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, Drilling Engineer, Engineer, Operations Engineer, Petroleum Engineer, Petroleum Production Engineer, Project Production Engineer, Project Reservoir Engineer, Reservoir Engineer, Reservoir Engineering Consultant
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | 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
- Specify and supervise well modification and stimulation programs to maximize oil and gas recovery.
- Monitor production rates, and plan rework processes to improve production.
- Maintain records of drilling and production operations.
- Analyze data to recommend placement of wells and supplementary processes to enhance production.
- Assist engineering and other personnel to solve operating problems.
- Direct and monitor the completion and evaluation of wells, well testing, or well surveys.
- Develop plans for oil and gas field drilling, and for product recovery and treatment.
- Assess costs and estimate the production capabilities and economic value of oil and gas wells, to evaluate the economic viability of potential drilling sites.
- Confer with scientific, engineering, and technical personnel to resolve design, research, and testing problems.
- Interpret drilling and testing information for personnel.
- Coordinate activities of workers engaged in research, planning, and development.
- Write technical reports for engineering and management personnel.
- Evaluate findings to develop, design, or test equipment or processes.
- Test machinery and equipment to ensure that it is safe and conforms to performance specifications.
- Assign work to staff to obtain maximum utilization of personnel.
- Simulate reservoir performance for different recovery techniques, using computer models.
- Design and implement environmental controls on oil and gas operations.
- 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.
- Inspect oil and gas wells to determine that installations are completed.
- Coordinate the installation, maintenance, and operation of mining and oil field equipment.
- Take samples to assess the amount and quality of oil, the depth at which resources lie, and the equipment needed to properly extract them.
- Design or modify mining and oil field machinery and tools, applying engineering principles.
- Conduct engineering research experiments to improve or modify mining and oil machinery and operations.
- Analytical or scientific software — SAS ; The MathWorks MATLAB ; TRC Consultants PHDWin; Well Flow Dynamics Wellflow (see all 14 examples)
- Business intelligence and data analysis software — TIBCO Spotfire
- Computer aided design CAD software — Autodesk AutoCAD
- Data base user interface and query software — Landmark Graphics TOW/cs; Microsoft Access ; Oracle software ; Structure query language SQL
- Development environment software — Eclipse IDE ; Software development tools
- Electronic mail software — IBM Notes ; Microsoft Outlook
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — SAP
- Financial analysis software — DFA Capital Management GEMS; GeoGraphix ARIES Portfolio; IHS QUE$TOR
- Graphics or photo imaging software — Microsoft Visio
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Object or component oriented development software — C++ ; Oracle Java ; Python ; R (see all 5 examples)
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Operating system software — Linux
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Project management software — Microsoft Project ; Oracle Primavera Systems
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- 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.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Clerical — Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
- Economics and Accounting — Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- 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.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- 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.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
- Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
- Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- 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.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- 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).
- 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).
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- 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.
- Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- 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.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- 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.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- 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.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Provide Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- 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.
- Monitoring and Controlling Resources — Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
Detailed Work Activities
- Direct energy production or management activities.
- Determine operational methods.
- Test performance of electrical, electronic, mechanical, or integrated systems or equipment.
- Develop technical methods or processes.
- Monitor the productivity or efficiency of industrial operations.
- Maintain operational records or records systems.
- Analyze physical, survey, or geographic data.
- Resolve operational performance problems.
- Direct quality control activities.
- Prepare detailed work plans.
- Supervise engineering or other technical personnel.
- Analyze costs and benefits of proposed designs or projects.
- Create models of engineering designs or methods.
- Confer with other personnel to resolve design or operational problems.
- Design environmental control systems.
- Explain engineering drawings, specifications, or other technical information.
- Direct design or development activities.
- Prepare technical reports for internal use.
- Inspect equipment or systems.
- Interpret design or operational test results.
- Direct equipment maintenance or repair activities.
- Direct installation activities.
- Collect samples of raw materials or finished products.
- Design industrial equipment.
- Research advanced engineering designs or applications.
- Electronic Mail — 98% responded “Every day.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 99% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 93% responded “Extremely important.”
- Telephone — 87% responded “Every day.”
- Contact With Others — 65% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 63% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 45% responded “Extremely important.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 51% responded “More than half the time.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 58% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 39% responded “Very important results.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 44% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 54% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 42% responded “Very important.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 33% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Time Pressure — 44% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 35% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Level of Competition — 33% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Deal With External Customers — 37% responded “Very important.”
- Letters and Memos — 34% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
|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 real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.|
|SVP Range||(7.0 to < 8.0)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
Interest code: IRC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- 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.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- 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.
- 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.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2019)||$66.21 hourly, $137,720 annual|
|Employment (2018)||33,500 employees|
|Projected growth (2018-2028)||Slower than average (2% to 3%)|
|Projected job openings (2018-2028)||2,500|
|Top industries (2018)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 wage data and 2018-2028 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2018-2028). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
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.
- American Association of Drilling Engineers
- American Association of Petroleum Geologists
- American Institute of Chemical Engineers
- American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers
- American Petroleum Institute
- Independent Petroleum Association of America
- International Association of Drilling Contractors
- National Society of Professional Engineers
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Petroleum engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers
- Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts
- Society of Women Engineers
- The Geological Society of America