Duties and responsibilities
Reservoir engineers are petroleum engineers who utilize their knowledge of geology and fluid mechanics to locate fuel in underground reservoirs. They do this using advance technology and their expertise. Their key tasks include:
- Using advanced numerical simulation techniques to forecast oil and gas production from both new and existing hydrocarbon fields
- Collaborating with other professionals in devising economically viable development plans for oil and gas accumulations
- Optimising recovery plans and recovery methods
- Managing the day-to-day operation of oil and gas fields
- Developing and executing data-gathering plans and using the results to develop projects to increase recovery efficiency
Reservoir engineers will need a bachelor’s degree in engineering (preferably petroleum engineer) from an ABET-accredited program. To obtain licensure, reservoir engineers will need to pass several exams, participate in internships and obtain work experience. Many reservoir engineers will go on to achieve a masters degree as this will allow them to enter high paying management positions.
Skills and relevant work experience
Reservoir engineers will learn many skills through their education and on-the-job training. As well as this, they will need skills such as:
- Problem-solving skills, as reservoir engineers must source new reservoirs and find ways to extract fuel
- Communication skills, (both written and verbal) as reservoir engineers must work with other professionals and keep reports up to date
- Leadership skills, as reservoir engineers need to oversee the daily operations at a fuel extraction site
- Analytical skills, as reservoir engineers must use advanced simulation techniques to forecast oil and gas extraction
Reservoir engineers are likely to work full time hours (40 hours per week). They may have to work overtime when they have to travel between sites, or they may work overseas.
According to Salary.com, the median annual salary for a reservoir engineer in the United States is $116,145. The lowest 10% earned less than $105,425 and the highest 10% earned over $128,077.
By obtaining a masters degree, reservoir engineers will have lots more opportunities. With more experience, reservoir engineers may become responsible for supervising a team of other engineers and technicians. They may also progress into project management, consultancy, research and lecturing.