Most petroleum engineers work at head offices where oil and gas drilling or exploration is happening. In Canada, most petroleum engineers work in Alberta. However, opportunities also exist in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia.
Petroleum engineers may specialize in specific areas of petroleum engineering. These include operations and production processes such as drilling, reservoir management, completions, petrophysics, gas processing, secondary and tertiary recovery methods, and pipelines.
They may work for:
- Major oil companies
- Smaller, independent oil exploration, production, and service companies
- Engineering consulting firms
- Government agencies
Many petroleum engineers have their own consulting businesses. Some work in financial institutions that finance oil and gas properties.
Petroleum engineer graduates often head into field positions. They are supervised by an experienced engineer. The practical experience and training are invaluable. It can help them move on to the bigger responsibilities, such as field or reservoir engineering assignments.
In company operations divisions, petroleum engineers can work their way up from field to district, division, and operations management positions.
In Alberta, 84% of people employed as petroleum engineers work in the following industries:
The employment outlook (pdf) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:
- Fluctuations in supply and demand for oil and the price of oil
- Trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
- Location in Alberta
- Employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
- Occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
- Size of the occupation
In Alberta, the 2145: Petroleum engineers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.4% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 195 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.