A drilling engineer develops, plans, costs, schedules and supervises the operations necessary in the process of drilling oil and gas wells. They are involved from initial well design to testing, completion and abandonment. Engineers are employed on land, on offshore platforms or on mobile drilling units either by the operating oil company, a specialist drilling contractor or a service company.
The role can involve administering drilling and service contracts, engineering design, the planning of wells and supervising the drilling crew on site.
Drilling engineers work with other professionals, such as geologists and geoscientists, to monitor drilling progress, oversee safety management and ensure the protection of the environment.
preparing well data sheets;
designing and selecting well-head equipment;
drawing up drilling programmes, taking account of desired production flow rates;
obtaining relevant data, carrying out analysis on site and recommending immediate actions as necessary;
carrying out full engineering analyses of rig site data and preparing regular well reports;
monitoring the daily progress of well operations and current daily costs, comparing actual costs with cost expenditure proposals and recommending changes or improvements to rig work techniques, which could lead to optimisation of expenditure;
liaising with specialist contractors and suppliers, such as cement companies or suppliers of drilling fluids;
monitoring safety and ensuring the good maintenance of the well;
adhering to environmental protection standards, in some cases through direct discussion with local governments to ensure compliance with legislative requirements;
establishing and administering drilling and service contracts;
coordinating and supervising the work of the drilling team;
undertaking engineering design and the planning of wells (including development work);
designing directional well paths (horizontally or multi-laterally, as appropriate);
managing operations on behalf of small clients;
contributing to conceptual field development design;
working with multidisciplinary professionals to evaluate the commercial viability of the well and monitor progress during drilling;
returning the site to its natural environmental setting if drilling is not to be pursued.