Petroleum Engineer

GS-0881

Position Overview

The Department of Interior is the steward and manager of America's natural resources including oil, gas, clean coal, hydropower, and renewable energy sources. Petroleum Engineers inspect and oversee exploration, drilling, production, and plugging operations on federal oil and gas leases. They work to enhance the safety of operations and reduce potential impacts to the environment, conduct incident and spill investigations related to oil and gas exploration, and collaborate with scientists worldwide to advance the state of understanding of energy resources and provide accurate, dependable and unbiased assessments of the world’s energy resources and associated hazards.

This position is represented at the following bureaus

Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
Department of the Interior Offices
National Park Service
U.S. Geological Survey

Candidate Description

The ideal candidate is someone who can commit to the Department’s dual goals of “protecting America’s great outdoors and powering our future.” A sense of excitement about the opportunity to apply professional petroleum engineering knowledge to solving complicated technical problems that impact our natural resources and our economy in myriad ways is a must.

Work Environment

Engineers spend time in the field (sometimes in remote or offshore areas) and in office settings.

Minimum Education Requirements

Please see the Individual Occupation Requirements and the Professional and Scientific Positions Group Qualification Standard on the OPM websites.

Career Level Requirements

Responsibilities by Level

  • Entry:

    • Reviewing well activity reports
    • Inspecting offshore facilities
    • Providing support in meetings with operators
    • Reviewing regulations  

  • Mid:

    • Reviewing and analyzing complex drilling rigs and novel drilling techniques
    • Serving on teams working on environmental impact statements
    • Preparing technical engineering analyses and reports
    • Develop regulations that both protect the offshore environment and incorporate current technologies

  • Journey:

    • Performing engineering analysis of proposals to develop oil, gas, and other minerals
    • Overseeing and conducting in depth technical reviews of safety and operational aspects of Deepwater Operations Plans and new technology submittals
    • Planning, directing, overseeing and conducting investigations involving analysis and interpretation of a wide variety of data related to oil and gas fields

  • Senior:

    • Developing, planning and executing complex programs
    • Managing a technical staff including engineers, geologists, and other physical scientists
    • Formulating national policies
    • Review reservoir development strategies
    • Discuss technical issues during public meetings for exploration and development plans

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Strengths by Level

Entry 5-7
Mid 9-11
Journey 12-13
Senior 14-15
  • Accountability
    Holds self and others accountable for measurable high-quality, timely, and cost-effective results. Determines objectives, sets priorities, and delegates work. Accepts responsibility for mistakes. Complies with established control systems and rules.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Attention to Detail
    Is thorough when performing work and conscientious about attending to detail.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Compliance
    Knowledge of procedures for assessing, evaluating, and monitoring programs or projects for compliance with Federal laws, regulations, and guidance.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Customer Service
    Works with clients and customers (that is, any individuals who use or receive the services or products that your work unit produces, including the general public, individuals who work in the agency, other agencies, or organizations outside the Government) to assess their needs, provide information or assistance, resolve their problems, or satisfy their expectations; knows about available products and services; is committed to providing quality products and services.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Flexibility
    Is open to change and new information; adapts behavior or work methods in response to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles; effectively deals with ambiguity.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Influencing/Negotiating
    Persuades others to accept recommendations, cooperate, or change their behavior; works with others towards an agreement; negotiates to find mutually acceptable solutions.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Interpersonal Skills
    Treats others with courtesy, sensitivity, and respect. Considers and responds appropriately to the needs and feelings of different people in different situations.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Learning
    Uses efficient learning techniques to acquire and apply new knowledge and skills; uses training, feedback, or other opportunities for self-learning and development.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Oral Communication
    Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Organizational Awareness
    Knows the organization's mission and functions, and how its social, political, and technological systems work and operates effectively within them; this includes the programs, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations of the organization.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Problem Solving
    Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Project Management
    Knowledge of the principles, methods, or tools for developing, scheduling, coordinating, and managing projects and resources, including monitoring and inspecting costs, work, and contractor performance.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Resilience
    Deals effectively with pressure; remains optimistic and persistent, even under adversity. Recovers quickly from setbacks.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Teaching Others
    Helps others learn through formal or informal methods; identifies training needs; provides constructive feedback; coaches others on how to perform tasks; acts as a mentor.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Teamwork
    Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Technical Competence
    Uses knowledge that is acquired through formal training or extensive on-the-job experience to perform one's job; works with, understands, and evaluates technical information related to the job; advises others on technical issues.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15
  • Writing
    Recognizes or uses correct English grammar, punctuation, and spelling; communicates information (for example, facts, ideas, or messages) in a succinct and organized manner; produces written information, which may include technical material, that is appropriate for the intended audience.
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    Entry 5-7
    Mid 9-11
    Journey 12-13
    Senior 14-15

Where We Are

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