Build a Career in Oil & Gas

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Common careers include:

Engineers work in all parts of the upstream petroleum industry, including exploration, extraction, production and transportation. The common denominator for engineers is that work typically involves the professional design, construction, operation, maintenance, quality control and optimization of systems critical to the exploration, production, processing and transportation of petroleum.

A career as an engineer might be for you if you have the following skills, interests and abilities:

  • Like to build new things, or improve the way things work.
  • Like to work with ideas, to apply critical thinking and figure out practical solutions to problems.
  • Like to understand the fundamental physical principles regarding the behaviour of materials.
  • Are good at math and science.
  • Are detail oriented.
  • Can handle responsibility and pressure.


All professional engineering-related work requires a minimum of an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline from a recognized university. Academic qualifications and recognized professional experience may lead to qualification for a professional engineering designation (P.Eng.), a certification reflecting the highest standard of professional engineering competencies. Some jobs may require this designation and provincial requirements for licensing will vary. Engineers must meet standards for practice, codes of professional conduct and ethics. Details on internships and licensing can be found at the provincial engineering association websites listed below:

Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) Association of Professional Engineers of Nova Scotia
Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia Professional Engineers of Ontario
Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of Manitoba Engineers Prince Edward Island
Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of New Brunswick Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec
Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of Saskatchewan
Northwest Territories and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Association of Professional Engineers of Yukon

Career paths

Entry into this occupation typically begins at the junior or associate engineer level, with upward mobility through intermediate, advanced, team lead, supervisory and finally, management levels. In some cases, engineer-in-training or co-op engineering programs are entry-level points to professional engineering jobs. Some roles, particularly those that are specialized, may require a combination of work experience and post-graduate training. Career paths typically offer people management or technical specialization opportunities, often with the same employer.

In the conventional oil and gas sector, companies hire from three main engineering disciplines - chemical, mechanical and petroleum - and train them for a variety of jobs within the industry. For example, a reservoir engineer may actually hold a degree in chemical, mechanical or petroleum engineering and receive on-the-job training in reservoir engineering. In the oil sands production sector, job titles are more true to their discipline. For example, chemical engineers are chemical or process engineers, and mechanical engineers require a mechanical engineering degree.

At work

Engineering positions may be office-based, but generally require some amount of travel to other offices or work sites.  Safety-sensitive positions have stringent requirements related to being drug- and alcohol-free.

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