The Future of Oil and Gas Jobs and Required Skills

The Future of Oil and Gas Jobs and Required Skills

Nov 21, 2019

The marketing and advertising are done by companies such as BP, Shell, Chevron, and Equinor, so as to talk about the future of oil and gas jobs.

It reflects the “cool” industry, which uses technological innovation, to reduce carbon emissions and so, companies need the skills of Millennials and Generation Z.

If you are a student in high school or a fresh graduate with major related to oil and gas industry jobs, then you should be interested in oil and gas future outlook.

Are oil and gas jobs a good and worthy career choice, especially in the long run?

The answer needs the eye of the analyst.

As it is about weighing the cost and benefits of such a choice while forecasting the future based on current insights.

The future of oil and gas jobs depends on many factors and is also affected by news and trends.

What are the factors that should affect your choice of petroleum career?

Change in Prices

There is volatility in prices, due to geopolitical and civil conflicts, change in demand and supply, besides the climate change, and technological advancement.

Dr. Heinze explains

“The one thing that’s different about petroleum engineering over other standard engineering programs is that we are dealing with raw material”

“Other engineering programs build something from raw materials”

“The economics of our business is very different, any industry that uses raw materials is significantly influenced in price by governments.”

To cut it short, petroleum is unlike other commodities and raw materials, price is not the only factor affecting its demand and supply.

Currently, petroleum supply power by more than 40% globally, so governments have the upper hand in the market and influence it by regulating the production of oil and gas.

Also, companies will work with other companies on “joint ventures”, to avoid the negative impact of the drop in prices.

Classic Economics point of view about the productivity costs and gains:

When the marginal cost of producing a barrel of petroleum decreases in the USA, so even if digital automation decreases the labor demand, the net employment stays positive.

Opportunities and Benefits

Oil and gas provide many career opportunities, whether it is onshore, offshore, seismic vessel, fabrication yard, onboard drilling rig, shale oil extraction or even traditional office roles.

Despite the fact of hard working conditions and long shifts in this field, there is also an opportunity for traveling the world.

It also offers high salaries in addition to the bonus, pension, and health plans

This is also a perfect chance for you to get exposed to cutting edge technology.

It is a challenging career by nature and so, you will always be learning new things.

Companies also provide training on a regular basis, to sharpen the skills of their engineers and workers.

Digital automation will grow in the field of oil and gas industry in the USA, while China will focus more on producing batteries for electric vehicles and both will offer new job opportunities.

Shift in demand

Unlike Europe and the USA, Demand will increase from growing economies and countries in Asia and Africa and so, the future of oil and gas jobs lies there.

Also, the growth rate of the population in those countries will increase the demand for oil and gas.

Citizens’ standards of living are driving this shift in their society from poverty to the middle class.

So, their demand and consumption increases and thus, their demand for energy resources is growing.

The future of Oil and Gas jobs

Those who always seek new challenges, in the oil and gas industry, technological vacancies and job opportunities will appeal to them.

The future of oil and gas jobs lies in directing automated rig equipment or mapping the way for autonomous trucks.

According to Sharron global talent acquisition manager for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

“We definitely saw hiring start to pick up in 2018 … there was a real shift in moving toward more technical positions like data science, data engineering, and data analytics.”

“We also saw a lot of hiring closer to the wellhead – production engineers, operators, mechanics, etc. – to support production.”

He also told rigzon that his company hiring is more than doubled since 2017 and 2018.

There is a new demand for experts in digital oilfield operations such as data scientists, software engineers, digital security specialists, and machine learners.

These roles, of course, will be demanded in addition to the technical engineers.

Projects in the planning stage will create the need for engineers who possess strong communication skills and analytical skills, to manage the data gathered from consultants.

McKinsey claims that oil and gas companies will employ a higher proportion of PhD level data scientists than geologists by 2027.


So, you can choose between various jobs and career paths: exploration, drilling, development, production, storage, and transportation.

As you work with geoscientists, engineers, and laborers, you gain additional value.

  • There is an opportunity for you of working as a freelancer, if you have at least 5 years of experience and also if contracts are based on oil prices and project status.
  • Junior engineers usually work at the rig site for 2 or 3 years.
    Then their experience enables them to work on an office-based job mainly with geologists on oilfield developments.
  • To be able to enter the job market, you can join the graduate programs of Shell and BP companies.

The attraction of new talents

Since the downturn in prices of oil and gas, the industry has lost many talents, due to their retirement or career shift decisions.

But now, as the prices of oil has rebounded and reached $50 and so the hiring, job training programs, and vocational education and the search for new talents increases as well.

Also, companies find it better to hire skilled workers, for the production and drilling, to work per project.

Texas is strong oil and gas state in the USA.

According to the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers’ Texas Petro Index

Jobs in oil and gas extraction increased by an average of 3.5 percent from 2017 to 2018 while jobs in oil and gas support services increased by an average of 21.3 percent.

There is a shortage of skilled workers in the USA.

According to Forbes, the energy sector exceeds other industries in terms of new hires in the USA.

Speed of Energy transition: Green Energy in the face of Oil and Gas


image source:

This chart shows the share of new resources in the energy mix in history which grew from 1% to 10% over the past years.

So according to this chart, oil has reached 10% of the energy mix after 45 years while gas took even more years.

Renewables have grown as much as nuclear energy at 1%.

Governments in developed countries have put a tax of $200/ton of carbon emissions and it has been $100/tons in developing countries.

In order to reduce carbon emissions and reach their targets that were agreed upon in Paris.

They have done these regulations and incentive programs for companies. to continue making profit.

This will add new challenges for engineers, to store carbon dioxide gas deep underground for the long term.

So, this will create new jobs in the industry to find cost-effective ways, to find new oil fields and reduce the environmental impact, so this will guarantee process is safe and efficient.

The Shale Oil and Gas boom in the USA

“Shale Oil” is about fracking of oil that has been trapped between layers of shale rocks, using horizontal drilling and other technical advanced ways, that we previously were unable to access.

Therefore, the production of oil has reached its peak for 14 years and natural gas is expected to grow by 44% percent between 2011 and 2014.

Also, the shale oils provided us with more production than the past years and small companies can’t enter their market.

The production of shale oil and gas will be duplicated in countries such as Argentina, China, India, Saudi Arabia, and others that have huge shale deposits.

Skills required for Oil and Gas jobs

To pursue a career in petroleum engineering, qualifications and technical experience are part of the requirements.

But you should prove that you have the following skills:

  • Problem Solving.
  • Strong Communication skills.
  • Creative Thinking and Analytical skills.
  • IT skills.
  • Ability to work within a team.
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Flexibility.
  • Interpersonal skills.
  • Project Management skills.
  • Leadership skills.
  • Multitasking skills.

“The driller of tomorrow will have tremendous leadership capabilities, and will be able to mentor, coach and motivate his crew.”

Mark Scholz, President, Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors.

Qualifications that will be needed in the future are

  • Petroleum engineering.
  • Chemical engineering.
  • Mechanical engineering.
  • Civil Engineering.
  • Aeronautical engineering.
  • Astrophysics.
  • Earth Sciences.
  • Mathematics.

Types of jobs in the oil and gas industry

  • Drilling Engineer.
  • Energy Engineer.
  • Mining Engineer.
  • Reservoir Engineer.
  • Mudlogger.
  • Wellsite Geologist.
  • Engineering Geologist.
  • Geochemist.
  • Geoscientist.
  • Hydrographic Surveyor.
  • Completions engineer.
  • Instrumentation Technologists.

Types of employers in the oil and gas industry

  • Exploration and Production companies (National and International).
  • Oil sands companies.
  • Pipeline midstream companies.
  • Engineering consulting firms.
  • Specialist drilling contractors.
  • Integrated service providers.

Technological Innovation that enhances working conditions

Remote sensing technology lets fewer people work in the oilfield and more people to work from their office, thanks to Wifi, global networks, and visualization systems.

The future of oil and gas jobs in this case depends on using artificial intelligence, drones, and robots for safety and monitoring, in order to reduce risk.

  • 3d printed models of rigs are used to assess locations that will be used for buildings.
  • Robots are used to fix oil pipelines.
  • Augmented reality is used to asses and discover offshore oil rigs.

Cloud-based management systems allow better engagement between remote workers and provide more accurate data for decision making.

Examples of trends of Automation in the oil and gas industry

Bill Gates recently said:

“The one thing that is different today [in energy] is software, which changes the game.”

Smart Drilling

We are now in the Smart drilling era, as it is the reason behind the American oil and gas boom.

This is used to help in efficient drilling as it reduces drilling time, treatment time, drilling fluid cost, and hole problems.

It requires technology and experts or thinkers, to be implemented perfectly.

So design, analysis, equipment selection should be harmonized by the operational manager.

Because the underground is always dark.

We should refer to the 3D seismic maps that tell the engineer where to drill and the future of it will be high tech microseismic imaging.

Smart IoT drilling solutions provide real-time data and aid engineers in many ways:

  • Analyzing the downhole with data from the production of nearby wells, to be able to forecast what could lead to failure in the future.
  • Testing their ideas in less than six weeks
  • Doing remote troubleshooting for regulating oil rigs in a more efficient way.
  • Reducing environmental impact and avoid oil accidents.

Smart oilfield technology

The challenge that faces the future of oil and gas is connecting and integrating the hardware of operation, exploration, drilling, and production to get useful data for decision making.

This helps managers to stay connected with assets and workers in the field and it takes a longer time maybe a week and also they are impacted by the hard environmental conditions.

So, there is a need for Wireless technologies to improve monitoring remotely.


The future of oil and gas jobs is challenging but yet promising.

It will be for those who have strong technical and technological skills.

There is also an increasing demand for natural scientists and environmental professionals to join the oil and gas industry.

Also, we can’t ignore the fact of the increased demand for experts in managing safety systems and also for renewable energy installation and preparation.

Therefore, the future requires reducing costs and carbon emissions of the production from all employees whatever their specialty.

In the era of digitalization and automation, communication skills will be the maestro of the field, to stay in control and succeed in managing different projects.


What are the types of employers in the oil and gas industry?

-Exploration and Production companies (National and International). -Oil sands companies. -Pipeline midstream companies. -Engineering consulting firms. -Specialist drilling contractors. -Integrated service providers.

What are types of jobs in the oil and gas industry?

-Drilling Engineer. -Energy Engineer. -Mining Engineer. -Reservoir Engineer. -Mudlogger. -Wellsite Geologist. -Engineering Geologist. -Geochemist. -Geoscientist. -Hydrographic Surveyor. -Completions engineer. -Instrumentation Technologists.

Security Question : * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.