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How to Become an Oilfield Production Consultant

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Oilfield production consultants provide contracted work with companies and corporations in the field of petroleum production. They work under the direction of a consulting firm or manage their own consulting firms. Oilfield production consultants can work in a large range of areas from mining and extraction techniques to safety and geological mapping. The purpose of these consultants is to help companies devise methods to improve oil and gas extraction and production, to determine the need for new or modified tools, to promote worker safety and to oversee drilling and offer technical advice.

Obtain a bachelor's degree. Oilfield production consultants can hold degrees in general engineering, geology, geophysics, geological engineering, petroleum engineering or mining engineering. Geology and geophysics degrees are usually four-year programs and are obtained within the geology and earth sciences departments of universities. Types of engineering programs vary; some schools offer traditional four-year degrees while other programs take five or six years to complete. Longer programs typically involve intense study and paid internships to allow students to gain experience before entering the field with a degree. All engineering programs require candidates to take several math and science courses in addition to general education requirements during the first two years of the program. Some schools require students to complete a certain number of prerequisites and meet specific academic guidelines for admittance into engineering programs.

Obtain work experience in different aspects of the oil and gas industry. Because oilfield production consultants can work in a variety of capacities, most have years of work experience and are familiar with all of the operations of oil work. Consultants must be knowledgeable in drilling and operations including well design, hydraulics and the equipment used to drill. They must also understand the geological formations encountered at sites, be able to analyze the risk involved in completing some jobs and problem solve necessary adjustments. Knowledge of oilfield chemistry, oil flow and safety procedures are also important. Because consultant positions often involve site management, these workers are also familiar with effective personnel management techniques.

Seek employment with a consulting firm or an oil company. Some consultants work exclusively with one oil company for the duration of their employment or until a specific job or task is completed. Other consultants work for firms that offer their services to oil companies. Job postings are often available on the websites of oil companies, on the OilVoice website or on the websites of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Petroleum Institute.

Tip

Oilfield production consultants work in what is known as the professional or "upstream" sector of the oil and gas industry. Some consultants choose to start and manage their own firms after gaining experience. Gaining certification can make you more desirable to employers. The American Petroleum Institute and the Society of Petroleum Engineers offer training, courses and certifications in different aspects of the oil industry.