Petroleum engineers held about 35,100 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most petroleum engineers were as follows:
Oil and gas extraction
Support activities for mining
Management of companies and enterprises
Petroleum and coal products manufacturing
Petroleum engineers generally work in offices or in research laboratories. However, they also must spend time at drilling sites, often for long periods of time. This means they must travel, sometimes with little notice.
Petroleum engineers work around the world; in fact, the best employment opportunities may include some work in other countries. Petroleum engineers also must be able to work with people from a wide variety of backgrounds, including other oil and gas workers who will carry out the engineers' drilling plans.
Petroleum engineers typically work full time. However, about 2 in 5 worked more than 40 hours a week in 2014. Overtime may be necessary when traveling to and from drilling sites to help in their operation or respond to problems when they arise. When they are at a drilling site, it is common for these engineers to work in a rotation: on duty for 84 hours and then off duty for 84 hours.