Petroleum Engineer Career

Job Description: Devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice.


Is Petroleum Engineer the right career path for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it fits one of your top recommended majors!

Petroleum Engineer Career

What Petroleum Engineers do:

  • Assist engineering and other personnel to solve operating problems.
  • Write technical reports for engineering and management personnel.
  • Specify and supervise well modification and stimulation programs to maximize oil and gas recovery.
  • Assess costs and estimate the production capabilities and economic value of oil and gas wells, to evaluate the economic viability of potential drilling sites.
  • Monitor production rates, and plan rework processes to improve production.
  • Evaluate findings to develop, design, or test equipment or processes.
  • Confer with scientific, engineering, and technical personnel to resolve design, research, and testing problems.
  • Direct and monitor the completion and evaluation of wells, well testing, or well surveys.
  • Maintain records of drilling and production operations.
  • Coordinate activities of workers engaged in research, planning, and development.
  • Interpret drilling and testing information for personnel.
  • Analyze data to recommend placement of wells and supplementary processes to enhance production.
  • Develop plans for oil and gas field drilling, and for product recovery and treatment.
  • Simulate reservoir performance for different recovery techniques, using computer models.
  • Conduct engineering research experiments to improve or modify mining and oil machinery and operations.
  • Design and implement environmental controls on oil and gas operations.
  • Assign work to staff to obtain maximum utilization of personnel.
  • Coordinate the installation, maintenance, and operation of mining and oil field equipment.
  • Take samples to assess the amount and quality of oil, the depth at which resources lie, and the equipment needed to properly extract them.
  • Design or modify mining and oil field machinery and tools, applying engineering principles.
  • Supervise the removal of drilling equipment, the removal of any waste, and the safe return of land to structural stability when wells or pockets are exhausted.
  • Test machinery and equipment to ensure that it is safe and conforms to performance specifications.
  • Inspect oil and gas wells to determine that installations are completed.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Staffing Organizational Units - Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.

Holland Code Chart for a Petroleum Engineer