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Petroleum Engineer

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Life As a Petroleum Engineer

Position 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.

Life As a Petroleum Engineer: What Do They Do?

  • Assess costs and estimate the production capabilities and economic value of oil and gas wells, to evaluate the economic viability of potential drilling sites.
  • Evaluate findings to develop, design, or test equipment or processes.
  • Design and implement environmental controls on oil and gas operations.
  • 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.
  • Assist engineering and other personnel to solve operating problems.
  • Write technical reports for engineering and management personnel.

Petroleum Engineer Skills

Below is a list of the skills most Petroleum Engineers say are important on the job.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

  • Mining and Oil Field Equipment Test Engineer
  • Facilities Engineer
  • Production Engineer
  • Operations Manager
  • Oil Well Engineer

Petroleum Engineer Job Outlook

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 33,700 jobs in the United States for Petroleum Engineer. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 15.1% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 5,100 new jobs for Petroleum Engineer by 2026. There will be an estimated 2,800 positions for Petroleum Engineer per year.


The states with the most job growth for Petroleum Engineer are Wyoming, North Dakota, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in California, Alaska, or West Virginia. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of a Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum Engineers make between $74,270 and $208,000 a year.


Petroleum Engineers who work in Indiana, New Jersey, or Texas, make the highest salaries.

How much do Petroleum Engineers make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $115,180
Alaska $161,290
Arizona $137,830
California $142,430
Colorado $153,640
Hawaii $121,050
Illinois $131,510
Indiana $198,590
Kansas $118,160
Louisiana $145,880
Montana $141,530
New Jersey $194,340
North Dakota $124,880
Ohio $94,270
Oklahoma $146,990
Pennsylvania $122,510
Texas $169,010
West Virginia $111,400
Wyoming $115,250

Tools & Technologies Used by Petroleum Engineers

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Petroleum Engineers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Python
  • Microsoft Access
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Project
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Microsoft Visio
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • SAS
  • Linux
  • IBM Notes
  • R
  • Oracle software
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software
  • Google Analytics

How to Become a Petroleum Engineer

Are there Petroleum Engineers education requirements?


What work experience do I need to become a Petroleum Engineer?


Where Petroleum Engineers Work


Petroleum Engineers work in the following industries:



Image Credit: via CC0 Public Domain

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