Petroleum Engineer – Career Prospects

Petroleum Engineering is one of the most interesting and rewarding career opportunities available to engineering students in India. The rising scarcity of petroleum products coupled with expansion in search operations for new petroleum sources has brought the field again in the limelight.

Updated: Jun 30, 2017 19:18 IST
Petroleum Engineer Career Prospects
Petroleum Engineer Career Prospects

Petroleum Engineering is one of the most interesting and rewarding career opportunities available to engineering students in India. The rising scarcity of petroleum products coupled with expansion in search operations for new petroleum sources has brought the field again in the limelight. This has sparked new interest among the students wanting to pursue a career in this field as petroleum engineers. Excellent academic programmes coupled with lucrative job opportunities that provide steady growth and high salary has made petroleum engineering one of the most sought after career options available to students with scientific and engineering aptitude.

Scope of Petroleum Engineering

Broadly speaking, the domain of Petroleum engineering deals with the study, exploration, extraction and distribution of oil and natural gas reserves available on the earth. However, the subject of petroleum engineering touches upon a variety of topics and domains like Economics, Geochemistry, Geology, geomechanics, geophysics, seismology, plate tectonics, thermodynamics, gas production, oil drilling and many others. In terms of academics, the study of Petroleum Engineering involves all core basic sciences like physics, chemistry, mathematics and geology.

Generally, the topic of Petroleum Engineering is classified into two sub-sections i.e.,

  • UpStream process: Involved with search of oil & gas reserves under earth and ocean floors as well as development innovative techniques for its extraction and transport
  • Downstream process: This field deals with refining and processing of natural gas and oil found during the up-stream processes and transforming them into consumable, marketable products for the market.

Eligibility to join Petroleum Engineering Course

Like all other engineering programmes, Petroleum Engineering is also offered at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

  • Undergraduate Level: Students willing to join petroleum engineering programme after completion of their class 12/10+2 exam can opt for B.Tech in Petroleum Engineering course from any reputed institutes. Generally, students from with PCM subjects are preferred for admission to these programmes and some institutes also known to set minimum aggregate marks limit for these subjects.
  • Postgraduate level: There are many popular institutes like ISM, ONGC, IOC and some IITs are known to offer full time M.Tech programme with specialization in Petroleum engineering. Considering that the field is closely associated with other physical sciences; graduate students from these domains like Petroleum, Petrochemical, Chemical and Mechanical Engineering are also considered for admission to the postgraduate programme in Petroleum Engineering. Some institutes also require non-petroleum engineering graduates to undergo a foundation programme, in order to secure admission to M.Tech course.

Apart from these, students interested in further studies can also opt for M.Phil and doctorate level programmes in Petroleum Engineering from any renowned Indian or foreign institute.

Career Prospects for Petroleum Engineers

Despite being a rare and niche field of engineering, there is no dearth of great employment opportunities for Petroleum engineers. The situation has further improved in the last decade with shrinking natural gas resources, several petroleum firms have started pushing their upstream processes in a huge way, leading to the creation of several new entry-level job opportunities. Currently, petroleum engineers can look at three main sources of employment:

  • Public Sector Units: These include governmental petroleum agencies like ONGC, HPCL, OVL and others. These companies offer lucrative job offers in both upstream and downstream business processes of petroleum industries. The profile may include exploration, extraction, inventory management, management of drilling processes and personnel, development of new technology and refinement methods.
  • Private Sector Units: These also operate in the same domain as public sector units and are involved in both upstream and downstream business processes. However, one advantage that private companies offer is of providing overseas employment opportunities for petroleum engineers.
  • Research: For students who would like to pursue further studies and research in the field of petroleum engineering have excellent employment opportunities. Several public and private sector companies as well as independent agencies have setup research facilities to develop demand safe and affordable energy solutions.

Pay Package of Petroleum Engineers

Petroleum Engineers are one of the highest paid executives in the entire job markets across the world. The high pay package attracted by petroleum engineers can be attributed to the lack of constant supply of trained and qualified professionals that can take up the mantle of a job profile that deals with business, economics, geology as well as physical sciences. The majority of petroleum engineers are placed at a respectable position even at an entry level after completing their studies.

  • In India: In India, petroleum engineering graduates are offered an entry level pay package in the range of Rs 25,000 to 45,000 along with a host of perks and benefits.
  • International Market: If you plan to move to international market especially in developed countries, a petroleum engineer can draw anywhere between $50,000 to $80,000 annual salary.

Top Petroleum Engineering Institutes

The top-ranked educational institutes, which offer recognized undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in petroleum engineering include:


Academic Programme Offered

Aligarh Muslim University, UP

B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD in Petroleum Engineering

University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun

Various programmes

Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gujarat

B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD in Petroleum Engineering

Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Petroleum Technology, UP

B.Tech and M.Tech in Petroleum Engineering

IIT Madras

M.Tech in Petroleum Engineering

Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad (ISM)

B.Tech, M.Tech and PhD in Petroleum Engineering

Academy Of Maritime Education and Training University, Chennai

BE and M.Tech in Petroleum Engineering

Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune

BE, ME and PhD in Petroleum Engineering

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