Petroleum Geologist Salary

Salaries for Petroleum Geologists in the United States are generous, with average pay above six figures ($112K) per year. Total cash compensation to Petroleum Geologists bottoms out near $61K and approaches $224K on the high end; the biggest paychecks include approximately $46K from bonuses and almost $30K from profit sharing. Career duration is the main element affecting pay for this group — the particular city and the individual firm are driving factors as well. Petroleum Geologists who took the survey are largely men, dominating at 85 percent. Almost all enjoy medical while a large number 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 data for this synopsis comes from respondents who took the PayScale salary survey.
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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.

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Pay by Experience Level for Petroleum Geologist

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

Petroleum Geologists generally obtain higher compensation for more plentiful past experience. Annually raking in $109K, the average professional in this position sees a six-figure salary within the first five years. After working for 10 to 20 years, Petroleum Geologists make a median salary of $168K. Seasoned workers who boast more than two decades of relevant experience enjoy a median salary of $230K, which is substantially larger than the medians reported by folks with fewer years on their resumes.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $121,477

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

Midland is home to an above-average pay rate for Petroleum Geologists, 28 percent higher than the national average. Petroleum Geologists will also find cushy salaries in Houston (+20 percent). The lowest-paying market is San Antonio, which sits 55 percent below the national average, proving that location is a significant contributor to overall pay. Pittsburgh and Dallas are a couple other places where companies are known to pay below the median — salaries are 34 percent lower and 17 percent lower, respectively.

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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%