Petroleum engineering is concerned with the production of hydrocarbons such as crude oil or natural gas. The origins of petroleum engineering lay in both mining and geology. The first professional recognition of petroleum engineering as a potential technical stream evolved through the establishment of the American institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers in 1957. Petroleum engineering activities can be broadly considered to be in three different domains:

  • Reservoir engineering, wherein the primary concern is to optimize the production of oil and gas production by using techniques such as proper well placement, enforcing better production rates and better oil recovery techniques
  • Drilling engineering, which is mainly concerned with the technical aspects of the exploratory drilling process
  • Production engineering, which manages the interface between the reservoir and the well, and also explores oil and gas separation processes.

At graduate level, petroleum engineering students study process engineering basics and applications, geophysics and process engineering calculations, basic and advanced thermodynamics, reservoir rocks, study and analysis of fluid properties, drilling fluids and cementing techniques, process control and instrumentation, and on-shore and off-shore engineering.  Apart from these core disciplinary courses, all petroleum engineers would study the basics of engineering mechanics -  physics, chemistry, and mathematics.  In global universities, modules such as storage and transportation of petroleum engineering, advanced drilling engineering, and computer aided processing plant design and simulation are all taught as elective courses in the petroleum engineering syllabus.

The latest research trends in petroleum engineering include fracturing chemical identification, finding innovative hydraulic fracturing techniques, EOR chemical innovation and usage, oil extraction procedures, improvements from oil sands, micro-seismic mapping processes development, and using new algorithms for reservoir and geo-mechanical simulation.

Some of the most challenging areas in petroleum engineering research are higher resolution subsurface imaging processes development, better control of petroleum exploration, and recycling waste water stream associated with the hydrocarbon industry. Promoting carbon capture and sequestration is another current challenge which petroleum engineers face.

Petroleum engineering graduates find jobs in operations such as oil and gas extraction, mining and support activities, management of petroleum extraction companies and enterprises, manufacturing and other support engineering services related to petroleum oil and gas extraction.  JPSEJPSEJPTJPGE are some of the several informative sources of petroleum engineering developments and proceedings available online.

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