B.Tech Petroleum Engineering Course: Eligibility, Syllabus, Career
Due to the heavy demand for petroleum products for everyday use in vehicles, factories, and major industries in the modern world, there is a great demand for people who know how to extract them. People who are highly skilled in this work are called Petroleum Engineers who have pursued a B.Tech Petroleum Engineering course.
Almost everything requires energy. Energy exists everywhere albeit in different forms & according to the laws of thermodynamics, it can only be converted from one form to the other. Ever since the Industrial Revolution, the world has heavily relied on massive amounts of energy to power homes, offices, factories & industries and the energy requirements of the world are on the increase and will continue to do so in the decades to come.
Some of the major conventional sources of energy are Coal, Natural gas & Oil. Out of these, Oil & coal hold a major stake in energy consumption mainly because these products were the first sources to see wide application and adoption.
Think about it, from the petrochemicals such as Diesel, Petrol, Jet fuel, Lubricants & Asphalt, how many do you see someone make or hear making use of? You need petrol & diesel for running cars, bikes & trucks, jet fuel is used by airlines, asphalt is a major component used in making roads, not to mention waxes and lubricants are highly used in the medical industry for making ointments & gels.
Although the demand for oil and gas has taken a hit amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not long until the majority of people get vaccinated & the major economies open up for travel & business. When that happens, the demand for petroleum products is bound to go up again & with it, the demand for the students who have pursued B.Tech Petroleum Engineering Course as well.
So, if you are one of the people who is looking to make a career in the petroleum industry through a B.Tech Petroleum Engineering Course, then this article is for you. In this piece, we will go over the important topics to help make your decision on whether or not this field is for you. The topics that you can find covered in this article are –
- About B.Tech Petroleum Engineering Course & Industry
- Ideal Prerequisite skills
- Admission Procedure
Since there is a lot to discuss, let’s dive straight into it!
About B.Tech Petroleum Engineering Course & Industry
The B.Tech Petroleum Engineering Course is spread across four years and eight semesters. The course is intended to teach you processes that allow the development and efficient exploitation of crude oil and natural gas as well as its technical analysis that helps in future production forecasts & quality assessment.
Since it involves a very diverse set of tasks to be performed, there are many allied industries such as petrochemicals where you can foray into after the course. More often than not, it is advisable to do a master’s degree right after the course to expand your knowledge base and utility in allied industries for a chance at a high-paying job.
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Unlike the CS or IT branch graduates, the petroleum branch graduates are supposed to work at the site where extraction takes place, which can be in oil rigs, refineries, and gas extraction plants. So students who are thinking about applying need to be aware of this fact.
Wondering how to get into a B.Tech Petroleum engineering course? Here is the answer. Since this is an engineering degree course, the admissions take place via two routes, through the Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) scores or else through 12th Class marks.
Although there are misconceptions that B.Tech and B.E. are not the same courses, this is not entirely true. Both are bachelor’s degrees dealing with technical education, but the main difference is between the delivery of the subjects.
While B.E. courses focus on fundamentals of the subjects taught, on the other hand, B.Tech. courses deliver the fundamentals as well as teach practical application. So the choice is yours, top colleges such as IITs and NITs offer a B.Tech. degree but you need to clear JEE Advance/Main to get into those so this decision of whether to go for it or not has to be made before starting to prepare for JEE.
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Two major specializations that are popular under petroleum engineering are as follows:
- Upstream Petroleum Engineering – Upstream petroleum engineering is concerned with searching for potential underground crude oil and natural gas fields, and subsequently drilling the wells to recover and bring products like crude oil and raw natural gas to the surface
- Downstream Petroleum Engineering – Downstream petroleum engineering is concerned with refining, processing, and purifying petroleum, crude oil & raw natural gas. It also includes the marketing and distribution of products derived from fossil fuels like petroleum and gas
Although there is also a third sector called the midstream sector that caters to the transportation of raw crude oil from production facilities to the refineries, it is not a specialization under B. Tech petroleum because its basic function is to transport oil safely from one place to other & hence comes more under the transportation industry. Other than these major specializations, there are other sub-branches of petroleum engineering:
- Reservoir Engineering, which involves the assessment of oil and gas deposits & focuses on the estimation of the quantity of product in each reservoir. This field includes surveillance engineers, production engineers, simulation engineers, and geothermal engineers
- Drilling Engineering, which deals with the process of drilling the well to extract gas or oil considering the cost factor and environmental safety. This job requires a candidate who is good at quants to make the calculations faster and more accurate. Drilling engineers either work out of an office or on offshore sites where they get living arrangements through the company.
- Production Engineering which is the designing and selecting of the equipment to be used for the extraction purpose of oil and gas is yet another specialization.
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Ideal Prerequisite Skills
If you want to know that if you make for an ideal candidate to take admission into a B.Tech Petroleum Engineering Course, this section is for you.
As a Petroleum Engineering graduate, you will be responsible for coming up with new ways of extracting petroleum products such as crude oil from deep inside the earth’s surface using industrial processes and if not that, then modifying the existing processes to improve efficiency. Naturally for making such complex calculations and analysis, you need to be sharp and on your feet all the time to spot any opportunities to do so.
Just because new processes and technologies so devised by you may be incorporated in the systems to lessen the environmental impact and increase the process’s efficiency the following technical and soft skills make for a good petroleum engineering graduate –
- Numerical and Analytical ability
- Problem-solving skills
- Reasoning skills
- Understanding of basic chemical reactions
- Working knowledge of chemistry subject
- The Ability to Work Under Pressure
- Drive And Enthusiasm
- Computer Skills
- Good communication skills
- Good General Health and Fitness
For a Candidate to be eligible for taking admission into any B. Tech Petroleum course, he or she should pass the 10+2 examinations from any recognized board with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics & one language as mandatory subjects.
Additionally, he should have an average score of 55% or above to be eligible for admission in a Pvt. college or university, but the criteria for getting into a government college such as an IIT is a bit different. You need to clear the JEE Main and subsequently the JEE Advanced with a good rank in addition to clearing other the eligibility criteria.
While the qualifying criteria to appear in the JEE Main for general category candidates is 75% in 12th class exams, the same is 65% for SC/ST candidates. Also if a candidate needs to be amongst the top 20th percentile in the 12th class exams of their respective boards, to become eligible alternatively.
Although the above information holds true in normal circumstances, we are not living in normal circumstances by any stretch. Keeping in view the circumstances created by the pandemic, the government has relaxed the minimum percentage criteria for admissions in the 2021 academic year into the IITs. Now you don’t need 75% aggregate marks in 12th standard exams to become eligible to appear for JEE Mains.
Also, the students who have or are in the final year of their three-year diploma in petroleum engineering are also eligible for taking the JEE exam.
While there is no lower age limit for appearing in the JEE Main exam other than the candidate should have cleared 12th standard exams but for the JEE Advanced 2021 though, the general category candidates should not be born on or after October 1, 1996, and this is relaxed for up to 5 years more for SC/ST candidates, which means they should not be born on or after October 1, 1991.
The process of taking admission in a B.Tech Petroleum engineering course is very straightforward. You can take one of two paths to get into a college offering the B.Tech Petroleum engineering course –
- The first, submitting the 10+2 exam scores in the colleges that accept them
- Applying through JEE scores.
We recommended taking admission via the JEE because almost all colleges including the top ones, usually accept JEE scores and it becomes easier to furnish the scores at the time of applying to the colleges.
The Joint Entrance Exam that gives you a chance to get your foot into the ivy league colleges in India was earlier conducted twice every year. The two attempts were generally conducted in January and April but for the year 2021, the National Testing Agency (NTA) has decided to increase the number of attempts to Four, one each in February, March, April & May 2021. Although the exam did get conducted for the February & March sessions, the April and May sessions have been postponed as per the latest notifications on the NTA’s JEE portal.
Once you have a good enough score in JEE main & you are amongst the top 2.5 Lakh students, and also satisfy the other criteria, you become eligible for appearing in JEE advanced. Once you obtain a qualifying score in JEE advanced, then you can start applying to the colleges through the JoSSA portal for college counseling. The Seven-round counseling & seat allotment process allows the candidates to opt for colleges and their respective courses according to the rank obtained in the exams.
Just as all seat allotment and counseling sessions work, the JoSSA is no different. As the available seats of a college get filled up in a particular counseling round, the remaining seats get opened for candidates with lower ranks and the same process repeats itself until all the seats are filled or almost filled.
If a candidate has set his eyes on a B.Tech petroleum course of a college (let’s assume IIT Madras), he needs to do the opening and closing rank analysis for that college in the previous years to give him/her an idea about his chances of getting in. Once the seat you need opens up for your rank you can confirm the same through the JoSSA portal and move ahead with confirming your seat through a deposit of fee at the respective institute.
The syllabus of the course is like other engineering courses in the first year which builds on the basic topics like Maths I, II & III, Electrical engineering, Computing & Algorithms, Chemical process calculations.
These are taught in Semester-I and Semester-II, while industry-related subjects like Reservoir engineering & Drilling techniques are taught in subsequent semesters & years. It should be said that the course syllabus is well rounded and covers important topics & knowledge bases which a petroleum engineer might need to know.
While the theory subjects like Engineering Chemistry, Environmental Studies, Engineering Drawing, Petroleum Geology & Oil & Gas Processing Plant Design, build a solid base for students to get an understanding of the important trade topics & underlying phenomenons at play.
Practical subjects such as Surveying, Oil, and gas well testing, Sedimentary geology, Petroleum Analysis, Reservoir Modelling & Simulation, and Enhanced oil recovery techniques give a world view of the applications of techniques used in different scenarios.
As this is a bachelor’s degree, the duration of the course is four years. The course has been designed so that students undergo a process marked by tremendous personality development during these four years.
The theory and practical subjects taught during the time in college add up to become a mountain of knowledge which coupled with assignments, internals & on-job training and practicals define the candidate’s portfolio for the interviews. The soft skills so learned and networks so created by active participation in the college fests, if leveraged stand to add to the employability of the candidate.
A career in the Petroleum industry is a lucrative one. With attractive salary packages and an option to stay and work at a new place adds to the charm of exploring the world while working and remains an important factor in attracting bachelors to the industry. Since petroleum and its products have a huge adoption rate in almost every industry that you can think of, this industry has always seen a huge demand for top engineers by almost every refinery in the world.
Why is a job in the petroleum industry one of the sought-after choices for the huge chunk of candidates you ask?
The answer lies in the fact(s) that the work is engaging in terms of processes, people, and programs you get to use. The sheer level of joy that comes after knowing that the methods applied by you will improve the output or efficiency of the process is next to none. You get to challenge your knowledge through facing new variables and constraints in the production process which is always great for personal development & that too in a time-bound environment.
Being a petroleum engineer, you get to travel from one production site to another, sometimes to different countries. In this way, you not only get to experience new people, but you also get exposed to the culture, the food, the history, and that makes you take a leaf from the lives of many people who you have met to make you a version of yourself.
Due to the skills earned by this course apply to a wide variety of sub-fields, this is one of the best degrees that anyone can get after 12th PCM. This is one of the reasons which makes this course a lucrative option for someone trying to get a high-paying job. The starting packages are in the range of 2.1 LPA to 5.8 LPA and the salary only increases with time and experience.
There is no shortage of opportunities in this industry after graduating from a reputed college that offers the B.Tech Petroleum Engineering Course. On one hand, you have the OPEC countries (jointly the biggest producers of oil and gas in the world), who need petroleum engineers for the increasing number of production & and refining facilities to match the global demand, while on the other hand new & potential markets such as the Venezuela, Libya & Brazil are in the process of setting up their industries for oil production and will require a lot of manpower in the coming years to fill the positions.
India, which is the world’s largest oil importing country, has companies like HPCL, BPCL, Reliance and Essar group who have developed big oil refineries in various parts of the country. They hire petroleum & chemical engineering graduates to fill the manpower requirements at their plants. So there is huge potential to get a job in India as well.
While in any career, the time taken to move up the ladder depends majorly on the skills and knowledge so accumulated while working in the lower ranks, it is no different in this field as well. The B.Tech Petroleum Engineering course teaches you many hard skills that have huge real-life applications.
This is one of the facts that makes it important to specialize in one of the sub-field through a postgraduate degree. It not only opens new job avenues and opportunities but also offers various new paths such as teaching or coaching as an option for branching out in the future.
A candidate can either get an M.Tech Degree or a Ph.D. if he wants to branch out in the education sphere, while an MBA degree gives you a chance to be on the business end of the industry where you might help the company to make crucial decisions related to cost optimization & profit maximization.
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Doing an MBA in one of the core fields such as Marketing, Operations or Finance is also beneficial for you in the long run. It gives you a chance at progressing your career into business verticals in allied industries & at the same time requires you to live in a metro city or somewhere closer to your hometown.
There is no dearth of opportunities for a B.Tech graduate to have a successful career. If you are a student who has a deep interest in this field and is eager to work in a challenging but rewarding environment, the B.Tech Petroleum Engineering course is certainly the right way to go.