Oil Comp Engr
35 Years Experience
I have worked at a major integrated oil company for over 30 years. I have degrees in Civil and Petroleum Engineering. I currently work with safety, health and environmental management systems. I have worked in operations and safety in both the upstream (finding and producing oil and gas) and downstream (refining, chemicals and distributions) areas. I have travelled all over the world. I enjoy my job but have endured both good & bad business cycles as well as good and bad managers.
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Absolutely! The loss of eleven precious lives is heartbreaking. It does bother me that people got more upset over the oil spilled than over the lives lost. The very first time I went to a rig, I will never forget how the superintendent, a 30 year veteran took me aside and said "Darling, I just want you to know that you can shut down this rig at ANY time." "What do I know?" I said. "I just started here". He said, "I don't care. If you feel concerned at any point, you just tell us to stop. We all want to go home just the way we came to work" I will never forget that man, who became like a second father to me. I'm also happy to say that he was the rule and not the exception. I have shut down the job many times over my career and have never once gotten in trouble for that. All companies in all industries need to empower their employees and contractors to speak up. From the technical articles I have read, the mistakes made at Macondo were very basic and 100% preventable.
A lot has been written about "Peak oil" and I could not begin to do the subject justice in this space. Respected publications like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have written some good pieces. I would say that I and most of my colleagues don't subscribe to the peak oil theory. The amount of reserves available in just the oil sands in northern Canada alone is tremendous.
Great question. First thing every morning, I review the operations reports from the previous 24 hours to see whether we have had any spills (hopefully not) or any close calls. There are usually a couple of close calls or some very small spills (a burst hydraulic hose for example) that did not make it to the soil or water but was captured in a drip pan or other containment. I review the learnings and then prepare the report to be shared with all of our units worldwide so they can learn from it. This will take maybe an hour every day. I typically have one or two meetings a day with various operations units where I spend time understanding their challenges or reviewing their successes. A lot of my job involves facilitating networking among our different operating groups. My long history with the company plus having worked in several different areas allows me to help folks solve their problems faster. Once a week or so, I spend a couple of hours with one my technicians reviewing various trends in environmental data from our units, such as number and volume of spills (or close calls), air emissions trends, water consumption, waste generation and the like. We look for trends that are telling us if we are headed on the right track or if we need to take some action. Depending on the time of year, I might spend several hours a day reviewing or preparing presentations and/or speeches on our environmental goals or performance. About once a week I spend an hour or so with one of the young women engineers in our company to mentor them on technical or career development issues. I actually think that one of the most valuable things I can do for the company is to push back on requests, especially from other business units or HQ to gather more data and impose new requirements on the operating units. At a very large company, it is very easy to get caught up in the bureaucracy and hard to remember that every new internal requirement we impose costs money. The older I get, the more I think like a shareholder instead of an employee and I ask "WHY?". Why do we need to collect this data? What are we going to do with it? Is there something we can stop doing? I try to do this via phone calls and meetings and NOT by just sending out an e-mail. It's easy to just be agreeable and build more bureaucracy but I feel it is important to try to add value. In this particular job, I only travel about 10% of the time. In my previous job, I conducted environmental and safety assessments and spent about 40% of my time travelling. I managed the group and so was able to pick and choose where I wanted to go and when so long as I spent time visiting all the various regions and business lines.
I don't get angry because I understand how small the profit margin is on gasoline and I do have a good appreciation for what it costs to discover and develop new reserves. Crude oil is a commodity like every other commodity subject to the laws of supply and demand.
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It depends on where I am. If I am in Texas, most everybody seems to be familiar with the oil business but when I am in the northeast or on the west coast, the discussion does usually get political
There are lots of fun parts of my job. Here are just a few. Finishing a project (drilling a well, etc.) on time and under budget, having a well come on line at a higher than expected rate of flow, travelling in helicopters to the rig (only because I don't go to the field week in and week out), recognizing teams that have done a good job & sharing that with the rest of the organization, helping a team that is struggling to solve a tough environmental problem (and having them say "thanks"), travelling to a new country, networking with my colleagues at conferences, and giving one of my employees a raise.
Not necessarily. If, for example you own all the mineral rights below your land, your neighbors can sign agreements and drilling can usually begin. In many states, the rule of capture applies and basically, he who sucks the reservoir dry wins, unless you can prove that the reservoir is being damaged by being drained too fast. You would have to prove that there is oil or gas below your land (most likely by drilling a well yourself - expensive!) and then convince the regulating agency to force the oil company into unitization. This can take years and cost a lot of money in legal fees. I would say that 12.5% to 25% off the top is a pretty good deal considering you are taking no financial risk with your own money. Disruption to your surface enjoyment of your land is a totally different issue and should not be confused with what is fair in terms of royalty payment. Keep in min too, that in many countries, citizens are not allowed to own the mineral rights and these are considered government assets. Mexico and most of the Middle East and African countries are prime examples of state owned oil and gas reserves.
The key to answering your question is whether you own the mineral rights under your land. The surface rights can be sold separately from the mineral rights but this does not happen frequently. Let's assume you do own the mineral rights. The typical arrangement is for an oil or gas company to pay you anywhere between 12.5% to 25% royalty which means 12.5% to 25% of their gross proceeds. It all depends on what you can negotiate with the land man. So if oil is selling at $100per barrel, you will receive $12.50 to $25.00 per barrel. A decent onshore oil well might make 100 barrels per day, so you would get $1250 to $2500 per day. You never ever want to sell your mineral rights because you get that royalty check whether the oil company is making a profit or not. When the price of oil or gas is low, the company can shut in the well and you don't get a check, but once the price rebounds and they start producing, here comes the checks again. Also you never know exactly how much they will produce. There is always an upside when new technology is invented such as the recent combo of horizontal drilling plus cracking. What you want to avoid is owning only the surface rights because the law says that the oil company can come in and drill the well as long as they reimburse you a reasonable amount for the disruption to your use of the land. With horizontal drilling you can try to convince to position the rig as far as possible from your house, barn etc to minimize the disruption.
Frequency is in the eye of the beholder. I would suggest that you visit the websites of the integrated oil companies and the large independent oil companies and see for yourself. There are definitely minor spills (1 cup or less) of highly biodegradable hydraulic fluids frequently but many companies now install liners on their well pads. Most offshore floating rigs and platform rigs are designed to capture spilled fluids and process them before discharging them and meet the standard of 30 parts per million, which is 0.003%
I am not super familiar with this school currently. When I lived in Louisiana in the early 1980's, it's engineering program was not as strong as it appears to be today based on it's website. The main thing is to attend a school that has been accredited by ABET. If you plan to stay in Louisiana and want to major in petroleum engineering, LSU Baton Rouge has a powerhouse reputation (world famous professors, strong relations with major companies and big research programs). I would definitely tour both campuses and talk to students and professors. Find out what companies recruit at both campuses and how successful they are at placing students in summer internships and permanent jobs. Pick the school that is the best fit for you. A place where you can envision yourself belonging, thriving and succeeding. Lastly, make sure you check out the Society of Petroleum Engineers for scholarships. They offer some awesome ones.
I am not really qualified to answer that question because I am not an executive and privy to all the goings on. I personally have never been pressured by a government to award a contract or take a certain action nor do I know anybody who has. Some governments, such as Nigeria, have passed legislation that requires companies to funnel their work through a Nigerian owned company to act as the in-country "partner" in order to create some local jobs. This doesn't really add much to the value chain, it just adds cost and slows things down.
It depends on what facet of the business you want to be in and what you enjoy doing. Independent geologists having the biggest upside in income because it just takes one big discovery with a retained percentage of the royalties and you are set for life. However, it's a combination of luck, skill and connections and you have to start your own company. If you are more conservative, like me, you go the engineering route and pick a versatile degree like civil or mechanical which is transferable. Petroleum engineers get the highest salaries straight out of school but they are only hired by oil companies. I have seen several up and down cycles in the industry so never assume the current situation will continue forever. If you are a deal maker type of person you might be happiest with a law degree specializing in oil and gas.
I am a petroleum engineer, not a refinery engineer. I suggest you check out this website and decide for yourself: http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/transportation/consumer_tips/regular_vs_premium.html
There is a higher percentage of women engineers now than when I started 30 years ago, but it is still male dominated as are most engineering fields. I have never felt disadvantaged likely due to the fact that I entered the industry in the days just after the Arab Oil embargo when crude oil prices were high and projected to continue to climb. Oil companies were competing vigorously for engineers, men or women. Also, I was fortunate in that many of the rig superintendents I worked with were my dad's age and had daughters going into the industry. So, if anything, for me it was reverse discrimination when I went to the rigs. The guys had to sleep with the roughnecks, but I typically got my own room. I have noticed some subtle discrimination, however. For example, I notice that at meetings the men often interrupt each other and never get called on it. However, if I interrupt someone, I am chided to be patient and "wait my turn". As with all engineering fields, women engineers do struggle with the on ramping and off ramping if they significant time off (i.e. years) to raise kids. This does not seem to be as big an issue for doctors and lawyers. Also, we still need to make more progress in offering part time work to women engineers.
I think you are confusing profits with return on investment. Yes, oil companies have made a lot of profit in sheer # of dollars but if you look at the capital employed, the rate of return is nowhere near what Apple or Microsoft makes. The other thing to take into account is that oil companies don't control the lion's share of oil and gas reserves any more. The nationalized oil companies in places like Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran and Venezuela control most of the reserves and impact the price of oil and gas.
I would say that it is not extremely common as it is not the place for everybody. However, it is very common for engineers and geologists to start with a large company, get their training and then leave for smaller companies that can't afford to run their own training programs OR they leave to start their own business. The big money (and big risk) is running your own company. You have to get funding but if you have just one big success, you can become very wealthy. I'm a bit risk averse which is why I never took the plunge to go out on my own, plus I liked the environmental side of the business better than the frontline operations. Environmental work is a bit grueling at a consulting firm but at a large company it is a bit more of 9 to 5 job which was good for me and my kids as they were growing up. Also, I was attracted to the fact that, at a large company, there would likely be opportunities to work in different areas of the business without having to change companies and lose seniority and/or benefits. Also, if you don't like your boss, he/she will eventually get transferred (or you will). At a small company, you could get stuck with a bad boss or bad work group for decades.
Mathematics is about so much more than "number crunching". Computers do more than just add lots of numbers. Mathematics is about solving problems and building models that simulate natural phenomena. Engineers either build those mathematical models OR they have to study mathematics and computer science to be able to understand whether the models they use are valid for the problem they are attempting to solve. if you want to delve deeper, I recommend a fascinating book called, " Is God a mathematician?". You can find it Amazon or most large bookstores.
Any engineering degree is a lot of hard work. You don't necessarily have to be a genius but you have to be very committed. Most engineering schools want to see their students succeed (they are not trying to weed students out like you might find in a pre-med program). Schools I have been associated with offer help sessions, tutors, and office hours for teaching assistants and professors. One of my friends' children attended TAMU and I know that they offer these benefits. It is critical that you take advantage of all of these and never be afraid to ask questions and ask for help. If you don't understand a concept, chances are that at least one other person in the class didn't either but was just too shy to ask the question. I would not advise anyone, however, to pursue petroleum engineering because of the great salaries. You need to enjoy what you do and look forward to going to work every day. If you don't, a great salary won't be enough to keep you going day after day.
If your grades and resume are pretty good, I would try to get on with one of the major oil companies (Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, etc.) and let them train you. Most of them will pay your tuitiom if you want to pursue a masters degree at night. You will find a LOT of engineers who work as petroleum engineers have a degree in ME, ChE, CE , etc. If your grades are not so great or this is not an option, then consider getting a Master's degree in PE from one of the top notch schools for PE like LSU, Penn State, Univ of TX or Texas A & M. The demand is so great for petroleum engineers right now that you can probably enter their program with a BS in Civil and with a few courses to catch up, get a Masters in PE. The scholarships in PE are pretty good right now. Also, the courses you have taken as a civil will probably be good prequisites for the PE masters courses. For example, I have a BS in Civil and a Masters in PE. When I took courses in geology and casing design, they were a cinch. Tulane University used to have a Masters in PE that was designed just for those with a bachelors in something other than PE. They closed that program in the 1990's but maybe other universities have a similar program. I would probably not pursue a bachelors in PE (I think you would be bored) nor an online degree (I don't think they have credibility yet).
Either one is good. Civil should give you some basics in structural (steel and concrete) as well as soils and geotechnical that will be useful in drilling. Mechanical engineering basics will help out with facilities design and understanding subsurface mechanical aspects. The first two years of both programs should be fairly similar. I would pick the one that you enjoy the most. if you are a glutton for punishment, fido what I did. Get your bachelor's degree and then go to school at niight for your masters in Petroleum while you are working for an oil company and let them pay for it. In that case a mechanical degree is going to make you more marketable. Some oil companies don't hire many Civils.
Generally, I would say yes. However, it depends on what positions are available and what the company's philosophy is. Given the choice, I would recommend it is best to get as much field experience as you can, be it at a rig, a production facility, a gas plant, etc. There will always be opportunities for office work but as you get older, have kids, etc., hit gets harder to be in the field away from your family. Also, although many of the major business decisions are made in the office, good decisions depend on a deep understanding of how things work in the field and what can and cannot be done.
I think there is very good growth potential because there are a lot engineers in the industry in the 50 to 60 year age bracket who are getting ready to retire. Due to the cyclical nature of the oil business, there is not an even distribution of folks across all age ranges. People in our industry commonly talk about the "great crew change" that is coming and most of the major oil companies and large service companies have increased hiring in the last 5 years because they realize that ten engineers with 4 years of experience do not equal one engineer with 40 years of experience.
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.
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.
You can probably find a good explanation if you visit wikipedia or Society of Petroleum Engineers websites. In a nutshell, a jack-up rig has three (sometimes four) legs which penetrate the ocean floor and it does not move. The water depth in which it can drill is limited by the length of the jack up legs, generally up to 400 feet. The other types of rigs are semisubmersibles and drill ships which are, strictly speaking, vessels which are connected to the ocean floor via a riser from which it can easily disconnect. Wikipedia can do this topic much better justice than I can. The fourth common type of rig is a platform rig, which sits on a production platform and can be removed, piece by piece, when the drilling is finished. The production platform itself is a fairly permanent structure which is connected to the ocean floor.
Take as much mathematics as possible up to and including AP Calculus if offered. I would recommend basic Physics, basic Chemistry and AP Physics, if offered. If offered I would take Geology / Earth Sciences in lieu of Biology. Economics, if offered would be useful, but will be taught in college. Strong proficiency in writing will also be useful.
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.
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.
If the price of oil is high enough, there are unconventional reserves that are economic to develop. Plus, high oil prices will encourage conservation which will also help decrease dependence on imports. I think it is way too complicated to say all efforts are in vain.
Absolutely! You should be in demand in the US as well. Keep your grades up, try to get a good summer internship and best of luck to you.
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.
Whole novels have been written about peak oil, so I could not do it justice here. I would just say that because petroleum delivers an unbeatable amount of btu's per unit volume as compared to other energy sources and because there is a mature and highly functioning infrastructure to refine and deliver it to the market, it can continue to command high prices. The high prices fuel technological motivation to find more oil. Horizontal drilling combined with fracturing is a splendid example of how we have now economically unlocked reserves that we knew were there. Because we can drill multiple wells from one surface location, we are able to produce the oil (and gas) with a smaller impact on the environment than previously. I think more breakthroughs will come in the future so it is hard to predict when/if we will hit peak oil.
The purpose of this forum is to answer questions about what it is like to work as a petroleum and/or environmental engineer, not to do people's work for them. Sorry, but you need to consult a textbook.
Yes, you might be able to get a job as a reservoir engineer, but be aware that while companies are not allowed to discriminate based on age, they may feel obligated to pay a competitive salary to you based on your 15 years of work experience. This may or may not make price you out of the market. That said, starting salaries for petroleum engineers probably meet or exceed the salary of a "typical" civil engineer working for a municipality. You should be very candid with potential employers regarding the starting salary you desire. The Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) regularly conducts salary surveys so you should be able to see the current starting salaries. Last time I checked, a BSPE was getting around $90k. Also, keep in mind that the industry can change quickly, so it is always a bit of a gamble if you decide to go to school full time and give up your current job. If you can go to school at night while working, it will take you longer but could be less risky. Best of luck to you.
This is not an easy question to answer. Getting a masters degree in any engineering area depends on why you want the degree. In some fields, having a masters degree is a prerequisite for entry. For example, if you want to do research, you need a masters or even a PhD. This is generally not the case for petroleum engineers who want to do entry level work. However, you also need to weigh the cost of pursuing the advanced degree with the benefits it will return. In the USA, someone with a Masters in PE may start at a higher salary than someone with a bachelor's degree, but after 4 or 5 years on the job, the person who is a best performer may command the best salary. Also, it depends on what the hiring environment is like. During some of the down cycles, students may do better to stay in school and get a Master's degree if companies aren't hiring. That's a gamble, but if you can get a good scholarship, it could be worth it. Also, I have interviewed some students who did not get great grades as an undergraduate and they pursued a Master's degree in order to demonstrate that they had turned things around and could master the material. Sorry, that I can't just give you a "yes" or "no" answer, but there are lots of factors you need to consider.
It depends on what you want to do in the oil and gas industry. If you want to stay with structural engineering and work on designing platforms and the like, you would want a master's degree in Civil and you would likely be working for an Engineering & Construction (E&C) Firm and less likely to be working for a major integrated oil company. If you wanted to work at a major integrated oil company and oversee the work being done by an E&C firm, that is also a possibility, but I think there are fewer jobs there and they are likely to hire an experienced person from an E&C firm. If you want to get into the day to day operations, a BSCE plus an MS PetE will make you very attractive for a wide variety of entry level positions such as Drilling, Facilities Engineering, Reservoir Engineering and Subsurface Engineering. There is a pretty large demand right now as the average age of our employees is getting pretty high and a shortage is predicted in the next few years. Best of luck to you.
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 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.
The future looks pretty good right now for petroleum engineering. We older folks talk about "the big crew change". In the next 5+ years, there are a LOT of people who will be retiring, which increases the demand for new graduates. I would definitely keep your options open, however, and try to stay as general as you can freshman year (math, physics, etc.) and part way through sophomore year. See if you can take courses that satisify the requirements for Mechanical, Chemical or Civil in case the market changes or you don't like Petroleum. The best way to really find out is through summer internships, so be sure to apply for those. Also, check out the scholarships offered by the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Historically, they have been pretty good.
The market is so good for engineers in the US, I don't really see any obstaclesm especially in the petroleum industry. If you are willing to work hard and show how your prior experiences can benefit your employer, I think your chances are good. We are all so concerned about the "big crew change", employers are doing everything they can to keep valued employees from retiring. SPE has done some surveys on the demographics of engineers in the oil industry, so you might want to check that out. Many oil companies are looking for folks that are willing to relocate, so be aware of that. I can't really speak for companies outside the oil industry. I won't sugar coat this, however, and tell you that every potential employer is going to welcome you with open arms. Some will probably quiz you about why you made the change to engineering and whether you are going to stick with this, etc., but I got asked when I was interviewing about whether I was going to get married, start having babies and quit. This was 30+ years ago and interviewers know that they can't ask those types of questions. What I have learned in my career is that there are no "sure" things and that hiring decisions need to be made based on merit and whether there is a good fit between the company's culture and the potential employee's interests & personality. Hope this helps.
Okay - what makes you think I am a man? :) I doubt that a Petroleum Engineering Technology Degree / Certificate would be worthless. The important issue is the credentials / reputation of the institution granting the degree and if you can get a job in a location where you have access to classes taught at night or on weekends to pursue a bachelor's degree (if you have the energy to work full time and go to school). With a technology degree, you would likely be doing some of the same entry level work that an engineer will do when they first start working. You just won't be able to progress to the more advanced tasks. However, you will probably get a fabulous opportunity working as a technicican to really understand how the company works as you progress in your education. Some of the smartest rig superintendents and operations superintendents I have worked with have only a high school education or just a year or two of college but they are life long learners and understand everything about how a drilling rig works. If you can earn your degree while working full time (or take a break to go finish your degree) I think your hard work will earn you a lot of respect. Best of luck to you.
You may be able to get a job as an engineering technician without experience. It would depend on what skills you already have. For example, decent computer proficiency in spreadsheets and databases could be a big asset when seeking a position. I would take a look at what jobs are being offered by companies in the geographical area where you are seeking employment. The oil industry is cyclical, so there is no guarantee what the market will look like in 6 or 7 years. You will have to weigh that against the benefits you could lose if you leave the military now vs. staying 6 or 7 more years. Also, you mention you are pursuing a degree online. I suggest you talk to potential employers regarding how they value an online degree and how important accreditation is to them (I am assuming you are based in the USA). You should verify that the degree you are pursuing is or will be accredited by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology). Currently, the ABET website does not show any BSPE online programs as being accredited: http://www.abet.org/online-programs/
Because the market demand is so high right now for petroleum engineers, you might be able to find an employer who will reimburse your tuition while you earn your degree in the evening. You might have to pursue a mechanical or chemical degree if petroleum courses are not offered in the evenings but working as an engr tech while doing this would help compensate for not majoring in petroleum engineering. Best of luck to you.
I don't know what a PGDip is and I don't know what country you are in. I can only answer questions on conditions in the USA. Sorry.
Wow - great question. I would think your traffic network modelling skills could be credible to the field of flow assurance. FA is a relatively new term and it could fall under Petroleum Engineering or Mechanical or Chemical. Back in my day, we did not have any courses on it, but I could envision this being an FA course being taken by multiple disciplines. I don't really have any particular views other than some of the FA problems can be pretty complex and lend themselves to a lot of teamwork to overcome them.
No worries! Sorry for taking so long to respond. I have been travelling and my iPad was not cooperating when I tried to post an answer. I just read an article a few weeks ago about a Petroleum Technology program at the University of Houston (main campus). I suggest you check it out as U of H has a well respected Petroleum Engineering Program and it could ease the transition by staying with the same institution for both a technology certificate and then an engineering degree. If the other schools are more affordable or work better for your commuting situation, then I would quiz them about the % of their students that find employment and how quickly they find employment. Best of luck to you.
This is a great opportunity for you to get some practice solving problems (like you will have to do every day as an engineer). I suggest you team up with some other students and perhaps a sympathetic alumni or practicing engineer and propose a solution to the problem and meet with the administration. Employers (and professors) don't want to hear "There's a problem and I'm not happy about it". They want to hear "I think there's an opportunity to make some improvements and here are some potential solutions. Can we explore this together?" There may be some facts that you are not aware of and the administration may not be aware of the impact on their schedule decisions on the students. Don't go into this assuming that they are trying to make this hard on you. Go into with an open mind. One of my favorite pieces of advice is the adage, "Grant me the courage to change what I can, the strength to endure what I cannot change and the wisdom to know the difference". So, figure out what you might be able to change and if you can't change it or endure it, then switch to another program or university. Good luck.
Yes, a new program from a state university should get its ABET accreditation wihin a few years.
This sounds very strange. Any reputable refinery would not have a contractor buy goods for them using his own money.
That's a very good question. It really depends on the individual company. Some companies give their experienced technicians a fair amount of autonomy and authority and they travel to the field. At one company, for example, it was a technician, not an engineer who provided a lot of support for completions and workovers. He designed and ordered all the components of the gas lift system and then went to the field to ensure the installation went as planned. During busy times they might work 50 or 60 hours weeks and typically, they are salaried (translation = no overtime pay but also more flexibility to take personal time off).
I have seen other companies and departments where the technicians do a lot of repetitious, routine tasks but work a 40 hour week and never go to the field. They function a bit more like an administrative assistant than a true "technician". To be fair, some of these technicians did not have college degrees, maybe high school plus just a year or two of community college. If you are pursuing a career as a technician / technologist, be sure to ask companies you are interviewing with for their expectatations and typical career path.
In the USA, petroleum engineering students with good grades can get an internship after sophomore year making $700 to $900 / week As young as age 20) Upon graduation, usually age 22 or 23, starting salaries are about $100,000 per year.
Reservoir engineers are in the office most of the time and their primary focus is understanding and predicting how much the reservoir will produce and the flow rates. Reservoir engineers (plus geologists) are THE decision makers on whether to develop a field, purchase an asset, sell off the field, etc. Reservoir engineers need to be able to work with geologists and managers, but also need to be self-motivated in order to run simulations, calculate economics, etc. working by themselves for long periods of time. Drilling engineers can be out in the field a lot, but depending on the type of wells, they can also spend months (or even years) in the office planning the well. Drilling engineers manage the project of getting the well drilled - estimating the costs, designing the wellbore, ordering and inspecting equipment, writing procedures, visiting the rig for key operations and then studying what went well and didn't go well for use next time. Drilling engineers need to be able to work with every type of personality from the roughneck on the rig to geologists who always want to drill "just 100 feet more!" to the senior manager who wants to know why the well went over budget. Starting salaries are very comparable and both have good prospects for job growth. Both are just as likely to be subject to layoffs as well. If the price of oil goes down, you stop drilling as many wells (so you need less drilling engineers) and eventually you start selling off or shutting in some of your fields (so you need less reservoir engineers). If you are pursuing employment with a company that will grant you some flexibility, I always advise folks to start their career in operations (drilling, subsurface, facilities) and later transition to reservoir or planning. Some companies don't offer that flexibility, so in that case, pick the job that appeals to you the most. This is why internships are so incredibly important.
Both are good choices. It really depends on what you enjoy doing. Petroleum Engineering seems offers a bit more variety because you could be a reservoir engineer, drilling engineer, subsurface engineering, etc. However, you need to research the requirements for a graduate degree in Petroleum engineering. Depending on the undergraduate courses you took, you may have to spend quite a bit of time taking undergraduate engineering courses before you are allowed to take the graduate level engineering courses.
The market is so good right now, that I don't think it is going to be a big factor that your prior internships were not in oil and gas, so long as they were technical/engineering internships. All companies understand that the biggest component of your engineering education is learning how to solve problems, becoming acquainted with various technical concepts and learning how to work with others. a good GPA will make you stand out as well as leadership experience in college. Officer of ASME chapter, philanthropic groups or even fraternity or sorority is all good. Of course as a senior, it might be too late for you to do too much about that. You want to show that you are not just book smart but that you have people smarts and that you can handle the course work and still have a life outside of classes. Personally, I prefer to see someone who had some depth in one or two extracurriculars and not somebody who joined 500 different clubs. Also, don't ever apoligize for asking questions, okay? That is what I am here for and that is what I look for in a new engineer! Realize, too, that your resume just gets you in the door for an interview, so you really need to practice your interview skills and be ready to sell yourself. If here are career fairs at your college, be sure to attend and meet the recruiters. Business, no matter what kind, is all about RELATIONSHIPS. They don't always teach that in engineering school. If there are not any career fairs,check out regional and national engineering conferences for ASME, SPE, SWE , NSBE, etc. they often have huge career fairs. Best of luck to you
I am surprised that you have not been able to find a job. If you are a US citizen and applying for work in the USA, you may want to ask some of the potential employers why they did not make you an offer. If you are not a US citizen, the issue could be that employers don't want to sponsor you for a green card. You say that you did well in school, but does your resume adequately reflect that? Consider getting a recommendation letter from a professor. I would definitely consider applying to a service company before too long because it will not look good on your resume to be unemployed. You might also want to contact a consulting firm that would hire you out as a contractor to E&P firms. They might take you on as a contractor and then convert you to employee after they have seen what you can do.
It depends on the particular company. If you go to work for a service company, you could be in the field quite a bit. If you work internationally on a rotation basis, you might wor cas much as 28 days on and then 28 days off. I don't know if they are still giving an equal amount of days off as days on. At times in the pst, some service companies were asking folks to do shifts like 3 weeks on, 2 weeks off because the demand for workers was so great. If you work for an oil company, it will really depend on the job and the company, but a safe assumption might be that you could be away about half of the time. This is something for you to pursue in the interview process. I can tell you that as a working mom, when my kids were small, I was able to work in jobs that required very little travel. It was helpful that I had been working about 10 year and had established a good reputation. When my youngest was in high school, I accepted an opportunity for a different position that had a lot of travel, so it can vary over the span of your career.
In the USA, beginning technicians / technologists can start at around $40k. However, with prior experience (not necessarily in the petroleum industry), I have seen $60k. Petroleum engineers are starting at around $90k/year. Some companies offer lower fixed salaries but then offer an annual bonus that equates to about the same compensation.
You would not necessarily need a masters in PE to get into drilling. My bachelor's degree was in civil engineering and I started in drilling. There were a lot of aspects that were a natural fit - casing and tubing design, working with cement formulations, understanding the drilling mud system, the importance of protecting groundwater as the well is being drilled and basic project management skills involving estimating costs, ordering equipment and tracking the schedule. I would suggest you interview with oil companies that recruit at your university to see what kinds of folks they are hiring. The oil and gas industry is somewhat unique and the supply of petroleum engineers has often been low, so the major integrated oil companies are accustomed to training their new engineers. Plus, every large company has it's own way of doing things. The small independent oil companies are more prone to want a petroleum engineer since they are less likely to have formal training programs. Regarding your chances of applying for US jobs, many companies will want to know if you have the permanent, legal right to work in the US. Typically that means citizenship or a green card, but they are restricted by US Labor laws as to how they can phrase that question. Now, if you want to work internationally for a US based company, you would not necessarily need to have the legal right to work in the US. Every company is different, of course, so it will depend on the individual company. Best of luck to you.
The major oil companies do their own drilling for complex, higher risk wells such as those drilled in deep water or very remote locations and rank wildcat wells. I have seen some companies contract out the drilling of very simple, lower risk wells on a turn key basis to service companies but I don't think this is a very significant portion of the number of wells drilled. ultimately, the liability for safe and environmentally sound operations rests with the oil company, so it is in their best interest to be involved most of the time.
What would be the purpose of doing a management course? I think it is more important to get some practical experience.
It will depend on the university you plan to attend. They may require you to take some undergraduate petroleum engineering courses as a pre-requesite to taking the Masters courses. I suggest you contact the university you plan to attend. There might be some courses you should take before you finish your bachelor's degree to speed up the process.
Very solid job prospects for an engineer. Keep in mind that the oil sands are much more like a mining operation than traditional petroleum engineering projects. There are some insane salaries but you need to check out the laws and regulations as well as tax laws for non-Canadian citizens. Most of the oil sands are fairly remote and the weather is bitterly cold in the winter. However, it's probably not any worse than working on an onshore platform in terms of being remotely located. If you are looking for really insane salaries, check out the mining industry in Western Australia. The locations (in and around Karratha) are pretty remote and the cost of living is high (try $300+/night for a hotel not much better than a typical Holiday Inn in the USA) but most of the folks work 3 to 4 weeks on, have their living expenses paid while working and then get 3 to 4 weeks off. I met some folks who were high school graduates, told me that made the US equivalent of $100k/year (my Australian friends told me that the salary sounded about right) and go to Bali for their days off. Cost of living in Bali is fairly low and you can't beat the scenery. Not conducive to family life, but a great way to make some money while you're young. The demand for workers has been so high that the folks I met said there were quite a lot of foreigners working there. Again, check out the immigration and tax laws.
Most US based companies will want you to have the permanent, legal right to work in the USA. That could mean possessing a green card or being a US citizen. A few companies might sponsor you for a green card / visa, but it's best to ask about that first. I am not personally aware of any companies that sponsor for folks with anything less than a PhD. A good GPA would be mostly A's and a few B's. Not sure what system you are on, but in the USA, I would consider a good GPA to be at least a 3.3 (out of 4.0).
A directional driller works for a service company and works at the well site. He or she is responsible for ensuring that the well hits the directional target. He makes reccomendactions to the company man or tool pusher about the configuration of the bottom hole assembly, how much weight to put on the bit, how fast to rotate the bit and sometimes even the type of bit. The drilling engineer has overall responsibility for all aspects of planning the week, from estimating the costs to designing the mud system to the directional drilling program to designing the casing program. The drilling engineer will spend some time at the welsite and some time in the office. The drilling engineer will have an engineering degree but the directional driller will not necessarily have an engineering degree. He may have a background in geology or science or may just have learned the trade from service company training. Years ago, when I started, a lot of the directional drillers just worked their way up from the rig floor. These days, they are more likely to have a degree and if it is a very complex set of wells, they may have an engineering degree.
I suggest you start circulating your resume and see what's out there right now. You are early enough in your career that I don't think anyone is going to pigeonhole you as a "downstreamer" just yet. If your undergraduate grades were good, it may not be worth the time and effort to go get a master's degree. It's a simple matter of calculating the economics. How much will it cost you to go to grad school? Will you be working while going to school or a full time, non-working student. A head hunter can probably tell you what current starting salaries are for someone in your situation versus if you add on a master's degree. I would bet that the economics don't make sense. Plus, you take the chance that there will a downturn in the industry just as you are coming on the market. (It is a cyclical industry and there are no guarantees!)
Another option to consider, since you say you have only been working for 2 years, is to contact your university's career placement center and see if you still are allowed to use their services. (Some schools do allow this). They can also advise you on starting salaries, what jobs other Civil engineers from your school have been getting and may even let you interview at their center.
If you have your heart set on getting on with a smaller independent oil company or if your undergraduate grades were not so great (mostly B's and C's), then I would recommend you get an MS PE. An MSChE is going to be of more use in the downstream than in the upstream. You might also want to test the job market by posting your information on LinkedIn. Lots of headhunters cruise that site. Of course, be careful if you don't want your current employer to know you are looking because they may be cruising the site too! Best of luck to you.
You are most welcome Bernard.
I started in the industry in 1981, just as we were starting to come off a peak in hiring. By January of 1986, the price of oil had hit a record low of around $9/bbl. I had worked very hard and had established a reputation of delivering a high quantity of high quality work. Also, we had a sizeable number of folks that were eligible to retire, or close to retirement, so the company offered incentives to those folks to leave. Had I been at smaller company or been a geologist instead of an engineer, I might not have fared so well. As an engineer at an integrated oil company, there were a lot of opportunities for me (pipelines, refineries, etc.). Over my career, I have changed jobs about every 3 to 5 years. I was open to new opportunities and was more interested in being a generalist ("a mile wide and an inch deep") instead of a specialist ("an inch wide and a mile deep"). This was not a conscious decision on my part, it's just my preference. During the down cycles, this paid off for me. When the prices dropped again in the late 1990's, I was able to take a transfer to a refinery. Regarding your question about getting a PhD, the advantages depend on what you want to do with that PhD. If you want to do research on cutting edge technology for oil and gas processing or drilling techniques, then you will want a PhD. Or, for example, if you want to be a reservoir engineer working on one of the world class reservoirs (Middle East, Western Siberia, Caspian Sea), then a PhD may also be of use. A slight difference in the porosity or permeability of the reservoir can affect the calculation of oil reserves by millions of barrels. If, on the other hand, you are more interested in the operational aspects, then a PhD will probably have been a waste of your time. Every oil and gas field has a unique set of characteristics that are best learned via on the job training.
A rotator just means someone who works a certain number of days (14 or 28 for example) and then has the same number of days off. Rotators usually work 12 hours per day every day of their shift. There are a variety of rotator jobs on drilling rigs and production platforms. Most of the workers do not have an engineering degree but a handful might such as the drilling rig superintendent, the subsea equipment engineer, the wireline logging engineer, the production platform superintendent and so on. You need to do some research on the websites of various energy companies (Shell, Chevron, Anadarko, etc.) as well as the various service companies (Schlumberger, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, etc.) to see what kinds of positions they are hiring and what the rotation schedules are. Also be aware that the unconventional (oil shale) plays are booming in south Texas and up in North Dakota. Some of those workers also work a rotational schedule.
Energy companies need people with an environmental background. Starting in the Safety, Health and Environmental department of an energy company might be the best way to get your foot in the door. Once you are there and have established a good reputation, you could then take some courses at night or on line to develop some technical knowledge of the operations.
here's the bottom line, if you have stellar grades and can get hired on with a major oil company and/or can do several internships with a major oil company doing reservoir work, then go for the ME since you enjoy that more. The major oil companies will give you the training to be a reservoir engineer that you would have gotten in the PE degree. If your grades are average, then go for the PE degree because you are more likely to end up at a small independent oil company that us not going to have an extensive training program in reservoir engineering.
I have a daughter who is a sophomore in college, so we recently went through the process of selecting a college. You are going to work very hard (and hopefully play a litte too!) while in college, so my advice is to choose a college where you can see yourself fitting in and thriving and where you will enjoy working hard. In engineering, of course, it is very important that the program is ABET accredited (most are, but a few are not). If you are happy at your college and work hard, you will succeed. If you are concerned about the job opportunities, check in with the colleges' career placement offices to see how active they are and how much support they provide to students in finding internships and permanent employment.
You may not have as many job offers as if you attended a highly prestigious PE program, but life is about more than just "getting the job". Also, all you really need is one great job offer at a company that suits your goals. College is also about finding your passion. There is also no guarantee that you are going to love petroleum engineering, so I suggest you select a college where you can see yourself spending the next 4+ years just in case engineering does not work out for you. Also, there is no guarantee that the job market will continue to be so strong for petroleum engineers. I hope that it will, but again, be flexible and try to keep your options open. Best of luck to you.
Yes, I do. The key will be to do well in your courses, get some leadership experience in your extracurricular activities and to get some good internships. I would also check with the University career placement center to see how well they are doing in placing their graduates. If most / all of their petroleum engineers get jobs when they graduate, I think you will be fine.
You need to define "advanced" chemistry. Every petroleum engineer (in the USA) will take the basic 1st chemistry course and lab in order to get a bachelors of science degree. Whether more chemistry courses will be of benefit depends on what they decide to specialize in.
Your best bet is probably PE if you are sure you want to work in the oil industry. The risk is that jobs may or may not be there when you graduate. The price oil has currently fallen below $80/bbl and the market is starting to tighten up. If you are willing to rotate and go places that are not the garden spots of the world AND if you graduate with a strong GPA, then you have a decent shot at finding a job.
So you already have a BS degree and you will be getting two Master's degrees. Gettig a third master's degree seems a little excessive to me, personally. As a potential employer, I would wonder why someone got so many degrees. Is this person a professional student or does he/she really want to work? If you think you really love reservoir engineering, I would seek a position at a company that allows some flexibility to move between departments. At really small companies, an engineer sometimes has to "do it all" - facillities design, environmental issues, manage the budget and reservoir engineering. If you can find a smaller company where you can study on your own to learn reservoir engineering, that might be a better approach. At the end of the day, what really counts on a resume is what you have accomplished, not just what you have studied. Best of luck to you.
When the economic climate is right (translation: the price of crude and/or natural gas is high), lots of folks have started their own oil and gas companies, especially in the US. I imagine it is much harder to do this, however, in most other countries where oil and gas reserves are owned by the government. The other companies I have seen folks start up are service companies (companies that run casing, provide corrosion prevention and monitoring, diving, etc.) There are more opportunities than I could possibly name. The key is that you need to have established expertise in the service you will provide and there needs to be an opportunity in the marketplace to allow entry. I would also advise that you better really LOVE whatever you are going to do because starting your own business is very hard work. (My spouse has his own business, so I've seen this firsthand).
I can't publish my email on this forum, but if you are comfortable giving me yours, I'd be happy to send you an email.
I can only address this with respect to career advancement for engineers and not other professions within oil and gas. The potential is very good, especially for those who want to pursue the management track. I pursued the technical path for most of my career so that I could have a better work / life balance. I started over 30 years ago when dual career couples had a bit harder time. My spouse and I made the conscious choice that only one of us would pursue a management track. That said, I feel that I progressed well in my career and was often a team lead or a group lead, though not a supervisor/manager. I spent the first 10 years in operations and then took advantage of an opportunity to get into an environmental group. I used my operations background to gain credibiiity with the field people that I was helping with environmental issues. I also accepted a broadening assignment to work in a refinery on environmental issues as well as a broadening assignment in a safety group that allowed me to travel extensively to get overseas experience wihtout having to move overseas. As with any industry, if you want to make it to the top ranks of management, you're going to have to work very hard and make some personal sacrifices.
See the post below re. Family time. Getting the degree is hard work but if you enjoy the subjects it is rewarding.
Petroleum engineers command some of the highest starting salaries of all engineers in the US. Current graduates are making around $100k/yr to start. That said, this IS a cyclical business and I can remember when the oil price collapsed ($8/bbl) in 1985 and petroleum engineers could not get jobs. Mechanical, civils, chemicals were all still able to find work outside the oil and gas industry, but petroleum engineers had a tough time.
I have been working for 33 years so I am not sure that if I describe my current situation if that will give you a good picture of things. I am assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that you are a young person. When I was young, I could not really relate to the salaries and assets of people in their 50's and 60's. That said, I work for a large, very stable company with and excellent pension and stock program. I will have a very comfortable retirement because I have saved for it. That said, I have been on a technical path for my whole career. My counterparts who are on the managerial path and have comparable saving habits, have second homes, boats, etc. and those folks will have a REALLY comfortable retirement.
You can read some of the earlier posts about what my job is like, in terms of benefits and downsides. I have gotten to travel all over the world, worked on some very interesting projects and met some fascinating people. On the downside, sometimes I have had to work on a rig all night in the pouring rain, waiting for a logging tool to get fished out of the hole, or gotten stuck offshore on my birthday because it was too foggy to fly in. Probably the biggest downside in my career has been getting stuck with a bad boss, but that can happen in ANY job.
It will depend on your employer and how well you did in school. The oil industry is doing pretty well in Australia but you will likely need to be living in Melbourne or Perth. With a degree in Chemistry, I would approach one of the major service companies that supplies drilliing mud & related service. They often employ chemists. Try the MI Swaco division of Schlumberger, Baker Hughes company or Newpark. Try doing a google search for drilling fluid companies in Australia. With your background, you might be able to pursue your degree part time while working.
It all depends on your particular job. A rig superintendent spends most of their time at the rig. A drilling enigineer might spend up to 50% of their time at the rig, especially early in their career. A reservoir engineer goes to the fiel / rig fairly rarely. Maybe a few times per year oe maybe never if the location is remote or if they are working on a prospect that might not get developed for 5 years.
I don't know enough about the two programs to tell you about the differences, if any. Starting salaries likely rely on data submitted by students, who may be estimating the amount of bonus pay they expect to earn. At the end of the day, starting salaries are pretty good everywhere compared to other engineering degrees and compared to almost any other profession you can enter with an undergraduate degree. Large energy companies typically offer the same starting salary to engineers that are identical except for where they got their degree. A few years down the road, what matters is how well you are performing in your job. Are you helping the company make a good return on their investment or not. Those that do, tend to be rewarded and progress up the management chain.
Any kind of practical, field experience is very valuable to oil and gas operators. Wireline experience should be especially valuable if you are interested in reservoir, drilling or subsurface engineering. It would be less valuable if you want to work on surface facilities and pipelines.
You will be at a bit of a disadvantage but, that said, the demand for petroleum engineers usually exceeds the supply and so mid size and large companies are prepared to provide some training. You can increase your odds by taking a geology course or two and taking some online or self study training. In the long run, I thimk you are better off with a broad degree like mechanical because it allows you to change industries. Have you checked the price of oil lately? It is down quite a bit and there are lits is stories in the news about how the upstream sector is cutting budgets and reducing hiring.
In an accredited degree program in the US, it is highly likely you will be required to take inorganic chemistry. You are not very likely to be required to take organic chemistry. Depending on the program, you may be able to get credit for Advanced Placement Chemistry taken in high school. It's hard to say that chemistry is more or less important than computer science. You will need and use both subjects. Every engineer (petroleum, chemical, mechanical, etc.) these days needs to be proficient in various computer programs but that doesn't mean that you need to necessarily be able to write code. You do need to understand the limitations of the software you use, however. Understanding basic chemical concepts is important if you are a drilling engineer (chemical properties of drilling muds), a facilities engineer (understanding corrosion issues, how biocides work, sulfur recovery units in gas plants) or as a reservoir engineer (understanding reservoir fluid properties and the good old ideal gas law).
You haven't provided any details about your background, so this makes it a bit tough to answer, but i'll give it a shot. Most folks that work on the rig work for the rig contractor (TransOcean, SeaDrill, Noble, etc.) or for a service company (Schlumberger, Halliburton, Weatherford, etc.). Folks working for a rig contractor have a pretty steady gig, as long as the rig is under contract. Foks working for a service company may bounce around from rig to rig, depending on the nature of their job. Some service company folks are on the rig 24/7, just like the crew, while others come in to do a special job, like running casing or running formation evaluation logs (aka, "logging"). Newer rigs have are more automated than when I first started, but it's still a physically demanding job - shifts are generally 12 hours/day and while there is some shelter from the elements, it can be grueling. You said you're applying for your TWIC certification, so I assume you're interested in the Gulf of Mexico. The Offshore Technology Conference is being held in Houston this week, so I'd check out the Houston papers to see who is hiring and/or see if there is a job fair being held in conjuction with the conference. That's the easiest way to see what's available. If that's not an option, I'd try out websites for the major rig contractors and service companies. Be aware that it will not look good if you've got an arrest record or a lot of speeding tickets.
Typically, a master's program will require you to have an undergraduate engineering degree, as opposed to an a technology degree. You should check direcltly with schools that offer a masters in petroleum engineering. If you had a degree in chemical engineering, for example, you could probably pursue a masters in petroleum with some additional coursework. If you have your heart set on petroleum engineering, I suggest you consider trying to transfer to a school that offers petroleum engineering bachelor's degree. If your grades are good, you might be able to qualify for some scholarship money.
Absolutely! While the boom in unconventionals in the US has increased the demand for petroleum engineers in the US, some of the most challenging and interesting work (in my opinion) is overseas. Studying abroad gives you another tool in your toolkit and could definitely give you and advantage. Best of luck to you.
That's a pretty broad quesiton. It depends on what speciality you will practice (reservoir, drilling, facility design, etc.). I can tell you that you will be expected to have mastered everything your professors have taught you.
During the summer break, many students get internships and it is highly recommended. During shorter breaks, like Christmas breaks, internships are a bit more difficult unless you already have established a relationship with the company.
I am not aware of any office jobs that allow this type of work except for folks I know who work in some hard to staff locations in the Mid East and Africa. Those folks work 28 days on and 28 days off.
I think this depends on your goal. If you want to LIVE in an international location for a long period of time, you might want to look at companies that have opportunities in the countries in which you are interested. For example, engineers are usually in pretty strong demand in the Middle East That said, be aware that it can be a bit challenging for women (I assume by your name that you a woman). Saudi Aramco is usually hiring, but Saudi Arabia can be very challening for professional women. Other countries like Qatar (see RasGas company) and the UAE are more "westernized". If you want to TRAVEL to foreign countries, one of your best bets would be to start in a drilling position with one of the large integrated oil companies (Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, etc). Drillers tend to travel the most and there are opportunities for rotational assignments (28 days on and 28 days off) and you can travel on your days off and really see the world.
Depending on your nationality, it can be difficult to get hired by a foreign company if there are work permit requirements and / or requirements for the company to hire local citizens before hiring non-nationals.
Best of luck to you.
I suggest you do as much networking as you can while pursuing your Master's degree. Join the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), attend their regional and national conventions and conferences and build your network. You never know what might lead to that next job opportunity.
I'm sorry, but I am not familiar with the educational system in Nigeria. I don't know what a "bsc 2.2" is. Ithink you need to seek out some folks at oil companies in Nigeria and talk to them directly.
At the end of the day, what really matters is how much value you add to a company's profits. For me, the 3 keys to success are to show that you can work well with others, deliver on your commitments and exceed expectations. First impressions are a key factor. In my personal experience, folks with field experience who can master those 3 keys quickly can do exceedingly well. I do tend to agree that after 2 or 3 years the benefit of wireline experience may start to plateau, for don't forget that you are going to be starting ot with an advantage. As long as you can outpace your peers, you'll do well. Remember that a career is a marathon, not a sprint, but to win, you've definitely got to start strong. Best of luck to you.
If you want to send me your email address, I'd be happy to email you my contact information so we can arrange an interview.
If you are working at a job in an office as a petroleum (not protroleum) engineer in Houston, you would likely work 5 days a week or possibly have every other Friday off. If you get a position as a rotator to the US Gulf of Mexico, you might be working 14 days on and 14 days off. If you get a position as a rotator to a foreign country, you might be working 28 days on and 28 days off. I can't tell you how this would affect your annual pay as every company has their own set of pay guidelines.
To answer your question, I need more information on what the courses of study are and the country in which you would be studying. I will admit that I am most familiar with USA programs, so am not sure if I can help, but with more information, I will try.
Although I have a BS in Civil and did start as a drilling engineer, your chances are better with a BS in Mechanical. When I graduated (30+ years ago), petroleum engineers were in very, very short supply. Also, I had some significant summer internship experience, graduated top of my class and am female. Women engineers, while not exactly abundant these days, were very scarce 30 years ago.
I work for a major integrated oil company so there was a substantial training program. I also had technical mentors as well as professional mentors throughout my early career who guided me through a lot of on the job training. Engineers who start at smaller companies typically rely on on the job training from mentors and their summer internship experiences. Many of the very small independent companies hire only experienced engineers from the major oil companies because it is not economic for them to run an in house training program. I have continued to learn throughout my career and it is important to remember that you can learn from nearly everyone with whom you interface.
I assume you mean "appealing to a potential employer ". Yes, it would.
This is way beyond my area of expertise but i do have a basic understanding of the process, which is way more complicated than most people realize. Crude oil first goes to a refinery where it is blended with other crudes with different properties and then processed to become gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, paraffin (wax) and many, many other products. From a refinery, gasoline (just one of the products) is sold to various retail buyers and is then transported via pipeline and/or tanker truck to distribution terminals (where it may be re-sold again) and then taken to gasoline stations. I think the system we currently have, is actually pretty efficient and lets the free market function well to deliver gasoline at a competitive price to the consumer. The current system also allows us to re-route supplies during periods of severe weather and to react to changes in demand during different driving seasons.
Wow. Tough question. Many books have been written about the topic and I can't begin to distill this into a simple response but I'll try. Crude is somewhat unique among commodities because it does not have a "shelf life", offers an unbelievably good concentration of btu's per volume, we need it to enjoy the lifestyle we have, create cosmetics, plastics and pharmaceuticals, it's not a renewable resource and much of the easy reserves are gone. Keep in mind that at the time of the Iraq war we had not fully mastered the horizontal drilling and fracking technologies that have allowed the US to become a net exporter. So, at the time of the Iraq war, I think there was real concern that the large volume of reserves could shift the balance of power in the Mid East.
As a Petroleum Engineer, if you focus on reservoir engineering and well log analysis, there is really no reason for you to travel to the field other than a few trips to get oriented early on. The other extreme is drilling engineering where you could be in the field a lot, depending on your company.
Sorry, but I am not familiar with the education system in the UK
1. I chose engineering as a career mostly by default. I was good in math and science and LOVED solving practical problems relatively quickly. I did not like medicine, law or business school. I was lucky to have high school teachers that steered me towards engineering. I did not know excactly what I wanted to do within the field of engineering when I first entered colled.
2. Career wise, I figured out during my early college career that I wanted to work with things that I could touch, feel and see (i.e. civil engineering). Electrical engineering was too abstract for me, though I loved the math & computer engineering aspects. Chemical engineering was just a bit too complex for me (too many variables all at once). Civil engineering also had that "people" orientation that seemed to be less present in the other disciplines. Mechanical engineering was my second option if civil did not work out. When I graduated, there was a HUGE demand for engineers to do petroleum work and a degree in civil was a relatively good fit for drilling, where I started (cement design, casing design, working with geologists, doing project management / scheduling work). I started in drilling with the hope that it would work out and it did, but there was a bit of "fingers crossed" on my part at the beginning. I had several job offers and went with the company that seemed to suit my personality most closely. Over time, I moved into environmental work (which was a part of our Civil Engineering department at universtiy) as opportunity presented itself.
3) Re. the positive and negative aspects, I think I have covered this in previous posts.
Very tough question. Petroleum engineering, historically, HAS been cyclical. When times are good, petroleum engineers command the top salaries. Right now, the price of oil has dropped below $80/bbl and some are saying that domestic spending (and thus demand for PEs) will drop. I suggest you take a look (probably on Wikipedia or SPE.org) to see how quickly oil prices can rise and fall. In bad times, other industries tend not to hire petroleum engineers because there is a perception (partly true) that they are too specialized to adapt to a general manufacturing job. On the flip side, large oil companies have extensive training programs and are geared up to train MEs, CEs, ChEs to do petroleum work. If you think that you will be at the top of your class at Texas Tech, petroleum engineering is not too much of a gamble and you will have your pick of jobs among both independent companies and major oil companies. (If AP Physics, AP Calculus, etc. come easily to you, that's a good indication that you will probably do well in college.) However, if you graduate with a 3.0 average or less in Petroleum Engineering with mediocre internships and the economy is down, you may have a tough time finding a job. I tend to be a bit risk averse and recommend to folks to stick with a broader degree (you almost can't go wrong with mechanical or chemical engineering in terms of versatility) and try for internships in the oil industry during university. You also should investigate how difficult it would be to switch into petroleum engineering during your second or third year OR possibly get a dual degree such as ME and PE if you can afford that. If you have a lot of AP courses, purusing a dual degree may be a realistic option. Definitely talk to the advisors at Texas Tech. Hopefully they won't make you select your major until after you are admitted. Best of luck to you.
I think it will do neither. I think traditional oil and gas companies will continue to dabble around the margins. Oil and gas, in my opinion, is merely a commodity and will continue to be driven by the forces of the market.
It will depend on the particular university you plan to attend. However many of your undergraduate classes like physics, statics, dynamics, calculus will be similar to what the petroleum undergraduates will have had. One thing they will have had that you will need is some geology courses. You should be able to catch up pretty quick, though.
If you are asking me what software programs you need to purchase, it would depend greatly on what type of work you plan to do. Reservoir engineers use different programs than drilling engineers do. The best way to answer that question is to review the courses required by universities that offer a degree in petroleum engineering. Each of those courses will have it's own set of software that is required. Unfortunately, when I entered the industry, we didn't have many computer programs at all. Personal computers didn't even exist yet. In my current work as an environmental engineer, I don't use any computer programs other than WORD, EXCEL and POWERPOINT.
Choose Mechanical. It is more versatile and less dependent on the price of oil and gas. The price of oil has collapsed in the last 6 months and many, many companies aee laying people off. There's no guarantee the market will recover by the time you finish your degree. If it does not, you will have a tough time getting a job. If it DOES recover, companies will be hiring petroleum and mechanical and chemical engineers.
When I started out, I spent about 25% of my time at the rig or out in the field. Currently, I'm gone about 10% of the time. I have had some jobs where I worked a regular 9 to 5 day in the office for months and months on end, so had a lot of time with my family. It really depends on the business cycle and what area of the business you specialize in. When I was a reservoir engineer, I almost never travelled. As a drilling engineer, expect to travel quite a bit more.
Someone asked a very similar question previously, please go to the beginning of theses posts and you will find it around the 20th question or so.
Wow, if I could tell you what is going to happen in the short term, I'd quit my job and spend my days trading oil and gas stocks. Over the long term, you can bet that whatever is happening now is going to change. I would suggest you read some of the great books written on the history of the oil business, like Daniel Yergin's "The Prize". The oil and gas business has always been very cyclical and probably always will be. So long as there are a diversity of countries with oil and gas assets operating under a diversity of political regimes, it's going to be an unpredictable situation.
I don't think it's that weird at all. There is a lot of work that requires familiarity with both petroleum engineering and environmental engineering. In order to get a permit to drill, for example, it is often necessary to conduct an environmental impact assessment. Someone with expertise in both areas can bring a lot of value to the process. When I was getting my Master's degree, there were folks with a wide variety of backgrounds in my program. Keep in mind, however, that I pursued that degree a few cycles ago. Right now, with the collapse in oil prices, I wouldn't recommend to anyone to pursue an advanced degree in petroleum engineering. There are massive layoffs at the service companies. Things will turn around eventually, but there's no way to predict when that will happen.
I think it will be very difficult to get a job unless you can get a company to sponsor you for a green card or for citizenship. Typically, you need to possess a unique skill that is in high demand and short supply. Due to steep drop in oil prices for the past 6 months, the demand for petroleum engineers is down and there is an oversupply,
If you will post your email address, I will contact you. I don't post my personal email on this forum
Unless you are at the VERY top of your class when you graduate, you may have a hard time finding a job. In the US, we have shed nearly 150,000 jobs over the last 6 months due to the severe drop in the price of oil. Petroleum engineering graduates in the US are having a very difficult time finding a job. I would strongly recommend that you broaden your background by getting a degree in mechanical or civil engineering. Civil is a good fit with your geological background (I have my bachelor's in Civil). In this way you may be able to get a job outside the oil industry. It may pay less than petroleum engineers are making but you have a better chance of getting at least some kind of job. When the price of oil recovers (it will, but it's just a matter of time and it may take years), you can always jump back into the oil industry.
Persons with many different degrees work as petroleum engineers. It all depends on supply and demand. Unfortunately, as of July 2015, there are more petroleum engineering graduates than there are jobs. When supply is low and demand is high (translation: crude oil prices are high), major integrated oil companies hire good engineering graduates with a wide variety of backgrounds and train them to be petroleum engineers. Typically, they pay the market rate for starting salaries in that particular discipline (i.e. - the starting salary for a chemical engineer in and oil company won't typically be much higher than the starting salary in other industries). However, over time the salaries for all engineers will be based on merit and not on degree.
If you are still in school, the number one thing you could do would be to land an internship working for an oil and gas company. That will give you some practical experience. You could also take some courses in Petroleum engineering and geology. The basic problem solving skills you have learned as a chemical engineer will serve you well as a petroleum engineer. Based on the current market conditions, however, the competition is very intense for petroleum engineering jobs. You need to have great grades, good leadership experience (president of a technical society, a sorority or fraternity), good people skills and solid recommendations from professors.
I certainly don't use ALL of the math I learned every day when I do Petroleum engineering work, however, I can say that all the math I learned serves as the foundation for many of the software programs and simulations in reservoir modeling and drilling engineering design work that I have done. In order to trust the software that you use, you do need to understand what goes on behind the scenes. I will have to say that one of my favorite classes in college was Systems Science and Mathematics. The course was composed entirely of real world problems and the various mathematical methods used to solve each kind of problem.
Your question is very broad. When you say "hire-able", it would depend on what you want to do. Many of the oil company research labs do employ folks with a PhD in physics. So, if you want to do research, then a PhD in physics would make you employable, depending on what you have specialized in within the field of physics and what the companies need right now. You would probably not be employable in today's current climate as an engineer because you might need too much training. When the price of oil is high and the supply of engineers was low, I have seen companies hire folks with technical degrees (applied math, physics) and train them to do the engineering work. Unfortunately, the price of oil is relatively low (it has collapsed 50% since June 2014) and the supply of engineers is high. As to your question on salary, it will increase in relation to the supply and demand situation as well as inflation. Petroleum engineers are typically among the highest paid engineering disciplines. You can find more information on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Please keep in mind that my area of expertise is USA based. Things can be quite different in other countries.
The biggest advantage that a Petroleum Engineer has when it comes to internships is with independent oil and gas companies. They typically do not have as much in-house training as the integrated oil and gas companies do. At the integrated oil and gas companies, they are accustomed to providing training to graduates with degrees in mechanical, chemical etc. In today's economy, I advise students (in the USA, anyway) to shy away from Petroleum Engineering so that they have more options when they graduate.
There is a time lag of 2 to 4 years between a drop in the demand for petroleum engineers and an over-supply. Even if the price rebounds, overnight, it will still take at least 2 years to get caught up again. A reservoir engineer's skills in analyzing economics and running computer simulations should be transferable to many other entry level engineering jobs.
Sorry but not my area of expertise.
That's a somewhat subjective question, but if you want to measure it on a basis of the total carbon footprint, then clearly oil sands production creates the largest carbon footprint. To extract oil from oil sands requires a very large amount of energy to separate the petroleum from the reservoir rock. That energy is typically generated by burning fossil fuel (either oil or natural gas). The ratio of energy obtained for every unit of energy input is referred to as the Energy Returned on Investment (EROI). For conventional oil production, the ratio is about 25 to 1. For oil sands mining, it is about 5 to 1. This is why oil sands mining is only economical when the price of oil is relatively high. So, from the standpoint of carbon footprint, I would consider it the worst. In terms of net impact to the environment, with proper regulation and oversight, industry can and has been able to responsibly extract petroleum and return the environment to a suitable state in a relatively reasonable period of time. So, I can't really rate all other methods as to which is "best". It is highly dependent on local conditions, local regulations and the integrity and internal standards of the company doing the work.
I am not sure what your question ism but I do feel compelled to give you some advice. Prior to investing the time and money in a Petroleum Engineering degree, I suggest you educate yourself on the price of oil and gas. It has collapsed to by 60% from June 2014 (>$100/bbl) to Nov 2015 (~$40/bbl). It is not going to recover any time soon and there have been massive layoffs in the US oil and gas industry. Now is not a good time to be looking for a job as a petroleum engineer. There is a steady demand for civil engineers to basic municipal work (road construction, bridge repair, wastewater treatment, water delivery systems). The pay is not at the top end of the scale, but steady work is better than no work.
See my previous post just above. Prospects for Petroleum engineers are dismal right now. It will change but nobody can predict when. Stick with civil engineering .
I am a petroleum engineer, not a doctor or a mechanic. Suggest you consult the guys at CarTalk about making the smell go away and talk to your doctor about your health. While we know that benzene, found in gasoline, can cause cancer, it typically takes YEARS of exposure.
Sorry but I would need to know more info to answer your question and the purpose of this site is more about daily work life, not assisting students with exam questions
If you are asking why does water exist in oil fields, the answer is a bit complex but it stems from the fact that water exists in most permeable formations. Many formations were created with the deposition of sediments in marine and freshwater environments. Organic matter was also deposited. Over millions of years, under pressure and temperature, the organic matter decayed and was transformed into hydrocarbons. As to why there is conductivity associated with the water, I suggest you consult a reservoir engineering textbook as that is too complex a question for me to answer. The purpose of this forum is more about understanding what it is like to work in my field, not to answer technical questions.
A lot has been written about the concept of "peak oil". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peak_oil. It was predicted by M King Hubbert in 1956 that oil production in the USA would peak in 1970. The problem with the theory is that it didn't foresee the invention of horizontal drilling and fracking. There are literally, billions of barrels of oil available in the Canadian oil sands as well as in the heavy oil fields of Venezuela. The limiting factor is the price of crude oil. When the price of crude is high enough, these fields are economical to produce. At current prices (May 2016), they are not. I don't think we will probably ever "run out" of petroleum because we will invent more technologies to extract it. The issue is whether those technologies will be economic and too carbon intensive to be advisable given the climate change impacts. A lot of energy goes INTO the process of extracting heavy oil, so the carbon footprint is rather large. We are also inventing ways to make transportation more efficient, so that we can squeeze more miles out of each gallon. What we haven't found a good replacement for is something from which to make plastics and pharmaceuticals. If I was in charge, I would use nuclear power and natural gas to generate electricity to run our ground transportation systems. I personally think that we can safely manage nuclear waste so long as it well regulated and not privatized. I would reserve liquid petroleum for use in aviation fuel and feedstock for plastics and pharmaceuticals. I would encourage solar and wind power wherever possible and encourage more research into wave power.
Wow, that's a tough one because there are a lot of things I enjoy about my job. I guess the thing that frustrates me the most is when illogical decisions are made in the non-technical areas of my job. For example, when we are faced with a challenging technical problem, we can usually all agree on the solution. When it's a non-technical issue, like how should we divide up the work among our team members or which team should win the award for best safety performance, we struggle to apply the same disciplined logic that we use for 95% of the rest of our work.
Sorry, but I don't answer technical questions like that. The focus of this site is on what it's like to work in my profession.
I think you may have been confusing things you have heard about people who work in the petroleum industry with petroleum engineers. Many of the folks who work on drilling rigs do work a grueling schedule. Some shifts are 28 days on and 28 days off. During the days on, people work 12 hours a day. Many of those folks are NOT petroleum engineers. I will admit that I have occasionally had to put in a 16 hour day during a critical time on a project but it's fairly unusual. The most important thing you need to consider about petroleum engineering is whether you will be able to get a job. The price of oil has been at one of it's lowest rates in a long time and many petroleum engineering graduates are not able to find a job. The industry will be rebound, but I would not want to gamble my college education on that. Instead, I strongly encourage you to pursue a more broad engineering degree, such as Mechanical, Chemical or Civil. When the industry rebounds, companies that hire petroleum engineers will also be hiring these other degrees and provide the on the job training needed. However, Petroleum engineering is so specialized that these graduates are often NOT able to find a job with all the other companies that hire Mechanical, Chemical & Civil - companies like Ford, GM, Caterpillar, utility companies, construction companies, etc. Pretty much ANY company you go to work for is still going to have to give you on the job training but most of them prefer you to have a general degree like chemical, mechanical, etc. The wonderful thing about an engineering curriculum is that if you have good grades, you will be able to get several summer internships to try out some of these different industries before you graduate. Best of luck to you!
I think it really depends on what area of petroleum engineering you go into. When I was a young drilling engineer, I spent about 25% of my time on the drilling rigs, usually for 7 to 10 days at a time. When I became a reservoir engineer, I rarely went to the field and I had a very "9 to 5" job. I have some colleagues who choose to work overseas on a rotation of 28 days on (working 12 hours / day) and then 28 days off. When they are on days off, they are really off - no phone calls, no meetings and they really enjoy it. It's not, however, a great lifestyle if you have young kids. Later in my career, I am doing mostly safety and environmental work. I am gone about 10 to 15% of the time. Enough so that I don't get bored being in the office but not so much that I feel like I'm missing a lot of time with my family.
It would depend on the company and whether you hired on as an expat. Often, US citizens who work overseas for a company based in the US get time off to come back to the US so I suppose it is possible to work the other way. Right now, however, the job market for all petroleum engineers us pretty difficult and engineers are happy just to get a job, let alone one with extra benefits.
Sorry, but I don't answer technical questions like that. The focus of this site is on what it's like to work in my profession.
Great question. I think it really depends on what challenges you the most. Calculus can be somewhat abstract. Physics a bit less until you get into quantum physics. It is important to master the basic concepts in those courses, however, because you will be applying them in your upper level engineering courses. Some of your petroleum engineering courses will be more analytical (like reservoir modeling) while others will be a more interpretive (like geology courses). The thing they will have in common, however, is that, just like calculus and physics, they will be mainly oriented towards learning a concept and then solving problems on homework sets and on tests. If you like doing that, you will do well.. As a civil engineering undergraduate and a Petroleum engineering Masters student, I have to say that I found my civil courses to be a bit more concrete (no pun intended) because you could see and feel the results. You can take a steel beam into a lab and stretch until it fails. With petroleum engineering, especially the downhole aspects, you never know for sure exactly what is going on, so there's a bit more "art" to it. For example, you drill a well, but its difficult to fully inspect it once it is completed. You produce a reservoir but you will never know exactly how much oil you left behind in the reservoir when the last well dies.
I STRONGLY encourage you to begin educating yourself on the current market by reading the newspaper and trade magazines, such as the Journal of Petroleum Technology. The market for petroleum engineers is very cyclical and currently we are in a down cycle. Many petroleum engineering graduates in 2016 could not find jobs. Many oil companies have been laying off employees (just read the Houston Chronicle). This is not a new trend and this is the 4th down cycle in my career. When times are good, petroleum engineers command the TOP salaries, but when times are bad, they can't get a job at all. Although I work as a petroleum engineer, I have always encouraged students to pursue a broader degree, such as civl, mechanical or chemical. When times are good, energy companies hire all kinds of degrees and provide on the job training. The slight edge that a BS in Petroleum Engineering provides during good times, doesn't endure for more than a few years. Engineers with other degrees catch up quickly. If you DO decide to stick with Petroleum engineering, it is vital to be at the very TOP of your class, get good internships and do a LOT of networking - Join SPE and attend national conventions, and be prepared to go to graduate school if you can't get a job. I don't mean to be so negative - I'm just trying to tell you what's really happening right now (December 2016). Things could change BUT this is your career so you have to do some soul searching to understand how much risk you can live with.
See my previous post. It is very difficult to get a job ANYWHERE right now. Overseas assignments do exist but most employers want someone with experience. If you are interested in Italy, do some research on ENI. They have the largest presence in Italy and air is an Italian based company.
I honestly don't remember studying vector calculus - it was over 35 years ago, but likely it is used in some the equations used to describe reservoir engineering phenomena.
You need to do some basic research. There is no such thing as a "fracking plant". In the oil and gas industry, fracking (or hydraulic fracturing which is the technical name) is an operation conducted on an individual well. If you are asking whether methane leaks from an individual oil or gas well can be controlled in a productive manner, the answer is not only yes but it IS. Methane is one of the products we produce and sell. It would be make absolutely no sense to throw this product away by allowing to leak. That is not only economically foolish, but it is dangerous as methane is explosive. A massive leak of methane from an oil or gas well is promptly addressed by any oil and gas operator who knows what they are doing.
Energy companies hire a lot of chemical and mechanical engineers, so your Chem E background is vary valuable. The best thing you can do to be more competitive is to get an internship at an energy company. If you college offers a Petroleum Engineering program, see if they have an intro course that you could take. If not, I would take a course in geology and in groundwater hydrology. The Civil Engineering department may offer the second one. I took a course like that at night while working full time. We studied many of the same principles that reservoir engineers need such as porosity, permeability, reservoir properties, etc. I had course in soil mechanics, which also came in handy. It all really depends in what aspect of petroleum engineering you are interested in. If it is reservoir engineering then geology / hydrology are useful. If drilling, a lot of the civil courses are useful - steel design, concrete design, project management. If you are interested in processing oil and gas once it has been produced, then your Chem E courses are super applicable. I would hope that your Chem E program requires you to take some basic economics course. If not, then you will need that. Hope this is helpful.
I suggest you contact: The Society of Petroleum Engineers, Los Angeles chapter, the Society of Women Engineers, Los Angeles chapter and universities in and around LA that have engineering schools (UCLA, Cal Tech, USC, Cal Polly Pomona, Harvey Mudd College) and see if there are any engineering alumni willing to do this. I think you will increase your chance of success if you try to find an engineer who works in the petroleum industry (vs. trying to meet with someone that has a petroleum engineering degree). You could also try calling oil companies who have offices in LA. Here's one resource I found: http://www.icc.org/gas-oil-companies/california/los-angeles.htm
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