Enviro & Petroleum Engineer

Enviro & Petroleum Engineer

Oil Comp Engr

38 Years Experience

Houston, TX

Female, 60

I recently retired from a major integrated oil company after 38 years. I have degrees in Civil and Petroleum Engineering. I worked with safety, health and environmental management systems and operations in the upstream (finding and producing oil and gas) and downstream (refining, chemicals and distributions) areas. I travelled all over world, enduring good & bad business cycles and good and bad managers.

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206 Questions


Last Answer on June 25, 2020

Best Rated


I completed MSc in Petroleum Engineering with PGDip(Postgraduate Diploma) at University. I am not able to get any job in the oil and gas field as they ask for experience. I am a fresher and would like even an entry level field engineer job

Asked by Cyb almost 7 years ago

I wish I could help you, but it really depends the country in which you live and/or in which you are seeking work.  In the USA, you do not need to have experience if you are seeking an entry level position and have reasonably good grades/gpa. 

So if I worked in the future with a petroleum company and I have either mechanical or civil eng bachelor degree while I study petroleum eng in the master degree, what is the Nature of work if each one of them?

Asked by ddd over 7 years ago

If you work for a major integrated oil company you could be doing any of their entry level engineering jobs.  Suggest you check out their recruiting websites for more details.

Thank u Mam..im doing my 12 grade in india(Chennai).im keen in pursing B.tech petroleum engineering wat s ur advice to take this course..is it worth Mam..?

Asked by sai darshan about 7 years ago

It depends quite a lot on where you intend to pursue a job and what your citizenship is.  I can really only speak for the situation in the USA. Having recruited for a major oil company before, I CAN tell you that US companies will rarely hire a foreign national and  sponsor him or her for US citizenship or a visa unless that a person has a PhD In a very specialized field of study.

What the difference in majoring in Chemical engineering or Petroleum engineering? And what would you recommend?

Asked by Eli about 7 years ago

Chemical Engineering is going to focus on understanding chemical reactions used in industrial processes, how to optimize them, predict outcomes, understand potential hazards, etc.  Petroleum engineering will cover geology, well construction, estimating reserves, economics, some chemical reaction / surface facility design (but in less detail than in chemical engineering) and some tranportation/logistics.  Personally, I would recommend chemical engineering because it makes you appealing to a broader selection of jobs and companies.  However, if you KNOW you want to be in the Upstream Oil and Gas business OR if you know you want to go on to get a law degree and practice oil and gas law, then I would recommend Petroleum Engineering.    Starting salaries for Petroleum Engineers is hovering near the six figure mark right now, but Chemical Engineers are not very far behind.  After a few years on the job, that tends to even out and folks are paid based on their contributions not their degree.  Our business is cyclic and always has been.  The cycle is favorable right now BUT when there is a downturn, Petroleum Engineers are not in demand and the degree is not as favorable.  Upstream Oil and Gas companies will always want to hire and train chemical engineers but the reverse is not true - Chemical companies rarely want to hire and train Petroleum Engineers.  The ideal situation would be to get a chemical engineering degree and do internships at an Oil and Gas company to make sure this is the profession you want to pursue.

I am attending Penn State for P&NG engineering. If in the future P&NG "dries up"(due to political or (econ/eco)-omical forces), or I simply want to leave the field, how easily would it be to find a different type of engineering job with this degree?

Asked by Chanchetty about 7 years ago

It will depend on how much experience you have and what you want to do when /if you leave.  If you have, say, 10 years of experience wand have been promoted into management, then I would think your chances could be pretty decent of landing another management job in a technical field.  If you become very specialized in a technical area that is unique to oil and gas it could be more difficult. However e, there is always the option of pursuing a master's degree in mechanical engineering or getting an MBA.  Let's say you have a lot of experience in natural gas processing, working with compressors, piping design, corrosion engineering, etc., those skills will be very transferable to other fields.  If you specialize in well log analysislethal would be less transferable. If you love what you do and are good at it, you will make it through any downturns.  US educated petroleum engineers will always be in demand if they are willing to relocate.  I lived through the downturn of 1985 /1986 when the price of oil fell to around $9/bbl.  I only had about 5 years experience but had earned a reputation for being a hard worker who got along well with others And loved the job. 

What is PET. E like? Do you often work at oil sites and outdoors? Please just describe the work experience both inside the office and outside

Asked by Girl almost 7 years ago

One of the things I like the most about Petroleum Engineering is the wide variety of things you might end up doing.  Starting out, you need to spend a fair amount of time in the field to learn how things really work.  I recommend that everyone get some experience in either drilling, workovers, completions or surface facilities (processing units or small gas plants).  When I have worked in those types of assignments, I typically spend about 25% to 40% of my days at the site and the remainder in the office.  This may make me sound ancient, but we did not have laptops or even desktops back then, so there were some things that had to be done back at the office.  These days, some of the new engineers spend 75% or 80% of their time in the field.  After getting a good 4 or 5 years of field experience, you will either be ready to move into management or take a broadening assignment in reservoir engineering.  When I worked as a reservoir engineer, I went to the field far less (maybe 10% of the time), BUT by that time, I knew a lot of the field personnel, so it was easy to call them on the phone, understand what they were doing and get the information I needed.  As a reservoir engineer, you have a lot more influence on what gets done.  Reservoir engineers (along with geologists) make the proposals to management on which wells to drill or workover, whether to shut in or abandon a well, lay a pipeline, etc.  So although you are stuck at a desk, you have more of a long term, business focus.  Another thing that can really impact how much time you spend in the office vs the field is the type of fields that you are working.  If you are assigned to a complicated project, you might spend a lot of time in the planning phase (i.e. - a year or more in the office to plan a well  that will cost a hundred million dollars to drill and take several months).  If you are working on a mature field with uncomplicated wells and facilities, the planning phase will be much shorter.   No matter what job you have as a petroleum engineer, however, you need to enjoy working in teams with people of all different levels of experience and education.

I am currently a 3rd year student in Petroleum Engineering and the support group for PE majors at my University sucks! Im learning you dont have to have a PE to get a job in PE, so should I change my major?

Asked by Farhana about 7 years ago

Before switching majors, I would see if you can fix the situation.  if you switch majors, you might lose a lot of ground.  If your professors are decent and your program is accredited, I would work with some other students and approach your engineering dean and/or career placement with some proposed solutions.  Do you have a student section of SPE?  If not, consider chartering one;  see if you can get local professionals to come give lectures and help with resumes, interviewing and finding internships; ;  SPE might be able to connect you with a retired petroleum engineer who lives in your area that would be willing to help; consider some joint activities with geology majors;  if you are successful, you will have an impressive achievement for your résumé.  Future employers want to see that you take on a tough problem, show some creativity and solve it.  It is about more than just mastering the technical topics And getting good grades in your courses.  It is about showing that you can work with others and improve things.  Best of luck to you.