Skip navigation

Summary Report for:
17-2171.00 - Petroleum Engineers

Devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice.

Sample of reported job titles: Completion Engineer, Completions Engineer, Drilling Engineer, Drilling Manager, Engineer, Operations Engineer, Petroleum Engineer, Petroleum Production Engineer, Production Engineer, Reservoir Engineer

View report: Summary  Details  Custom

Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Assess costs and estimate the production capabilities and economic value of oil and gas wells, to evaluate the economic viability of potential drilling sites. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Develop plans for oil and gas field drilling, and for product recovery and treatment. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Direct and monitor the completion and evaluation of wells, well testing, or well surveys. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Analyze data to recommend placement of wells and supplementary processes to enhance production. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Monitor production rates, and plan rework processes to improve production. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Interpret drilling and testing information for personnel. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Specify and supervise well modification and stimulation programs to maximize oil and gas recovery. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Assist engineering and other personnel to solve operating problems. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Confer with scientific, engineering, and technical personnel to resolve design, research, and testing problems. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Coordinate the installation, maintenance, and operation of mining and oil field equipment. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Maintain records of drilling and production operations. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Write technical reports for engineering and management personnel. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Assign work to staff to obtain maximum utilization of personnel. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Evaluate findings to develop, design, or test equipment or processes. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Simulate reservoir performance for different recovery techniques, using computer models. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Design and implement environmental controls on oil and gas operations. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Coordinate activities of workers engaged in research, planning, and development. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Take samples to assess the amount and quality of oil, the depth at which resources lie, and the equipment needed to properly extract them. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Supervise the removal of drilling equipment, the removal of any waste, and the safe return of land to structural stability when wells or pockets are exhausted. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Inspect oil and gas wells to determine that installations are completed. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Conduct engineering research experiments to improve or modify mining and oil machinery and operations. See more occupations related to this task.

Find occupations related to multiple tasks

back to top

Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Desktop computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Notebook computers — Laptop computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Scanners — Computer scanners See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Analytical or scientific software — Computer Modelling Group CMG STARS; IHS PETRA; TRC Consultants PHDWin; Well Flow Dynamics Wellflow (see all 10 examples) See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Charting software — Microsoft Office Visio See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base user interface and query software — Landmark Graphics TOW/cs; Microsoft Access See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Electronic mail software — IBM Lotus Notes; Microsoft Outlook See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Financial analysis software — DFA Capital Management GEMS; GeoGraphix ARIES Portfolio; IHS QUE$TOR See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Internet browser software — Web browser software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Project management software — Microsoft Project; Oracle Primavera Systems software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word See more occupations related to this technology.

back to top

Knowledge

  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Economics and Accounting — Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods. See more occupations related to this knowledge.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar. See more occupations related to this knowledge.

back to top

Skills

  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Management of Personnel Resources — Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Operation Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly. See more occupations related to this skill.

back to top

Abilities

  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance. See more occupations related to this ability.

back to top

Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance. See more occupations related to this activity.

back to top

Detailed Work Activities

  • Interpret design or operational test results. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Inspect equipment or systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Develop technical methods or processes. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Direct design or development activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Prepare detailed work plans. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Test performance of electrical, electronic, mechanical, or integrated systems or equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Supervise engineering or other technical personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyze physical, survey, or geographic data. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Research advanced engineering designs or applications. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Resolve operational performance problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Design industrial equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Direct energy production or management activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Direct equipment maintenance or repair activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Design environmental control systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Confer with other personnel to resolve design or operational problems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Explain engineering drawings, specifications, or other technical information. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain operational records or records systems. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Analyze costs and benefits of proposed designs or projects. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Determine operational methods. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Create models of engineering designs or methods. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Monitor the productivity or efficiency of industrial operations. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Direct quality control activities. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Prepare technical reports for internal use. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Collect samples of raw materials or finished products. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Direct installation activities. See more occupations related to this activity.

Find occupations related to multiple detailed work activities

back to top

Work Context

  • Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 82% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 70% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 66% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 73% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 51% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 62% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 54% responded “Very important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Sitting — 57% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 72% responded “More than 40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 60% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 43% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 43% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 38% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “Very high responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Letters and Memos — 45% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 64% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Consequence of Error — 34% responded “Extremely serious.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Level of Competition — 45% responded “Highly competitive.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 34% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 29% responded “Moderate responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.

back to top

Job Zone

Title Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, database administrators, teachers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range (7.0 to < 8.0)

back to top

Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
91   Bachelor's degree
7   Master's degree
3   Post-baccalaureate certificate Help

This occupation may require a background in the following science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational disciplines:

Engineering — Petroleum Engineering

back to top

Credentials

Find Training Find Certifications Find Licenses

back to top

Interests

Interest code: IRC

  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. See more occupations related to this interest.

back to top

Work Styles

  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.

back to top

Work Values

  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement. See more occupations related to this work value.

back to top

Related Occupations

back to top

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $62.53 hourly, $130,050 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 39,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Much faster than average (22% or higher) Much faster than average (22% or higher)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 19,600
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

back to top

Job Openings on the Web

Find Jobs Job Banks

back to top

Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

  • Petroleum Engineers external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

back to top