Is Petroleum Engineering Hard

Is Petroleum Engineering Hard?

Much like a variety of other engineering courses, petroleum engineering is looked upon as being a difficult course for many students to finish. But it is truly as hard as everyone thinks it is?

It is true that there are a large number of dropouts from this course, and it is heavily reliant on math and physics. The course is quite hard and only gets more difficult upon graduation.

Although the course is hard for most students, continue reading in order to get an idea of what petroleum engineering entails and how what you can expect to form the course.

Hard for Most: Petroleum Engineering

What is Petroleum Engineering, Anyway?

As with most other specialized forms of engineering, petroleum engineering borrows many aspects from the core disciplines and adds specialization to it.

Borrowing aspects from chemical and mechanical engineering, as well as the common civil engineering, petroleum engineering makes its own valuable niche in the engineering world.

A course heavy on math and science, namely physics and geology, petroleum engineers are in charge of dealing with gas and oil rigs mainly.

Petroleum engineers are responsible for find and checking potential areas where gas and oil is available to be extracted. Identifying these reservoir spots is a key job of petroleum engineers.

Aside from being able to find new places for potential extraction sites, petroleum engineers are also in charge of overseeing the operations that will be conducted at these sites.

Always working with new technology that is applicable to their field, petroleum engineers must also be flexible and able to adapt to new and changing tech.

The application of this new technology also falls under the umbrella of responsibility for this type of engineer, as they will be aiming to find ways in which to implement it into their operations.

Working all across the globe, petroleum engineers get a unique opportunity to see new places, as oil and gas fields are popping up all over the place, you will also get to see parts of the ocean.

In addition to being able to conduct digs for oil and gas, this type of engineer will also handle surface collection in certain situations.

Treatment facilities for the various resources collected are also areas that a petroleum engineer can handle.

All in all, petroleum engineers hold quite a deal of responsibility on their shoulders as the resources that they will collect are used to fuel our everyday lives.

Not only that but as a petroleum engineer, your aim is to make the extraction process of natural resources as safe as possible, making innovations where applicable to ensure safety across the board.

What Makes This Course Difficult for Most?

Petroleum engineering holds many of the difficulties shared by any of the other engineering specialties.

A course heavy in math as well as science, petroleum engineering also focuses on specialized aspects such as the extraction techniques for certain natural resources.

If you struggle with math then this course will prove quite the difficult one for you, seeing as it focuses heavily on math and related subjects.

Physics is also a pinnacle of this course, seeing as you will use this day in and day out when working on the job.

The course is one that requires the student to think for themselves and analyze situations without outside input.

Being able to focus on the job at hand and formulate solutions based on the problem posed are both key traits required by petroleum engineers, seeing as you will most likely be handling other people on rigs and such.

Although math is the most difficult part of the course, the physics portion, although difficult, makes sense in terms of the real world and should be fairly easy to grasp so long as you get a hold of the basic math behind it.

Aside from the subjects that may prove to be difficult while schooling, the job also holds some difficulties on its own.

As you will be sent where the oil or gas is located, you will be far from home and in regions of the world that are not particularly stable, most of the time.

Oils rigs in the middle east and surrounding regions are common places where you will find yourself in this job, as a beginner, later being able to get other locations.

You will also need to be able to work as a team with others, along with being able to lead others in their work.

Physical fitness is a must as you will be spending much of your work life outdoors and in sometimes hazardous situations.

If you are able to handle all of these things then petroleum engineering may be the right choice for you, seeing as if you are able to apply yourself and focus, the difficulty will not be as apparent.

Reasons for Becoming a Petroleum Engineer

If you are on the fence on whether or not this is the major for you, perhaps take a look at the various reasons why becoming a petroleum engineer could be the right choice.

For starters, the world is always in need of energy in one form or another. Petroleum engineers are at the forefront of providing much of this energy to the world, usually in the form of oil.

Also, if you would like to be a catalyst for change then this could be the right pick for you.

As stated earlier, one of the jobs of petroleum engineers is making the process of extraction a safer one for all involved.

The drilling process used is made safer due to petroleum engineers and their endeavors, and benefits not only humans but the environment and wildlife as a whole.

Should you be able to make ways of extraction more efficient you will also be benefitting those who purchase the resources, in essence making it more affordable for acquisition.

Of course, we cannot forget the salary of petroleum engineers. Although not as glamorous as other engineering majors, petroleum engineers do quite well for themselves.

Right off the bat, starting salaries for petroleum engineers range start around $100,000 dollars, sometimes being higher depending on where you are stationed and who you are working for.

If you are in the industry for 20 years you can be seeing salaries of up to $175,000! That’s quite a comfortable sum.

In addition to this comparatively big salary, you will also get to travel the world and see new places, depending on where you decide to work.


Overall, petroleum engineering as a major may be difficult for most students who have trouble with mathematics and science subjects, but if you apply yourself you will be able to pull through.

The incentives that wait for graduates of this course upon graduation do quite well to outweigh any of the hardships and difficulties experienced during the course.

Taking into account everything about petroleum engineering, although it is difficult it is definitely attainable by any who set their minds to it and focus wholeheartedly on the course at hand.

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