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Petroleum Engineers Working For the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (Part 2)

In part 1 of this series we discussed the history and some of the important programs relevant to the BLM. In part 2 of this series, we will explore the Petroleum Engineer (GS-0881) career path.

Pinedale, WY Well, photograph provided by the Bureau of Land Management. [1]

Pinedale, WY Well, photograph provided by the Bureau of Land Management.

Adrienne Brumley is a GS-0881-13, who works in the BLM New Mexico State Office in Santa Fe, NM. Brumley states, “I was always interested in science generally and for a career. Petroleum engineering requires knowledge of geology and includes designing wellbores that will be used to produce oil and gas”.

Brumley is excited because, “she is able to design wellbores and I get to see the results of that design immediately. I enjoy the dynamic nature of working in different areas geologically and in adapting wellbore design for individual circumstances. While some things can be predicted in oil and gas, there are aspects such as anomalies in geology, subsurface pressures, the nature of horizontal drilling, and the evolving technology of hydraulic fracturing that provide challenges (excitement!!) that keep my job interesting and rewarding”.

Brumley on the education aspects: “the field of study requires basic skills and knowledge in areas such as fluid dynamics, rock mechanics, geology, structural design, and principles of reservoir management. Some other areas of specialization include as reservoir management, drilling, production, pipeline and plant management, research, stimulation technology and law”.

Petroleum Engineers

This career path involves a unique set of skills. The petroleum engineer provides professional and technical support and makes recommendations relevant to oil and gas operations on both Federal and Indian lands. They are responsible for investigating accidents from drilling, blowouts, and fires to determine the cause and provide recommendations for issuance of safety alerts when required. Additionally, they will review applications for permits to drill, ensure that the designs will protect the environment and personnel from hazardous materials. The petroleum engineer makes sure that rigs and the equipment is safe and can stand extreme pressures, and that abandoned wells are properly plugged, to protect against subsurface formation sand and other issues.

The education requirement is at least a Bachelor’s degree in professional engineering. The courses required include differential and integral calculus, courses in at least 5 of the following 7 areas of engineering science or physics, statics, dynamics, strength of materials (stress-strain relationships), fluid mechanics, hydraulics, thermodynamics, electrical fields and circuits, nature and properties of materials or other comparable area of fundamental engineering science, physics, soil mechanics, or electronics.

Two employees were interviewed for this article. Their unique insight gives valuable information on what is it like to be a Petroleum Engineer.


Madden Deep Well Unit, Landen, WY. Photograph provided by the Bureau of Land Management. [2]

Madden Deep Well Unit, Landen, WY. Photograph provided by the Bureau of Land Management.

William Tambekou, is a GS-0881-11, who works in the BLM Farmington Field Office in Farmington, NM. Tambekou points out, “As a teenager, I was really intrigued by the science behind the extraction of oil and natural gas. In addition, the influence that oil and natural gas had socially and politically was impressive to me and created an element of curiosity which led me to choose it as a career”.

Tambekou suggests, “The most exciting part of being a petroleum engineer is that the oil industry is regularly evolving; there is a constant emergence of new technologies, which gives one the opportunity to learn every day. It is very diverse, you have the opportunity to work is such areas as drilling, production, reservoir, etc”.

You must be a U.S. citizen to apply. The salary range for a GS-07/12 is $43,328.00 to $99,920.00 / Per Year. You must also have 1 year of professional engineering experience at the next lowest grade in Federal service

In the final installment of this series, we will examine the planning and environmental coordinator (GS-0301) and hydrologist (GS-1315) career paths.

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The information provided may not cover all aspects of unique or special circumstances, federal and postal regulations, and programs are subject to change. Our articles and replies are time sensitive. Over time, various dynamic human resource guidance and factors relied upon as a basis for this article may change. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation and this service is not affiliated with OPM, the postal service or any federal entity. You should consult with school counselors, hiring agency personnel offices, and human resource professionals where appropriate. Neither the publisher or author shall be liable for any loss or any other commercial damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages.


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