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Become a Petroleum Engineer
University of North Dakota's College of Engineering and Mines offers the only Petroleum Engineering degree program in the state.
In 2012, North Dakota became the second largest oil producing state in the United States and in 2014 celebrated the production of 1 million barrels per day. Advances in recovery methods from the huge reserves of North Dakota’s Williston Basin contributed to this growth. This increase in oil production has reversed the trend of declining domestic oil production. The Petroleum Engineering program at UND is aimed at educating petroleum engineers to meet the growing demands in North Dakota and elsewhere. The vision for the Petroleum Engineering program is to educate future generations of Petroleum Engineers who can contribute to building a better world through professional service and research for safe, reliable, and affordable energy production and environmental protection. UND Petroleum Engineering degree program emphasizes the development of technical problem solving skills through a fundamental understanding of geology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. The fundamentals and problem solving skills are combined with a strong background in ethics, safety, economics, information technology, leadership, management, inter-culture, and communication. The Petroleum Engineering program is designed to provide students with a systematic understanding of the petroleum industry that includes: science and technology; economics and business; policy and regulation; and society and behavior.
The UND Department of Petroleum Engineering has access to extensive laboratory facilities that are currently being utilized to conduct physical and chemical testing and computer modeling. In addition, the Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library that contains cores cut in the North Dakota portion of the oil- and coal-rich Williston Basin is utilized in several of the required Petroleum Engineering courses. Students will participate in on-going research programs on methods to enhance the recovery of oil and gas from the huge unconventional oil reserve in the Bakken formation, and sequestration of CO2.
What do Petroleum Engineers do?
- Search for resources that contain oil and gas
- Once discovered they work with geologist to understand the formation and the characteristics of the rock that contains the oil and gas
- Determine the best drilling methods and perform the drilling and other methods such as fracturing to obtain optimum production
- Perform computer simulations for production optimization and field development
- Monitor production and processing
- Design equipment and processes to optimize production – enhanced recovery
- Apply Petroleum Engineering technologies to CO2 sequestration
- Make all operations safe, smooth and environmentally healthy
- High ethical standards focused on safety
- New program aimed at developing a unique applied education and research to meet industry needs
- Concerned for the environment for future generations – implementing and developing new clean technologies
- Industry affiliates program
- Increasing demand on energy has resulted in increased need for petroleum engineers.
- Graduates work in a high-tech prestigious industry
- Fun and exciting place to study and grow
Outlook for Petroleum Engineering Graduates
- Average pay for graduates $80,000+
- >90% placement
- Petroleum engineering field is rapidly growing
- Retiring work force
- Opportunities in CO2 sequestration
- Urgent need for Petroleum Engineers
For more information about the Bachelors of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering offered in the College of Engineering and Mines, please contact the Department.
Also visit the FAQ page for answers to commonly asked questions.