Job Opportunities in Oil Exploration

Oil Exploration PhotoOil is in the news a lot, but the articles are usually focused on barrels produced, pipelines being built and maintained, and refining capacity. We don't hear much about oil exploration, which is the search for new sources of oil underneath the ground. A wide range of career possibilities in oil exploration exists, with many oil exploration jobs requiring degrees in geology or petroleum engineering. Among all engineers, those working in the petroleum industry can expect the highest starting salaries.

Experienced professionals can choose to live almost anywhere in the world: Canada, south and central America, Europe, Eurasia, Africa, and of course the middle east. In the United States, a large number of petroleum engineers work in Alaska, California, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

High Demand, High Pay Field

As the price of oil has gone up, petroleum reservoirs that were not economically viable in the past are now attractive to smaller, independent producers. Both the smaller and bigger companies are looking to hire more than a few good men and women. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the oil and gas industry will need thousands of new petroleum engineers over the next decade replace aging employees and account for rising demand.

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Median salaries for petroleum engineers exceed $100,000, plus signing bonuses. Even before graduation, petroleum engineers can earn about $4,000 per month by working for oil companies during the summer. The bottom 10% of petroleum engineers earn nearly $60,000 per year.

OilJobFinder members get the full salary breakdown and find out how the hiring is being done by the oil companies.

Petroleum Engineers, Geoscientists, and More

People working in any of the following oil exploration job titles can expect to earn over $100,000 within a few years of starting out:

  • Geophysicist Jobs - Geophysicists, study the Earth's internal and external composition. Geophysicists usually have a strong background in geology, physics, mathematics or chemistry.
  • Palynologist Jobs - Palynologists study microscopic evidence dating back a billion years. Palynology is a branch of paleontology, but palynologists are more concerned with organic evidence of pollen, spores and microplankton than with dinosaur bones.
  • Oil Land Agent Jobs - Land agents are responsible for obtaining permission to drill a well.
  • Oil Well-Log Analyst Jobs - Well-log analysts take core samples and measurements during the drilling process and after a well is completed.
  • Oil Drilling Engineer Jobs - Drilling engineers design a strategy for drilling a well as economically as possible.
  • Production Engineer Jobs - Production engineers take over after a well is completed. They are in charge of determining the best way to bring the petroleum to the surface.
  • Oil Reservoir Engineer Jobs - Reservoir engineers use complex computer models and mathematical formulas to determine reservoir pressures
  • Oil Facility Engineer Jobs - Facilities engineers are responsible for separating, processing and transporting the petroleum after it reaches the surface.
  • Energy Economists Jobs - Energy economists are involved with risk assessment and profit evaluations.
  • Other Oil Exploration Jobs

As a Member of you'll have access to even more information about oil exploration careers, the specifics of each job type, and how people working in exploration interact with production workers and others in the industry.

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