The last step in oil exploration is done when petroleum engineers have a test well drilled. This step is important, because even with all the oil exploration methods available it is impossible to determine conclusively that oil or natural gas is present until a test well is drilled and oil or natural gas is actually recovered and verified. Oil exploration is very expensive, and it can cost millions of dollars with no results guaranteed. Petroleum engineers are crucial to discovering new oil fields, and there are a shortage of these engineers available, partly due to increased energy demand around the world. Because it is so labor and cost intensive to locate new oil fields, and because of the threat to the environment that fossil fuels pose, using renewable energy sources must be considered a priority. Oil reserves are becoming harder to find, and it is taking more money and effort to find new oil fields. Petroleum engineers make really good money, but this field requires years of study and experience in the field. This takes an extended amount of time to do, so filling the petroleum engineer shortage will not happen quickly.
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