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Become A Completion Engineer

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Working As A Completion Engineer

  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $87,092

    Average Salary

What Does A Completion Engineer Do

Petroleum engineers design and develop methods for extracting oil and gas from deposits below the Earth’s surface. Petroleum engineers also find new ways to extract oil and gas from older wells.

Duties

Petroleum engineers typically do the following:

  • Design equipment to extract oil and gas in the most profitable way
  • Develop ways to inject water, chemicals, gases, or steam into an oil reserve to force out more oil
  • Develop plans to drill in oil and gas fields, and then to recover the oil and gas
  • Evaluate the production of wells through testing and surveys
  • Use computer-controlled drilling or fracturing to connect a larger area of an oil and gas deposit to a single well
  • Make sure that oil field equipment is installed, operated, and maintained properly

Oil and gas deposits, or reservoirs, are located deep in rock formations underground. These reservoirs can only be accessed by drilling wells, either on land or at sea from offshore oil rigs.

Once oil and gas are discovered, petroleum engineers work with geoscientists and other specialists to understand the geologic formation of the rock containing the reservoir. They then determine the drilling methods, design the drilling equipment, implement the drilling plan, and monitor operations.

The best techniques currently being used recover only a portion of the oil and gas in a reservoir, so petroleum engineers also research and develop new ways to recover more of the oil and gas. This helps to lower the cost of drilling and production.

The following are examples of types of petroleum engineers:

Completions engineers decide the best way to finish building wells so that oil or gas will flow up from underground. They oversee work to complete the building of wells, which might involve the use of tubing, hydraulic fracturing, or pressure-control techniques.

Drilling engineers determine the best way to drill oil or gas wells, taking into account a number of factors, including cost. They also ensure that the drilling process is safe, efficient, and minimally disruptive to the environment.

Production engineers take over wells after drilling is completed. They typically monitor wells’ oil and gas production. If wells are not producing as much as expected, production engineers figure out ways to increase the amount being extracted.

Reservoir engineers estimate how much oil or gas can be recovered from underground deposits, known as reservoirs. They study reservoirs’ characteristics and determine which methods will get the most oil or gas out of them. They also monitor operations to ensure that the optimal levels of these resources are being recovered.

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How To Become A Completion Engineer

Petroleum engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, preferably in petroleum engineering. However, a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or chemical engineering may also meet employer requirements. Employers also value work experience, so college cooperative-education programs, in which students earn academic credit and job experience, are valuable as well.

Education

Students interested in studying petroleum engineering will benefit from taking high school courses in math, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; and in science, such as biology, chemistry, and physics.

Entry-level petroleum engineering jobs require a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degree programs include classes, laboratory work, and field studies in areas such as engineering principles, geology, and thermodynamics. Most colleges and universities offer cooperative programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

Some colleges and universities offer 5-year programs in chemical or mechanical engineering that lead to both a bachelor’s degree and a master's degree. Some employers may prefer applicants who have earned a graduate degree. A graduate degree also allows an engineer to work as an instructor at some universities or in research and development.

ABET accredits programs in petroleum engineering.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Petroleum engineers must be able to assess complex plans for drilling and anticipate possible flaws or complications before the company commits money and people to a project.

Creativity. Petroleum engineers must come up with new ways to extract oil and gas because each new drill site presents challenges. They must know how to ask the necessary questions to find possible deposits of oil and gas.

Interpersonal skills. Petroleum engineers must work with others on projects that require highly expensive machinery, equipment, and infrastructure. Communicating and working well with others is crucial to protecting and preserving firms’ huge capital investments.

Math skills. Petroleum engineers use the principles of calculus and other advanced topics in math for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. Identifying problems in drilling plans is critical for petroleum engineers because drilling operations can be costly. They must be careful not to overlook any potential issues and quickly address problems that do occur.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as a petroleum engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education courses in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states if the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements.

The Society of Petroleum Engineers offers certification. To be certified, petroleum engineers must be members of the Society, pass an exam, and meet other qualifications.

Advancement

Entry-level engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training. As engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move to more difficult projects where they have greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, petroleum engineers may advance to supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Some become engineering managers or move into other managerial positions. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

Petroleum engineers also may go into sales and use their engineering background to inform the discussion of a product's technical aspects with potential buyers and help in product planning, installation, and use. For more information, see the profile on sales engineers.

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Completion Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

86.3%

Female

10.3%

Unknown

3.3%
Ethnicity

White

54.0%

Hispanic or Latino

19.6%

Black or African American

12.6%

Asian

9.7%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

58.3%

Igbo

16.7%

Portuguese

16.7%

French

8.3%
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Completion Engineer Education

Schools

Texas A&M University

16.0%

West Virginia University

8.5%

University of Oklahoma

8.5%

University of Texas at Austin

8.5%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

7.4%

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

7.4%

Texas Tech University

6.4%

University of Houston

5.3%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.3%

Colorado School of Mines

3.2%

University of Phoenix

3.2%

Marietta College

3.2%

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

3.2%

Hawkeye Community College

2.1%

Louisiana Tech University

2.1%

Missouri University of Science and Technology

2.1%

Prairie View A & M University

2.1%

University of Colorado at Boulder

2.1%

University of Tennessee - Knoxville

2.1%

Sam Houston State University

2.1%
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Majors

Petroleum Engineering

33.2%

Mechanical Engineering

20.0%

Business

11.7%

Chemical Engineering

7.8%

Electrical Engineering

3.9%

Engineering

3.9%

Project Management

2.4%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

2.0%

Chemistry

2.0%

Industrial Engineering

2.0%

Management

1.5%

Engineering Technology

1.5%

Industrial Technology

1.5%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.0%

Finance

1.0%

Computer Networking

1.0%

Mining Engineering

1.0%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.0%

Civil Engineering

1.0%

Computer Engineering

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

55.9%

Masters

17.6%

Other

16.4%

Associate

5.0%

Certificate

2.5%

Doctorate

1.7%

Diploma

0.8%
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Real Completion Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior Completion Engineer Clover Global Solutions, LP Houston, TX Jun 21, 2013 $373,469
Systems Completion Engineer Brunel Energy, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2012 $276,000
Completion Engineering Advisor Broken Hill Proprietary (USA), Inc. Houston, TX Sep 09, 2014 $265,000
Systems Completion Engineer Link Project Services, Inc. Houston, TX Sep 30, 2012 $250,440
Systems Completion Engineer Link Project Services, Inc. Morgan City, LA Sep 30, 2012 $250,440
Completion Engineering Advisor Broken Hill Proprietary (USA), Inc. Houston, TX Apr 01, 2014 $250,000
Global Completion Engineer BNK Petroleum(Us) Inc. Camarillo, CA Aug 31, 2014 $240,000
Contract Completions Engineer Plaster & Wald Consulting Corp Mustang, OK Sep 04, 2015 $222,061
Senior Completions Engineer Encana Services Company Ltd. Denver, CO Apr 15, 2015 $213,000 -
$224,500
Senior Completions Engineer Broken Hill Proprietary (USA) Inc. Houston, TX Sep 18, 2015 $204,925
Completion Engineering Advisor Broken Hill Proprietary (USA), Inc. Houston, TX Apr 09, 2016 $203,362
Senior Completion Engineer Broken Hill Proprietary (USA) Inc. Houston, TX Mar 18, 2016 $203,362 -
$223,362
Completions Engineer BP America Inc. Houston, TX Sep 15, 2012 $180,000
Senior Completions Engineer Marathon Oil Company Houston, TX Oct 01, 2012 $177,000
Senior Completion & Intervention Engineer CCL Contracts Consultancy, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2010 $175,000
Completions Engineer BP America Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2011 $175,000
Senior Drilling/Completions/Subsea Engineer Broken Hill Proprietary (USA), Inc. Houston, TX Feb 06, 2012 $175,000
Staff Completions Engineer Murphy Exploration and Production Company Houston, TX Sep 01, 2015 $174,720
Sand Completion Engineer BP America Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2010 $173,752
Completion Engineer Chevron Corporation Covington, LA Aug 25, 2013 $148,800
Completions Engineer Callon Petroleum Company Houston, TX Jun 01, 2015 $145,000
Completion Engineer Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Dec 05, 2010 $142,200
Senior Completions Engineer Talisman Energy USA Inc. The Woodlands, TX Sep 10, 2013 $140,483 -
$154,000
Senior Completion Engineer Ely and Associates of Texas, LLC Houston, TX Jun 01, 2011 $136,000
Senior Completions Engineer Murphy Exploration and Production Company Houston, TX Aug 29, 2015 $129,360
Completions Engineer II Anadarko Petroleum Corporation The Woodlands, TX Aug 31, 2015 $129,022 -
$149,000

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Top Skills for A Completion Engineer

  1. Completion Procedures
  2. Rig
  3. Frac
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Generated completion procedures, mobilization, reentry and fluid displacement.
  • Performed benchmark comparisons on four deep-water oil rigs and made recommendations for improvement.
  • Act as department-wide stimulation expert by mentoring colleagues on technical and operational aspects of hydraulic fracturing and supporting all abnormal stages.
  • Provide front-end engineering support including selecting and ordering long lead equipment, AFE budgeting/timing and writing detailed installation procedures.
  • Performed wireline operations on customer new well developments.

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Top 10 Best States for Completion Engineers

  1. Texas
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. California
  5. New Jersey
  6. Colorado
  7. Indiana
  8. Montana
  9. District of Columbia
  10. Louisiana
  • (783 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (168 jobs)
  • (1,659 jobs)
  • (225 jobs)
  • (223 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)
  • (28 jobs)
  • (168 jobs)
  • (67 jobs)

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