Drilling Engineer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Insider Info

dotDrilling engineers are a type of petroleum engineer. Once they have located a site, petroleum engineers work with geologists to understand the geologic formation of their drill site. They consider such factors as whether it's in a tar pit or in the middle of the ocean.

Drilling engineers then design equipment and processes that are used to extract the oil in the most cost-effective manner.

dotNot much oil rushes out of the ground on its own. Engineers have to pick the right extraction method, such as the injection of water, chemicals, gases or steam. Or they might decide to use computer-controlled drilling.

With current methods, some oil gets left in the reservoirs. Some drilling engineers spend time researching and developing better ways to increase oil production, and to reduce the high price of drilling.

dotMost engineers work in an office setting or in a laboratory. However, many petroleum and drilling engineers spend time at oil and gas exploration sites. These engineers are hired by the major oil companies, smaller independent exploration companies, engineering consulting firms and government agencies. Some work as independent consultants.

Engineers work a standard 40-hour week. However, deadlines or working out at an exploration site may mean longer hours and some weekend work.

dotDrilling engineers who work at exploration sites may have to travel often, and work outdoors.

At a Glance

Get fossil fuels out of the ground

  • Some drilling engineers work on developing better ways to increase oil production
  • Those who work at exploration sites may have to travel often
  • Get an engineering degree