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Petroleum engineering is responsible for the production of machinery and systems for the extraction and refinement of petroleum for a variety of purposes. Individuals in this field may specialize in a number of areas related to petroleum, including location, extraction, processing, and utilization.
Education and Schools
Individuals may pursue bachelor’s or master’s degrees in this area of study, requiring the individual to learn multiple disciplines with a specific focus on the unique properties of petroleum. An education will include a strong understanding of the sciences, mathematics, engineering, production methodologies, refining techniques, and more. An education may take between four and six years to complete, allowing students to become familiar with various tools and instruments related to the field.
A curriculum may include:
- Methods of Location
- Engineering Principles
Schools that maintain active engineering departments should have facilities that allow for the modeling of various tools and machines used for the purposes of extraction and processing, as well as provide real or simulated practice for the location of fossil fuels and the manufacturing techniques for petroleum based products. Such programs are generally limited and specialized, and as such should be easy to identify as to whether they meet the needs of a given student.
A confluence of event over the next decade is believed to be responsible for the availability of positions within this field, including the fluctuation of oil prices and the large number of expectant retirees in the field. As a result, individuals who wish to pursue petroleum engineering should find employment with relative ease, regardless of their area of specialization. Individuals will typically work in private firms responsible for one or more aspects of the petroleum processes listed above.
The Society of Petroleum Engineers is an organization that promotes the field and works to update available technologies and information as needed to create more efficient and safe working standards for such workers.