Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


What is petroleum engineering?

"Petroleum engineering is a combination of innovation, exploration and expansion. This major fuels the world and provides the building blocks for every other profession to effectively carry out its work."                       - Nicholas Staviski, Class of '18

Energy is a key component in our everyday lives. A secure energy future requires a balance between environmental impact and affordable supply. Petroleum and geosystems engineers are able to address and solve important issues that will lead to energy security and thus are in high demand. 

Economic and environmentally safe production of petroleum resources requires creative application of a wide spectrum of knowledge, including, but not limited to:

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Geology
  • Chemistry

Petroleum engineering overlaps with many of the engineering disciplines, such as: mechanical, chemical, and civil.

Graduates of this program will:

  • Evaluate potential oil and gas reservoirs
  • Oversee drilling activities
  • Select and implement recovery schemes
  • Design surface collection and treatment facilities

Petroleum engineers increasingly use advanced computers, not only in analysis of exploration data and simulation of reservoir behavior, but also in automation of oilfield production and drilling operations. Petroleum companies own many of the world’s supercomputers.

Petroleum engineers have a future full of challenges and opportunities. They must develop and apply new technology to recover hydrocarbons from oil shale, tar sands, and offshore oil and gas fields. They must also devise new techniques to recover oil left in the ground after application of conventional producing techniques.

Since many petroleum companies conduct worldwide operations, petroleum engineers have the opportunity for assignments all over the world. Petroleum engineers must solve the variety of technological, political, and economic problems encountered in these assignments. These exciting challenges combine to offer a petroleum engineer a most rewarding career.

For more information on the research currently conducted in the department and how our world-class faculty and students are changing the world, visit the research arm of the department, CPGE.

State-of-the-Art Energy Labs

See how Dr. Eric van Oort is reinventing drilling labs through automation.

Interested in learning more about petroleum engineering?

Read non-technical papers from current students regarding frozen fuel, offshore drilling, and geothermal energy

Facts & Figures

View UT PGE by its impressive numbers.

drilling graphic

Learn more about PE through Dr. Bommer's interactive drilling rig graphic