Drilling Engineer Duties, Salary & Universities

Table of Contents

Drilling engineers play a crucial role in the petroleum industry, designing and creating efficient drilling projects. To complete projects, a drilling engineer must comprehensively understand engineering principles. Daily, an engineer oversees all aspects of a drilling project, from the initial planning stages to execution and completion.

Drilling Engineer

This includes determining daily costs, managing mobile drilling units, coordinating and supervising the entire drilling team, and implementing sound drilling engineering methods. In addition to technical knowledge, engineers must possess strong interpersonal skills to communicate with co-workers and customers effectively.

Education Requirements

Most employers prefer that applicants have at least a bachelor’s petroleum engineering degree (as stated by the Bureau of Labor Statics). Major oil companies will accept other divisions as mechanical engineering or chemical engineering.

One must know geological and engineering principles to be a successful professional engineer. He should also possess strong problem-solving and communication skills and experience in interpersonal relationships with clients, contractors, and suppliers. In addition, he must be able to make decisions quickly and work under pressure.

Work Environment

Working Environment

You can work in the head office, onshore fields, offshore platforms, or mobile drilling units in this role. Also, you will be employed by the operating oil company, a specialized drilling rig contractor, or a service company. Remember, oil rig life might not be easy, but many have used it.

You will work with other professionals, such as geologists and geoscientists, to monitor the progress of drilling, oversee safety management, and ensure environmental protection.

Working Hours

Let’s take an example of working in one of the oil and gas companies in North Sea. Working hours in the North Sea offshore rig environment are intense and demanding. Firstly, workers commonly work shifts of twelve on and twelve off for two weeks at a time without a break. During this period, they put in hard hours drilling down into the seabed looking for mineral reserves. Furthermore, they may be called to work on rigs at any time with limited warning. For those working overseas, their shifts can involve long stints away from home of up to two months followed by one month breaks. This rotation schedule should continuously repeat itself until workers reach an agreement with their employer or move on to another job.

though working hours offshore can be quite arduous, it is also highly rewarding financially given the skill and risk required for these positions. Long hours allow for extra payments for overtime and many receive higher payment rates for hazardous activities like diving or operating cranes in tight spaces offshore. Additionally, employers provide travel and accommodation expenses while operatives are abroad giving the opportunity to explore extensively while gaining valuable experience in different parts of the world in what can be an exciting career path


This requirement may be asked in any drilling engineer job vacancy, depending on the required experience.

Technical Requirements

  1. Prepare drilling program, drilling data analysis, processing, and optimization of drilling operation measures.
  2. Drilling cost management (check oil well drilling well cost per foot) and accounting.
  3. Drilling operations and drilling contracts management.
  4. Familiar with the whole workflow of drilling operations.

Other Requirements

Technical secondary school degree or above, rich on-site experience, good computer skills, good health, adapt to the fieldwork environment, a decent, strong sense of responsibility, and holders of supervision certificates are preferred. Some oil companies prefer the engineer to have petroleum engineering certification.

Drilling Engineer License

Getting your drilling engineer license is an important milestone in the engineering industry. After several years of experience working as a drilling engineer, it is necessary to gain licensure from your state. All states have similar requirements for obtaining a drilling engineer license, such as having a bachelor’s degree and passing the Professional Engineering and Fundamentals of Engineering exams. These exams are meant to test one on the technical aspects learned through their engineering studies and evaluate their mastery of the field.

Drilling Engineer Job Description

Rig oil and gas

In general, the job description of a drilling engineer includes scheduling drilling, predicting any unforeseen problems that may appear while drilling, coordinating work and necessary equipment, analyzing data of offset wells, performing well casing design calculations, preparing directional plans, etc.

The following is the scope of work and duties of the drilling engineer:

Scope I:

Drilling Engineer Job Scope II

  • Personally conducts briefings to members of the drilling crew involved in complex types of work.
  • Participates in the commission’s work to investigate the causes of accidents and defects in the work performed by the rig.
  • Drilling Engineer draws up operational plans for the exhibition of critical operations (running of casing strings and their primary cementing, setting of cement plugs, work in case of complications in the wellbore, work with a formation tester, and emergency response).
  • Preparing technical reports (drill string sketch, sketches of the BHA, sketches and availability of emergency tools at the company, accounting for the operating time of BHA components and tool measures).
  • Maintains technical documentation and its corrections in connection with changes in the well drilling program, makes proposals for decreasing non-productive time for drilling rig, and prevents drilling accidents, complications, and problems.

Scope III

  • Participates in experimental work on developing new equipment and production technology and controls the implementation of approved measures and plans.
  • Participates in developing measures to increase commercial drilling rates and reduce the cost of good construction while not reducing the quality of the work performed.
  • Analyzes data on drilling crews (driller), drilling equipment, and tools and monitors compliance with the technical operation rules of equipment, tools, and drill bits.
  • Generally, the drilling engineer’s job description includes monitoring the process of perforations, possibly, productive horizons, compliance with the design data on the drilling operations, compliance with the parameters of the drilling fluid, the condition of the blowout preventer, the gas turbine pump, compliance with the instructions for work, and other regulatory documents.
  • Based on the analysis data, he prepares monthly written reports, which he submits to the production and technical department.
  • Also, Participates in preparing current applications for the logistics of drilling operations and maintains the necessary accounting and reporting.
  • Ensures the execution of orders, the execution promptly of the orders of representatives of state supervision and other regulatory bodies at work sites.
  • For sure, he takes part in the work of the preparation for the certification programs “Industrial safety and labor protection” of workers of the drilling rigs.
  • Supervises the technical condition of blowout equipment and personally conducts safety meetings with members of the drilling crew before opening the well of possibly productive zones.

Drilling Engineer Job Scope IV

  • The drilling Engineer’s scope of work includes fulfilling the requirements of the “Supplement” on production control at the enterprise over the state of “Industrial safety and labor protection” during the operation of hazardous (Oil Rig Hazards) production facilities and the “Regulations” on the production control commission of the enterprise.
  • Ensures compliance with the Rules: labor protection, safety, environmental safety, and fire safety during work at the company or rig site.
  • Following the “Supplement” requirements on production control, it submits written reports on the state of health and safety at worksites promptly. Control over the correctness of compilation of reference collections of rocks, the definition of categories of rocks and categories of the complexity of areas of work, requirements for accounting, and storage of geological materials.
  • Coordination of the activities of subdivisions of the geological (geophysical, hydrogeological) profile
  • Participation in developing and implementing rational complexes of prospecting methods concerning specific natural and geological conditions of the work areas.
  • Visits to geological exploration sites for management and control.
  • Coordination of thematic works performed by industrial geological organizations or research institutes in the territory of the enterprise.
  • Ensuring timely verification of geological maps based on the generalization and analysis of the results of the geological exploration work.
  • Compliance with the established deadlines for the execution of tasks and orders.
  • Compliance with the rules of labor protection, safety, and fire safety.
  • Compliance with commercial secrets, the security of official documents, and the procedure for working with documents.

Top Universities For Drilling Engineers

Universities For Drilling Engineers

Universities In USA

In Canada

Drilling Engineer Universities In Europe

In Asia

Salary of Drilling Engineer

Drilling Engineer salary varies worldwide from 500 $ in the Czech Republic to 11286 $ in the USA per year. We have collected the average salaries according to the drilling engineer job description in 35 countries.

Salary of Drilling Engineer
CountryAverage Gross Salary Per Year
Monthly Average Salary
United States 135,42711,286
Australia 119,0809,923
Germany 112,4979,375
Canada 111,9669,330
United Kingdom 98,7138,226
Netherlands 98,1128,176
United Arab Emirates 96,1638,014
France 90,5757,548
Italy 84,5727,048
Spain 74,1806,182
Saudi Arabia
(Saudi Arabia Oil History)
Portugal 60,4205,035
South Africa59,1554,930
China 57,8604,822
Ecuador 45,6743,806
Chile 41,2213,435
Malaysia 39,8533,321
Indonesia 32,4492,704
Brazil 31,2632,605
Iraq 29,6422,470
Morocco 27,2592,272
Mexico 25,0762,090
Egypt 16,3631,364
India 16,3521,363
Pakistan 15,7691,314
Colombia 15,6991,308
Argentina 15,2781,273
Turkey 15,2651,272
Czech 5,625469
Drilling Engineers Salaries


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