The Oil and Gas sector in the UK is an exciting and growing area for engineering jobs. Broadly speaking, gas engineering involves the location, research and extraction of natural gas. The process is multi-faceted, involving engineers with a range of different specialisms, but the industry's key role is played by the petroleum engineer. If you are thinking of embarking on a career in oil and gas engineering, read our guide to the various branches of the petroleum engineer position.
In a general sense, petroleum engineers work to maximise the hydrocarbon recovery from the ground, while minimising the cost and the impact on the natural environment. Petroleum engineering covers nearly all levels of the industrial extraction of oil and gas, including research, evaluation, development and production. Petroleum engineers work in a variety of contexts in the field and in office environments, helping to locate oil and gas reserves, removing those resources from the ground and processing them for commercial use. Petroleum engineers may also be involved in designing and building new machinery to be used within the industry.
Specialised branches within the field of oil and gas engineering include:
By applying scientific principles to the evaluation and extraction of oil and gas, reservoir engineers aim to increase the value and efficiency of their projects. Reservoir engineers should possess a knowledge of geology, physics, chemistry and applied mathematics - and use their skills to analyse production history and create simulation models to predict the flow of crude oil beneath the earth. Candidates for reservoir engineering positions should hold a degree in a discipline related to engineering, but post-graduate degrees specific to reservoir engineering are also an advantage.
Working closely with other technical departments, especially with drilling and service contractors, drilling engineers implement drilling programmes and design wells. Drilling engineers also co-ordinate teams working on and offshore, analysing their performance, monitoring costs and preparing budgets. Aside from a strong knowledge of mathematics and physics, drilling engineers should possess excellent team-work skills. Like most professional engineering appointments, drilling engineers should hold a science or engineering degree - and may make themselves more employable by demonstrating an aptitude for communication and problem-solving.
Using a broad skill-set, production engineers in the petroleum engineering field oversee both the design of equipment and its application in the process of drilling for oil and gas. Typically, production engineers will monitor the flow of oil and gas between the reservoir and wellbore and design the overall systems through which those materials are extracted. Like other engineering roles, production engineers need to be accomplished mathematicians and scientists but also capable problem solvers. University-level degrees in a relevant scientific discipline are an advantage when applying for positions in the field.
Petroleum engineering roles involve no small amount of crossover and include the possibility of timely promotion into senior positions. Beyond entry-level positions, suitable candidates can expect to assume team leader and management vacancies - and receive significant salary boosts. Petroleum engineering jobs also bring opportunities to travel - with jobs available all over the world and chances to work on some of the most exciting projects in the industry.
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