What Types of Work Do Reservoir Engineers Do – Your Ultimate Guide

what types of work do reservoir engineers do

Reservoir engineer are important in the oil and gas industry. However, you might not exactly be aware or understand what role they play in the petroleum industry. So, what types of work do reservoir engineers do?

In an attempt to provide you with the answer to that question, I spent some time talking to and discussing with reservoir engineers from across the world. This is particularly easy today given the use of virtual platforms to communicate.

It is worth noting that reservoir engineering, which is a branch of petroleum engineering, has made progress in the last decade. The industry is drilling more wells and recovering more oil in those places.

The techniques are better, tools are better and reservoir conditions have been improved.

In spite of these general advances, many reservoirs are being developed in an inefficient manner, vital engineering considerations often are neglected or ignored, and individual engineering efforts often are inferior to those of a decade ago.

Reservoir engineers often disagree in their interpretation of a reservoir’s performance

What type of work is Reservoir Engineering?

Reservoir engineering is a branch of petroleum engineering. Reservoir Engineering is the science that studies how to effectively/optimally extract the Hydrocarbons from these reservoirs.

It applies scientific principles to the fluid flow through porous medium during the development and production of oil and gas reservoirs so as to obtain a high economic recovery.

Reservoir engineering involves more than applied reservoir mechanics. The objective of engineering is optimization.

To obtain optimum profit from a field the reservoir engineer or the engineering team must identify and define all individual reservoirs and their physical properties.

You will then deduce each reservoir’s performance, prevent drilling of unnecessary wells, initiate operating controls at the proper time, and consider all important economic factors, including income taxes.

What types of work do reservoir engineers do?

Reservoir engineers use their knowledge of geology and fluid mechanics to determine the location and amount of fuel in underground reservoirs.

Reservoir engineers are essential to any oil and gas company as their technical expertise is incorporated in almost the whole life cycle of any project.

Starting from exploration, planning/ Commissioning, development and abandonment.

Often, these engineers work with advanced equipment, such as computer modelling and imaging programs, to locate reserves of oil and natural gas.

Types of Work Reservoir Engineers do;

  1. Design various reservoir field and identify appropriate tools to resolve all reservoir engineering issues and develop support package for new wells.
  2. Establish all developed and undeveloped reserves and maintain an efficient reserve systems and evaluate all completion and drilling activities and for various projects and coordinate with various teams for project development according to production guidelines.
  3. Monitor and analyze all surveillance programs for all reservoir performance and develop an efficient management strategy and participate in various activities to enable growth and collaborate with geoscientists and design development activities.
  4. Manage all work through reservoir analysis techniques and forecast prioritization of all development projects and recommend improvement to production and assist to recomplete all projects if required and provide technical support to all reservoir management activities.
  5. Analyze all test data and ensure accuracy of same and assist to design all reservoir models and collaborate with various team members to manage all communication for projects and recommend improvements to enhance performance.
  6. Provide support to management and manage all development and production projects and plan all area reserve and estimate all production requirements and analyze all studies and ensure optimization of all resources.
  7. Develop field plans for water injection and recommend improvements to same and perform analysis on all tests through standard applications and monitor all field and well performance.
  8. Participate in all reserve audits and prepare required documents and prepare technical presentations to be submitted to management.

Is the types of work Reservoir Engineers do hard?

There is a lot of inter-mingling between petroleum engineering and other sciences and subjects, most commonly math, economics, physics, and mechanical engineering.

The work of a reservoir engineer is tough if you are not willing to put in the effort, although it is not very easy even when you put in the effort.

What types of work makes a Reservoir Engineers Succeed?

The key for the practicing reservoir engineer is to be able to use models in an appropriate way.

In exercising good “engineering judgment,” and to start the process for any field by using all available methods, including very simple numerical models.

This helps one to begin to understand the basic “dynamics” of the reservoir—what are the major factors that will determine its performance?

Large simulation models can come later, when we have a significant amount of historical production and other data.

Reservoir engineers adopt various strategies in the development of low to ultralow permeability reservoirs, including the unconventional reservoirs. Some of the methods are as follows:

  • Infill drilling resulting in relatively close well spacing
  • Horizontal drilling, single lateral or multilateral
  • Well stimulation by hydraulic fracturing and acidization.

Type of Reservoir Engineer Work Explained

Reservoir engineers work with different technical expertise within the industry, in the exploration phase they cooperate with Geophysicists, Geologists, drilling Engineers and petro-physicists.

At this stage Reservoir engineers main input is to determine the productivity of the reservoirs and assess the reserves. They also advise the drilling engineers with the exact location of the target in the reservoir and the angle of which they will penetrate the Reservoir.

During planning or Commissioning, Reservoir engineers cooperate with project and process engineers, they supply them with production forecasts over the life time of the project, the composition of the hydrocarbons to be produced and whether any compressors or pumps will be used in the future. the reservoir pressure. the projects and process engineers will use that input to design the facilities and processing plants.

During Developments, Reservoir engineer come up with developments scenarios for developing the whole field (might consist of several reservoirs and channels). they do that through many approaches but the most effective and the most popular of them is reservoir simulation, the reservoir simulation gives you the opportunity to try all sort of different scenarios on your computer and then compare them and chose the one that will yield the max profitability.

Reservoir engineers discuss with production engineers as well the rates that will be produced daily from the wells, to maintain the life of the reservoir for longer and avoid production problems (like sand production or early water breakthrough).

Abandonment, Reservoir engineers at this stage confess that there isn’t anything more we can do to increase the productivity of the reservoir and that we have tried everything we could to get the last drop out but what is left there is uneconomic or it is just the residual oil or gas left which we won’t be able to extract with the current technology.

During all of these stages, they interact with economists, performance managers, trading and commercial managers, service companies and almost everyone in the oil and gas industry.

This is what the reservoir engineer does from a high level perspective. if you are looking for more details we can discuss them further.


In conclusion, early and accurate identification and definition of the reservoir system is essential to effective engineering. Conventional geologic techniques seldom provide sufficient data to identify and define each individual reservoir.

The reservoir engineer must supplement the geologic study with engineering data and tests to provide the necessary information.

Reservoir engineering is difficult. The most successful practitioner is usually the engineer who, through extensive efforts to understand the reservoir, manages to acquire a few more facts and thus needs fewer assumptions.

Frequently Asked Question

What types of work do reservoir engineers do?

Reservoir Engineering involves assessing oil and gas deposits. Reservoir engineers firstly estimate the size of a reservoir, then determine how much oil and gas reserves are in the reservoir and finally work out how to maximize the economic return from extracting them.

What is the job of a reservoir?

Reservoir engineers use their knowledge of geology and fluid mechanics to determine the location and amount of fuel in underground reservoirs. Often, engineers work with advanced equipment, such as computer modeling and imaging programs, to locate reserves of oil and natural gas.

What are the types of reservoir engineering?

There are several types of Reservoir Engineers:

  1. Surveillance engineers – monitor existing reservoirs
  2. Production engineers – work at optimizing production rates of oil and gas
  3. Simulation modelling engineers – conduct simulation studies to locate potential reservoirs
  4. Geothermal engineers – develop and maintain hot water and steam reservoirs

How much does a reservoir engineer make?

The national average salary for a Reservoir Engineer is $157,656 in United States as of January, 2021. Petroleum and reservoir engineers made a median salary of $137,720 in 2020. The best-paid 25 percent made $193,430 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $107,020.