Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum engineering is concerned with activities relating to the evaluation, development and production of hydrocarbons. Over the next few years, oil and gas ouput is predicted to rise but current economic conditions, increased cost of extracting natural resources and a reduction in new oilfield discoveries, mean that the oil and gas industry faces many challenges. 

However, out of adversity comes opportunity. We are likely to be dependant on oil and gas for many years to come and, as a result, there is a demand for skilled people to join the industry to help develop new techniques and technologies; maximising oil and gas recovery at minimum cost whilst also reducing environmental impact.......and that means employment and business opportunities!

Where Do I Start

Getting Experience

Finding A Job

Need More Information


Where do I start?

Within the petroleum engineering sector you could be looking at a wide range of occupations. Prospects has a useful list of job profiles each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements, career prospects with links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.

Jobs roles in this sector include:

As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in this sector and keep track of any vacancies that are coming up. Below are some key resources to help you research opportunities available. The knowledge gained through your research may help you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews. 

  • Society of Petroleum Engineers - A professional organisation which collects, disseminates and exchanges technical knowledge concerning the exploration, development and production of oil and gas resources. 
  • UK Petroleum Industry Association - UKPIA represents the interests of companies engaged in the UK downstream oil industry on a range of common issues relating to refining, distribution and marketing of oil products (in non-competitive areas).
  • Energy Institute - A professional body for the energy industry which delivers good practice and professionalism across the sector.
  • Opito - The oil and gas industry's focal point for skills, learning and workforce development.
  • The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) - A UK engineering institution whose activities and website focus on the whole materials cycle.
  • Institution of Mechanical Engineers - An independent engineering society which promotes and shares knowledge on sustainable energy use and engineering sustainable supply.
  • The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) - A global professional membership organisation for people with relevant experience or an interest in chemical engineering. 
  • Petroleum Economist - A monthly magazine which offers analysis of the energy industry and opinion on the events and people shaping the global energy market.
  • Rigzone - A leading website for the oil and gas sector, providing information on industry news, trends and jobs.  
  • Oil Online - A website aimed at helping oil and gas professionals (worldwide) connect with the industry.
  • Petroleum Exploration Society of Great Britain - PESGB provides news and information on events, field trips, conferences and lectures relating to the scientific and technical aspects of petroleum exploration. 
  • Industrial Technology - A site which provides events of interest and importance occurring in the engineering and manufacturing world.
  • Mark Allen Group - MAG provides up to date brand information for the business, manufacturing and engineering sectors. 

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Getting experience

Competition for jobs in the oil and gas industry is fierce. As a result, expertise and skills gained through work experience could give you a cutting adge and secure you a graduate job. 

However, finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CVs every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through the Careers and Employability website.

The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time. Think about small and medium size companies as well as large organisations. Please be aware that some of the opportunities overseas may well have a cost involved so it is important that details are checked carefully.

It is also worth considering the voluntary sector for work experience; the Careers and Employability Service offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies. Similarly you can access these opportunities through the paper-based bank located in the Careers and Employability Centre.

If you wish to instigate voluntary work experince during the vacation periods please refer to the 'External sites' on the voluntary work experience section of our website.

Tips to build experience:

  • Explore the various areas within the petroleum engineering sector before you apply for work experience; knowing what you want to specialise in will help you focus your research and ensure you gain the relevant skills.
  • Get involved in relevant university or external groups. This is a good way of demonstrating your motivation and interest in this area of work.
  • Speak to your tutor or other members of faculty staff researching in the areas that interest you, as students are sometimes recruited to work on research projects over the summer.
  • Be proactive and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively; send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in them and why they should be interested in you.
  • Create a LinkedIn profile to network with sector employers - see our Networking and Social Media section for further guidance.

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Finding a job

There are many different areas within the petroleum engineering sector and work can be varied. Areas of work you could get involved in include: production and reservoir engineering; drilling, mining and mudlogging; renewable energy; production technology; project/operational management; sales; trading; and research and development, so some thought as to which area(s) you are particularly interested in will help you to target your job search.

The range of employers who recruit in these areas includes:

  • Electricity, gas and water companies
  • Exploration, extraction and mining businesses
  • Nuclear power and renewable energy organisations
  • Sewage services, recycling and waste management companies
  • Local authorities and central government departments (such as the Environment Agency)
  • Environmental and engineering consultancies 

Below is a list of useful websites to help you start your job search

  • Gradcracker - A job site entirely dedicated to graduate engineer recruitment.
  • The Geological Society - The Geological Society provide information on the latest employment opportunities in geology and the earth science industry.
  • - A careers information site for the oil & gas industry; providing links to the latest job vacancies, graduate schemes, internships and placements.
  • - A hiring platform designed to connect job seekers and employers.
  • Rigzone - A leading website for oil and gas industry jobs; connecting thousands of industry professionals with jobs around the globe.  
  • - A site dedicated to oil and gas job vacancy information. 
  • Just Engineers - Job site for the engineering sector. Vacancies include petroleum, electrical, mechanical, design, environmental and civil engineering positions.
  • Oil and Gas Job Search - Links to a range of oil and gas related jobs.
  • jobs4mining - A job site dedicated to the mining industry.  
  • NES Global Talent - Specialists in recruiting staff to the oil & gas sector, with a guide for graduates looking to get into the industry.

Tips for finding a job

  • Keep up to date with news and trends in the petroleum engineering industry by following the professional bodies on twitter, this information might help you identify opportunities to network and tap into the hidden job market.
  • Keep your on line job search flexible as some employers might use different titles to describe the same job role.
  • If you are keen to focus on a specific sector within petroleum engineering, check out the specialist websites for these areas for current vacancies.
  • Most companies have a Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn account, register with them as this is often a place where new opportunities are posted, and where you can keep in touch with their current activities .

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Need more help and information?

How can the Careers and Employability Service help you?

The Careers and Employability Service offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:

  • Career options
  • Further study
  • CV and Covering Letters
  • Application forms
  • Job search
  • Interviews
  • And more......

Please visit our services for you section for more details about our support and services.

The Careers and Employability Service has an online Jobs Board advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Graduate Recruitment Consultancy that delivers a personalised matching job service. 

Remember if you are not on campus you can still access our services via telephone or Google Hangouts appointments, please contact us to discuss your needs. 

Further information

If you need more information why not check out some of the resources below to help you to research a sector in more depth.

  • Prospects - An insight into careers in the renewable energy industry from Prospects.
  • Energy Voice - A news platform for the oil and gas, renewables and wider energy sectors.
  • Oil Finity A platform which provides job seekers an insight into national and international oil, gas & energy jobs. 

Specialist agencies

  • Oscar - Specialists in technical recruitment; particularly in the oil and gas field.
  • Engineering Roles - Online recruitment site providing engineering related vacancies for professionals in sectors from aerospace to mining.
  • Fircroft - A recruitment company that specialises in supplying candidates with both onshore and offshore positions.
  • Orion Group - Orion Group helps place thousands of contractors every year via a worldwide network of offices.  

Follow companies and professional bodies on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn to tap into the hidden jobs market and also receive news and information on the petroleum engineering sector. 

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