What does a Petroleum Engineer do?

A petroleum engineer is responsible for the designing of drill equipment and planning of methods and techniques used to extract oil and gas from both onshore and offshore reserves. Duties include recommendations of drilling efforts based on cost, effort and feasibility weighed against returns. The career advancement of petroleum engineers typically results in seniority that provides greater independence and decision-making responsibilities for bigger and more challenging projects subject to obtaining a Professional Engineering (PE) license.

Petroleum engineers require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in engineering with a master's degree preferred. Most companies value a professional engineering license which is usually associated with more experienced engineers. Strong candidates will possess high attention to detail along with excellent analytical skills that are conveyed accurately in reports and presentations.

  • Design drilling equipment used in the process of extracting oil and gas from both onshore and offshore reserves
  • Make recommendations based on cost, effort and feasibility
  • Devise plans and methods to effectively drill fields to recover oil and gas
  • Develop and modify tools and designs based on performance observation
  • Ensure equipment is installed, operated and maintained properly for effective use
  • Work closely with the procurement team to procure the necessary equipment and tools for projects
  • Work together with geoscientists and other specialists to analyze the geologic formation containing the oil and gas reservoir
  • Monitor drilling operations as needed
  • Master's degree in engineering with coursework in the petroleum industry preferred
  • Professional engineering license preferred
  • Proven experience working as an engineer in the petroleum industry
  • Knowledgeable in engineering drilling techniques and methods
  • Strong industrial knowledge and understanding of market conditions
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Good reporting and presentation skills
  • Skilled in computer technology and Microsoft applications
  • Ability to travel offshore as required
EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.3 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.4 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

Petroleum Engineer Salaries

Average Base Pay

$98,140 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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Median: $98K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Petroleum Engineer Career Path

Learn how to become a Petroleum Engineer, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Petroleum Engineer I
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Petroleum Engineer Insights

Read what Petroleum Engineer professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Senior Drilling Engineer
Jul. 14, 2020

“I got to work with many great people who I learned a lot from and helped shape up my professional career.”

Chevron Phillips ChemicalChevron Phillips Chemical
Pipeline Engineer
Jul. 13, 2021

“Good Work/family life balance is encouraged”

Petroleum Engineer
Oct. 28, 2021

“Poor pay is not so good”

Universidade de São Paulo (USP)Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
Mar. 28, 2021

“it is not bad but salary is not high”

Petroleum Engineer
Nov. 25, 2021

“Lower work and life balance”

Society of Petroleum Engineers SPESociety of Petroleum Engineers SPE
Petroleum Engineer
Nov. 16, 2020

“Team work and good personal skills”

Drilling Engineer
Dec. 20, 2020

“Excellent career development in oil and gas field”

Bureau of Ocean Energy ManagementBureau of Ocean Energy Management
Petroleum Engineer
Mar. 9, 2021

“Good work and life balance”

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