Reservoir Engineering

Reservoir engineering is a branch of petroleum engineering that applies scientific principles to the drainage problems arising during the development and production of oil and gas reservoirs so as to obtain a high economic recovery. The working tools of the reservoir engineer are subsurface geology, applied mathematics, and the basic laws of physics and chemistry governing the behavior of liquid and vapor phases of crude oil, natural gas, and water in reservoir rock. Of particular interest to reservoir engineers is generating accurate reserves estimates for use in financial reporting to the SEC (U.

S. Securities and Exchange Commission) and other regulatory bodies. Other job responsibilities include numerical reservoir modeling, production forecasting, well testing, well drilling and workover planning, economic modeling, and PVT analysis of reservoir fluids. They also compile development plans using mathematical models and select accurate tubing size and suitable equipment for their plans and move onto designing “completions”, which are the part of the well that communicates with the reservoir rock and fluids.

Next, they design systems that will help the flow. Of course, it is always important to keep a close eye on the fluid’s behavior and its production and managing how a set of different wells might interact with one another. In addition, they have to manage relationships in relation to health, safety and environmental performance. Finally, they must always keep in touch with different departments to ensure the progress is on the right track as well as keeping in touch with the clients and keeping them informed.

Reservoir engineers also play a central role in field development planning, recommending appropriate and cost effective reservoir depletion schemes such as waterflooding or gas injection to maximize hydrocarbon recovery. Due to legislative changes in many hydrocarbon producing countries, they are also involved in the design and implementation of carbon sequestration projects in order to minimize the emission of greenhouse gases. Petroleum engineers have historically been one of the highest paid engineering disciplines; this is offset by a tendency for mass layoffs when oil prices decline.

Those who have obtained a PhD receive higher salaries. Of course location and assignments influence salary. This is an international activity and many jobs are overseas. Working as a reservoir engineer can take you all over the world. You can be employed at an operating and producing company, engineering consultancies, integrated service providers, or at a specialist drilling contracting company. All work is mainly office-based and working closely with geologists on different oilfield developments. Offshore jobs require ? shift work’ which means usually twelve hours on and twelve hours off for two weeks.

Then that would be followed by a two or three week break onshore. One interesting fact that I learned is that only a small portion of petroleum engineers are women but that number is increasing due to high demand because of the oil shortages. Working as an engineer, any engineer, can both be physically and mentally tough. You can expect to travel within a working day and you can expect to tell your family that you will be absent for the night from home due to oversea work or travel. This job market is extremely sensitive to fluctuations in oil prices and the status of existing and proposed projects.

Overall, it is a tough profession that involves procuring reserves from places that predecessors deemed too difficult or not economic with the technology of the day. Any mistake made in this profession is usually measured in millions of dollars. However, reservoir engineers are held to a very high standard. In comparison, deepwater operations are almost like space travel in terms of how challenging they both are technically. One must put up with arctic conditions or those of extreme heat. In conclusion, petroleum engineering is definitely challenging but always something to consider.

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