Petroleum Engineer

Job Description:

Petroleum engineers devise tools and methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production.

Job Category:
Energy & Utilities

What you will do:

Your day-to-day will include tasks such as:

  • Inspect oil and gas wells to determine that installations are completed.
  • Interpret drilling and testing information for personnel.
  • Specify and supervise well modification and stimulation programmes to maximise oil and gas recovery.
  • Direct and monitor the completion and evaluation of wells, well testing, or well surveys.
  • Maintain records of drilling and production operations.
  • Assess costs and estimate the production capabilities and economic value of oil and gas wells, to evaluate the economic viability of potential drilling sites.
  • Develop plans for oil and gas field drilling, and for product recovery and treatment. Simulate reservoir performance for different recovery techniques, using computer models.
  • 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.
  • Evaluate findings to develop, design, or test equipment or processes.


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • maths knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creativity)
  • knowledge of building and construction
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

Employers look for relevant degree subjects such as physical, mathematical or applied sciences and engineering. In particular, the following subjects may increase your chances of securing a job:

  • aeronautical engineering
  • astrophysics
  • chemical engineering
  • civil engineering
  • earth sciences
  • mathematics
  • mechanical engineering
  • petroleum engineering

School Subjects

To become a Petroleum Engineer in the UK, you should focus on GCSE subjects that provide a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Petroleum Engineering is a specialized branch of engineering that deals with the exploration, extraction, and production of oil and gas resources. Here are the recommended GCSE subjects to pursue:

  1. Mathematics: Mathematics is a core subject for engineering disciplines, including Petroleum Engineering. It is crucial for complex calculations, problem-solving, and data analysis.
  2. Physics: Physics provides essential principles related to mechanics, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics, which are applicable to various aspects of Petroleum Engineering.
  3. Chemistry: A good understanding of chemistry can be beneficial for understanding the properties of oil and gas reservoirs and chemical processes in the industry.
  4. English: Strong language and communication skills are essential for effective communication and technical writing, which are essential in any engineering field.
  5. Design and Technology: This subject can provide insights into engineering design principles and manufacturing techniques, which are relevant in the oil and gas industry.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll mostly be sitting in this job and you’ll have a regular schedule.

You’ll have lots of freedom to make decisions and be responsible for the results of your work.

You’ll most likely work with a team and even coordinate or lead that team.

Career Path & Progression:

On completion of a graduate training programme, you may progress from primarily technical roles, through the promotion structure, to highly regarded and well-paid senior technical appointments.

Others opt for commercial roles in areas such as recruitment or marketing, or in leadership and management.

Senior roles can include asset team leadership, business planning and analysis, non-operated joint ventures (NOJV), asset management, operations supervising and environmental, safety, fire, health and project management.