Southeastern Section–56th Annual Meeting (29–30 March 2007)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM


MCCARTNEY, Dean R., 5815 AWTREY CHURCH ROAD, Acworth, GA 30101/4140,

The last major petroleum boom was in the mid 1970s to early 1980s. Those geologists are starting to retire and with the price of a barrel of oil nearing all time highs a career in petroleum is promising. Most of the entry-level positions will be with the majors such as Shell, ExxonMobil, or ConocoPhillips. The optimal degree is a master degree in geology or geophysics, but some positions are available at the B.S. level. Petroleum geology is one career where the highest levels of technology will be utilized. Career paths may include Exploration, Production, or Geophysical Application. Exploration geologists will be doing 3-D seismic mapping, reservoir and source rock modeling, depositional modeling, and timing of faulting and petroleum maturation and migration. Geologists in Production will be doing detailed structure mapping, stratigraphic/structure cross-sections, isopach maps, and using this information to calculate reserves to sell your idea (play) to management and actually participate in drilling the prospects. Geologists are also needed in Geophysical Application to plan the acquisition and processing of seismic lines. As a geologist acquires more experience there will be opportunities for work outside of the United States.

The petroleum industry has a large supporting cast of companies that work with petroleum companies. All these companies hire geologists to conduct geophysical well logging to identify the lithology, porosity, and hydrocarbons in the subsurface. Potential reservoir samples are collected and sent to a company for rock type descriptions, characteristics, and laboratory analysis to evaluate the potential for hydrocarbon reserviors. While the well is being drilled mudloggers monitor the mud system, describe the drill cuttings, and look for potential reservoir intervals. Seismic companies work onshore and offshore to acquire and process the seismic data.