How to become a petroleum engineer

Drill down on methods and processes to extract gas and oil locked within Earth’s natural resources.

Pathways to this career

  1. Complete a degree in engineering, majoring in petroleum engineering. A degree in mechanical, civil or chemical engineering may also meet employment requirements.
  2. Gain valuable practical experience and learn from experienced petroleum engineers with an internship or placement opportunity. 
  3. Do you have previous tertiary qualifications in engineering? Maybe you wish to advance an already bustling career? Complete a master’s degree in petroleum engineering.
  4. Once eligible, it is recommended to join recognised industry bodies such as Engineers Australia to stay up to date with industry news.

What does a petroleum engineer do?

Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface.

Duties and tasks

  • Conduct preliminary surveys of petroleum and natural gas deposits to determine the resources present, the feasibility of extracting the reserves, and the design and development of the extraction process.
  • Prepare operation and project budget, cost estimates and production schedules.
  • Assess the natural, technical, financial and safety risks associated with the phases of projects, construction and operations.
  • Coordinate resources, people and equipment to meet efficiency targets, statutes, safety guidelines and environmental conditions.
  • Conduct research and provide advice on engineering operations for the exploration, location and extraction of petroleum and natural gas.

Industry bodies

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