Petroleum engineers typically do the following:
* Design equipment to extract oil and gas in the most profitable way
* Develop ways to inject water, chemicals, gases, or steam into an oil reserve to force out more of the oil
* Develop plans to drill in oil and gas fields, and then to recover the oil and gas
* Make sure that wells, well testing, and well surveys are completed and evaluated
* Use computer-controlled drilling or fracturing to connect a larger area of an oil and gas deposit to a single well
* Make sure that oil field equipment is installed, operated, and maintained properly
Oil and gas deposits, or reservoirs, are located deep in rock formations underground. These reservoirs can only be accessed by drilling wells, either on land or at sea from offshore oil rigs.
Once oil and gas are discovered, petroleum engineers work with geologists and other specialists to understand the geologic formation of the rock containing the reservoir. They then determine drilling methods, design and implement the drilling equipment, and monitor operations.
Analytical skills. Petroleum engineers must be able to assess complex plans for drilling and anticipate possible flaws or complications before the company commits money and people to a project.
Creativity. Petroleum engineers must come up with new ways to extract oil and gas because each new drill site presents challenges. They must know how to ask the necessary questions to find possible deposits of oil and gas.
Math skills. Petroleum engineers use the principals of calculus and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.
Problem-solving skills. Identifying problems in drilling plans is critical for petroleum engineers because drilling operations can be costly. They must be careful not to overlook any potential issues and quickly address those that do occur.