Reservoir Engineer

Plan and build systems for tapping underground oil, water, or gas reserves.
picture of Reservoir Engineer

Quick Stats

Very Good

Salary Range
$51,000 – $119,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Reservoir Engineers do?

Pulling something from the ground, whether it’s water, oil, or natural gas, can be expensive. At times, it’s so expensive that what an investor pays for construction is more than what the item is worth on the market. A Reservoir Engineer’s mission in life is to make sure that doesn’t happen.

As a Reservoir Engineer, you work closely with Geologists and Geophysicists to determine the size of the underground reservoir. Reservoir Engineers take several trips to the site to take measurements, then you hunch over your keyboard and begin crunching the numbers.

The Reservoir Engineer will run simulations to determine where the reservoir can be tapped, and figure out how much can be taken at a time without ruining the environment or causing a blowout. You also provide reports on how much construction will cost, and when the owner may start to see a profit. Additionally, you determine when the reservoir will dry up, if your plans are followed.

When construction begins, your work is not over. You may once again travel to the site to make sure the well is performing as you specified.

As part of your work, you’ll need to be an expert in all things relating to drilling. You have to monitor the prices of machinery because this can impact how much it will cost to build a well, and how accurate your reports are. You may spend a lot of time reading trade magazines, and tracking the price of oil, machines, natural gas, and other aspects of your work. While this may mean you’ll miss out on prime television time, it will ensure that your reports are as accurate as possible.

Should I be a Reservoir Engineer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • High Achiever: You love the challenge of tackling difficult work.

  • Also known as: Resident Engineer

    How to become a Reservoir Engineer

    Most Reservoir Engineers have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaa9dh&chl=|||bachelor%27s+%2886%25%29|master%27s+%285%25%29|doctorate+%2810%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,86
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