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Petroleum Engineering: The Many Branches of a Career

by Bryan Smith 8 days ago in career
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Petroleum Engineering Guide

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Petroleum engineering is a very diverse field, offering many different career paths. While it's a good idea to have a general overview of the field, it's important to find your niche and build a career that's right for you and your interests.

The following article provides an overview of each main branch of the petroleum engineering field, as well as how they relate to one another in terms of salary.

A Diverse Field

There are many different types of jobs in petroleum engineering, each with its own focus. It is important to know what you want to do before you start studying petroleum engineering because it can be difficult to change your mind later on. If you have decided that petroleum engineering is for you but are unsure about which branch of the industry you would like to work in or what kind of job interests you most, this section will hopefully provide some guidance on how to best proceed through your studies so that by graduation day, there will be no question as to where and how your future lies!

There are 3 main branches of petroleum engineering:

Drilling and Completions Engineers

A completion engineer works in the oil and gas industries, designing and developing wells to maximize production. They work in the field, supervising drilling operations and also doing research on new methods of extracting oil and gas from the earth. They also work in laboratories, using their scientific knowledge to develop new drilling methods and techniques.

They are responsible for ensuring that all the equipment and machinery used in oil and gas drilling operations are working properly, and they also develop new techniques for cutting costs. They work closely with other engineers, geologists, geophysicists, and scientists to ensure that oil companies are making the most efficient use of resources.

They must have skills in understanding the geology of an area and how it relates to oil and gas extraction. They must be able to communicate effectively with their colleagues in order to develop new drilling methods, and they must also have good leadership skills in order to supervise the drilling crew. According to comparably drilling and completions engineers earn a wide range of salaries, from $76,648 to $320,000.

Reservoir Engineering

This branch focuses on reservoir recovery, which includes developing a strategy for optimal production and drainage as well as designing fluid injection strategies to maximize recovery from existing wells.

Reservoir engineering deals with reservoir response, production forecasting, and well performance analysis. Reservoir engineers use a variety of tools to study the properties of rock formations, including geophysics and well logs. They also analyze the fluid composition, flow rate, and pressure using subsurface data.

The goal of reservoir engineering is to maximize the total recovery of oil or gas over time by maximizing production rates. This is done by understanding how fluids move through porous media (rock) in order to predict where they will go next based on known geological information as well as real-time measurements derived from wells drilled into petroleum reservoirs near existing wells (called offset wells), and research show that the base salary for a reservoir engineer ranges from $116,026 to $128,466 with an average base salary of $121,910 and can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education and certifications but also additional skills that you may have acquired throughout your career. The number of years spent in your profession is another factor that will influence how much money you make.

Production Engineering

Petroleum production engineers design and select subsurface equipment to produce oil and gas well fluids and manage the production process. They also plan and supervise the drilling, completion, and operation of wells to increase oil or gas production and ensure compliance with state and federal regulations. Production engineers work in several different industries, including oil, gas, and mining. They may also specialize in one of these industries or work for an engineering consulting firm, where they are asked to perform a variety of tasks. According to payscale data, the annual salary for a production engineer is $73,610, with the most experienced professionals earning more than $102000.

Most sought-after STEM degrees

If you're looking for a lucrative career in an industry that's growing rapidly and would like to enroll in one of the most sought-after STEM degrees available today, petroleum engineering might be the right choice.

US oil and gas employment is set to expand by 12.5% this year, rising from around 863,000 total jobs as of 2018 to 971,000 by 2022, according to Rystad Energy research, but other countries are also seeing similar growth rates, which should provide ample opportunity no matter where one chooses their path forward.

The total number of jobs in the sector is expected to increase marginally, hitting 1.09 million by 2027, compared with just over 1 million before COVID was enacted, according to The Company’s May 18 release.

Petroleum engineers work in a variety of industries and sectors, including finance. They can be found across the energy spectrum—from petrochemical companies to government agencies. They are also employed by oil companies for offshore drilling and in remote regions where the construction of roads or pipelines would be too expensive.

Challenging a major that requires dedication

It is a challenging major that requires dedication and the ability to successfully master a variety of scientific and engineering disciplines. Petroleum engineers must have excellent knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, and geology.

In addition to these subjects, petroleum engineers also need an intimate understanding of the many aspects of oil production: drilling techniques, extraction methods, and field exploration.

Essentially all fields within the oil industry require individuals with special training in order to provide specialized expertise in their area of expertise (e.g., drilling engineer). Because petroleum engineering is such a broad field that covers all areas of research related to oil production, there are many opportunities available for those who wish to pursue this career path after graduation from college or university.


If you're looking for a way to improve the world around you, then petroleum engineering could be the perfect career path. With so many branches of this major and so many different careers within each branch, there's something for everyone. You've got a chance to make an impact on society by protecting our environment or helping people earn more money at work through better system design. We hope that this article has given some insight into what's involved in becoming an engineer who specializes in the extraction of oil and gas from beneath our planet's surface; if it has, then feel free to check out other sections on our website!


About the author

Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith is a content writer who helps companies tell their unique stories. An experienced writer who delivers content that solves problems for audiences.

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