Petroleum Engineer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Petroleum Engineers Career Video



Devises methods to improve oil and gas well production, and determines the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversees drilling and offers technical advice to achieve economical and satisfactory progress.

This career is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics cluster Engineering and Technology pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Assesses costs and estimates the production capabilities and economic value of oil and gas wells, to evaluate the economic viability of potential drilling sites.
  • Develops plans for oil and gas field drilling, and for product recovery and treatment.
  • Directs and monitors the completion and evaluation of wells, well testing, or well surveys.
  • Analyzes data to recommend placement of wells and supplementary processes to enhance production.
  • Monitors production rates, and plans rework processes to improve production.
  • Interprets drilling and testing information for personnel.
  • Specifies and supervise well modification and stimulation programs to maximize oil and gas recovery.
  • Assists engineering and other personnel to solve operating problems.
  • Confers with scientific, engineering, and technical personnel to resolve design, research, and testing problems.
  • Coordinates the installation, maintenance, and operation of mining and oil field equipment.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Completion Engineer --
  • Completions Engineer --
  • Drilling Engineer --
  • Drilling Manager --
  • Engineer --
  • Operations Engineer --
  • Petroleum Production Engineer --
  • Production Engineer --
  • Reservoir Engineer --