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.

What responsibilities are common for Petroleum Engineer jobs?
  • 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
What are the typical qualifications for Petroleum Engineer jobs?
  • 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
3.4 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.4 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

How much does a Petroleum Engineer make?

Confident
$105,222 /yr
Total Pay
$87,329
 /yr

Base Pay

+
$17,893
 /yr

Additional Pay

$105,222

 / yr
$59K$294K
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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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.

L1
Petroleum Engineer I
$91,911/yr
L2
L2

Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
2%
2 - 4
3%
5 - 7
1%
8+
94%
Not including years spent in education and/or training
See Career Path

Petroleum Engineer Insights

Read what Petroleum Engineer professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Universidade de São Paulo (USP)Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
AEE(Drilling)
Mar 28, 2021

“it is not bad but salary is not high”

Chevron Phillips ChemicalChevron Phillips Chemical
Pipeline Engineer
Jul 13, 2021

“Good Work/family life balance is encouraged”

TendekaTendeka
Petroleum Engineer
Oct 28, 2021

“Poor pay is not so good”

NANOWAVE TechnologiesNANOWAVE Technologies
Engineer/Technologist
Jan 24, 2021

“There no advantages of working here unless you want o be paid close to minimum wage”

British GasBritish Gas
Gas Technician
May 6, 2021

“Good balance of work and life”

Daniel Petro
Petroleum Engineer
Jun 14, 2022

“The benefits are good and I like this field”

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

“Good work and life balance”

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

“Team work and good personal skills”

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Petroleum Engineer Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a Petroleum Engineer

When working as a Petroleum Engineer, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are Evaluating, Conducting, Reviews, Pipeline, and Splicing.

The most similar professions to Petroleum Engineer are:
  • Engineer
  • Project Engineer
  • Production Engineer
  • Process Engineer

The most common qualifications to become a Petroleum Engineer include a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 years of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.

Related Careers

Engineer
$110,020
No skills overlap
Project Engineer
$104,273
No skills overlap
Production Engineer
$102,360
No skills overlap
Process Engineer
$109,490
No skills overlap

Petroleum Engineer Jobs