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Petroleum engineers

OaSIS code 21332.00

Petroleum engineers conduct studies for the exploration, development and extraction of oil and gas deposits; and plan, design, develop and supervise projects for the drilling, completion, testing and re-working of oil and gas wells.


Also known as

  • Oil and gas drilling engineer
  • Oil and gas production engineer
  • Petroleum engineer
  • Petroleum reservoir engineer
  • Petroleum well completion engineer
  • Subsea engineer

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Conduct feasibility assessment studies for developing new oil and gas fields
  • Direct and monitor oil and gas drilling operations
  • Develop drilling programs, select sites and specify drilling fluids, bit selection, drill stem testing procedures and equipment
  • Direct and monitor the completion and evaluation of wells, well testing and well surveys
  • Design and select artificial lift machinery, and well and surface production equipment and systems, and specify programs for corrosion control and oil or gas treatment
  • Develop specifications for and monitor and supervise well modification and stimulation programs to maximize oil and gas recovery
  • Analyze reservoir rock and fluid data to design optimum recovery methods and to predict reservoir performance and reserves
  • Monitor and forecast oil and gas reservoir performance and recommend oil recovery techniques which extend the economic life of wells
  • Design, develop and coordinate the installation, maintenance and operation of subsea well-head and production equipment.

Additional information

  • There is mobility between petroleum engineering specializations at the less senior levels.
  • Supervisory and senior positions in this unit group require experience.
  • Engineers often work in a multidisciplinary environment and acquire knowledge and skills through work experience that may allow them to practise in associated areas of science, engineering, sales, marketing or management.
  • Petroleum engineers may specialize in drilling, production, reservoir analysis or subsea operations.

Similar occupations classified elsewhere


  • Engineering managers (20010)
  • Geoscientists and oceanographers (21102)
  • Chemical engineers (21320)
  • Geological engineers (21331)
  • Contractors and supervisors, oil and gas drilling and services (82021)

NOC hierarchy breakdown

NOC version

NOC 2021 Version 1.0

Broad occupational category

2 – Natural and applied sciences and related occupations


1 – Occupations usually require a university degree

Major group

21 – Professional occupations in natural and applied sciences

Sub-major group

213 – Professional occupations in engineering

Minor group

2133 – Natural resources engineers

Unit group

21332 – Petroleum engineers

Occupational profile

21332.00 – Petroleum engineers

Work characteristics

Work characteristics gathers the various components describing the work environment of each occupation, such as employers, work activities, and the work context. Each category displays up to 10 descriptors in descending order based, firstly, on their attributed ratings by the level of complexity (for Work Activities) or other measurement dimensions (for Work Context), and secondly, in alphabetical order. The whole list of descriptors and their ratings can be expanded at the bottom of each page.

Work Activities

Proficiency or complexity level
Analyzing Data or Information
5 - Highest Level
Developing Technical Instructions
5 - Highest Level
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics
5 - Highest Level
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
5 - Highest Level
Providing Consultation and Advice
5 - Highest Level

Work Context

Structural Job Characteristics

Structured versus Unstructured Work
Degree of freedom to determine tasks and priorities
3 - Moderate amount of freedom
Work Week Duration
Worked hours in a typical week
3 - More than 40 hours

Physical Work Environment

Physical Proximity
Physical distance from others
3 - Somewhat close (e.g. share office)

Physical Demands

4 - More than half the time
2 - Less than half the time
Bending or Twisting the Body
1 - Very little time

Interpersonal Relations

Contact with Others
4 - Every day, a few times per day
3 - About half the time
Work with Work Group or Team
3 - Important
4 - Every day, a few times per day


  • Consulting companies
  • Education institutions
  • Governments
  • Petroleum producing companies
  • Research institutions
  • Well logging or testing companies

Skills and abilities

This section displays the various competencies required for an occupation. Each category displays up to 10 descriptors in descending order based, firstly, on their attributed ratings by the level of proficiency (for Skills and Abilities) or importance (for Personal Attributes) and secondly, in alphabetical order. The whole list of descriptors and their ratings can be expanded at the bottom of each page.


Proficiency or complexity level
Categorization Flexibility
5 - Highest Level
Fluency of Ideas
5 - Highest Level
Mathematical Reasoning
5 - Highest Level
Deductive Reasoning
4 - High Level
Inductive Reasoning
4 - High Level


Proficiency or complexity level
Critical Thinking
5 - Highest Level
Decision Making
5 - Highest Level
5 - Highest Level
5 - Highest Level
Oral Communication: Oral Expression
5 - Highest Level

Personal Attributes

4 - Highly important
Analytical Thinking
4 - Highly important
Attention to Detail
4 - Highly important
4 - Highly important
4 - Highly important