Drilling Engineer – Job Description

A drilling engineer might sound like they work at the cutting edge, but theirs is more of a supervisory role.

They plan, develop, cost and oversee all the operations required in the process of drilling oil and gas wells.

It’s a job where you’re involved from start to finish. Drilling engineers will work on the design of the well, its testing, completion, exhaustion and eventual shut down.

As well as administering service contracts, you’ll be expected to oversee the work of drilling teams on site and liaise with geologists and geoscientists to check on the safety and environmental impact of the work.

Excellent engineering prowess is a given, but you’ll also need good interpersonal skills, organisational and budgetary ability and a clear-headed analytical approach.

Specific qualifications in relevant engineering disciplines such as petroleum, marine, minerals, aeronautical or mechanical will help you stand out in the jobs crowd. A degree in natural sciences or geology is also an eye-catcher.

Many oil companies run graduate training programmes for which a 2:1 or MEng is usually a minimum requirement.

Browse our current vacancies in:

Mining, Oil and Gas


Other recommended resources:

Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining
A UK engineering institution which aims to incorporate all aspects of the materials cycle, bringing together research, excellence and professionals for discussion, networking and development. They offer a number of courses including training opportunities for young people and prestigious industry awards. They also provide a list of accredited courses in UK universities for those interested in pursuing an appropriate degree.

Drilling Engineers Association (DEA)
The DEA was set up to advance and support petroleum digging activity. They offer information about latest technology, support for members and participate in projects to advance technology. If you are interested in the drilling aspects of petroleum engineering, this is a useful resource.

British Drilling Association
The UK’s trade association for the drilling industry, they incorporate all aspects of the industry and bring together professionals, organisations and the latest policy information and research. Membership gets you support services and access to a wealth of information.

Engineering council
The UK regulatory body for the engineering profession, they offer chartered status for drilling engineers amongst a number of other professional development opportunities.

Institute of Mechanical Engineering
Another institution offering chartered status to drilling engineers, this professional body also offers the latest industry information and global networking events.

The Geological Society
The UK’s society for the geosciences, the Geological Society offers professional and scientific support through its position at the cutting edge of the research. They provide information about the industry including education and training opportunities and a online magazine resource: Geoscientist Online. Their activities include issues and research about drilling and membership is useful for those interested in becoming a geologist in this field.

British Geological Survey
The primary source of national geoscience capability, they offer data, research and information across the breadth of geology. This translates into a useful resource for anyone looking to clue themselves up with the latest, relevant information.

Society of Petroleum Engineers
An organisation dedicated to improving and promoting relationships, knowledge exchange and professional standards in the oil and gas industry. They also offer a chartered mark through the SPE Certified Petroleum Engineer scheme, amongst other training opportunities which are valuable for career development.

World Petroleum Council
A global society based on promoting sustainable petroleum supply and use within a growing industry, acting as a forum for professionals, organisations and community representatives to discuss ideas, opinions and concerns and providing access to the latest energy research.

Simon Thompson


Simon Thompson is CEO of jobsforgraduates.com. Simon is a recruitment professional that pioneers the usage of video in recruitment and fully committed to helping young people find employment.