Petroleum Engineer Career Outlook

Topics: Petroleum, Oil well, Petroleum industry Pages: 3 (869 words) Published: July 18, 2012
By Craig W. Van Kirk, Professor/Head of Petroleum Engineering Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, USA


EW GRADUATES IN PETROLEUM ENGINEERING ENJOY A WIDE VARIETY OF career opportunities. Job placement is 100 percent by graduation, with most students in this field remaining satisfied with a BS degree for their entire careers; those who earn Master’s and PhD degrees also enjoy 100 percent job placement. A career in this industry may begin anywhere—a small town in the Rocky Mountains, a large U.S. city, or a remote location in any oil, gas, and geothermal producing area of the world. Most petroleum engineers are employed in the exploration for and the production of oil and gas. Others pursue related careers in geothermal energy production, environment protection, and hazardous waste remediation and disposal. Most jobs involve a combination of office work and the use of expensive, computer-oriented, state-of-the-art technology, plus opportunities for trips to the field to supervise projects that the petroleum engineer has designed. All three activities are performed by engineers working for major, fully-integrated international oil companies; smaller independent operators; specialized companies that provide services for the producing companies; or consulting firms in oil and gas or the environmental arena. Graduate degrees are useful for those who want to work in research or in specialized consulting. New jobs exist in some surprising fields. An example is the current research being conducted by the Colorado School of Mines’ Petroleum Engineering Department, in government-sponsored projects to transfer earth drilling technology to space drilling on the moon or mars, using lasers for oil and gas drilling on earth, and ice coring in the Antarctic. Career paths Typical career paths begin with the new engineer working for a well-established corporation for training and exposure to the company’s businesses. The entry-level...
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