Petroleum engineers are some of the most highly skilled and sought-after workers in today’s marketplace, with $137,000 being the median annual salary as of 2020 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). However, the barrier to entry in this industry can be a difficult one. Being prepared for an interview will increase the probability of getting hired, so here we look at some of the most common questions that Petroleum Engineers receive during an interview.
1. How Did You First Develop An Interest In This Field?
My interest in petroleum engineering began in high school when I started reading about different types of energy and climate change. Oil, coal, natural gas, and renewables were all fascinating to me. It seemed clear to me that our society needed more clean energy solutions and less reliance on fossil fuels. I became especially interested in natural gas because it’s cleaner than oil or coal but still has an important role to play in our energy mix.
2. What Made You Decide To Change Your Career Path?
As someone who is passionate about sustainability and climate change, I wanted to be more involved in conservation efforts. I began to research different opportunities that would allow me to work on sustainable development projects while gaining experience with a variety of different industries. After doing some research on how exactly these jobs contribute to my desired field, I started making connections and finally found a direction that aligned with my interests.
3. What Is Your Educational Background And How Will It Help In This Industry?
I had a head start on my career because of my interest in science. I shifted my focus more into chemical engineering during my time in university. I graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in 2017. During that time, I learned how to use geology and physics principles to conduct detailed studies of potential sources of oil and natural gas and even gained experience directly in the field through internships.
4. How Do You Deal With And Resolve Conflict In The Workplace?
I think that conflict is an inevitability in any workplace environment so learning how to resolve conflict professionally is an important skill to have. I always take a step back and avoid reacting emotionally in high-pressure situations. Every situation is different and requires its own unique solution, but regardless of what approach I take, my goal is always to ensure everyone on my team feels comfortable and confident about their roles. In any type of work environment, it’s important that everyone respects one another’s opinions and values; if I find myself in an uncomfortable or stressful situation, I focus on finding common ground with my colleagues.
5. How Do You Manage Stressful Situations?
I tend to find comfort in consoling with my team. Teammates can sometimes be the cause of a stressful situation, but a good team can solve more problems and help you move past obstacles faster than one person could alone. Teamwork allows you to capitalize on everyone’s strengths and knowledge, providing more opportunities to succeed.
6. What Do You Think Will Be The Greatest Challenge For You Starting Out Here?
I understand that due to the nature of the job, engineers will sometimes have to remain on the job sites for weeks at a time. I definitely think that this will be a challenge that I have to overcome and get used to. It will be difficult to maintain relationships with family and friends back home, but I’m hoping to get acquainted and make new relationships with my colleagues.
7. What Qualities Make Someone A Good Teammate?
A good teammate demonstrates strong listening skills—they let others finish talking before they respond and they take feedback kindly. They are also adaptable—if an idea or plan doesn’t pan out, they see where things went wrong and make adjustments accordingly instead of getting upset or giving up easily. They are open to new ideas, have excellent communication skills, and work hard. They possess a positive attitude, understand how important their role is, and are dedicated to doing their best. In addition to these qualities, they are able to take charge when necessary. Essentially, if you can’t trust them to get their own work done without oversight or direction from you every step of the way—when there is no opportunity for them to show initiative or experience personal growth—they probably won’t be reliable in more important situations down the road.
8. What Is Your Ideal Workplace Environment?
While I also occasionally enjoy solitude, there’s something to be said about collaboration and working with people who you can trust. It helps me stay motivated when I know that my colleagues are working alongside me. Teamwork allows us all to learn from each other and allows everyone involved to develop new skills along the way. I tend to work best in a collaborative setting, so finding an occupation where teamwork is an important part of their culture is very important to me.
9. Describe A Major Event Revolving Around This Industry.
One major event in this industry that everyone remembers is the BP oil spill in 2010 that was caused by an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 workers and sent millions of barrels of oil spilling into marine waters. It was such a huge event that it even became mainstream to where even people unfamiliar with the industry knew about it. The result was one of history’s worst environmental disasters which cost over $60 billion in economic damages and clean-up efforts.
10. What Is “Well Logging” And How Is It Used In This Industry?
Well, logging is a means by which to take measurements while drilling. While drilling, a hole is drilled deep into the rock where oil and gas are present. These wells can range from vertical wells to horizontal wells. Measurements are taken as equipment goes down through sections of rock called horizons. Drilling data is recorded, and it helps engineers estimate how much hydrocarbon exists in each horizon, as well as how much oil or gas can be extracted from each layer. This data helps companies make decisions about where to drill and what types of equipment should be used for extraction.
11. Describe How Perforation Is Used During Oil Well Drilling.
Perforation is used to break through natural rock formations in oil wells. This allows for greater access to oil and gas deposits that were previously out of reach. Once a well has been drilled, it must be perforated by sending shock waves down from a surface location; these shock waves are typically created using dynamite. Alternatively, perforation can be done by pumping heated water or some other substance into rock formations to cause cracks in their structure.
12. What Are Some Safety Procedures Practiced?
Working with oil and gas is extremely dangerous so there are many examples of safety procedures. Workers need to wear special clothing and sometimes protective gear to keep themselves safe from dangers like heat stroke, cuts from falling tools or machinery, and electrical shocks. Workers must follow procedures like: moving machinery must be shut off whenever it’s not in use; if a worker has been injured in any way, they should never do anything strenuous until they are cleared by a medical professional; company trucks should always follow routes with appropriate signage so they know where they are going at all times. Some additional steps to take are implementing a buddy system so someone can watch over you while you work on high platforms or near machines, limiting access only to those who need it, setting up emergency exits in case something happens, and always being prepared for an emergency by having reliable first aid kits in the general vicinity.
13. Describe An Example Of How Mathematics Is Used In This Industry.
Calculating Pseudo Pressure is a common calculation for any petroleum engineer. It defines how much of your oil reserves you are producing compared to what you could be producing if you had an infinite amount of equipment and labor. This can be calculated by dividing your reserve by your production. It shows whether or not you are using all available tools and resources to maximize your output. Low pseudo pressure would indicate that there is room for improvement regarding labor, technology, and efficiency.
14. What Are Some Methods Used For Well Test Analysis?
Although the methods and tools used depend on several variables such as budget, timeframe, production rate, water saturation, and history, the end goal is to quantify oil or gas reserves and ensure that high rates can be sustained in production. An example is the production profile analysis which includes double pumping or multi-pumping with pressure transient results to determine optimum separation distances between two wells.
15. Explain The Process Of Hydraulic Fracturing.
Hydraulic fracturing or fracking uses high-pressure fluid to create cracks underground, releasing previously inaccessible resources. It involves pumping water, sand, and chemicals into a well under high pressure to fracture shale rock, allowing oil and gas to flow out more freely. In a typical fracking operation, first horizontal wells are drilled from the surface down into areas where oil or gas is trapped in pores or cracks. These wells are then fracked, which means that highly pressurized fluids are pumped into them to create small fractures in layers of rock thousands of feet below. That enables oil and gas to seep out and rise up through these openings to a well that has been dug nearby — often just hundreds of feet away — where it can be extracted and brought to market. To do all that, fracking operators need somewhere safe to store toxic chemicals and water-laden fracking fluid while they’re pumping at high-pressure thousands of feet underground. Ideally, they’d want to use a big metal tank.
16. What Is Proppant Used For?
A proppant is a material used to keep fissures open once they have been created by hydraulic fracturing. Without proppant, these fractures would close immediately after injection. The most common material for proppants is sand, although synthetic materials and other particles are also used. The particles are placed in high-pressure oil or gas wells that have been hydraulically fractured in order to improve oil or gas extraction. There are certain types of proppants that provide more friction than others, and choosing one over another can make an impact on how efficiently your company extracts hydrocarbons from a well. The type of proppant used depends on several factors, including pressure and volume expected in production, rock formation characteristics including stress, and fluid viscosity.
17. What Methods Are Viable For Enhanced Oil Recovery From Preexisting Reservoirs?
There are several methods available for recoveries like water flooding, gas injection, thermal methods, and chemical injection. Choosing the best method to use depends on the condition of the reservoir like how thick the crude oil is and whether or not there is enough space in which to place huge amounts of water or gasses.
18. How Is Artificial Lift Technology Used?
They are mainly used to pump water out of oil wells. There are many different types of artificial lift mechanisms, which can apply suction, pressure, or gas injection in order to bring fluids up through a wellbore. This technology is often used when hydrocarbon reservoirs are under pressure that is too low for normal production or in reservoirs with poor permeability, both of which make producing hydrocarbons difficult. Artificial lift devices range from giant compressors and pumps, and highly pressurized gas storage containers all the way down to small packers and other mechanisms. When compared with natural drive mechanisms such as gravity or influx, the artificial lift has become much more important for hydrocarbon recovery due to advances in well drilling practices. The pumps must be operated on a regular basis to maintain production in these wells. Since it is very expensive to bring new oil fields into production, and these fields are becoming more difficult to exploit, artificial lift technology is essential for sustaining continued petroleum field development and extraction.
19. Name Some Machinery That Is Used.
Some examples are perforating guns for horizontal wells, off-set drill bits for directional wells, surface pumps and separators for liquid recovery systems, and downhole pump jacks for producing wells. The purpose and function vary greatly, from drilling equipment to mineral extraction machinery and all require specialized training to become familiar enough to operate the machinery. Other examples include the type of software used. Seismic data processing software is used in order to locate new sources of oil and natural gas that can be extracted from reservoirs. We also use geographical information systems (GIS) technology. These special programs allow geologists and geophysicists to gather, analyze, map, and predict where oil or natural gas may be found.
20. How Should Bubble Point Pressure Be Produced?
The bubble point pressure is defined as the minimum reservoir pressure required to form a bubble in the produced fluid after gas saturation has been established. When the gas comes out of the solution and forms bubbles within the fluid that is being extracted from an oil reservoir, some level of pressure is needed for stability. It occurs in oil saturation when enough gas has been dissolved into the solution to form a gas phase within the oil. The ideal situation is where most or all of the gas has gone into solution and no free gas remains. A process known as degassing may be employed at later stages in production to remove any remaining bubbles to achieve greater efficiency from a well.
21. Which Pump Is Used In The Drilling Rig And Why?
The most common pump in use today is a centrifugal pump. Centrifugal pumps work like any other water pump; they have pistons inside spinning at high speeds to generate pressure behind a fluid moving through pipes. This type of pump was not always used during drilling; up until recently, rotary gear pumps were used because they had more strength and versatility compared with their modern counterparts. However, rotary gear pumps aren’t being manufactured anymore because they are no longer strong enough to survive against the higher pressures found in deeper wells.
22. What Is Thixotropy And Why Is It Used?
Thixotropy is a property that some liquids possess; they are fluids that turn to gel when they are resting but flow freely once they’re agitated. Chemicals with thixotropic properties to get oil out of tight rock formations during extraction processes. For example, water mixed with bentonite clay is used in hydraulic fracturing to release oil from tight rock formations. The water and bentonite clay create a viscous solution that carries sand grains into cracks in rocks surrounding oil deposits.
23. What Are Mud Pumps Used For?
Mud pumps are typically used when there is a need to transport fluid down a vertical wall. They are especially useful for obtaining samples from wells that are not expected to flow under normal circumstances. The idea is to use mud pulps in order to increase permeability around wellbores, which makes it easier for producers to get their product out of subterranean rock formations.
24. What Is IPR An Acronym Of?
IPR is Inflow Performance Relationship. It is a mathematical model that defines how well oil will flow into a reservoir. It is based on 2 fundamental relationships between fluid density and volumetric flow rate and permeability to petroleum flow. From these two relationships, it is possible to calculate permeability.
25. How Many Types Of Permeability Are There?
There are four primary types of permeability which each have unique causes and characteristics. However, we only generally deal with two broad categories – primary permeability and secondary permeability. Primary permeability refers to pores or natural openings in rocks that are formed during their formation and which allow for fluid flow. Secondary permeability is caused by various types of outside influences that erode or otherwise alter rock structure.
Based on these common interview questions, you can expect that you will be asked both general questions about yourself and technical questions regarding the job. Review your technical knowledge the day prior to the interview and remember to remain confident. If you don’t know the answer to a technical question, do not make something up or create excuses. Try to answer the question to the best of your abilities based on your current understanding and assert that you are always willing to learn. The most important quality that an employer looks for is that the individual is motivated and is always working towards personal and professional development.