Our 20th annual salary report has been published and the industry is doing well. Here’s a quick look at salary basics for key positions. Be on the lookout for future blogs as we dive deeper into individual disciplines.

2023 BASE SALARY

Discipline -Petroleum Engineering 

  • Reservoir Engineers are UP, from an Average Base Salary of $165,410, to $169,050 as well as a two point increase in Annual Cash Bonus from 26 to 28%. 
  • Drilling Engineers are FLAT, with little change in Average Base Salary of $170,425 to $170,910, but with a one point increase in Annual Cash Bonus from 25 to 26%. 
  • Production / Operations Engineers are UP, from an Average Base Salary of $158,010 to $160,385, as well as one point increase in Annual Cash Bonus from 25 to 26%. 
  • Engineering Technicians are UP, from an Average Base Salary of $107,451 to $111,220 with Annual Cash Bonus remaining at 26%. 

Discipline -Petroleum Geosciences 

  • Geologists are FLAT, from an Average Base Salary of $167,792 to $167,405, and with a two point increase in Annual Cash Bonus from 19 to 21%. 
  • GeoTechs are UP, from an Average Base Salary of $93,790 to $96,662, and with a one point increase in Annual Cash Bonus from 20% to 21%. 

Discipline -Petroleum Land Management 

  • Landmen are DOWN from an Average Base Salary of $152,472 to $150,080, and with no change in Annual Cash Bonus at 21%. 
  • Land Administration salaries are UP for both Division Order Analysts and Lease Analysts. Land Administration Manager salaries are also UP. 

 

ANNUAL CASH BONUS

Annual Cash Bonus compensation either stayed flat or either slightly declined or increased by a percentage point year-over-year, both in “Participation”, meaning number of respondents that receive an annual bonus, and in “Average Percentage of Base Salary”, meaning actual dollars paid.

For 2023, Bonuses increased for most disciplines, and our anecdotal evidence supports that assertion. The calls we conducted in Q4 that included conversations about upcoming bonus payouts were largely optimistic and some were increased substantially by pending acquisition transactions. 

 

STOCK/EQUITY

Stock / Equity Compensation for purposes of this report is defined as publicly traded stock options or stock grants, ‘phantom’ stock unit grants in the case of private firms, value creation 

shares, and other non-salary compensation (ORRI, for example), generally tied to the growth and financial health of the organization or to the success / monetization of a particular project. 

This piece of the compensation package stayed flat in the past year as E&P firms have stayed consistent with who receives stock / equity and in what quantity. As we’ve seen over the 5+ years, no longer is equity participation at a private PE-backed firm available to every employee. Whether dictated by the PE firm or via a decision by company leadership, these small private firms no longer strive to “make everyone a millionaire, from the receptionist on up”, and instead largely leave those “A” shares to principals and “B” shares to management-level employees. 

In contrast, public companies seem to have increased participation in the stock grant or stock option perk. As of late, most professionals inside the organization, and many include support / administrative staff are included in those programs. 

 

HEALTH INSURANCE

Health insurance costs continue to climb. The cost to insure a family in any kind of decent health insurance program can cost a company $4,000 / month or more, and that may not even include vision, dental life or disability coverage. And the deductible amounts can vary from reasonable ($500 per individual) to downright nonsensical ($8,000 per individual). 

E&P companies continue to keep the key pieces in place: health coverage, retirement (typically via 401(k) programs), and time off.