Petrophysics is the study of the physical and chemical properties of natural resources such as rocks, soil and fluids. Petrophysicists analyse reservoirs of these materials and help engineers determine the best areas and procedures for drilling and excavation. Many petrophysicists are employed in the oil and gas industry, though some work in the water resource and mining industries as well.
Many graduates join the major service companies such as Schlumberger or Haliburton as field engineers, often joining oil production companies later in their careers. Others go straight into oil companies as petrophysicists or transfer from other subsurface disciplines in early to mid career.
Petrophysicists study data about natural resource reservoirs and draws conclusions about the reservoir’s properties. They provide the information to engineers and geologists who are then able to make models and plans for drilling.
Some petrophysicists may choose to specialise in a particular area such as core studies or production – most remain more general and work across the value chain from exploration to development and production and R&D.
Petrophysicists work in labs and offices. They usually work standard 40-hour weeks, but some projects may require night and weekend work as well.
Typical entry route
Typically entry requires a science based undergraduate qualifications, or applied Msc degrees.