Drilling engineers are a type of petroleum engineer. Once they have located
a site, petroleum engineers work with geologists to understand the geologic
formation of their drill site. They consider such factors as whether it's
in a tar pit or in the middle of the ocean.
Drilling engineers then design equipment and processes that are used to
extract the oil in the most cost-effective manner.
Not much oil rushes out of the ground on its own. Engineers have to pick
the right extraction method, such as the injection of water, chemicals, gases
or steam. Or they might decide to use computer-controlled drilling.
With current methods, some oil gets left in the reservoirs. Some drilling
engineers spend time researching and developing better ways to increase oil
production, and to reduce the high price of drilling.
Most engineers work in an office setting or in a laboratory. However, many
petroleum and drilling engineers spend time at oil and gas exploration sites.
These engineers are hired by the major oil companies, smaller independent
exploration companies, engineering consulting firms and government agencies.
Some work as independent consultants.
Engineers work a standard 40-hour week. However, deadlines or working out
at an exploration site may mean longer hours and some weekend work.
Drilling engineers who work at exploration sites may have to travel often,
and work outdoors.