What Do Petroleum Engineers Do?

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For those who aren’t aware, petroleum engineers are the group of professionals who design methods that are utilized to extract oil and gas deposits from below the earth’s surface. Once these mineral resources have been discovered, petroleum engineers are asked to work with geologists, as well as other specialists who are familiar with the geologic properties and formation of the rock that contains the reservoir. This would help them determine the applicable drilling methods that they must use. Likewise, it’s also utilized to monitor drilling and the production operations as well.

Design of Equipment and Processes

Aside from that, they also design the equipment and processes that would be useful in achieving the maximum profitable recovery of gas and oil. Likewise, due to the fact that there’s only a small portion of gas and oil in the reservoir that flows naturally, petroleum engineers should also come up with recovery methods that could enhance the efficiency of the equipment, such as injecting water, gases, chemicals, and steam into the reservoir that would force out more of the oil. Also, they manage the computer-controlled drilling, as well as the fracturing that allows the connection of larger area reservoir to a single well. Nonetheless, even though the best techniques are being utilized today, petroleum engineers must still research and develop methods and technology that could increase the efficiency of these resources and lessen the cost of drilling and production operations.

Work Environment

Most petroleum engineers work in an office setting, but some of them also work in laboratories and industrial plants. Likewise, there are some who spend time at construction sites, oil and gas exploration, and production sites. Their usual task is to monitor or manage the operations and solve the on-site problems. Additionally, there are also petroleum engineers who travel a lot and usually out of the country.

Most of them work in a standard 40-hour/week. However, there are instances where design standards, deadline, and the like would bring them extra pressure, and would be the reason why they need to work for longer hours.

Usual Duties

Just like what have been mentioned earlier, petroleum engineers develop and design methods used for extracting gas and oil from deposits below the earth.
The following are some of their usual duties:

  • Come up with a design that would extract oil and gas in the most convenient, yet profitable way possible.
  • Discover ways on how to inject chemicals, water, gases, or even steam into the oil reserve. This would force out more oil.
  • Develop plans that would help in drilling gas and oil fields. Also, a way to recover gas and oil.
  •  Ensure that the wells, well surveys, and well testing are properly done, completed, and lastly, evaluated.
  • Utilize computer-controlled fracturing and drilling that connect to a larger area of a gas and oil deposit.
  •  Ensure that the oil field equipment is properly installed and maintained.

Generally, gas and oil deposits, as well as reservoirs, are often located in rock formations underground that could only be accessed from offshore oil rigs. The only way to access these reservoirs is through drilling wells that’s on land.

The moment when gas and oil are already discovered, this would be the time where petroleum engineers work with the geologist to under the reservoir better. The drilling methods, design, drilling equipment, and monitor operations.

Types of Petroleum Engineers and Their Job

Drilling Engineers

Drilling engineers determine the most ideal way to drill a gas or oil well, considering several factors, such as efficiency, safety, and environmental impact.

Completions Engineers

They’re the one who decide the most ideal way to finish building a well. This would allow the oil or gas to efficiently flow up from underground. Likewise, they’re also tasked to oversee well-completions work. Oftentimes, this involves the use of hydraulic fracturing, tubing, and pressure-control techniques.

Production Engineers

They’re the engineers in-charge after the well is completed, because they need to monitor the gas and oil production of the well.

Reservoir Engineers

Their main job is to have an estimate of how much gas or oil could be recovered from the underground deposits, better known as reservoirs. Likewise, they should also determine the most effective methods to get most gas or oil out of the reservoir. Lastly, they monitor the operations to ensure that they’re running smoothly.


References:
http://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/petroleum-engineers.htm
http://www.wisegeek.org/what-does-a-petroleum-engineer-do.htm

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