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Petroleum Engineering Careers, Jobs, and Career Information

Petroleum Engineering Career Overview

Discovery of natural sources, examination of natural characteristics, and development of modern machinery for extraction and processing—all fall under the scope of petroleum engineers Petroleum engineers are engaged in the globe world for oil and natural gas reservoirs. After they discover there reservoirs, they are involved in working with geologists and other specialists for examining the geologic formation and the nature of the rock containing the reservoir, determining the drilling methods to be used, and monitoring the drilling and production activities. They also work on designing tools and operation procedures in order to gain efficiency in the recovery of oil and gas. Computers are used extensively by petroleum engineers in order to calculate the nest possible method of recovery of petroleum from different reservoirs. Models and designs of drilling and other equipment are also simulated on computers.

Advanced recovery methods are formulated by these engineers but under natural conditions only a very small quantity of oil and natural gas would flow out of a reservoir. Such methods include the injection of water, chemicals, gases, or steam into an oil reservoir in order to extract the oil out by force. Computer drilling or fracturing is also a significant method of connecting a large reservoir to a single well. Even today, these engineers are engaged in R&D activities and using advanced technology to deep new ways of extraction because the best techniques currently in use also are also inefficient. Also, research is being carried out to make recovery more in quantity and less in cost by these engineers.

Petroleum Engineering Job and Employment Opportunities

In 2002, petroleum engineers were employed in around 14,000 jobs which were mainly concentrated in oil and gas extraction, professional, scientific and technical services, and petroleum refining. Major oil corporations, and innumerable small and independent oil exploration, production, and service companies are the employers for this profession.

It is inevitable that most of the petroleum engineers would be employed in places where oil and gas are located. Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Alaska, and California, and certain offshore sites employ most of these engineers. Oil-producing and processing companies outside the US also employ many American petroleum engineers.

It is predicted that the employment of petroleum engineers will decrease through 2012 as most of the potential petroleum-producing areas in the United States have already been exploited. But good job opportunities are expected for petroleum engineers due to the fact that the number of graduates in petroleum engineering would be less than the number of jobs available. Almost all the job openings are expected to arise out of the need to hire petroleum engineers in place of those leave due to retirement and transfer to other jobs and locations.

The best opportunities for petroleum engineers lie in other countries and thus American graduates are hired all over the world. Many employers abroad want U.S.-trained petroleum engineers, and many U.S. employers have plants and branches in foreign countries where petroleum engineers work.