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Petroleum Engineer

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Bachelor's degree

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What They Do

Petroleum Engineers Career Video

About This Career

Devises methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production and determines the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversees drilling and offers technical advice.

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Engineering and Technology pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Specifies and supervises well modification and stimulation programs to maximize oil and gas recovery.
  • Monitors production rates, and plans rework processes to improve production.
  • Maintains records of drilling and production operations.
  • Analyzes data to recommend placement of wells and supplementary processes to enhance production.
  • Assists engineering and other personnel to solve operating problems.
  • Directs and monitors the completion and evaluation of wells, well testing, or well surveys.
  • Develops plans for oil and gas field drilling, and for product recovery and treatment.
  • Assesses costs and estimates the production capabilities and economic value of oil and gas wells, to evaluate the economic viability of potential drilling sites.
  • Confers with scientific, engineering, and technical personnel to resolve design, research, and testing problems.
  • Interprets drilling and testing information for personnel.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Completion Engineer
  • Drilling Engineer
  • Engineer
  • Operations Engineer
  • Petroleum Production Engineer
  • Reservoir Engineer
  • Reservoir Engineering Consultant
  • Project Production Engineer
  • Project Reservoir Engineer


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733