What Is Petroleum Engineering?
Do you want to know how to explore for oil? Are you interested in how oil is extracted from the ground? As a petroleum engineer, your skills will cover a lot of territory, above ground, underground and even in the ocean. Read on to learn more about what you can do with a career in petroleum engineering. Schools offering Engineering & Technology Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Petroleum Engineering Defined
Petroleum engineering is the study of how to locate and extract energy resources, such as oil and natural gas, from the earth. If you are interested in this field, you can become a petroleum engineer.
One of the bonuses of becoming an engineer of any sort is that you'll have an excellent chance of starting your career with a bachelor's degree. To earn your bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering, you'll need strong math and science skills along with creative problem solving abilities. You'll study things like fluid dynamics, the properties of raw petroleum and geology. Some of the courses that will prepare you for this career include subjects like:
- Understanding reservoir characteristics
- Land and offshore drilling methods
- Well design
- Natural gas extraction
- Petroleum and economics
Before you can start a career as a petroleum engineer, you'll need to obtain a professional engineer (PE) license from your state. You'll do this by meeting your states qualifications and taking an exam offered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (www.ncees.org). The exam for petroleum engineers covers reservoir engineering, drilling engineering and production engineering.
Much of what you'll do as a petroleum engineer deals with safe extraction techniques. This includes designing drills for drilling oil wells. You'll also have the opportunity to design new methods of extracting petroleum using new technologies, like subsurface combustion and chemically treated water injection. Estimating the amount of oil you can extract from a well may also be part of your job.
Employment and Salary
Petroleum engineers were expected to see an 18% employment increase from 2008-2018, according to a 2010 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). You may need to figure currency exchange rates while you're job hunting because petroleum engineers have opportunities for employment all over the world.
The BLS reported that the median annual salary for petroleum engineers in the U.S. was $114,080 in May 2010. The same report showed that your greatest employment opportunities as a petroleum engineer were in gas and oil extraction and mining support. In the U.S., Texas and Oklahoma were among the top employers for this field. If you want to follow the money, you may want to set your eyes on a job in either North Dakota or Alaska.
To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below: