career petroleum sector

Career in Petroleum Sector

Yashwant Kale Career Guidance 1 Comment


Petroleum is called ‘liquid gold’. The demand for petroleum witnesses a constant surge in demand. Consequently, the need for skilled workers in the sector is expanding rapidly.

Industry prospects

The scope for growth of the oil and gas sector in India is enormous. Only around 74% of the sedimentary area of the country has been explored;
Investment in exploration and production is forecast to increase from around US$ 5 billion in 2007-08 to US$ 100 billion by the year 2017-18;
Pipeline coverage has been increasing steadily and the trend is expected to accelerate in the future;
India is emerging as a preferred choice for petroleum refining because capital cost are lower by 25% to 50% compared to other Asian countries.


Options after 12th standard

To pursue an undergraduate course leading to a degree in the field of petroleum engineering, the candidate should have completed Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) Examination or 10+2 or an equivalent examination with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. Selection for the graduate courses – B.E. and B.Tech.- is on the basis of performance in All India Engineering Entrance Examinations and IIT JEE. The choice of degree courses includes B.E. or B.Tech. (Petroleum Engineering, B.Tech. (Applied Petroleum Engineering/Petrochemical Engineering/Petroleum Refining and Petrochemicals Engineering/Petroleum Refinery Engineering/Petroleum Reservoir and Production Engineering). The undergraduate courses are of 4 years duration.

Options after graduation

Post graduation courses include M.E. or M.Tech. (Petroleum Engineering), M. Tech. (Petroleum Exploration/Petroleum Refinery Engineering/ Petroleum Refining and Petrochemicals Engineering). To be eligible to pursue such post graduate study, the candidate should be a B.E. or B.Tech. in Chemical or Petroleum Engineering. Admissions to M.Tech. courses are offered on the basis of the applicant’s score in Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) examination. The post graduate course are of 2 years duration.

High costs are a characteristic of courses in petroleum engineering. The overall cost for an undergraduate course could be around Rs. 7.00 lakh and for a post graduate course around Rs. 3.00 lakh.

ONGC, IOCL and BPCL offer scholarships to Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe students and others to meet a part of the cost

Leading institutes and colleges

University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehra Dun;
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati;
Rajiv Gandhi College of Engineering, Chennai;
Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad;
Anna University, Chennai;
Dibrugarh University, Department of Petroleum Technology;
Dr. MGR Educational and Research Institute;
Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University, Gandhinagar

Job profile

Functionally, the petroleum sector comprises two sub-sectors; upstream and downstream.

The upstream sub-sector primarily involves exploration, discovery, exploitation and production of oil and gases. Drilling technology and geophysics play a critical role.

The downstream sub-sector involves refining, marketing and distribution of finished and semi-finished petroleum products to end users. A MBA qualification would help a petroleum engineer to excel in the marketing and distribution roles.


Posts of drilling engineer, pipeline engineer, reservoir engineer, LNG production and handling engineer, production engineer, pipeline transportation engineer, etc are field level appointments.
Office appointments are available in IT consultancy and the academic sphere with colleges and universities.


Employability Skills

Excellent academic record
Excellent feedback of project exposures during the course of study
Analytical ability combined with excellent mathematical aptitude
Planning and organizing ability
Team spirit as much work will involve working with geophysicists, etc
Passion for keeping abreast of state of the art technological developments
Good communication skills in English for overseas appointment and managerial positions

Prospective Employers

Employment opportunities would be available in petroleum production, oil and gas exploration, petroleum refining and consulting engineering services. Post graduates could seek employment in the R&D departments of oil companies.

Leading Employers

Public sector undertakings (PSU) including ONGC, Oil India Limited, IOCL, BPCL, HPCL, Coal India Limited (CIL), and GAIL control the lion’s share of the petroleum sector in the country and are the major employers.
Employment opportunities could also be sought with Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Essar Oil, Cairn Energy Limited, Aban Offshore Limited and Tata Petrodyne Limited, Adani Welspun Exploration Limited, BHP Billiton, etc which operate in the private sector.

Compensation Packages

Fresh graduates in petroleum engineering from highly regarded colleges could expect monthly salaries in the range of Rs.25,000/- to Rs.30,000/-. Thereafter, much will depend upon performance, on-site skills and capabilities, etc.
Annual median salary for a Production Engineer – Rs.9.78 lakh, Instrumentation Engineer – Rs.8.12 lakh, Reservoir Engineer – Rs.10.00 lakh, and Drilling Engineer – Rs.14.00 lakh.

Pluses and minuses


Excellent compensation packages;
Opportunities to travel to distant locations;
Challenging work environment especially in technological terms;
Chance to resolve the energy problems of the world


Field postings are often devoid of creature comforts;
Lonely days away from family and friends;
Risky work environment.

Comments 1

  1. The petroleum industry is a growing, global industry with many opportunities for those interested in the geosciences. The types of jobs are diverse and suit any interests and personality types. There are careers to be had in virtually every part of the world–the petroleum industry is a great gateway to foreign countries and exotic locations.

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