Petroleum Engineering, as you would expect, involves the forces at work in the discovery and extraction of natural gas and crude oil. Petroleum Engineering requires the mastering of other related disciplines involving geology and geophysics.
Petroleum Engineers are called upon to maximize efficiencies for the oil industry. They advise on reservoir size and quality as well as the effect of surrounding geological conditions such as the behavior of nearby rock and water areas.
As more and more oil and gas is extracted every year, the need for Petroleum Engineers also increases since new technologies such as horizontal drilling are required to get to more complex and difficult extraction areas. The easy reservoirs are being depleted so the harder-to-find-and-extract reservoirs are becoming the challenge for Petroleum Engineers.
It's also true that the costs of buying oil from areas of the world involved with political unrest are increasing dramatically both with monetary and human implications.
It shouldn't be a surprise that Petroleum Engineers are some of the highest paid of all engineering disciplines. Mean annual salaries start at over $100,00 and many Petroleum Engineers command well over $150,000 per year.
High concentrations of Petroleum Engineers are found in such states as Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Lousiana and Wyoming. Top paying states include Arkansas, North Dakota, Alaska, Colorado and California.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The following schools provide degree programs in Petroleum Engineering: