Petroleum Geochemist

NOC #21102

  • Environment Primarily indoor/office work
  • Education Post-secondary degree
  • Average salary $92,000 to $165,000

Career profile

Petroleum geochemists study the origins of petroleum, how it migrates and where it pools or accumulates. They analyze oil, natural gas, sediment, source rock and water to support decisions on exploration activities, drilling and production, as well as on waste disposal, land reclamation and other environmental matters.

They may also conduct research on organic geochemistry (the study of the impacts and processes that organisms have had on the earth) and petroleum geology (the study of origin, occurrence, movement, accumulation, and exploration of hydrocarbon fuels), which can involve presenting their findings in technical research reports, journals and presentations.

Exploration and production, Oil and gas services, Oil sands

In this occupation activities may include:

  • Conducting scientific research regarding the organic geochemistry and petroleum geology of petroleum systems and sedimentary basins
  • Analyzing and interpreting geological data using computer software
  • Planning or conducting geological, geochemical or geophysical field studies or surveys, or drilling and testing programs to collect data for research or application
  • Providing source rock, maturity, oil characterization and migration modeling for reservoir geochemical studies to determine sources of reservoir fluids
  • Providing specialist consulting in support of regulatory and other due diligence assessments


A post-secondary degree in earth sciences with an emphasis on geochemistry is typically required. A graduate or post-graduate degree may be required for more advanced roles.


  • Provincial and territorial regulatory bodies issue licences to all professional geoscientists
  • Travel likely required
  • Primarily indoor/office work
  • Work not physically demanding

You’re analytical, curious and persistent in your quest to unlock clues underground and dig out the answers others require to make important decisions.

  • Chemistry
  • Computer use
  • Critical thinking
  • Complex problem solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Quality control analysis
  • Judgment and decision making
  • Planning and organizing
  • Collaborative
  • Innovative