Entry Senior

Petroleum Engineer

Photo courtesy of Husky Energy

About This Career

Petroleum Engineers are involved in the exploration, development and production of oil and gas. They provide specialty expertise in oil and gas drilling and completions, reservoir management and production. Roles vary depending on the operating environment (e.g., land or offshore) and the company. Specialties include:

  • Drilling and Completion Engineers plan, design and implement drilling and completion programs for all types of oil and gas wells. They ensure safety and economics are taken into account.
  • Reservoir Engineers conduct simulation studies to determine optimal development plans for oil and gas reservoirs. Their plans may include overall field development, well placement, proper production and injection rates and enhanced oil recovery techniques.
  • Production Engineers analyze, interpret and optimize the performance of individual oil and gas wells. They design 'connections' between the reservoir and the well. They also evaluate artificial lift methods and develop surface equipment systems to separate oil, gas and water.
  • Exploitation Engineers monitor and evaluate oil and gas reservoir performance and identify, develop and oversee the implementation of techniques to improve oil and gas recovery.

Education: A post-secondary degree in petroleum, chemical or mechanical engineering from an institution accredited by Engineers Canada is typically required.

Employment: This occupation is found in both onshore and offshore environments and is typically employed in the exploration and production (E&P), oil sands and oil and gas services sectors of the oil and gas industry.

Example titles: Drilling and Completions Engineer, Well Planning Engineer, Reservoir and Petroleum Engineering Specialist, Production Engineer, Exploitation Engineer, Field Engineer

Work Activities
Analyzing Data or Information
Analyzing subsurface and surface field data to obtain reservoir and well performance parameters.
Analyzing data to recommend the placement of wells and supplementary processes to enhance production.
Analyzing reservoir rock and fluid data to design optimum recovery methods to predict reservoir performance and reserves.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers or Subordinates
Working with geologists and geophysicists to ensure the efficient placement of wells.
Developing Objectives and Strategies
Forecasting oil and gas reservoir performance and recommending oil recovery techniques to extend the economic life of wells.
Documenting/Recording Information
Writing technical reports for engineering and management personnel.
Drafting, Laying Out and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts and Equipment
Developing specifications for, monitoring and supervising well modification and stimulation programs to maximize oil and gas recovery.
Specifying well modification and stimulation programs to maximize oil and gas recovery.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events or Information
Forecasting oil and gas reservoir performance and recommending oil recovery techniques to extend the economic life of wells.
Assessing costs and estimating the production capabilities and economic value of oil and gas wells to evaluate the economic viability of potential drilling sites.
Providing input to economic evaluations, new land acquisition and joint venture opportunities.
Evaluating Information
Evaluating well and field performance.
Conducting and managing reservoir engineering studies using state-of-the-art techniques (e.g., reservoir simulation, streamline modeling, integrated asset modeling, material balance, decline curve analysis and well test analysis).
Formulating reservoir surveillance plans to collect reservoir data.
Guiding, Directing and Motivating Subordinates
Ensuring wells are completed and operated in a safe, efficient and cost effective manner.
Interacting With Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data or process information.
Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others
Interpreting drilling and testing information for personnel.
Judging the Qualities of Things, Services or People
Conducting feasibility assessment studies for developing new oil and gas fields.
Monitor Processes, Materials or Surroundings
Monitoring oil and gas drilling operations, completions and evaluations of wells, well testing or well surveys.
Monitoring production rates and planning rework processes to improve production.
Monitoring well modification and stimulation programs to maximize oil and gas recovery.
Monitoring drilling parameters.
Performing Administrative Activities
Writing technical reports for engineering and management personnel.
Provide Consultation and Advice to Others
Providing input to economic evaluations, new land acquisitions and joint venture opportunities.
Recommending oil recovery techniques to extend the economic life of wells.
Scheduling Work and Activities
Ensuring assigned projects are completed on time and within budget.
Solving Problems and Making Decisions
Confering with scientific, engineering and technical personnel to resolve design, research and testing problems.
Assisting other engineering personnel to solve operational, design, research and testing problems.
Thinking Creatively
Designing and selecting artificial lift machinery and well and surface production equipment, and specifying programs for corrosion control and oil and gas treatment.
Developing plans for oil and gas field drilling and for product recovery and treatment.
Developing well-specific drilling and workover programs.
Complex Problem Solving
Judgment and Decision Making
Public Safety and Security
Engineering and Technology
Critical Thinking
Career Path
  • Engineering Manager
  • Engineer-in-Training (E.I.T.)
  • Junior Engineer
  • Operations Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Research Engineer
  • Senior Engineer
  • Technical Specialist
Related Careers
Available Jobs
  • There are no recent job postings

Working Conditions
  • Field 2
    Field Visits
  • Physical
    Mild Physical Activity
  • Stress
    High Stress Situations
  • Steeringwheel
    Driving Required
  • Variable weather
    Inclement Weather
  • Road
    Remote Locations
  • Industrial excavator
    Active Machinery
  • Fieldoroffice
    Office or Field Based
  • Relocation
Similar Jobs In Other Industries
Careers also exist in the following industries:
  • Professional, scientific and technical services
  • Public administration, including regulatory
Job Details

Job Category




Oil and gas services

Oil sands



Qualifications + Experience


  • Post-secondary degree


  • Specific health and safety certifications will be determined by job requirements


  • To obtain a licence as a professional engineer (P.Eng) you must obtain a degree from an accredited engineering program, pass a professional practice exam and have three or four years of engineering experience, of which one year must be gained in Canada. You must also have Canadian citizenship or proof of permanent residency in Canada.
  • Unlicensed engineers must work under the supervision of P.Eng.