Petroleum engineers are involved in all the stages of oil extraction procedures. From exploration to recovery, petroleum engineers have the skills and ability to supervise the entire operation. Their educational background in chemistry, physics, math, computer science and geology makes them an important part of the extraction and production procedures of oil and gases. On the field they can hold roles as drilling engineers, reservoir engineers, chemical engineers or analysts.
These are some of the jobs and tasks of a petroleum engineer.
- Planning and Surveys. When a potential oil site is found the initial task of a petroleum engineer is to get samples from the area. The samples will contain information on the quality, quantity and depth of the oil. After analysis of the area and oil are done, the drilling engineer starts planning the extraction process. The right equipment and instruments are chosen for the drilling and extraction of the oil. Positioning the wells and modifying drilling operations are made by the petroleum engineer to increase productivity. The engineer supervises drilling activities on the oilfield and monitors each stage of the operation.
- Evaluation and Problem Solving. Reservoir engineers have to know how to recover the oil in the ground utilizing the most effective means at a reasonable cost. They consult with geologists, hydrologists, chemical engineers, metallurgical engineers, and mining engineers for design and testing issues. Operational problems have to be addressed so oil recovery procedures can be maximized. Petroleum engineers are tasked with re-evaluating the processes and assist technical personnel by interpreting the results of the evaluation to ensure the changes made will improve oil recovery procedures.
- Implementation. Petroleum engineers coordinate and supervise the installation and maintenance of drilling equipment on the oil field. Placement of wells is decided upon and tests are conducted to make sure the process is done according to design. Installation of drilling and other oil recovery equipment have to meet environmental control measures.
Safety at the drilling site is a major concern. It is also the role of petroleum engineers to ensure that machinery and equipment brought on site have been tested to meet performance requirements. Inspections have to be done regularly during recovery procedures to check if safety measures are met. When recovery procedures are over and all the oil or gases have been extracted, it is the job of petroleum engineers to supervise the organized dismantling of structures at the site. The machinery and equipment must be properly removed from the area as well as any waste products that accumulate during extraction procedures. Areas that have been drilled have to be filled and returned to its normal state.
Petroleum engineers have many job tasks while they are out on the field. Their educational background and the skills they acquire on the job provide them with the ability to choose from a broad list of job positions.