Even as we read this, we are almost certainly utilizing something derived from petroleum. It may be the petrol we use, the plastic components in our laptops, aspirin for a headache, or any synthetic clothing we wear. Given the importance of the oil and gas industry to the global economy, Petroleum Geologists play an important role in petroleum exploration and production by contributing their specialized skills and expertise.
Similar Job Titles
- Earth Scientist
- Wellsite Geologist
Typical Job Responsibilities
What do Petroleum Geologists do?
A Petroleum Geologist would typically need to:
- Examine data using scientific methods to determine the location and amount of prospective oil deposits/traps, as well as how to best collect and utilise the oil.
- Plan and carry out field investigations by visiting areas, collecting samples, conducting surveys, and researching deposits in oceans, rock folds, and faults.
- Run laboratory tests on samples collected in the field
- Analyze aerial photographs, well logs of geologic formations discovered during drilling, rock samples, and other data sources; create geologic maps and charts
- Examine offset data before beginning drilling (an offset is an existing wellbore near a proposed well and useful for yielding information that helps plan the new one)
- Compare formation evaluation measurement while drilling (FEMWD) data to exploration data.
- Provide guidance on the hazards of drilling and how to optimise the drilling bit; decide whether to call it a day or continue drilling.
- Keep detailed records; complete daily, weekly, and post-well logs and share with the appropriate department.
- Prepare scientific reports and disseminate findings to the scientific and lay communities.
- Represent the onshore oil company geology team and communicate with onshore operations teams and offices regularly.
- Attend rig meetings when a new shift begins; update the operations geologist
- Supervise the mudlogging (monitoring and recording drilling activities), MWD (measuring while drilling) and LWD (logging while drilling) teams, as well as the core logging and wireline services teams.
- Ensure compliance with health and safety regulations at the wellsite by monitoring quality control in the context of various activities and services.
- Consider the expanding use of steering by staying up to date on MWD techniques such as gamma-ray and resistivity.
Standard Work Environment
Petroleum geologists operate outside in varied terrains with significant oil and gas activities or do research in the lab, office, or schools. The weather can be unpredictable and inhospitable.
Work on natural resource extraction sites is done in groups, and you would work alongside other scientists and engineers.
Travel to meet clients or conduct fieldwork, typically in remote regions throughout the world, is usually required.
Your dress code will be determined by whether you are in an office or need to wear safety equipment while working on-site.
The majority of Petroleum Geologists work full-time. While office or lab hours may be reasonably consistent, fieldwork may need additional or irregular hours. For example, when working on wellsites, they may work 150 days per year, but the total number of days could range from 50 to 200.
Work schedules on offshore rigs are determined by the geographical region as well as the weather and light conditions. Working hours in the North Sea, for example, are in 12-hour shifts, with work and off periods ashore lasting two weeks alternating.
Exploratory expeditions overseas or at sea can be time-consuming. Sea excursions can last four to six weeks or less, or just a day, with an average workday lasting 12 hours, though you may be required to be on call.
Petroleum geologists often work in the petroleum industry’s operations and research departments. Seeking a new job may appear difficult. A Petroleum Geologist can improve their job search by soliciting referrals from their network, contacting firms directly, using job search platforms, attending job fairs, leveraging social media, and contacting staffing agencies.
Petroleum Geologists are generally employed by:
- Mining Companies
Oil & Gas Exploration Companies
- State Geological Surveys
- Civil Engineering Firms
- City Construction Planning Firms
- Non-Profit Organisations
- Natural Reserve Companies
- Consultancy Firms
- Environmental Consultancies & Agencies
- Water Companies
- Universities & Research Institutes
- Secondary Schools
- Government Bodies & Agencies
Unions / Professional Organizations
Professional associations and organisations, such as the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), a global organisation with members from over 100 countries, are essential for Petroleum Geologists interested in advancing their careers or connecting with other professionals in their industry or occupation. Participation in one or more of these organisations adds value to your resume while strengthening your credentials and qualifications.
- The need to explore all possibilities to find what is most likely, given that geology is an inexact science
- Physically strenuous work typically in dirty, noisy, and poor weather conditions, often in remote locations where rocks are plentiful
- The lack of easy and quick access to medical facilities
- Disruption to personal life due to travel to remote locations
Suggested Work Experience
Any academic program that a prospective Petroleum Geologist pursues usually includes a term of supervised experiences, such as an internship. Employers place a high value on knowledge gained through fieldwork or research trips.
Seek paid and summer internships on key projects managed by huge global corporations. Experience as a mudlogger or logging geologist, as well as with a company that measures while drilling (MWD).
To demonstrate your devotion to course providers and future employers, read about the profession and interview or job shadow specialists working in petroleum geology.
Most entry-level petroleum geology positions require a bachelor’s degree in geology or similar earth science, such as geochemistry, geophysics, or geotechnology. A geoscience technician or mudlogger, a well-site geologist, a geosteering geologist, or a high school science teacher are examples of such positions.
While employers may prefer a geosciences degree with a focus on petroleum geology, you can still begin your career with a degree in environmental science or engineering. Mathematics, physics, chemistry, applied physics or chemistry, and mineral or mining engineering are also alternatives.
A geoscience programme often combines classroom instruction and coursework in mineralogy, sedimentology, petrology, stratigraphy, field geology, and structural geology with laboratory work and field camps to develop practical skills. In addition, you would study other physical disciplines, mathematics, engineering, and computer science. Such programmes may also offer instruction in software products. If you take a geology course and select the petroleum option, you will study about petroleum geology, subsurface procedures, and seismic exploration.
Certain positions may require a master’s degree in petroleum geology, and a Doctorate may help with professional advancement. A master’s degree or a doctorate would provide prospects in the petroleum sector, government, and academia.
Take high school courses in physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, and economics.
Certifications, Licenses, and Registration
A Petroleum Geologist’s proficiency in a skill set is demonstrated through job experience, training, and passing an examination.
Certification from a reputable and objective organisation can help you stand out in a competitive job market, carry a large wage premium of up to 18%, boost your prospects of progression, and enable you to work as an independent consultant.
By including a Code of Ethics, successful certification programmes defend the public welfare.
Working on a rig will need you to pass multiple rounds of physical fitness and survival examinations. Offshore firefighting certification is usually required.
While a license is not usually required to operate as a Petroleum Geologist, providing any type of public services, such as civil engineering projects, environmental protection, and regulatory compliance, may need one. The licensing process is handled by individual government agencies. It usually entails passing a test in addition to meeting eligibility requirements such as a certain degree of education, job experience, training, or completion of an internship, residency, or apprenticeship.
Projected Career Map
Career advancement is driven by performance, experience, and the acquisition of professional certifications. Workers who consistently deliver above-average results may be eligible for advancement every two to three years.
Experience with mud logging, LWD (logging while drilling), or wireline logging may lead to a career as a Data Engineer. With time and experience, you may advance to the position of Senior Geophysicist and assume leadership or supervisory responsibilities, as well as managerial responsibilities. You could also advance to a more specialised technical function or a generalist role with more responsibilities.
You can choose to freelance or specialise in a certain geophysics subject, such as seismology, and train to become a Seismic Interpreter, or you can branch out into adjacent fields such as engineering geology or hazard prediction.
Applicants with a master’s degree in geology with a concentration in petroleum, as well as the relevant abilities, experience, and referrals from senior geologists, have the best job prospects.
Beneficial Professional Development
CPD will assist an active Petroleum Geologist in developing personal skills and proficiency through work-based learning, a professional activity, formal education, or self-directed learning. It enables you to continuously upskill, regardless of your age, position, or level of knowledge, and learn about the most up-to-date technology, instruments, and processes.
Big oil and gas organizations may have a structured training program that covers geophysics and allows learners to work in several teams before specializing in an area.
Wellsite and offshore operations, safety management and geological processes; risk assessment and control of hazardous substances; formation evaluation of wireline; anomalous pressure interpretation; and FEMWD (Formation Evaluation Measurement While Drilling) logs are some areas of development.
Picture 800,000 producing wells generating 75 million barrels of crude oil or petroleum
every day. Geologists work hard to guarantee that petroleum meets a wide range of daily human demands, such as providing energy to generate power or run heat engines. They try to predict the future by deciphering the earth’s history by examining its composition, processes, and mineral makeup.
Advice from the Wise
Master the science, and don’t forget about GIS (geographic information systems). Always be accurate and concise in your communication. Have the bravery, ability, and willingness to question the scientific consensus. Learn something new every day, including computer animation and cinematography, which can help you visually express your scientific story. Likewise, keep in mind that the broad ideas of stratigraphy and structural geology you’ve learned can be applied to the environmental field. Instead of looking for oil running through the rock, you may seek water!