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Petroleum Engineering - What they do ?

Petroleum engineering is a field of engineering concerned with the activities related to the production of hydrocarbons, which can be either crude oil or natural gas. Exploration and Production are deemed to fall within the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry. Exploration, by earth scientists, and petroleum engineering are the oil and gas industry's two main subsurface disciplines, which focus on maximizing economic recovery of hydrocarbons from subsurface reservoirs. Petroleum geology and geophysics focus on provision of a static description of the hydrocarbon reservoir rock, while petroleum engineering focuses on estimation of the recoverable volume of this resource using a detailed understanding of the physical behavior of oil, water and gas within porous rock at very high pressure.
A petroleum engineer is involved in nearly all of the stages of oil and gas field evaluation, development and production. The aim of their work is to maximise hydrocarbon recovery at minimum cost while maintaining a strong emphasis on reducing environmental impact.
Petroleum engineers are divided into several groups:
  • Petroleum geologists: who find hydrocarbons by analysing subsurface structures with geological and geophysical methods.
  • Reservoir engineers: who work to optimise production of oil and gas via proper well placement, production levels and enhanced oil recovery techniques. They use computer simulations to assist in the identification of risks and to make forecasts on reservoir potential.
  • Production engineers: who manage the interface between the reservoir and the well through such tasks as perforations, sand control, artificial lift, downhole flow control and downhole monitoring equipment. They also select surface equipment that separates the produced fluids (oil, natural gas and water).
  • Drilling engineers: who manage the technical aspects of drilling both production and injection wells. They work in multidisciplinary teams alongside other engineers, scientists, drilling teams and contractors.
The combined efforts of geologists and petroleum engineers throughout the life of a hydrocarbon accumulation determine the way in which a reservoir is developed and depleted, and usually they have the highest impact on field economics. Petroleum engineering requires a good knowledge of many other related disciplines, such as geophysics, petroleum geology, formation evaluation (well logging), drilling, economics, reservoir simulation, reservoir engineering, well engineering, artificial lift systems, completions and oil and gas facilities engineering.

Recruitment to the industry has historically been from the disciplines of physics, chemical engineering and mining engineering. Subsequent development training has usually been done within oil companies.
The actual tasks carried out vary depending on the specific role but may include:
  • liaising with geoscientists, production and reservoir engineers, and commercial managers to interpret well-logging results and predict production potential;
  • compiling detailed development plans of reservoir performance using mathematical models to ensure maximum economic recovery;
  • selecting optimal tubing size and suitable equipment within the well for different functions;
  • designing the completion - the part of the well that communicates with the reservoir rock and fluids;
  • designing systems that help the well to flow, for example using submersible pumps;
  • managing problems of fluid behaviour and production chemistry;
  • evaluating and recommending flow rate enhancement by using, for example, hydraulic fracturing (to force fluid into a well and fracture the rock) and acid treatment (to erode the rock and improve flow path);
  • managing and controlling wells with branches at the bottom (horizontal and multilateral wells);
  • using well and reservoir remote sensing technology and surveillance data to manage the value of the reservoir and decide on appropriate engineering interventions;
  • understanding and managing how a set of wells interact;
  • managing contractor relationships in relation to health, safety and environmental performance;
  • supervising well-site operations personnel and managing staff at all levels, including the training and supervision of crew members, to ensure that everyone works as a team in order to meet deadlines to clients' satisfaction;
  • liaising with separate departments to ensure correct progress with projects;
  • taking responsibility for the maintenance of equipment;
  • liaising with clients to keep them informed of progress.
Petroleum Engineering - What they do ? Reviewed by Unknown on 6:12 PM Rating: 5


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