As a growing industry, the oil and gas industry is a hub for eager and ambitious recent graduates looking to hatch their careers.
The industry is expected to expand dramatically in offshore developments, as well as those in the oil sands and upstream.
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The next few years promises a wealth of job opportunities for recent grads and students, as well as plenty of room for advancement.
Here are some positions that recent graduates often pursue as entry-level professionals.
1) Geoscience technicians
Before wells are drilled, a potential drilling site is survey to determined how much petroleum is in the area.
Geoscience technicians make use of technological innovations such as seismic vibrations which create quantifiable underground vibrations. Using sensors, digital records and related equipment designed to generate and measure shock waves, geoscience technicians are able determine the existence of underground structures and map out these underground rock formations.
This work lays the foundation for oil and gas extraction – literally. By collecting information, geoscience technicians are able to determine whether oil reserves and basins are large enough to make a well or production site economically viable.
There are two types of geoscience technicians: geophysical and geological technicians.
Geophysical technicians acquire the necessary land access and drilling approvals required by the government and key stakeholders. They also work directly with seismic contractors, tabulating seismic data using a variety of seismic software programs and databases and compiling any and all required data from survey notes, including maps and aerial photographs.
Geological technicians maintain geological databases, collating, analyzing, and ensuring quality control on information about wells, rock formations, topography and any other geological data. They also prepare a digital log on the data including geological maps, cross sections and illustrations using geological software programs.
2) Petroleum Engineer
Petroleum engineers are perhaps the most in-demand professionals in the industry. Entry-level petroleum engineers are of particular interest for oil and gas companies, as they prefer to train their engineers on the job and are interested in retaining them as much as possible.
While much of the work that surrounds petroleum engineers is identifying potential oil and gas reserves, their work does differ along the stages of the oil and gas sector: reservoir, drilling and production.
Reservoir engineers identify oil and gas reserves. To this end, reservoir engineers can be expected to forecast overall field development, ensuring premium oil recovery from reservoirs and well placement.
Following the successful identification of oil and gas reserves, drilling engineers are charged with having to plan, design and implement drilling and completion programs for all types of wells. To this end, drilling engineers work both indoors during the markup stage, but also considerably on-site prior to planning and during implementation so as to ensure drilling is safe and economically sound.
Production engineers assess and maximize the performance of individual wells. They also design “connections” between the reservoir and the well, paying particular attention to the safety of the public and environmental regulation. Petroleum production also provides consumers with a variety of petroleum-related products.
3) Drilling and service rig
The drilling and service operations rig crew and service are at the heart of the operation, ensuring petroleum products are properly produced, refined and sent to consumers across the country for heat in our homes, fuel for our cars, and just about anything else made of plastic or requiring transportation.
Once a project is underway and a geoscience team consisting of petroleum engineers and geoscience technicians have appropriately identified a oil and gas reserve site, the work of the drilling crew and service rig crew begins.
The drilling crew uses mechanical and computerized equipment to drill the initial hole for an oil and gas well. The service rig crew then prepares the new well for extraction and production. Depending on the project, the drilling crew may be required to drill multiple holes for the reserve, while service crews can expect to return to the well as needed to ensure service standards throughout the life of the well, optimize production, and eventually shut the well down.
There are two major entry-level positions for drilling and service rig crews: floorhands and leasehands.
The floorhands on drilling crews assist in placing pipes into wells for production, maintain drill equipment and collect samples of drilling debris for analysis. On service rig crews, the floorhand is tasked with assisting in re-purposing and moving rig equipment in and out of project sites.
The leasehands on both the drilling and service rigs crews are tasked with loading and unloading trucks, clearing debris and obstructions from walkways along the project site, and maintain the tools used by senior drilling and service crew rig members that ensure safe and efficient extraction and production.