The exploration, production, and refining of natural oil and gas resources are the responsibility of petroleum engineering professionals. Crude oil and natural gas reserves found worldwide are important not only for the energy industry, supplying fuel for lighting and heat for transport and energy but also for the development of a plethora of industrial and consumer goods, from plastics to cosmetics.
Petroleum engineers work to identify oil and gas resources with geologists and other scientists and to assess the best, most efficient methods and equipment for extracting those resources. They also develop new technology to increase the number of resources retrieved, such as computer-controlled drilling.
Petroleum Engineering Job Opportunities
Petroleum engineers have a lot of foreign work prospects because the oil and gas energy markets are truly global in scope. In essence, however, they operate wherever the oil and gas industries are located, either overseas in nations generating oil or in states with vast reserves of natural resources in the U.S. As drilling or reservoir engineers, petroleum engineers may work in the field, or they can be administrators, teachers or consultants. While, of course, many petroleum engineers are employed by major oil and gas firms, opportunities are available in other industries, such as the production of mining and petroleum products.
The Future in Petroleum Engineering
As long as the demand for energy remains high, it will be important for petroleum engineers to find new oil and gas sources and to develop more efficient methods for extracting and processing existing resources. Moreover, over the next 10 years, a significant number of current petroleum engineers are expected to retire, meaning that many new scientists and engineers will be required.
Associate’s Degree in Petroleum Engineering: Community colleges can offer 2-year associate degrees in petroleum engineering technology or pre-engineering as well as more advanced engineering or mining schools. The former qualifies you in the field for technician jobs, while the latter prepares you for a 4-year program transition.
Petroleum Engineering Bachelor’s Degree: A Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in petroleum engineering usually starts with general education, preparatory math and science, and introductory courses in petroleum engineering. More advanced classes, such as geology or well drilling, are involved in the final two years of the program.
Master’s degrees and Ph.D. degrees in Petroleum Engineering: Master’s degrees in Chemistry, Master’s degrees in Engineering (MEng), or Ph.D. degrees in Petroleum Engineering typically concentrate on more technical topics, such as economic assessment or design of production systems. With more sophisticated experience and leadership skills, graduate degree holders enter the field.
The U.S. according to The median national annual salary for petroleum engineers is $128,230. The 2018-19 Occupational Outlook Handbook of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Actual wages can vary greatly depending on field specialization, venue, years of experience, and some other variables. National long-term employment growth forecasts do not reflect economic or employment conditions at the local and/or short-term level and do not guarantee actual job growth.