Is Petroleum Engineering Hard? Examining Petroleum Engineering as A Career


Is Petroleum Engineering Hard? Petroleum engineering is in demand because the world continues to rely on petroleum for energy sources. It has a solid career outlook. But the issue arises: is petroleum engineering difficult?

Yes, petroleum engineering is hard since it requires specialized knowledge, multidisciplinary skills, adaptability to industry dynamics, complicated technology, ethical issues and unpredictable career paths. But it’s not as difficult as physics, mechanics or chemistry.

Furthermore, petroleum engineering encompasses other areas, including reservoir engineering, drilling engineering, production engineering, well completion engineering, petroleum geology and geophysics, and enhanced oil recovery (EOR).

Some branches are stressful, while others are easy to manage. Graduates in this sector, on the other hand, earn substantial incomes and receive several job benefits.

As a result, we’ll look closely at the top reasons you might want to study petroleum engineering!

Is petroleum engineering Hard? A Quick Response

Petroleum engineering is hard because you will need to maintain a good GPA throughout your studies.

Additionally, this course is challenging, with a demanding curriculum that includes calculus, physics, chemistry, geology and mathematics.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect is understanding how to use it in real-world circumstances! Engineers in this sector, on the other hand, have a wide range of career opportunities and a good salary.

What Does a Petroleum Engineer Do?

Petroleum engineers are primarily responsible for creating more efficient techniques for extracting oil and gas from the earth.

These resources are stored underground in reservoirs. When a reservoir is discovered, petroleum engineers collaborate with scientists to visualize and understand the reservoir’s structure and the surrounding rock to decide the optimal drilling method and procedures.

They also intend to develop innovative procedures for extracting oil and gas from reservoirs to maximize yield, oversee drilling activities and advise decision-makers.

In addition to their core job, they may conduct the following activities:

  • Developing plans for drilling and recovering oil and gas
  • Making forecasts based on data about a well’s predicted yield
  • Developing strategies to maximize extraction from a reserve.
  • Designing equipment for oil and gas extraction.
  • Evaluate the viability of potential well sites.
  • Calculating the costs of drilling
  • Ensure correct installation, operation and repair of equipment.
  • Evaluating the productivity and value of existing wells

Petroleum engineering is divided into various areas, each focusing on a specific component of the entire process of oil and gas extraction, such as:

  • Reservoir: Reservoir engineers analyze reservoirs to estimate how much oil or gas may be recovered and how to maximize yield. During drilling, they may supervise the extraction process to ensure that the yields meet expectations.
  • Drilling: Drilling engineers determine the most effective drilling methods. They examine efficiency, cost, safety, and potential environmental impact while making decisions.
  • Completions: Completions engineers mostly work on well construction. With a thorough understanding of materials and physics, they build wells that allow oil or gas to flow to the surface.

Production engineers are in charge of wells when drilling activities are completed and the wells are producing yields.

They monitor production levels and make modifications to ensure that extracted quantities satisfy expectations.

Advantages of Being a Petroleum Engineer

Many people choose jobs in petroleum engineering because of the numerous perks it provides. This includes:

1. Compensation

Petroleum engineering is frequently a lucrative job. Petroleum engineers make an average of $83,490 per year. Many petroleum engineers might expect to earn more, depending on their location and level of study.

Engineers in California and Colorado, for example, report earning 18% more than the typical base wage, while those with a higher-level petroleum engineering degree can earn more than 42% more.

2. Job Outlook

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects an 8% increase in the employment of petroleum engineers between 2020 and 2030, with over 2,000 job opportunities each year.

According to the BLS, this rate represents average growth, implying that the occupation is stable. The picture may improve as oil prices rise, as higher prices are likely to stimulate demand for new oil reserves and increase extraction from current wells.

3. Reputation

Because the world relies on oil and gas, petroleum engineers are frequently regarded as valuable members of the workforce.

Petroleum engineers are also concerned about the environment, working to reduce the environmental impact of oil and gas extraction.

They have the education and expertise required to extract these crucial resources from underground deposits safely and dependably; therefore, they are critical for the survival of companies and economies and, in certain respects, contribute to the protection of the planet.

4. Travel

Many people appreciate the notion of visiting other regions of the country or the world, and petroleum engineering frequently provides that opportunity.

Oil and gas reservoirs only exist in areas that meet specific geological parameters; thus, the job may take you to places you would not normally visit.

Depending on your job and position within the firm, you may be stationed on the West Coast, in the Arctic, in jungles or woods, or on ocean rigs.

If you enjoy traveling, a job in petroleum engineering can provide you with the opportunity to do it for free.

5. Diverse Collaboration

Petroleum engineering may be a wonderful career choice for those who appreciate meeting and learning from a variety of individuals.

Petroleum engineers frequently collaborate with individuals from many backgrounds and occupations.

They usually consult with scientists, such as geologists and geophysicists, to assess reservoirs and they also collaborate with oil and gas workers in the field.

Disadvantages of being a petroleum engineer

There may be certain disadvantages to the career, especially in terms of academic and professional expectations, such as:

1. Academic prerequisites

One potential downside of petroleum engineering is the set of entry requirements. A bachelor’s degree in engineering or a similar subject is often required for entry into the field of petroleum engineering.

Engineering can be a difficult degree subject because it requires study in many sophisticated disciplines and branches of mathematics.

As a petroleum engineering student, you can expect to study physics, biology, thermodynamics, and geology. Many employers may prefer that you hold a postgraduate degree in petroleum engineering, which requires more education and advanced coursework.

2. License

Another major problem that petroleum engineers may face is licensing. Though an engineering license is not required for entry-level positions, it is required for higher-level positions, which often pay more and provide more professional autonomy. Licensing requirements vary by state but often require:

Academic degree: Licensed engineers have graduated from an engineering program certified by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

  • Professional experience: States need applicants to have four years of engineering experience.  Frequently, this experience is under the supervision of a professional engineer.
  • Fundamentals of Engineering Exam: The Fundamentals of Engineering exam is one of two required for licensure. It consists of 110 tasks, with a passing score determined by several statistical indicators.
  • Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam: The Principles and Practice of Engineering test is the second of two mandatory assessments. The petroleum engineering test consists of 85 questions and lasts 9.5 hours.

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3. Continuing Education.

After you’ve received your professional engineering license, your state may require you to take continuing education (CE) courses to keep it.

Continuing education (CE) refers to ongoing activities that keep you current in your profession.

Formal courses, conferences, seminars, and reading are all considered acceptable activities. Keeping track of your CE may be one of your regular employment obligations. Specific rules differ per state.

Alabama, for example, requires professional engineers to complete 15 CE hours per year, whereas Maryland requires 16 hours every two years.

4. Work Demands

The work atmosphere and responsibilities placed on petroleum engineers may be seen negatively by some.

As previously said, oil and gas operations are often limited to specific areas of the country; therefore, relocation or long-term temporary lodging may be part of the work description. As an engineer, you may be required to spend extended periods away from your home and loved ones.

Additionally, petroleum engineers frequently work more than 40 hours every week. In some circumstances, particularly while working on-site, engineers may work in rotations, such as 80 hours on duty followed by 80 hours off duty.

5. Specialization

Petroleum engineering is a specialist discipline of engineering, with the majority of work prospects concentrated in certain industries.

Aside from the oil and gas extraction industry, the majority of petroleum engineers can expect to work for organizations involved in mining, coal manufacturing, or petroleum manufacturing.

The discipline’s specialty may provide obstacles if you want to shift careers, so it’s a good idea to develop transferable abilities throughout your career.


Petroleum engineering is a difficult degree to pursue since students must properly comprehend oil and land reserves.

Furthermore, the sector is always evolving and changing; therefore, students must be able to keep up with innovations to remain competitive and advantageous.

Ultimately, learning these things requires a significant amount of time and effort. However, petroleum engineers are still regarded as one of the top jobs in the world due to their excellent pay and societal recognition!

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