Petroleum Engineers

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Petroleum engineers assess the potential location, quantity and quality of hydrocarbon deposits, and plan, manage and optimise extraction.

Petroleum engineers are responsible for the safe extraction of hydrocarbon deposits, such as oil and natural gas. This involves the planning and construction of boreholes (narrow holes drilled into the ground, used to locate resources) and oil wells (used to extract resources).

Typical responsibilities include:

  • analysing geological data
  • interpreting well-logging results (records of the geological formations penetrated by boreholes) to ascertain resource potential
  • ascertaining extraction risks, such as the area’s potential for earthquakes
  • planning and supervising extraction sites
  • selecting and maintaining equipment
  • monitoring and evaluating reservoir performance
  • preparing reports and maps
  • developing oilfield production programmes
  • liaising with and advising managerial and technical staff
  • using specialist computer applications and mathematical models to maximise production.


Qualifications and training required


To become a petroleum engineer, you will need a degree in a relevant subject such as petroleum, mechanical or chemical engineering.


Key skills for petroleum engineers


  • Strong technical skills
  • Teamworking skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • Drive and enthusiasm
  • Numerical and analytical skills
  • IT skills
  • Good health and fitness


Typical employers of petroleum engineers


  • Petroleum engineers work both on and off shore for oil and gas service/operating companies.


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