The 6 subtypes of Petroleum engineering

3 min readAug 20, 2022

Petroleum engineering use hydrocarbon-based raw material such as natural gas and crude oil and turn them into useful resources. Chemical engineers may find themselves in the field of petroleum engineering. Hence, petroleum engineering is often considered a specialization within the chemical engineering category. Within petroleum engineering, there are disciplinary subsets. Here is a list of some of them:

  1. Reservoir engineering

Reservoir engineering relies on fluid mechanics, geology, and mathematical and computation modeling. Reservoir engineer always finds methods to maximize the recovery of oil and gas product from reservoirs and assess their profitability. That is why they run several simulations, perform different analyses, test various reservoirs, and gather data that will inform their decision on sites worth exploiting.

2. Drilling engineering

Drill engineers are responsible for finding safe as well as cost and energy-efficient techniques to drill wells leading to reservoirs. They are commonly involved throughout the entire process involved in drilling. They focus on optimizing the activities and use of technology and drilling machinery.

3. Completion engineer

Following the design from drilling engineers, completion engineers intervene to manage the production of oil wells. They are responsible for the design and maintenance of economically efficient oil and gas wells that maximize production. They ensure and reinforce on-site safety guidelines as well.

4. Production and surface facilities engineering

Production engineering is concerned with converting raw resources into finished items. In petroleum engineering, production engineers play important roles in the flow of natural resources from the reservoir; designing and selecting the necessary equipment from drilling; and deciding purification techniques before commercializing the product. They are heavily involved after the completion stage is done. They oversee the wells and ensure that they operate as specified, and are well maintained.

5. Petrophysical engineering

Petrophysical engineering or formation evaluation engineers are needed to determine the properties of rocks/soil and fluids using analytical tools. They inform the above-mentioned petroleum engineers (especially reservoir engineers) about various characteristics of rocks (radioactive, electrical, thermodynamics, acoustic, etc.)

6. Aftermarket engineering

Aftermarket engineers interact with clients about drill sites and related activities. They deal with sales, negotiation, and ensuring that the overall engineering and business activities are carried out as discussed with customers. Communicating with clients is central to the work of aftermarket engineers.

Despite being a specialized field of engineering, petroleum engineering is known to be a highly lucrative engineering career which is understandable considering our reliance on petroleum-based products. Additionally, it is a demanding career that involves working under harsh and at times risky conditions. It is also important to note that even though oil and gas are essential resources, their value fluctuates with the economy which also has an impact on engineers that process them.




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