Definition and Nature of Work
Petroleum engineers specialize in designing and developing technology and methods for digging the earth’s surface to extract oil and gas. They find means to obtain either natural gas or crude oil from the ground. In addition, petroleum engineers explore and discover new techniques to extract oil and gas from older wells all over the world.
Petroleum engineers typically work with geologists. They are both essential in the field. Petroleum engineers plan and supervise the drilling operations after the potential drill site has been determined. They ensure that the methods used provide maximum profitable recovery.
A Day in the Life of a Petroleum Engineer
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were about 30,200 petroleum engineers employed in the country as of 2010. They usually work in laboratories or offices. However, they also have to work in drilling sites or gas and oil exploration and production sites. Petroleum engineers may also have to work in other countries. They install, monitor, supervise and maintain work sites.
Petroleum engineers are expected to work full time up to as much as 50 to 60 hours every week. This is especially true when they are onsite. They typically work in shifts or rotation such as 84 hours on duty and 84 hours off. Petroleum engineers also create computer simulations in order to predict the natural gas and petroleum flow in an oil field.