As a college student searching for a career to spend the rest of her life doing, I have gone through all the sites that tell you what the best majors are and what the best paying jobs are. On the top of every single list I have seen petroleum engineering. This little fact sparks up an interesting thought. In a world that should be attempting to gradually switch to more environmentally-friendly products and vehicles, you would think that petroleum engineering would be a slowly-disappearing field.
However, petroleum engineers are on the rise and looking for more people with a 26% job outlook according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And a statistic by Forbes says petroleum engineers are paid on average $130,280 per year, an attractive income for anybody looking for a solid job.
What even is Petroleum Engineering?
Petroleum engineering brings together the skills required to master mathematics, physics, geology and chemistry to address the need for energy today. According to the University of Texas at Austin, they evaluate potential oil and gas reservoirs, oversee drilling activities, select and implement recovery schemes and design surface collection and treatment facilities.
Penn State’s Energy Engineering Department believes that one of the more important branches of petroleum engineering is the reservoir engineer whose job includes a lot mathematics and application of petroleum engineering to predict the future production from the reservoirs.
Why is it so popular?
Well, now that we have started exhausting the original sources for petroleum, these engineers are needed to find new ways to drill this precious fossil fuel out of the earth. Since petroleum engineer salaries are now increasing that also means that fuel costs will rise as well, which I believe makes it even more important to develop more fuel-efficient methods of using energy. However, the world doesn’t like change and would rather stick with using petrol while it is still available.
Also, Forbes has concluded that petroleum engineering is attractive because it is the best combination of the highest wages, fastest growth and the oldest workforce; however it also has the smallest supply of graduates meaning that it has become a very attractive field for rising engineers as it is looking for more engineers to fill up their openings. Actually so many job openings are available for petroleum engineers that oil and gas companies have to actively recruit mechanical engineers as well.
Oil and gas are found deep below the surface of the earth and now finding their locations has become more difficult because of the rate at which the entire world is consuming them. So the primary concern of a petroleum engineer is production of oil and gas by drilling and searching for the source of the precious fuel.
What does this mean for the environment?
Well, petroleum is poisonous for everyone: humans, trees, and environment. Every time you see a curious rainbow in the water on the road, petroleum oil is the cause and is toxic to all forms of life. If it finds its way into large bodies of water fish will immediately; and if it finds its way into humans it could cause birth defects and leukemia as well make people more prone to infection.
There are also other issue with black exhaust that causes problems for our lungs and heart. Not to mention petroleum’s reputations for causing acid rain and climate change. The infamous oil spills will also always be a problem killing many animals in the process.
So despite the awful effects that petroleum has on the environment and its growing scarcity, society has made it a necessity that we cannot avoid. Instead of investing on a search for greener alternatives to this problem, the need for petroleum engineer keeps going up because society does not like change. We don’t respond well to big changes. When things are going well as they are, then why change? – this seems to be the philosophy of the world. Also drilling deeper for oil is currently cheaper than making the switch to environmentally-friendly alternatives. The key word in that sentence is currently. The world will always be driven by economic incentives, and CURRENTLY drilling for more oil is the best option in that respect creating more reason for the need for petroleum engineers to rise.