New oil and gas engineering graduates usually gain some experience by working offshore, and the usual pattern is “12 hours on and 12 hours off” for a two-week period, which is followed by a two- or three-week break onshore. Offshore work, which is essential to the industry, is also cold, noisy and wet, and it takes place all over the world in any kind of weather.

Preparing for the job

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As a rule, oil and gas engineers have bachelors degrees in relevant areas—such as chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering and those with graduate-level qualifications often earn a higher salary. The industry is quite competitive, and additional training should give you a definite advantage. Today, international corporations often provide these programs, which assure participants of a substantial income and the give them the practical experience they need as well.

Anyone choosing this career should:

approach engineering projects scientifically

be prepared to show initiative and take responsibility

develop problem-solving skills

be ready to assume the role of team leader

have an ability to explain concepts and plans to others

be enthusiastic about advances in technology

What the work entails

These engineers become involved at various stages in the process of extracting gas and oil from reservoirs, and even if they concentrate on one area, they must be aware of every stage, regardless of the circumstances. Their various responsibilities include:

Calculating and formulating plans that highlight locations where the most gas and oil has been found

Monitoring one or more wells

Ensuring that no health or safety regulations are being violated

Determining if drilling operations are being conducted in an accurate and efficient manner

A reservoir engineer calculates the amount of gas and oil that can be extracted from rock, decides where drilling should be done, and monitors and adapts production plans while a particular reservoir is in use. In addition, a drilling engineer plans and creates programs for drilling, selects the equipment to be used, oversees the project, analyzes drilling performance, and monitors safety while drilling is taking place.

Where the industry stands today

Although oil and gas engineers rely heavily on their scientific and mathematical knowledge in performing a particular task, they are also expected to have an overall view of every project they work on, and at times they assume the role of supervisor or manager in order to accomplish this. These professionals also come from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures, and both men and women have found oil and gas engineering to be a rewarding career.

Since the industry is becoming more diversified, many new positions for engineers are

opening up, especially in developing countries, and societies as different as those of China and Australia. There is a global demand for cleaner fuels, and engineers are working to develop new products that are eco-friendly as modern technology advances.

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Ben Tate is an experienced recruitment consultant working in the Oil and Gas Engineering sector. For more details visit:

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