Petroleum engineers generally work in offices or in research laboratories. However, they must also spend time at drilling sites, often for long periods of time. This means they must travel, sometimes with little notice.
Industries employing the largest numbers of petroleum engineers in 2010 were as follows:
|Oil and gas extraction||45%|
|Support activities for mining||15%|
|Petroleum and coal products manufacturing||7%|
Petroleum engineers work around the world; and, in fact, the best employment opportunities may include some work in other countries.
Petroleum engineers typically work full time. Many work as many as 50 or 60 hours per week when traveling to and from drilling sites to help in their operation or respond to problems as they arise. When they are at a drilling site, it is common for these engineers to work in a rotation: on duty for 84 hours and then off duty for 84 hours.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition