Question about petroleum engineering?

Ok, so I am considering my options for my future. I am an A'level student and I am interested in perusing Petroleum Engineering. The thing I need to know is whether or not it is offered at the degree level or is Chemical Engineering a prerequisite to Petro Eng which is at the masters level.

On another note, do you think I am a suitable candidate for either. I am currently studying Pure Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. I ask because I was considering doing a Physics degree since I like Physics so much but I heard it tends to get difficult and university and I'm afraid that it might be too much for me and I don't want to flunk out. I like Mathematics but I would not want to do a degree in it since I find proofs to be irritating and I heard that Mathematics at that level contains a lot of proofs. Lastly, Chemistry is not one of my favourite subjects but I have an affinity and appreciation for it and this should not be a problem since I heard that Chem E does not contain an enormous amount of Chemistry? The Chem/Petro engineering is also good in that I would be able to continue studying Mathematics and Physics so it should not be that bad right? Please do not suggest that I do Electrical/Mechanical/Civil Engineering. I have NO interest in any of them whatsoever especially Mechanical and Civil.

Now, that I have told you my story/issue can you give me your now educated opinion on my situation because I am really torn between the Physics and the Engineering

2 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The first two years of any engineering school is the "weed out" years. This means, lots of kids want to be engineers because of the pay and job security, so the schools give very hard calculus , differential equations and basic engineering courses which weed out 80% of that starting class.

    It is kind of like basic training in the military. But once you make it thru those first two years, it actually gets easier, plus you can get Co-op and the course are actually about engineering instead of pure math and word problems that take 8 hours to figure out.

    I.m a mechanical eng, because I'm old school and I love machines and hydropower and turbines and aircraft and bridges and geothermal and magnetic fields and induction..etc.

    SO to me, any kind of engineering is more thrilling and gives you a sense of accomplishment over any other profession that I'm glad I'm not in.

    But if I was to do it over, I would probably have gone into Petroleum Engineering , mostly for the much higher pay. I figure I could still work on my machine toys in my spare time, because I now have more money to do so if I was in Petro.

    Skip physics as a profession, unless you just love it for it's sake. If you want some money and don't want to look for a new job every time the government needs to save some money, then go into Petro Engineering. They aren't always the hot engineering field, especially when oil was only at 4-5 dollars a barrel . But with oil easily sticking at 90 a barrel....these companies are making tons of money and they almost have to waste as much as they can on salaries and benefits trying to hide excess profits so Washington doesn't notice them as much

    Look at these two links. The first one is from the Petroleum Society of engineers. Their salary survey of american engineers in 2010 was a median of $196,000 a year, with $65,000 of additional benefits. Now that is better pay than most physicians and with a lot less school

    This is from the Occupational Handbook, which has it at $114,000, even though lower, that includes starting pay for the engineers, which makes it the highest paid engineers out there

  • 7 years ago

    Physics versus engineering. Oil companies actually use physics majors in their exploration departments as well as math majors. With the advent of computers the science of exploration has become very, very high tech.

    Petroleum engineering is a completely different degree from that of chemical engineering but there are some related aspects and some universities offer a combined degree in both.

    There is a fair amount of chemistry in the various courses for a degree in chemical engineering. That doesn't mean that you will see the same type of "chemistry" you had in high school. There is much more organic chemistry, thermodynamics with a chemical engineering bent and unit operations.

    Petroleum engineering does tend to be somewhat better in terms of pay than other disciplines but that is distorted to some extent by the circumstances that can develop for some petroleum engineers. In some smaller companies their compensation can be based to some extend on having a financial interest in the wells they are dealing with. In some companies they are partners rather than employees. Finally they tend to end up in management jobs where the pay is better but they are no longer doing engineering.

    Lastly just for the record: Oil companies do not make huge profits when calculated on a percentage of investment. They typically only earn about 7% on a good year. The profits when expressed in simple dollars seems very large but then they sell huge amounts of gasoline on a daily basis so naturally the absolute profit number seems high. Drug companies, people in the entertainment business make much higher profits in terms of return on investment.

    Source(s): 35 years working for a major oil company
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