Petroleum Geologist Salary

Salaries for Petroleum Geologists in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($112K) per year. In the world of Petroleum Geologists, overall cash allowance can occasionally include more than $46K from bonuses and, in some exceptional cases, $30K from profit sharing, causing incomes to vary widely between $61K and $224K. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by career length, but geography and the specific company are influential factors as well. Among survey respondents, men are more common than women; 85 percent of Petroleum Geologists are male. Medical benefits are awarded to nearly all, and most earn dental coverage. Most Petroleum Geologists report high levels of job satisfaction. The numbers in this rundown were provided by PayScale's salary survey participants.
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$60,497 - $198,598
MEDIAN: $112,143

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
$60,497 - $198,598  
$2,682 - $45,933  
Profit Sharing
$0.39 - $30,100  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
$61,500 - $223,759  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 12 Jan 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 258
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Job Description for Petroleum Geologist

Petroleum geologists are geoscientists who are typically employed by oil and gas companies, and their work revolves around determining geographical points at/in which to search for natural resources; in the specific field of petroleum geology, the focuses are discovery and production of oil. They generally surmise where to drill for oil by obtaining an idea of the areas beneath the surface, formulating a three-dimensional image measured against time, and preparing subsurface maps and diagrams of stratigraphic data which depict possible oil deposits. They obtain these ideas by studying various elements in the Earth's surface, including the presence of certain rocks and structural features. Although this information is studied using a variety of geophysical methods, the general location is determined using aerial photographs before these processes begin.


Petroleum Geologist Tasks

  • Scope and frame projects, including assigning roles and tasks.
  • Model and create requirements for reservoirs and their use.
  • Provide technical input and guidance for exploring, appraising, and developing potential sites.
  • Integrate many types of data and computations to create simulations, models, and hazard analysis.

Petroleum Geologist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Petroleum Geologist

Petroleum Geologists report a focused set of job skills. Most notably, skills in Petra, Geographic Information Systems, Microsoft Excel, and GeoPack are correlated to pay that is above average. Those listing GeoPack as a skill should be prepared for drastically lower pay. Microsoft Excel and Geographic Information Systems also typically command lower compensation. Many workers who know Geographic Information Systems also know Microsoft Excel.

Pay by Experience Level for Petroleum Geologist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.

For many Petroleum Geologists, more experience generally translates to higher pay. Petroleum Geologists in the early stages of their careers take home approximately $109K on average. The average for people in the five-to-10 year group is only a little larger at $133K. Petroleum Geologists bring in $168K after working for 10 to 20 years. Survey participants who have worked for more than two decades report bringing in $230K on average.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $121,477

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Midland offers some of the highest pay in the country for Petroleum Geologists, 28 percent above the national average. Petroleum Geologists will also find cushy salaries in Houston (+20 percent). One of the biggest compensable factors for Petroleum Geologists is geography, with workers in San Antonio earning a whopping 55 percent below the national average. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Pittsburgh (34 percent lower) and Dallas (17 percent lower).

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Experience Affects Petroleum Geologist Salaries

up arrow 89%

up arrow 38%

up arrow 10%

National Average

Skills That Affect Petroleum Geologist Salaries

National Average

up arrow 2%

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
up arrow 9%

Microsoft Excel
up arrow 19%

up arrow 59%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 32 votes.


15 %
85 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
1-4 years
5-9 years
10-19 years
20 years or more

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 93%
dental benefits
Dental: 81%
medical benefits
Vision: 74%
dental benefits
None: 5%