Petroleum engineers design and oversee the production and methods for retrieving oil and natural gas from various depths beneath the earth's surface. Most petroleum engineers work for oil companies. Others work at universities or research facilities.
Some of these engineers work in the field and help prospecting teams make recommendations on drilling sites based upon the cost, effort and feasibility of retrieving the product from where it is discovered. When a site is selected, these engineers will test the drilling samples and decide which is the safest method for retrieving the oil or gas. In some cases, oil will be under pressure and will rise to the surface without help from the engineer. In other cases, the oil will have to be pumped to the surface.
Another task of petroleum engineers is to design the drilling, pumping, prospecting, and storage equipment that get the job done. These people often work in research and development facilities or colleges, universities and trade schools.
Other petroleum engineers work at drilling sites. These engineers oversee the building and operation of subterranean drills, oil derricks, and other necessary equipment. Once the well is established, they will look for methods that will improve oil and gas production. If necessary, they will design or modify tools or offer technical advice that will help achieve satisfactory economic progress. Engineers in this aspect of their field will usually spend a lot of time working outdoors. They might even work at sea on drilling platforms or specialized drilling ships.
Petroleum engineers design, maintain and build oil pipelines. They may also be employed by oil storage facilities.
Petroleum Engineer Tasks
- Oversee drilling and offer technical advice to achieve economical and satisfactory progress.
- Devise methods to improve oil and gas well production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs.