Energy and utilities jobs

Author
Daniel Higginbotham, Editor
Posted
April, 2021

For those with an engineering or scientific background, you'll find that many energy jobs are well-suited to your qualifications, but graduates from all disciplines can find work with the sector's biggest organisations

Drilling engineer

You'll work on land or offshore as you plan and supervise the drilling of oil and gas wells. Involved throughout the process, from initial well design to testing, completion and abandonment, you'll work closely with geologists and geoscientists to monitor progress, safety, and environmental protection.

Your day-to-day tasks include keeping track of costs to evaluate the commercial viability of the project, ensuring wells are properly maintained, administering drilling contracts, and taking steps to return a site to its natural state if drilling is not pursued.

At a large oil company, you'll start by managing a single well, but you can quickly be handed responsibility for significant budgets. With seniority, you'll oversee multiple wells before potentially moving into management or independent consultancy.

Get an insight into working as a drilling engineer.

Energy engineer

Whether you're working with fossil fuels or renewable energy sources, you'll design and test machinery and improve existing processes. You could be tasked with reducing emissions, minimising environmental damage, or researching new ways to generate energy.

Responsibilities include carrying out site inspections and surveys, designing and selecting equipment, adapting lab experiments to large-scale industrial processes, managing costs and revenues, and keeping up to date with relevant legislation and environmental standards.

As your career progresses, you'll have the chance to move into a senior engineering or managerial role. Alternative routes include environmental consultancy, self-employment or lecturing on energy engineering in higher education.

Read the energy engineer job profile to learn more.

Energy manager

You'll be responsible for planning, regulating and monitoring energy use, as well as introducing new policies and changes where they will improve efficiency. Waste management and sustainable development also come under your remit.

To achieve this, you'll develop, coordinate and implement energy consumption strategies, promote sustainability and the use of renewable resources, negotiate contracts with suppliers, keep accurate records, and carry out inspections.

Discover more about what it takes to become an energy manager and consider the 7 things you need to know about being an energy consultant.

Engineering geologist

It's your job to analyse natural conditions, such as soil, rock and groundwater, to identify and deal with the ways these geological factors might affect engineering works. This could be in preparation for a major construction project.

You'll be tasked with collating data and producing reports, using specialised computer software to assist with the design of built structures, supervising site and ground investigations, advising on potential problems, and planning field investigations.

The two main routes for career progression are to continue in a technical role with the aim of becoming a senior engineering geologist, or to move into engineering management.

Explore the role of an engineering geologist.

Geochemist

You'll study chemical elements in rocks and minerals, with your research informing oil exploration, toxic waste clean-up, or improving water quality. Jobs can be found with oil and gas companies, environmental consultancies and research organisations.

You'll spend time analysing the age, nature and components of rocks, minerals, soil and other samples, conducting tests using specialist equipment, generating computer models, writing technical reports and possibly giving presentations or lectures.

Once you've gained some experience, you may decide to specialise in an area such as oil and gas, or mining.

Learn more about what a geochemist does.

Geophysicist

You'll study the physical aspects of the earth using a range of methods including gravity, magnetic, electrical and seismic. Creating a picture of what lies beneath the earth's surface is vital in the oil and gas industry.

Tasks include deciding on suitable seismic measurement and data processing techniques, observing recording equipment, interpreting and mapping 2D and 3D seismic data, measuring reservoir volumes, and thinking quickly and independently to solve problems in remote locations.

In this role, Masters or PhD-level study will help your career development.

Read more about the role of a geophysicist.

Geoscientist

This encompasses a variety of roles that involve working on the earth's system, including geophysicist, geologist, geochemist, hydrogeologist and sedimentologist. You'll use data to develop models of the subsurface of the earth for a variety of purposes.

Tasks include collecting data in the field, using sophisticated software to analyse the subsurface geology, assessing the potential quality of mineral and hydrocarbon resources, collaborating with drilling engineers, and planning the location and trajectory of new wells.

View the geoscientist job profile.

Hydrogeologist

Your job is to study the distribution, flow and quality of water underground. You'll need to interpret technical data and information from maps and historical documents to build conceptual models of groundwater flow and quality.

The role requires knowledge of fundamental geology, and involves undertaking field work and site visits, designing and commissioning boreholes, analysing collected information to assess the impact potential activities may have on water quality, and ensuring compliance with regulations.

You'll benefit from gaining chartered status with the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) or The Geological Society of London.

Discover more about becoming a hydrogeologist.

Hydrographic surveyor

Also known as hydrographers, hydrographic surveyors spend time aboard survey ships and drilling platforms to measure and map underwater surfaces. This is essential when planning navigation charts, dredging, locating offshore resources, positioning wind farms and subsea cables, and monitoring erosion.

You'll need to use technical software and equipment to gather data, operate autonomous underwater vehicles, produce reports, manage onshore and offshore projects, respond to technical queries from colleagues, and deal with clients to provide survey results.

Find out more about a career as a hydrographic surveyor.

Mining engineer

You'll need to have an understanding of the impact mining operations have on their surrounding environment in order to assess the viability of the project and help to plan the mine's structure, oversee production, and help with final closure.

Responsibilities include undertaking feasibility studies, modelling or designing potential mine sites, monitoring construction projects, ensuring the safety of the site and equipment, and managing monthly budgets.

Gaining CEng status through the Engineering Council can help with career progression.

View the mining engineer job profile.

Mudlogger

During the extraction of oil and gas, mudloggers monitor and record drilling activity to provide information about the well's status. This influences decisions about the efficiency and placement of well sites.

A job as a mudlogger is seen as an entry point into the oil industry, from which you can gain knowledge and experience to move into other roles. You could become a senior mudlogger, or progress to the more senior roles of data engineer or crew chief after two to three years.

Explore what it's like to be a mudlogger.

Petroleum engineer

You'll be involved in nearly all stages of oil and gas field evaluation, development and production - finding the most efficient way to drill for hydrocarbons, using new tools and techniques, and reducing the impact on the environment.

Depending on your role, tasks include selecting suitable equipment for the well, designing systems to help the well flow, managing problems of fluid behaviour, understanding and managing the interactions of a set of wells, and keeping clients informed of your progress.

Get more detail on the job of a petroleum engineer.

Wellsite geologist

You'll use specialised tests, samples and data to develop knowledge of structures being drilled for oil and gas. As an experienced geologist, it'll be your responsibility to decide when tests should be carried out and when drilling should start, proceed and stop, taking into account health and safety considerations.

Tasks include evaluating data before drilling starts, analysing formations during drilling, advising on hazards and optimisation, making decisions on the suspension or continuation of drilling, and keeping detailed records.

Wellsite geologist isn't an entry-level role - you'll probably need two to five years' experience as a mudlogger or measuring while drilling (MWD) engineer before taking up the position.

Discover how to become a wellsite geologist.

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