What Does Petroleum Engineers Do?
Usually, Petroleum Engineering jobs deal with oil exploration, extraction, production, and transport of oil and gas. Oil and gas explorations deal with searching for oil and predicting where would be the best place to drill the first well on the new potential field. This is usually done by using seismic analysis of underground formations and by using gravimeters that can determine the density of the rocks below the ground. Extraction deals with oil well drilling and completion required to get hydrocarbons flowing to surface where it can later be processed and send to refineries. Transport of oil and gas is usually done via pipelines or tankers. All those activities require thousands of workers to keep operations running and that’s why there is such a high demand for people who want to work in that area.
Petroleum Engineering Are Extremely Popular Why?
Oil and gas jobs are extremely popular in resource reach countries. Those jobs usually have the highest salaries and requirements to start working in the oilfield are really low. Some of the companies and positions don’t even require a high school diploma and as long as you are willing to work and have a valid driving license you are fit to work. There are obviously downturns in the oil industry as in any other industries and some years it might be much easier to get a job than in others but in the long term, oilfield will always have opportunities for the right individuals willing to work.
Average Salary of a Petroleum Engineer
Petroleum engineering salary is quite high compared to all other undergrad degrees, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to work hard for your money.
Petroleum engineers make around $40K-$50k during their internships and this is quite a high salary because most students from other faculties don’t make that kind of money even after a few years of work. Entry-level position for petroleum engineers pays anyway from $60-$120k per year depending on hours, your previous experience and location.
Senior petroleum engineers, on the other hand, make anywhere from $170k to $240K per year and some make even more.
How To Become A Petroleum Engineer
However to make such big money.
- First of all, you have to study for four years and the course load for petroleum engineers is one of the hardest in University.
- You will need to have exceptional math and science skills if you want to get decent marks in university.
- GPA is not that important for getting a job, but if you have a higher GPA then you will be able to get a job with a better company and this, in turn, may have an effect on your salary as well.
- However, I think the most important factor that will determine what kind of salary you will get is your experience which you get working during the summers and your internship.
- Also, keep in mind that getting an internship position can be quite challenging and that is why it is important to do as much networking as possible while still in university.
- Having many contacts will help you with finding positions that are not widely advertised.
High Job Demand of a Petroleum Engineering
Some companies are so eager to find hardworking employees that they are willing to fly people from anywhere in the country for free at the beginning and end of each rotation. As an example in Canada many oilfield workers live in Ontario, Newfoundland, and BC and for their rotation, they fly to Alberta or northern BC.
Most working rotations are 15 days on and 6 days off or 20 days on and 10 days off. It is also common for some companies to allow 3 weeks on and 2 weeks off rotations, especially if they have to fly the employee from somewhere else. While on locations oilfield workers usually stay in camp or in a hotel which is paid by the company. In the camp, food is provided while in hotel workers might be expected to purchase food themselves but the company will pay food subsistence which is $50-$80 per day depending on the locations.
Rough Field Conditions
However, there are several reasons why companies are having trouble finding oilfield workers even by paying high salaries, providing free accommodations & food and flying people from all over the country to work locations. Field conditions are usually rough and being physically fit is a must for most of the positions. Working temperatures may vary from +40 in desert regions to -40 during the winters. The ability to be away from home for extended periods of time is also a requirement. Most shifts are really long (12-13 hours) and travel to camp or hotel may take another 1-2 hours.
Societies Of Petroleum Engineering
- The Society Of Petroleum Engineers
- The National Society Of Petroleum Engineers
In my opinion, petroleum engineering is the best choice for people who are willing to work hard to party later, because that’s what most engineers do. You study hard in university, then the first few years of work might be challenging but after that, it will become easier unless you want to get an extremely big salary.