Soft Skills

The Petroleum Engineer’s Library: Books Worth Having or Referencing

Often upon graduating, young engineers wonder which books are worth keeping and which can be sold back to the campus bookstore. In 2004, I took a professional license review course taught by Bing Wines, PE, Winrock Engineering. During the course and my study for the test, I amassed many books on the basis of Wines’ recommendations—ranging from economics to log-interpretation charts. As part of TWA’s effort to provide readers with a greater technical base, a list of useful books for the beginning or experienced petroleum engineer has been provided.

Depending on your particular discipline, certain books may be more relevant or useful. However, this list is a good start for building a library or seeking a useful resource on an unfamiliar subject.

Drilling and Completions

Well Design, Drilling Operations, Cementing, Kick Control, and Mud Systems

  • Bourgoyne A.T. et al. 1991. Applied Drilling Engineering, second edition, Textbook Series, SPE, Richardson, Texas 2.
  • Cementing Handbook – These books can be obtained from any large service company. You may find one book more helpful than another, but almost any handbook will suffice.

Casing, Tubing, and Drillstring Design

  • Packer Calculations Handbook, Baker Oil Tools.
  • Casing and Tubing: Technical Data, Dimensions and Performance Properties, 23rd edition, 2003.; Lone Star Steel; or later editions.


The discipline of production engineering covers a wide area from well completions to reservoir engineering to facilities, so it is difficult to pick one book that covers the entire area. One book that is extremely handy is 

Petroleum Engineering Handbook (2007), SPE, Richardson, Texas.


Thompson, R.S. and Wright, D.J. 1985. Oil Property Evaluation, Thompson-Wright Association.

Reservoir Engineering

  • Craft, B.C., Hawkins, M., and Terry, R.E. 1991. Applied Petroleum Reservoir Engineering, Prentice Hall.
  • Dake, L.P. 2001. The Practice of Reservoir Engineering, Elsevier Science and Technology Books/Harcourt.

Oil and Gas PVT

McCain Jr., W.D. 1990. The Properties of Petroleum Fluids, PennWell.

Formation Evaluation

Well Testing

  • Lee, J.W. 1982. Well Testing, Textbook Series, SPE, Richardson, Texas 1.

Openhole Well Logging

  • Bassiouni, Z. 1994. Theory, Measurement, and Interpolation of Well Logs, Textbook Series, SPE, Richardson, Texas 4.
  • Any service company logging charts.

The author and the entire TWA Editorial Board, would like to thank Bing Wines, PE, Winrock Engineering, for allowing us to print this list of recommended books from his petroleum engineering professional engineer review course. If you are interested in learning more about the course, please contact Wines at


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