging engineers, mud engineers, sub-sea engineers and drilling engineers.
Petroleum engineers can earn a yearly salary of anywhere from $35,000 to over $130,000, depending on seniority.
The educational background of petroleum engineers can vary, but all are rooted in engineering. Attaining a bachelor’s degree in either petroleum engineering or a related program like biochemical engineering is the best way start off. Next, earn a master’s degree in petroleum engineering followed by a PhD to maximize career opportunities. For some aspects of the job, like approving drilling designs, a professional engineering license will be required.
Leadership, time management, critical thinking, logic, creativity, team work, and communication are crucial to the success of a petroleum engineer.