Petroleum Engineer – Job Description

As a Petroleum engineer you are heavily involved in most stages of oil and gas field evaluation, development and production.

The job involves a balancing act between maximising profit while minimising environmental impact.

Petroleum engineers work under several guises:

– Petroleum geologists find hydrocarbons using geology and geophysics
– Reservoir engineers optimise oil and gas production through well placement and oil recovery techniques
– Production engineers manage the interaction between reservoir and well
– Drilling engineers manage the technical side of a well

Typical duties include liaison with other engineers and scientists on production, efficiency, safety and environmental impact, designing well systems and interfaces, overseeing maintenance policies and processes and managing staff both in-house and contracted in.

Great scientific knowledge needs to be allied to good communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to work to deadlines and budgets under pressure. Petroleum engineers need strong maths and IT skills and the ability to analyse and react to data. It’s a job for a scientist with strong commercial instincts.

An engineering degree is a given and a petroleum engineering degree is a particularly strong qualification to have. Graduate training schemes demand at least a 2:1 in a relevant subject. MScs in areas such as offshore or petroleum engineering will seriously enhance your career prospects.

Browse our current vacancies in:

Mining, Oil and Gas


Other recommended resources:

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.

Institute of Petroleum Engineering
Based at Herriot-Watt University, this education institute offers a number of courses to get you into the petroleum engineering world in addition to professional development programmes.

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.

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.

The Energy Institute
The UK’s professional body for the energy industry representing members interests and promoting best practice. They also offer a wealth of information about the industry including pathways into professions and training including their dedicated education resource EnergyZone.

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 petroleum geology and membership is useful for those interested in becoming a geologist in this field.

An online magazine resource concerned with the latest news, articles and information about the oil and gas industry, including an industry directory and information about training events around globe.

An online library resource of technical literature for the oil and gas industry with the aim of providing opportunities for professionals to enhance their levels of competence, a wide variety of research is available to search and download.

Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers
For those who may be interested in specialising down within the Petroleum Engineering field, evaluation may be of interest to you. This society offers a wealth of information about the sub-field in addition to professional development for members.

Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain
A society dedicated to promoting and improving practice in the petroleum exploration industry. They offer information and opportunities for those wishing to focus in on exploration.

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.

Simon Thompson

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