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Petroleum Engineer

Design ways of turning crude oil into usable products and fuel.

What does a Petroleum Engineer do?

Have you ever wondered how petroleum gets into plastics and textiles? Are you interested in oil drilling? Does the prospect of traveling around the world and working in remote locations excite you? If so, a career as a petroleum engineer might be a good choice.

Petroleum engineers design processes, master oil and gas collection techniques, and oversee every aspect of turning crude oil into usable products. As a petroleum engineer, you work with a team of technologists, technicians, scientists, and other engineers, so put on your team player hat and warm up the communication skills.

Together, you locate new crude oil and gas sources. This often requires you to travel to some of the remotest places on the planet. After all, the nearest oil well isn’t located in downtown Manhattan. Once you’ve struck gold (or oil), you determine the best way to draw the product out of the Earth.

Whether you choose to drill or gather (slightly different processes), you oversee the collection, treatment, shipping, and refining processes. To make the important decisions, you need to know what you’re dealing with. So your team gathers samples and runs tests. The results show the amount of byproduct, water, and other materials that are mixed in. With this information, you plan the treatment techniques that will separate the product you need from those that you don’t. Sometimes this requires engineering an entirely new design.

Like every industry, this one is becoming increasingly reliant on computers, so brush up on your computer skills. In addition to computer program know-how, you need an analytical brain, creativity, and a passion for solving problems.