Petroleum Geologist Salary

Wages for Petroleum Geologists in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($104K) per year. Total cash earnings of Petroleum Geologists range from $49K on the low end to $216K on the high end; the final amount can include bonuses and profit sharing proceeds that occasionally exceed $40K and $30K, respectively. Career duration is the biggest factor affecting pay for this group, followed by geography and the specific company. The vast majority (86 percent) of Petroleum Geologists who answered the questionnaire are male. Nearly all enjoy medical while a strong majority get dental coverage. Vision coverage is also available to a fair number. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. The figures in this overview were provided by individuals who took PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$47,915 - $196,811
(Median)
$48K
$100K
$200K
MEDIAN: $103,565
10%
50%
90%

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$15.21 - $101.01
(Median)
$15
$35
$100
MEDIAN: $35.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$80K$160K$240K
Salary
$47,915 - $196,811  
   
Bonus
$2,025 - $39,509  
Profit Sharing
$0.27 - $29,799  
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).
)
$48,662 - $215,642  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 286
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50$100$150
Hourly Rate
$15.21 - $101.01  
   
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$100K$200K$300K
Bonus
$2,025 - $39,509  
   
Profit Sharing
$0.27 - $29,799  
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).
)
$48,662 - $215,642  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 20 Jun 2015 | Individuals Reporting: 11
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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.

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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.

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Popular Skills for Petroleum Geologist


Survey takers who work as Petroleum Geologists usually report a few specific 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. For most people, competency in Geographic Information Systems indicates knowledge of GeoPack.

Pay by Experience Level for Petroleum Geologist

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


For many Petroleum Geologists, experience and pay levels seem to be correlated; more years in the business generally lead to more money. Even the relatively untested can earn a lot; individuals who have been working for fewer than five years report a median six-figure salary of $101K per year. On average, Petroleum Geologists make $161K following one to two decades on the job. Seasoned workers who boast more than two decades of relevant experience enjoy a median salary of $216K, which is substantially larger than the medians reported by folks with fewer years on their resumes.

Pay Difference by Location


Surpassing the national average by 42 percent, Petroleum Geologists in Midland receive some of the highest pay in the country. Petroleum Geologists will also find cushy salaries in Houston (+27 percent). The lowest-paying market is San Antonio, which sits 50 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Below-median salaries also turn up in Pittsburgh and Oklahoma City (29 percent lower and 10 percent lower, respectively).

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Experience Affects Petroleum Geologist Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 91%

Experienced
up arrow 43%

National Average
$113,000

Mid-Career
up arrow 2%


Skills That Affect Petroleum Geologist Salaries

National Average
$113,000

Petra
up arrow 1%

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
up arrow 17%

Microsoft Excel
up arrow 20%

GeoPack
up arrow 55%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 43 votes.

Gender

Female
14 %
Male
86 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
9%
1-4 years
34%
5-9 years
31%
10-19 years
12%
20 years or more
14%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 91% dental benefits Dental: 78%
vision benefits Vision: 72% employee benefits None: 7%
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