Discipline of Petroleum Engineering

Modern living is largely dependant on petroleum products would be putting it a tad mildly. From gas for cooking to fuels for our automobiles from power generation to raw material for the manufacture of durable synthetic fiber for clothes there is no escaping the demand for petroleum as an essential commodity for day to day life.

Found as it is geological formations below the Earth’s surface the recovery of this non renewable resource is a field that requires technical expertise. As the world tries to ensure an increased supply of petroleum for future generation by way of regulated consumption the need for efficient explorations is being felt acutely. Thus, it is that the engineering discipline of petroleum engineering has emerged to be a lucrative career option.

Know your basics:

Petroleum engineering is the practical application of basic sciences (physics, chemistry, geology, mathematics, and engineering principles) to solve problems associated with exploration drilling and production of oil and gas. It is a discipline that involves a combination of practical engineering computer modeling and simulation management, finance economics, safety and environmental protection. It also involves supervision of the development of major onshore and off shore oil and gas fields, as well as the design, planning and management of the safe and economical recovery of hydrocarbons.

Petroleum engineers seek out reservoirs containing oil or natural gas. Once these resources have been discovered , their work involves working with geologists and other specialist to understand the geological formation and properties of the rock containing the reservoir determine the drilling methods to be used, and monitor drilling and production operations. Some important responsibilities that fall under the profession include determining the ideal recovery processes, estimating the number of wells that can be economically drilled, simulating future performance using sophisticated computer models and designing equipment and processes for maximum profitable recovery of oil and gas.

Education elements

A four year bachelors degree in petroleum engineering is usually the norm however students sometimes opt for specializations and can take up to five years to complete the same.

For example UPES offers B Tech Applied Petroleum Engineering with specialization in upstream which is the pathway for a career in petroleum engineering with an emphasis on exploration and production of oil and gas: B Tech applied Petroleum Engineering with specializations in gas develops technical professionals who an understand and apply best global practices in the fields of natural gas processing , gas transportation and gas utilization techniques and B Tech Chemicals Engineering with specialization in refining and petrochemicals aims to develop industry professionals with specialization in petrochemicals petroleum refining etc. RGIPT offer B Tech in Petroleum Reservoir and Production Engineering and B Tech in Petroleum Refining Engineering.

Indian school of mines offer B Tech Petroleum Engineering and also a five year integrated course on B Tech in Petroleum Engineering an M Tech in Petroleum Management. The program includes relevant subjects of petroleum engineering, energy, management and policy petroleum resource management, petroleum marketing and petroleum asset management.

Chemical engineering as also postgraduates’ degrees in geology, geophysics geochemistry and allied disciplines may also lead to placement for one in the oil and gas sector.

Further education may take place in the form of an M Tech or an MBA in petroleum and energy management oil and gas management / energy trading etc.

Admissions to engineering degree programs are based on an engineering entrance test of the national level such as the IIT JEE, AIEEE etc or the concerned state engineering entrance test like MHT CET. AIEEE scores can be used for admission to the all India seat in various state engineering colleges.

Petroleum engineering isn’t just one job. It has so many specialties within it, each with its own unique challenges and rewards. You can be a drilling engineer working with geologist and contractors in designing and supervising drilling operations. Drilling engineers manage the technical aspects of drilling both production and injection wells.

You can work as a production engineer developing processes and equipment to optimize oil and gas production. Production engineers manage the interface between the reservoir and the well and also select surface equipment that separates the produced fluids (oil, natural gas and water).

Oil and gas are our main sources of energy and will be for long time in the future. They are used in road vehicles, ships and aircraft and to drive machinery. They provide heat and light and are transformed into secondary fuels like electricity. They are used as lubricants asphalt for road building or roofing and as feedstock for the manufacture of further products like fertilizers synthetic fibers, rubbers and plastics.

The world will always need energy and it is the petroleum engineer who will have to find innovative technologies and new resources to meet the increasing demands for it.

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