Why Would Someone Want to Become a Petroleum Engineer?

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My research question is why would someone want to become a petroleum engineer when the world is starting to have more of a concern for a healthier environment and the job market is not stable? This question is very important because in answering it we will know why we are still using petroleum oil even though we know it is harmful to us and the environment. Also, we will get a better understanding of why petroleum engineers are important.

I am qualified to write about this topic because I have extensively researched petroleum engineering jobs. When I was deciding my major I did a lot of research about different types of engineering and one of my favorite ones at the time was petroleum engineering, so I spent about two weeks researching petroleum oil and the benefits and disadvantages of becoming a petroleum engineer. I am also studying to become an engineer, so I can better relate to this topic than someone whos not studying engineering.

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Even though petroleum is not beneficial for the environment, we still use it in or lives everydays and there is no getting around this. So, it is important that we have people such as petroleum engineers that can analyze a situation and reduce damage to the environment as best as they can. This is one of the reasons why petroleum engineering is such a good field because they not only provide us with our essential petroleum, but they help keep the environment and surrounding area safe. Although, petroleum is a finite resource which means we will have to find another source of energy thus making petroleum engineering almost useless and the burning of petroleum pollutes the air and releases greenhouse gasses which is damaging to our environment.

This paper will show why becoming a petroleum engineer is worth the hard work and this essay will give the background of petroleum engineering and then will explain the benefits and disadvantages of becoming a petroleum engineer.


Oil has always been used throughout the world and has become increasingly more important to society. Next, Ancient Egyptians used oil products in building materials and also a type of petrol called bitumen – the most natural form of petroleum that is sticky and a semi-solid hydrocarbon (petroleum.co.uk 1) 2 – in embalming fluid. The Egyptians used petroleum in some medicines such as to fight eye infection and also as a laxative. Oil wells were used before the chinese, but there is no record. All historians know now is that at around 400 B.C. the Chinese started to use bamboo poles to extract natural gas(“History of Petroleum and Petroleum engineering” 2) 3. The first modern well that revolutionized drilling was created in 1859 when two men named George Bissell and Edwin L. Drake successfully created the first drilling rig to produce oil from a well in Titusville, Pennsylvania (“American Oil and Gas historical Society” 1) 1” and after this, the oil era boomed not only in America, but the rest of the world. In the 1890’s, the basics of petroleum engineering were introduced and since then taught as a practice. As new forms of technology were introduced, petroleum engineering became more efficient and new kinds of petroleum engineering were developed such as offshore drilling and reservoir engineering (“Encyclopedia Britannica: Petroleum Engineering” 1). The history of petroleum engineering is important and shows just how far our society has advanced.

The practice of petroleum engineering has been around for centuries and keeps evolving to become more efficient and cheaper. In order to figure out this information I painstakingly looked for credible articles by researching the authors and looking at multiple sources to see if they had the same information. Once I had matching information I placed it into my research paper and quoted the name of the website.

So what makes a job as a petroleum engineering good? Petroleum engineering is a crucial job due to the sheer amount of oil and gas everyone uses. Petroleum is used in a ton of things in our everyday lives from plastics and rubbers to gas for vehicles (Uttam 7). Oil is a large driving factor in today’s society (“Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering” 1) and is so important that Uttam states, “the absence of petroleum will cause an end to our modern civilization unless alternative means are available.” Petroleum engineers are supposed to come up with the answers for modern day energy problems and as oil and gas are becoming more integrated into our society and are constantly in demand, it is the petroleum engineers job to meet the needs of the public (“Bachelor of science in petroleum engineering” 1).

Petroleum engineers have a big responsibility when it comes to their jobs. The main jobs of a petroleum engineer involve developing new ways to get oil, designing and maintaining drilling equipment, and evaluating the construction of oil wells. Petroleum engineers work with other career fields such as geoscientists to get a better understanding of rock formations in order to find the best places to drill for oil (“U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Petroleum engineers” 1). Because oil is finite, petroleum engineers are essential in that they have to come up with more effect ways to get oil (Uttam).

One should expect a heavy course load in both high school and college focused around math and science. In order to prepare for getting a petroleum engineering degree in high school, one should plan on taking math classes in algebra, trigonometry and calculus and science classes such as biology, chemistry and physics (“U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Petroleum engineers” 1). Gold states “In college prepare to take a lot of calculus, transforms and algebra because engineering is very math heavy. There’s so much academic information you have to learn with not a lot of time and combined with a lot of new concepts only increases the level of difficulty of one’s college classes. This difficulty does not apply to just one class, but to all. Although in taking so many classes, I was able to better prepare myself for the real world.” Not only is taking so many classes difficult, but in order to become a certified petroleum engineer one must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam, Principles and Practices of Engineering exam and have a 2.8 GPA in all engineering courses (“Undergraduate Academics” 2). Employers are also looking for at least 4 years of work experience and an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology degree. Although, If one gets a degree in petroleum engineering and decides to not go into a petroleum engineering job. There are many other fields that accept this degree such as hydrology, geothermal energy, solution mining, and underground storage (“Louisiana State University” 1).

There are four different types of petroleum engineering and all four of these fields are very rewarding in pay, but can be difficult in work hours. The first is a completion engineer who comes up with the best method for finishing a well in order to obtain all of the gas and oil. Next, is a drilling engineer who finds the safest and most efficient ways to drill. Then the production engineer monitors oil and gas production. Last is the reservoir engineer who calculates how much oil and gas can be obtained from reservoirs underground and monitors the extraction of these resources (“U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Petroleum engineers” 2). Petroleum engineers who work in oil extraction made around $140,000, and engineers that worked in drilling made around $200,000, (“environmental science” 2), but the average pay for a petroleum engineering job is around 128,230, to 147,030, (“U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics” 1). Petroleum engineers work in offices, laboratories and drilling sites. Although petroleum engineers sometimes work a normal 40 hours in an office or laboratory, their job causes them to travel a lot and work 84 hour shifts when the engineers travel to a drilling site (“Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering” 1). Being a petroleum engineer takes time and work, but one is well rewarded with the pay.

Although petroleum engineering pays well, the job is not the most stable. This uncertainty is causing people to turn away from this field and look at other more reliable jobs. An author for environmental science states “Growth [of petroleum engineering] will be dependent on oil prices” and due to the oil prices dropping in 2014, the petroleum engineering field has taken a big hit. Before oil prices dropped in 2014, around 570 students were interested in this career, but due to the drop in 2015, only 260 students were interested in petroleum engineering. In 2014, 95% of graduates found jobs, but that number dwindled to 64% in just one year and the percent continues to drop (DiChristopher 1). Fredrick Thurber states, “I’ve been here 19 years right now, and there’s no doubt about it. This will be the weakest hiring season we’ve seen in quite some time.” Combined with long hours, and job instability it may not be worth it to invest so much time and energy into a fluctuating job market. Another downside to being a petroleum engineer is that the tools they use and the byproduct of the oil that they mine when burned pollutes the air with carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, particulate matter and many other by hazardous by – products (“Environment and Ecology” 1). These byproducts harm humans and the environment and the oil spills in water that occur, causes great harm to the marine life in the area by “destroying the insulating ability of fur-bearing mammals… and without the ability to repel water and insulate from the cold water, birds and mammals will die from hypothermia(“National Ocean Service” 1) 1”.

This position is one held by a lot of people, but the one thing people have to realize is how much we rely on petroleum and how getting rid of it can greatly negatively impact the world and everyone’s lives. My research does not explore every aspect of becoming a petroleum engineer and certainly does not explain the effects of petroleum on the earth very well, but what I have written down so far is a basic summary of what a petroleum engineer is, what they do and the positives and negatives about their jobs.

But my argument for a petroleum engineering job is better because a job in petroleum engineering helps prevent accidents like oil spills and many other harms to the environment from happening. Also you are paid very well for your job and in some cases may even get to travel around the world to different drilling sites.


Petroleum engineering helps keep the earth safe, but also helps destroy it in the process. My research implies that petroleum engineering is a very worthwhile career and job because it they make sure every piece of machinery is operating like it should, so nothing negative will happen to the workers or surrounding land. You should really think about becoming a petroleum engineer if you care about the earth. Petroleum engineers help keep oil spills from happening. Just make sure you keep one thing in mind, and ask yourself what other substances we could replace petroleum with in different products and in the use of cars in order to decrease pollution?

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Why Would Someone Want to Become a Petroleum Engineer?. (2021, Apr 23). Retrieved from


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