Petroleum Geologists: Who Are They And What Do They Do

petroleum geologist

Petroleum geologists are earth scientists working in the field of petroleum geology, which encompasses all aspects of oil discovery, processing, and production. Petroleum geologist are generally linked with the discovery of oil and the identification of any possible leads or deposits and are scientists that focus on the estimation and extraction of combustible resources like oil and gas buried deep in the earth. This process can be extremely labor-intensive and involves the use of elaborate equipment and different fields of science. These specialists mainly focus on studying the sedimentary and structural aspects of the strata/stratum to try and identify any possible oil traps.

Before one can become a petroleum geologist, they will require significant amounts of formal education. The recommended level of education before one can be considered to be a certified petroleum engineer is a Master’s Degree. At the same time, there are extra requirements, which include a good knowledge of GPS and GIS and a voluntary certification that may be required – to be discussed in depth later on.

A Petroleum Geologist’s Duties

The duties of a petroleum geologist generally include the discovery, locating and determining the amount of useful fuel reservoirs or sediments. Geologists in this career line are required to conduct field studies in an effort to analyze project data, interpret geophysical info in project reports, interpret and effectively implement drilling rig strategies for the extraction of these essential resources, create project reports that summarize the project and the estimation of fuel amounts in identified oil pockets or reservoirs.

A Petroleum Geologist’s Qualification Requirements

Generally, the educational requirements a petroleum geologist should attain to be employed will normally be dictated by the specific hiring company. However, there are still more requirements that need to be attained before one can be hired. Let’s have look at a couple of them.


Most petroleum geologists have a master’s degree in geosciences. Often, most employers will prefer candidates who possess this degree over those holding a bachelor’s degree. In most cases, Masters Degrees include courses in geophysics, mathematics, hydrology and other essential geoscience studies. At the same time, extra training in reservoir engineering, economics, computer programming, and oil property valuation can be an added advantage to people majoring in petroleum geology.

Certification and Licensure

There are some states that will require petroleum geologists to get a license if they directly deal with the public. Voluntary certification can be gotten via an accredited agency like AAPG or American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Extra requirements

petroleum engineeringAs earlier mentioned, there are extra requirements that a petroleum geologist may be required to know or be in possession of before they can be considered or hired. For instance, most employing companies will require that the scientist be well knowledgeable when it comes to working with GIS (geographic information systems) and GPS (global positioning systems). This is essential as this line of work relies heavily on data that has been collected using such systems as these. At the same time, a petroleum geologist needs to possess good interpersonal skills as they normally work in teams with other geoscientists.

Career Outlook

Considering that there are still many more undiscovered oil pockets in the world, this is one career path that has great demand for fresh skill and exemplary minds. The current average salary of a geoscientist currently stands at well over $100,000 per annum.

If you are considering venturing into this line of geological work, then you will be glad to know that there are plenty of options and spots available. However, it is crucial that you achieve all the required requirements and that you get certified for a better chance of landing a job in the industry.