Many students dream of studying petroleum engineering abroad. In this article we are going have a closer look at the qualifications required to work as a petroleum engineer and learn about the different types of petroleum engineers, what they do and what their work environment looks like.
Students interested in studying petroleum engineering will benefit from taking high school courses in math, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; and in science, such as biology, chemistry, and physics.
Entry-level petroleum engineering jobs require a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degree programs typically take 4 years and include classroom, laboratory, and field studies in areas such as engineering principles, geology, and thermodynamics.
Most colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education
Some colleges and universities offer a 5-year program in chemical or mechanical engineering that leads to both a bachelor’s degree and a master's degree. Some employers may prefer applicants who have earned a graduate degree. A graduate degree also allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some universities or in research and development.
What Petroleum Engineers Do?
Petroleum engineers help find oil and gas for the country’s energy needs.
Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the earth’s surface.
Petroleum engineers also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells.
Petroleum engineers typically do the following:
Design equipment to extract oil and gas in the most profitable way
Develop ways to inject water, chemicals, gases, or steam into an oil reserve to force out more of the oil
Make sure that wells, well testing, and well surveys are completed and evaluated
Use computer-controlled drilling or fracturing to connect a larger area of an oil and gas deposit to a Single well
Make sure that oil field equipment is installed, operated, and maintained properly.
Once oil and gas are discovered, petroleum engineers work with geologists and other specialists to understand the geologic formation of the rock containing the reservoir. They then determine drilling methods, design and implement the drilling equipment, and monitor operations.
Examples of types of petroleum engineers:
Completions engineers decide the optimal way to finish building a well so that the oil or gas will flow up from underground. They oversee well-completions work, which might involve the use of tubing, hydraulic fracturing, or pressure-control techniques.
Drilling engineers determine the best way to drill an oil or gas well, taking into account a number of factors, including cost. They also ensure that the drilling process is safe, efficient, and minimally disruptive to the environment.
Production engineers take over after a well is completed. They typically monitor the well’s oil and gas production. If a well is not producing as much as it was expected to, production engineers figure out ways to increase the amount being extracted.
Reservoir engineers estimate how much oil or gas can be recovered from underground deposits, known as reservoirs. They study a reservoir’s characteristics and determine which methods will get the most oil or gas out of the reservoir. They also monitor operations to ensure that the optimal levels of these resources are being recovered.
Petroleum engineers generally work in offices or in research laboratories. However, they also must spend time at drilling sites, often for long periods of time. This means they must travel, sometimes with little notice.
Petroleum engineers work around the world; in fact, the best employment opportunities may include some work in other countries. Petroleum engineers also must be able to work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, including other oil and gas workers who will carry out the engineers’ drilling plans.
Petroleum engineers typically work regular full-time schedules. However, some work as many as 50 or 60 hours per week when traveling to and from drilling sites to help in their operation or respond to problems when they arise. When they are at a drilling site, it is common for these engineers to work in a rotation: on duty for 84 hours and then off duty for 84 hours.