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  2. Engineers
  3. Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum Engineer

NOC #21332

  • Environment Primarily indoor/office work
  • Education Post-secondary degree
  • Average salary $107,000 to $152,000

Career profile

Petroleum engineers are essential professionals in the exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas. They provide specialty expertise in oil and natural gas drilling and completions, reservoir management and production. Roles vary depending on the operating environment (e.g., land or offshore) and the company.

There are several areas of specialization within the profession including:

  • Reservoir engineers conduct simulation studies to determine optimal development plans for oil and natural gas reservoirs. Their plans may include overall field development, well placement, proper production and injection rates and enhanced oil recovery techniques.
  • Drilling and completion engineers plan, design and implement drilling and completion programs for all types of oil and natural gas wells. They ensure safety and economics are taken into account.
  • Production engineers analyze, interpret and optimize the performance of individual wells. They design connections between the reservoir and the well. They also evaluate artificial lift methods and develop surface equipment systems to separate oil, natural gas and water.
  • Plant/operations engineers apply technical skills to optimize plant operations, resolve plant problems and enable safe and efficient production of low-cost, quality products.
  • Exploitation engineers monitor and evaluate reservoir performance and identify, develop and oversee the implementation of techniques to improve recovery.
Oil and gas services, Oil sands, Exploration & production, Offshore, Carbon capture, utilization and storage, Emissions reduction, Geothermal

In this occupation activities may include:

  • Providing input to economic evaluations, new land acquisition and joint venture opportunities.
  • Participating in the reserve booking process (e.g., evaluation, documentation).
  • Evaluating well and field performance.
  • Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data or process information.
  • Ensuring assigned projects are completed on time and within budget.
  • Writing technical reports for engineering and management personnel.
  • Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems- or process-related topics.
  • Conferring with scientific, engineering and technical personnel to resolve design, research and testing problems.


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


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


  • To obtain a license 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.
  • Once licensed, engineers receive a seal to stamp their designs and drawings
  • Unlicensed engineers must work under the supervision of a P. Eng.


  • Minimal or no travel
  • Primarily indoor/office work
  • Work not physically demanding

You’re analytical, curious and adaptable to change. You might have some evidence that tells you one story, but a new piece of evidence will reveal a different story. And, you’re ok with that. It’s all in a day’s work.

  • Engineering and technology
  • Public safety and security
  • Critical thinking
  • Complex problem solving
  • Innovative
  • Production and processing
  • Design
  • Selecting equipment
  • Evaluating systems
  • Judgment and decision making