As the United Kingdom's industrial sectors recover from the economic downturn, more and more people are turning towards engineering as a career path. Gas Engineering - the study, production and commercial implementation of oil and gas - is a vital part of the infrastructure of both the UK and the world - and industry employees work to provide a vital resource to hundreds of millions of people.
Roles and responsibilities
Gas or petroleum engineering stretches across professional disciplines and relies on a variety of skill-sets, including mechanics, science and politics. Broadly speaking, gas engineers focus on locating reserves of gas and oil and develop methods to extract those resources in the most efficient manner. This process involves research - into areas like geological composition and financial viability - and practical work, such as the construction of drilling rigs and the careful monitoring of gas extraction.
Gas engineers work in the development of tools and machines for drilling or excavation, the physical operation and maintenance of those tools, or in the scientific analysis of geological samples. Gas engineers may also find roles in management or political spheres - helping to influence or make important policy decisions. Given the diverse nature of their roles, gas engineers work in the field, research and analysis laboratories or in office environments. Gas engineering expertise is also required in academia - and those with extensive industry experience may find work in teaching roles.
In an industrial capacity, types of gas engineer include reservoir engineers who work to optimise the production of oil and gas by improving recovery techniques and constructing wells, drilling engineers who manage the process of extracting oil and gas from the ground, and production engineers who analyse and carefully control the interface between reservoirs and wells.
What qualifications does a gas engineer need?
While some universities offer degrees dedicated to the field, most gas engineering positions require candidates to hold a relevant undergraduate degree. Mathematical and science disciplines are strongly favoured by gas engineering companies, but experience in areas like geology and physics is also a strong advantage. As gas engineering projects rely more and more on modelling and analysis software, computer programming skills are growing in importance - for both roles in the field and in the lab. Most degrees involve classroom and fieldwork as essential components of the curriculum.
As the influence of technology continues to grow, the ability of industry employees to grasp and implement new innovations will be crucial. With this in mind, many positions in the gas engineering industry are only open to candidates holding a post-graduate degree. After qualification, graduates can join the Institution of Gas Engineers or Society of Petroleum Engineers - members of which are eligible to further qualify as Chartered Engineers.
Finding a job
Prospective gas engineering candidates and new graduates should keep updated with our gas engineering vacancies. Starting salaries can range from around £25,000 to £30,000, but more senior positions may exceed £40,000. Gas engineering is a global discipline: qualified candidates should be prepared to find work in locations all around the world and expect career prospects which see them advance quickly - as companies strive to fill vacant positions with the best possible personnel.