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A wireline engineer, or a wireline field engineer or just field engineer, is responsible for determining if a recently drilled oil or gas well contains recoverable amounts of resources before the well is cased. Further tests by cased-hole field engineers determine exact flow rates. The interpreting of the various seismic, 3-D and gamma ray imaging scans is a critical step in the drilling process. It the engineer's data shows no commercial quantities of oil or gas, then the hole is plugged and the money spent drilling is wasted. If the wireline field engineer finds there are commercial quantities, then a lot more money is spent in preparations to pump out the oil or gas. Most wireline engineers have an undergraduate degree in the physical sciences, typically mechanical or petroleum engineering.
Earn a bachelor's degree in in a physical science discipline such as chemistry, geophysics, or chemical, mechanical, electrical or petroleum engineering. While wireline engineers have traditionally relied on seismic scanning for most of their well data, field engineers today also perform scans using gamma rays and other nuclear technologies to produce 3-D images.
Apply to become a wireline field engineer at a major company in the oil field services industry like Halliburton, Schlumberger or Baker Atlas. There are a number of other smaller oil field service providers that also hire wireline engineers.
Undertake the wireline field engineer training program offered by the company you work for. Training for wireline engineer positions is extensive, typically lasting 6 to 12 months. Halliburton's wireline engineer training program lasts 8 to 10 months. Each company has its own policies on everything from types of scanning equipment to use to the standards for the interpretation of data. A lot is riding on the decisions of a field engineer, and the company wants to make sure that the individual is well-trained and ready to do the job before putting him in the field.
Complete your training and become a practicing wireline engineer. The second phase of most wireline engineer training programs involves several months of hands-on training working with experienced lead engineers. In most cases you will be working with a team of two or three equipment operators and scanning technicians
Try to get some experience working in the petroleum industry in some capacity before you apply to become a wireline engineer. The ideal experience would be working as a wireline equipment operator or assistant, but even if it is just a summer or two as a roughneck in college, experience in actual oilfield drilling operations will give you a leg up on other applicants.
Clayton Browne has been writing professionally since 1994. He has written and edited everything from science fiction to semiconductor patents to dissertations in linguistics, having worked for Holt, Rinehart & Winston, Steck-Vaughn and The Psychological Corp. Browne has a Master of Science in linguistic anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.