What is an Oil Geologist?

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  • Written By: Phil Shepley
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2019
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An oil geologist, also referred to as a petroleum geologist, is a scientist who applies many different techniques to search for the existence of oil, also referred to as fossil fuels or hydrocarbons, around the world. This type of geologist is concerned with the physical structure of the Earth, and especially those characteristics that increase the probability of the presence of fossil fuels. The field of oil geology is particularly volatile due to its connections with the economy, and more specifically the swinging prices of gas and oil. Overall, the availability of jobs is increasing because of the constant need to find new sources of oil throughout the planet.

The typical oil geologist is a geoscientist and usually is employed in the petroleum and natural gas industry. He or she is not required to do all of the work, however, as the oil geologist must work with many other types of workers in order not to only discover the presence of oil, but also to find ways to extract it as well. Some of these workers are engineers, cartographers, technicians, chemists and other kinds of scientists. Together, they are concerned with finding ways to extract the oil that are environmentally friendly and efficient.


A petroleum geologist must be adept at operating many different pieces of technology and machinery, and the job often requires difficult work. This technology is geared towards the discovery of oil deposits based on what the different levels of underground dirt and rock consist of. Based on the work of the oil geologist, it is determined where the exact point of drilling will occur. This point will not only usually result in ease of drilling, but also must be structurally solid with as little chance of any kind of disaster as possible.

The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) who were founded in 1917, are currently the largest society of professional geologists in the world. Their purpose is to help to advance scientific research, promote technology and to provide a code of professional ethics, which professional geologists are expected to adhere to. Most members of this organization work in jobs that are primarily concerned with the exploration of petroleum, and many are involved in the management of oil reservoirs across the earth. Many members are also students, and membership within the AAPG spans the globe and grows larger every year.



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