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Become A Drilling Fluids Engineer

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Working As A Drilling Fluids 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

  • $88,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Drilling Fluids 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 Drilling Fluids 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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Average Yearly Salary
$88,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$59,000
Min 10%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$88,000
Median 50%
$132,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
ConocoPhillips
Highest Paying City
Fond du Lac, WI
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.2 years
How much does a Drilling Fluids Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Drilling Fluids Engineer in the United States is $88,678 per year or $43 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $59,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $132,000.

Real Drilling Fluids Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Fluid Engineer ENI Us Operating Co. Inc. Houston, TX Nov 21, 2011 $180,000
Horizontal Directional Drilling Fluid Systems Engineer Central Trenching Inc. Minot, ND Sep 01, 2015 $90,875
Thermo-Fluid Sciences/Experimental Engineer (Speci FMC Technologies, Inc. Houston, TX Jul 16, 2012 $87,391 -
$115,152
Thermo-Fluid Sciences/Experimental Engineer (Speci FMC Technologies Inc. Houston, TX Apr 12, 2013 $86,670 -
$115,152
Fluid Dynamics Analytical Engineer American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. Detroit, MI Jun 22, 2016 $85,000
Fluid Power Engineer II Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. MN Oct 01, 2015 $82,500
Fluid Dynamics Analytical Engineer American Axle & Manufacturing, Inc. Detroit, MI Sep 04, 2015 $82,000
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Jul 06, 2015 $81,952 -
$84,800
Engineer III Computational Fluid Dynamics Brunswick Corporation Fond du Lac, WI Jun 09, 2016 $81,947
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Emission Solutions Inc. Columbus, IN Mar 30, 2015 $80,142 -
$95,000
Engineer III-Computational Fluid Dynamics Analys Brunswick Corporation Fond du Lac, WI Sep 06, 2013 $80,000
Fluid Dynamics Engineer (Process Modeling ENG.) Pro Unlimited Corning, NY Oct 01, 2010 $79,040
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Emission Solutions Inc. Columbus, IN Mar 01, 2015 $76,918 -
$95,000
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer-Cfd Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Mar 28, 2014 $76,232 -
$83,000
Fluid Dynamics Engineer II Fermi Research Alliance, LLC Batavia, IL Jan 27, 2016 $71,400 -
$116,400
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Inc. Seymour, IN Oct 21, 2016 $71,100 -
$94,800
Fluid Dynamics Engineer (Process Modeling ENG.) Pro Unlimited Corning, NY Oct 01, 2011 $70,720 -
$83,200
Fluid Dynamics Engineer (Process Modeling Engineer Pro Unlimited Corning, NY Nov 18, 2011 $70,720 -
$79,040
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Feb 08, 2016 $70,400 -
$84,800
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Emission Solutions Inc. Columbus, IN Apr 15, 2016 $70,400 -
$84,800
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Inc. Seymour, IN Oct 19, 2016 $69,306 -
$94,800
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Sep 06, 2014 $68,500 -
$82,200
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Jun 09, 2014 $68,500 -
$82,200
Fluid Power Engineer II Loram Maintenance of Way, Inc. MN Oct 01, 2012 $68,370 -
$71,700
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN Oct 01, 2014 $67,122 -
$74,300
Fluid Engineer Verdicorp, Inc. Tallahassee, FL Mar 18, 2013 $67,000
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Inc. Seymour, IN Nov 08, 2013 $66,800 -
$82,400
Thermal and Fluid Science Engineer Cummins Inc. Columbus, IN May 18, 2015 $66,269 -
$75,300

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Top Skills for A Drilling Fluids Engineer

  1. Water Pumps
  2. Fluid Operations
  3. Safety Meetings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supervised drilling fluid operations for NOV Research & Development Technology Center.
  • Attend safety meetings and provided feedback to help keep the rig safe.
  • Served as drilling fluids engineer for territory covering Southern and Western Colorado.
  • Performed extensive laboratory analysis and on-site testing of various drilling fluid systems used at offshore drilling platforms.
  • Utilized all solids control equipment available.

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Top 10 Best States for Drilling Fluids Engineers

  1. Alaska
  2. Texas
  3. Arizona
  4. New Jersey
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Indiana
  8. Louisiana
  9. Illinois
  10. District of Columbia
  • (21 jobs)
  • (699 jobs)
  • (156 jobs)
  • (205 jobs)
  • (1,599 jobs)
  • (196 jobs)
  • (60 jobs)
  • (63 jobs)
  • (300 jobs)
  • (143 jobs)

Drilling Fluids Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

87.1%

Unknown

6.7%

Female

6.1%
Ethnicity

White

56.7%

Hispanic or Latino

18.5%

Black or African American

13.1%

Asian

7.1%

Unknown

4.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

39.1%

French

8.7%

Dakota

8.7%

Portuguese

4.3%

Chinese

4.3%

Ukrainian

4.3%

German

4.3%

Urdu

4.3%

Persian

4.3%

Hindi

4.3%

Tagalog

4.3%

Arabic

4.3%

Russian

4.3%
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Drilling Fluids Engineer Education

Schools

Texas A&M University

13.8%

Texas Tech University

9.0%

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

9.0%

University of Houston

5.8%

Redlands Community College

5.8%

Southwestern Oklahoma State University

4.8%

Oklahoma State University

4.8%

Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

4.2%

Texas State University

4.2%

Texas A&M University - Kingsville

4.2%

Sam Houston State University

3.7%

Coastal Bend College

3.7%

Tarleton State University

3.7%

University of Phoenix

3.7%

West Virginia University

3.7%

Stephen F Austin State University

3.7%

Louisiana State University and A&M College

3.2%

University of Oklahoma

3.2%

The Academy

3.2%

Pennsylvania State University

2.6%
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Majors

Business

15.9%

Surveying, Mapping, And Hydraulic Technologies

11.9%

Petroleum Engineering

9.4%

Geology

8.0%

Chemical Engineering

7.8%

Mechanical Engineering

7.1%

Engineering

5.5%

Chemistry

4.8%

General Studies

3.6%

Management

3.4%

Biology

3.1%

Finance

2.9%

Civil Engineering

2.5%

Industrial Technology

2.3%

Education

2.3%

Criminal Justice

2.3%

Computer Science

1.9%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.9%

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

1.7%

Environmental Science

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.2%

Other

29.1%

Masters

12.7%

Associate

6.5%

Certificate

5.3%

Doctorate

1.6%

Diploma

1.4%

License

0.3%
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