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Career profile Patroleum Engineer

Also known as Completion Engineer, Drilling Engineer, Engineer, Operations Engineer, Petroleum Engineer, Petroleum Production Engineer, Project Production Engineer, Project Reservoir Engineer, Reservoir Engineer, Reservoir Engineering Consultant

Patroleum Engineer

Also known as Completion Engineer, Drilling Engineer, Engineer

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$78,620 - $208,000+ (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Computers and Electronics
Core tasks
  • Specify and supervise well modification and stimulation programs to maximize oil and gas recovery.
  • Test machinery and equipment to ensure that it is safe and conforms to performance specifications.
  • Monitor production rates, and plan rework processes to improve production.
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What does a Patroleum Engineer do?

Patroleum Engineers devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs.

In addition, Patroleum Engineers oversee drilling and offer technical advice.

What kind of tasks does a Patroleum Engineer perform regularly?

Patroleum Engineers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Specify and supervise well modification and stimulation programs to maximize oil and gas recovery.
  • Monitor production rates, and plan rework processes to improve production.
  • Maintain records of drilling and production operations.
  • Analyze data to recommend placement of wells and supplementary processes to enhance production.
  • Assist engineering and other personnel to solve operating problems.
  • Direct and monitor the completion and evaluation of wells, well testing, or well surveys.
  • Develop plans for oil and gas field drilling, and for product recovery and treatment.
  • Assess costs and estimate the production capabilities and economic value of oil and gas wells, to evaluate the economic viability of potential drilling sites.
  • Confer with scientific, engineering, and technical personnel to resolve design, research, and testing problems.
  • Interpret drilling and testing information for personnel.
  • Write technical reports for engineering and management personnel.
  • Coordinate activities of workers engaged in research, planning, and development.
  • Evaluate findings to develop, design, or test equipment or processes.

The above responsibilities are specific to Patroleum Engineers. More generally, Patroleum Engineers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Analyzing Data or Information
Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

What is a Patroleum Engineer salary?

The median salary for a Patroleum Engineer is $137,330, and the average salary is $154,330. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Patroleum Engineer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Patroleum Engineers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Patroleum Engineers earn less than $78,620 per year, 25% earn less than $108,130, 75% earn less than $189,030, and 90% earn more than $208,000.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Patroleum Engineers is expected to change by 7.7%, and there should be roughly 2,100 open positions for Patroleum Engineers every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$78,620 - Over $208,000
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Patroleum Engineers?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Patroleum Engineer are usually higher in their Investigative, Realistic, and Conventional interests.

Patroleum Engineers typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Patroleum Engineers typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Lastly, Patroleum Engineers typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Patroleum Engineer tend to value Working Conditions, Independence, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Patroleum Engineers strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Second, Patroleum Engineers strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Patroleum Engineers strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Patroleum Engineers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as analytical thinking, attention to detail, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Patroleum Engineers, ranked by importance:

Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Patroleum Engineers need?

Many Patroleum Engineers will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Patroleum Engineers usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Patroleum Engineers

  • 1.1% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 4.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 5.8% completed some college coursework
  • 3.7% earned a Associate's degree
  • 57.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 18.4% earned a Master's degree
  • 9.7% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Patroleum Engineers

Patroleum Engineers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as engineering and technology, mathematics, or computers and electronics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Patroleum Engineers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.

Important Abilities needed by Patroleum Engineers

Patroleum Engineers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Patroleum Engineers need abilities such as oral comprehension, written comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Patroleum Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Patroleum Engineers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Patroleum Engineers frequently use skills like reading comprehension, critical thinking, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Patroleum Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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