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GATE 2021 Petroleum Engineering (PE) Syllabus, Preparation Tips and Books

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Nikkil Visha

Exams Prep Master

GATE 2021 Petroleum Engineering Syllabus has been revised and is divided into 16 broad sections. It includes topics like Linear Algebra, Calculus, Differential Equations, Numerical Methods, Petroleum Exploration, Oil & Gas Well Drilling Technology, Reservoir Engineering, Petroleum Production Operations, etc.

In GATE 2021, you can appear for a maximum of 2 papers and if you have opted for PE as your first paper, the other paper that you can choose include CH, GG, or XE. The majority of questions i.e. 55 questions will be asked from the core subject syllabus and the remaining 10 questions will be from General Aptitude. Check GATE 2021 Exam Pattern

Petroleum Engineering is a field of engineering concerned with the activities related to the production of hydrocarbons, which can be either crude oil or natural gas. GATE Petroleum Engineering paper will have three types of questions namely- Objective type, Multiple select questions, and Numerical Type.

In order to prepare for GATE 2021 Petroleum Engineering paper, candidates should go through the revised syllabus. Read the article to know more about the revised syllabus, exam pattern, preparation tips, important books, and much more.

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GATE Petroleum Engineering Syllabus

GATE 2021 Petroleum Engineering (PE) Syllabus

There are various types of Petroleum Engineers like Reservoir engineers, Completion Engineers, Drilling Engineers, Drilling fluid engineers, Production engineers. The syllabus of Petroleum Engineering (PE) consists of 16 topics mentioned below: 

The major topics of Engineering Mathematics are:

  • Linear Algebra
  • Complex variables
  • Calculus
  • Differential Equations
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Numerical Methods

The major topics of Petroleum Engineering are:

Section 1: Petroleum Exploration

  • Classification and description of some common rocks with special reference to clastic and nonclastic reservoir rocks. Origin, migration and accumulation of Petroleum. Petroleum explorationmethods.

Section 2: Oil and Gas Well Drilling Technology

  • Well planning. Drilling method. Drilling rigs Rig operating systems.
  • Drilling fluids function and properties. Drilling fluid maintenance equipment.
  • Oil & gas well cementing operations. Drill bit types and their applications. Drill string & Casing string function, operations, selection & design.
  • Drilling problems, their control & remedies. Directional drilling tools. Directional survey. Application of horizontal, multilateral, extended reach, slimwells.

Section 3: Reservoir Engineering

  • Petrophysical properties of reservoir rocks. Coring and core analysis. Reservoir fluid properties.
  • Phase behavior of hydrocarbon system. Flow of fluids through porous media.
  • Water and gas coming. Reservoir pressure measurements. Reservoir drives, drive mechanics and recovery factors. Reserve estimation &techniques.

Section 4: Petroleum Production Operations

  • Well equipments. Well completion techniques. Well production problems and mitigation. Well servicing & Workover operations.
  • Workover & completion fluids. Formation damage. Well stimulation techniques. Artificial lift techniques. Field processing of oil & gas.
  • Storage and transportation of petroleum and petroleum products. Metering and measurements oil & gas. Production system analysis & optimization. Production testing. Multiphase flow in tubing and flow-lines. Nodal system analysis. Pressure vessels, storage tanks, shell and tube heat exchangers, pumps and compressors, LNG value chain.

Section 5: Offshore Drilling and Production Practices

  • Offshore oil and gas operations & ocean environment. Offshore fixed platforms, Offshore mobile units, Station keeping methods like mooring & dynamic positioning system.
  • Offshore drilling from fixed platform, jack-up, ships and semi submersibles. Use of conductors and risers. Offshore well completion.
  • Deep water applications of subsea technology. Offshore production: Oil processing platforms, water injection platforms, storage, SPM and SBM transportation and utilities. Deep water drilling rig. Deep water production system. Emerging deep watertechnologies.

Section 6: Petroleum Formation Evaluation

  • Evaluation of petrophysical of sub-surface formations: Principles applications, advantages and disadvantages of SP, resistivity, radioactive, acoustic logs and types of tools used.
  • Evaluation of CBL/VDL, USIT, SFT, RFT. Production logging tools, principles, limitations and applications. Special type of logging tools.
  • Casing inspection tools (principles, applications and limitations), Formations micro scanner (FMS), NMR logging principles. Standard log interpretation methods. Cross-plottingmethods.

Section 7: Oil and Gas Well Testing

  • Diffusivity equation, derivation & solutions. Radius of investigation. Principle of superposition. Horner’s approximation. Drill Stem Testing.
  • Pressure Transient Tests: Drawdown and build up- test analysis. Wellbore effects. Multilayer reservoirs. Injection well testing. Multiple well testing. Interference testing, Pulse testing, well-test analysis by use of type curves. Gas welltesting.

Section 8: Health Safety and Environment in Petroleum Industry

  • Health hazards in Petroleum Industry: Toxicity, Physiological, Asphyxiation, respiratory and skin effect of petroleum hydrocarbons, sour gases. Safety System: Manual & automatic shutdown system, blow down systems. Gas detection system. Fire detection and suppression systems. Personal protection system & measures.
  • HSE Policies. Disaster & crisis management in Petroleum Industry. Environment: Environment concepts, impact on eco-system, air, water and soil. The impact of drilling & production operations on environment, Environmental transport of petroleum wastes. Offshore environmental studies. Offshore oil spill and oil spill control. Waste treatment methods.

Section 9: Enhanced Oil Recovery Techniques

  • Basic principles and mechanism of EOR, Screening of EOR process. Concept of pattern flooding, recovery efficiency, permeability heterogeneity. Macroscopic and microscopic displacement efficiency.
  • EOR methods: Chemical flooding, Miscible flooding, Thermal recoveries (steam stimulation, hot water & steam flooding, in-situ combustion), MicrobialEOR.

Section 10: Latest trends in Petroleum Engineering

  • Coal bed methane, shale gas, oil shale, gas hydrate, and heavyoil and Petroleum Engineering

Direct link to download GATE Petroleum Engineering (PE) syllabus PDF 

Weightage of Important Topics

GATE 2021 Important Topics from Petroleum Engineering

Sample Question from General Aptitude and Engineering Mathematics

  • Sample Question 1: “Going by the _________ that many hands make light work, the school _______ involved all the students in the task.” The words that best fill the blanks in the above sentence are___________?
  • Sample Question 2: A rectangle becomes a square when its length and breadth are reduced by 10 m and 5 m, respectively. During this process, the rectangle loses 650 m2 of area. What is the area of the original rectangle in square meters?

Weightage Of Sections

Topic Weightage (Marks)
Grammar 2
Sentence Completion 2
Synonyms and Antonyms 4
Sentence Completion 2
Reasoning Ability 4
Data Interpretation 3
Numerical Method 3

Also Check GATE Paper Analysis

Important Topics & Weightage of Core Syllabus

  • Sample Question 1: A cylindrical sandstone core, 7.5 cm long and 3.5 cm diameter has grain density of 3 g/cm3. If the mass of the dry core is 200 g, the porosity of the core is __________%. (rounded-off to two decimal places)
  • Sample Question 2: The probability density for three binomial distributions (D1, D2, and D3) is plotted against number of successful trials in the given figure below. Each of the plotted distributions corresponds to a unique pair of (n, p) values, where, n is the number of trials and p is the probability of success in a trial. Three sets of (n, p) values are Set (n, p) I (60, 0.3) II (60, 0.2) III (24, 0.5). Pick the correct match between the (n, p) set and the plotted distribution.
pe paper
Subject Weightage (Marks)
Petroleum Geology & Exploration 5
Oil & Gas Drilling Technology 10
Reservoir Engineering 8
Petroleum Production Operations 11
Offshore Drilling & Production Practices 6
Formation Evaluation 8
Oil & Gas Well Testing 6
HSE in petroleum Industry 5
EOR Techniques 7
Latest trends in PE 4
Total 70

GATE Exam Pattern of PE

GATE 2021 Petroleum Engineering Exam Pattern 

GATE Exam Pattern is defined paper wise depending upon candidates’ discipline. There are some important points of GATE 2021 Exam Pattern

  • GATE consists of 3 sections namely General Aptitude, Engineering Mathematics and specific subject of the paper
  • The question paper comprises a total 65 questions.
  • There are two types of questions in GATE i.e. Multiple Choice type (MCQ) and Numerical Answer Type (NAT).
  • Questions will be asked in random order and one has to select the answer (for MCQ type) and enter the answer for numerical answer type question using a mouse on a virtual keyboard.
  • Students have to attempt all the questions in a duration of three hours. 
  • The maximum number of questions in GATE 2021 will be from the core subject.
GATE PE Sectional Weightage
Engineering Mathematics 13%
General Aptitude 15%
Remaining Topics of CH 72%

Marking Scheme

Type of Question Correct Answer Incorrect Answer
MCQ 1 or 2 Marks ⅓ for 1 mark questions, ⅔ for 2 marks questions
NAT 1 or 2 Marks No Negative Marking

Best Books for PE

GATE 2021 – Best Books for Petroleum Engineering

Books for Petroleum Engineering
Books Author/ Pulisher
Khanna’s Objective Questions in Petroleum Engineering Vikas Mahto, Khanna Book Publishing Company Private Limited
Introduction to Petroleum Engineering John R. Fanchi, Wiley-Blackwell
HPCL Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited Boiler Technician Mechanical Engineering G.K Publications PVT.LTD
Elements of Petroleum Refinery Engineering OP Gupta, Khanna Publishers
Applied Petroleum Reservoir Engineering Ronald E. Terry, Prentice Hall

How to Prepare for GATE PE Paper?

How to Prepare for GATE 2021 PE Paper?

Your preparation plan should begin with a good knowledge of the syllabus and a better understanding of the exam pattern. After that comes the second step which you can call the secondary preparation plan and this plan should include the following:

1. Time and Target Based Study Plan

  • Time and target-based study plans are different from each other. The time-based study plan includes the proper division of time for daily study routine. You can divide your study time that is 5-6 hours into small intervals so that you can take breaks in between. 
  • On the other hand in target-based study plan, you can divide the whole syllabus into months then into weeks and then into days. This way you can you will come to know that how much time you need to cover the whole syllabus and the time left for revision. For example, PE has 16 major topics and if you have 4 months left for the exam then you can split it into 1 topic a week that is 16 topics in 16 weeks. 

2. Revision from Notes

First of all, you have to make a habit of making notes during the time of preparation. Yes, make notes of all the important topics and revise them whenever you get time. In revision notes you can include:

  • Basic concepts or important formulas.
  • Tricks or short cut that can be applied in some questions.
  • Important facts

This habit will save a lot of your time during your preparation as well as the exam. 

3. Right Study Material

The right study material is going to play a very important role during the time of preparations. Books, e-books, video lectures, etc are important but most of the candidates get confused and start recommending different books. Students are advised to not do this and are suggested to refer the books or study material that is easy to understand. Some of the important and best books are suggested above.

4. Practice Previous Years Papers

The previous years' papers are very helpful in understanding the exam pattern, type of questions, weightage given to each section, etc. You can include the practice papers in your daily or weekly study plan. All the candidates are advised to consider these papers as final paper and solve them with the same enthusiasm.

Download GATE Practice Paper of PE

5. Mock Test Series

Appearing for mock tests should be the last point in your preparation plan. Before appearing for mock tests you should complete your syllabus. Mock tests give the feel of real paper because it is an online test with a time limit. Some of the benefits of mock test are:

  • You will come to know about your weaker areas.
  • You can set your priorities like which section to solve first.
  • Mock test helps in relieving stress before exam as they help you in getting an idea about the final exam.

GATE Syllabus Of Other Papers

GATE 2021 Syllabus Of Other Papers

Preparation time is the time when candidates need to show dedication and motivation towards study for at least two to three months. Keep a check on what you have studied and how well. If something is still left complete it and keep revising the other topics also. Start attempting the mock tests to assess your preparation levels and try to improve your weaker areas before appearing in the final exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Ques: Based on the weightage of sections what could be the most important sections from GATE 2021 Petroleum Engineering Syllabus?

Ans: Though all the sections are very important because the basics or concepts are interrelated that means you cannot leave any topics during the time of your preparation. However, there are some of the most important topics from where you can expect the maximum number of questions. If you prepare these sections well then you can score very good marks. Some of the important topics are:

  • Oil & Gas Drilling Technology
  • Petroleum Production Operations
  • Reservoir Engineering
  • Formation Evaluation
  • EOR Techniques

Ques: Is negative marking the same for all questions in GATE Petroleum Engineering paper?

Ans: No. The negative marking will not be same for all the questions of GATE. There will be no negative marking in NAT questions. In these questions, you have to enter the numeric value with the help of a virtual keyword. In the case of MCQs, candidates will be awarded negative marks for wrong answers. 

Type of Question Correct Answer Incorrect Answer
MCQ 1 or 2 Marks

⅓ for 1 mark questions

⅔ for 2 marks questions

NAT 1 or 2 Marks No Negative Marking

Ques: What are the best books to prepare GATE 2021 Petroleum Engineering Syllabus?

Ans: Candidates are advised to refer to the books or notes from their graduation because the whole syllabus will be based on graduation level. The best books to prepare for GATE 2021 Petroleum Engineering Syllabus are mentioned below:

  • Khanna’s Objective Questions in Petroleum Engineering – By Vikas Mahto, Khanna Book Publishing Company Private Limited
  • Introduction to Petroleum Engineering – By John R. Fanchi, Wiley-Blackwell

Ques: Do I need to prepare for engineering mathematics topics while preparing for GATE Petroleum Engineering paper?

Ans: Yes. Engineering mathematics is the part of GATE Petroleum Engineering paper and the weightage fo this section is 15%. The topics that you need to cover from this section are:

  • Linear Algebra
  • Complex variables
  • Calculus
  • Differential Equations
  • Probability and Statistics
  • Numerical Methods

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College.

GATE 2021 : 42 answered questions


Ques. What do you prefer, the GATE or the IES?

● Top Answer By Keshav Jindal on 25 Feb 21

Ans. I would prefer GATE or IES because in GATE the ratio is 10:1 whereas in IES the ratio is 300:1. This makes IES a very tough competitive exam but in GATE it is easier to get good marks and rank higher as the paper is easy and less competitive compared to IES.  The IES exam is tougher than GATE because here a candidate has to excel both in academics and personality. In GATE the questions are concept based and it is easier to solve if all the concepts are clear. Also in the GATE exam, there are 65 questions and the time limit is 3 hours but in the IES exam there are 120 questions and the time limit is 2 hours. So you get less time to solve all the questions.  After qualifying for your GATE exam with good marks, you can apply to any of the big companies with higher packages and it also opens your gate to apply for PSU.   After qualifying for your IES exam, you will get a job as an assistant executive engineer and after 3-4 years of experience, you will get promoted to executive engineer post. Then after many years of experience of like 20+ years, you will get Chief Engineer posts.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. What is the pattern for the written test for M.Tech at IIT Gandhinagar?

● Top Answer By Kumar Shiwam on 24 Feb 21

Ans. The admission for M. Tech at IIT Gandhinagar is done on the basis of academic records, written test, personal interview, and valid GATE scores. Those students who have a good academic record along with good GATE scores are not supposed to appear in the written test and personal interview.  The pattern of the written test is as follows: 10 questions of General aptitude questions consisting of logical analytical and reasoning ability and engineering mathematics are asked. 15-20 questions are asked related to basic courses in various disciplines up to the third year of an undergraduate program. The total duration of the written test is 1 hour for 80 marks. A total of 40 marks for general aptitude and 40 for basic knowledge. There is a negative marking and very basic questions are asked in the test. For branch subjects, all questions are asked related to SOM, fluid mechanics, etc.  The reservation category will get relaxation in the cut-off marks as per the norms. You will also be entitled to and fro sleeper class train tickets for the shortest route from your hometown to the institute. If you pass the test then you will attend the interview on the same day.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. What are the best coaching centres for GATE and IES in Civil Engineering?

● Top Answer By Sabeer Chalana on 23 Feb 21

Ans. There are many coaching centers throughout the country for IES and GATE coaching. However, these 2 institutes enjoy a huge reputation and recognition at the national level due to their experienced faculty and their study material quality. Made Easy: It is one of the best in the field when it comes to GATE and IES coaching. They have the best faculty teaching the subjects for the students.  Their specialty lies in their high quality and concise presentation. One of my friends enrolled in the Delhi center weekend coaching program, which he claimed to be good. Their online test series is one of the best you can opt for. They are prepared keeping the present pattern in mind. The number of students enrolled is hefty and gives you a clear picture of the competition. Some criticize that their teaching lacks depth compared to other institutes. Their courses and tests require analytical knowledge and are more than enough to crack GATE/IES exams. IES Masters: This institute is one of the best in this field and has earned respect for its excellence and quality coaching within a short span of its inception. All the major subjects for all batches are handled by Mr. Kanchan Thakur who is the director of the institute. He has a brilliant command over all the subjects in Civil engineering. The study material of this institute is best and is even recommended for those who choose civil engineering as an optional subject in UPSC exams. One small setback is that other faculties than the director are not on par when compared with the faculties of Made Easy. For the GATE Online test series, you can opt for Made easy test series, and for the IES test series you can opt for IES Masters. If you plan to join made easy to enroll in Super Talent Batch which has all top faculties teaching in this batch. For Classroom coaching for civil engineering in GATE/IES, Super talent batch can be preferred if not then IES Masters. For Postal study course, one can opt for IES masters.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. Which will be a better career for ECE engineers, IBPS SO or PSU via the GATE?

● Top Answer By Vaishnavi Agrawal on 19 Feb 21

Ans. Some of my friends work in both the departments and based on their experience, I can answer this. If you look at the position of an IBPS SO, it's that of a specialist officer. You'd technically be a network administrator of all of the intra networks of the bank. You'd be a database administrator/database manager who would have the entire intra network of that particular bank under your supervision.  Now if you look at the PSU job, you'd be someone who would be responsible for sustaining the technicalities concerning PSU. Your enquiry on which one is better entirely is up to you and where your interest lies. While some might opt for GATE which concerns their core subjects entirely, others simply might find their area of interest in networking. So, decide for yourself and choose what suits you and not the rest.Read more
1 Answer

Ques. What is the difference between IES and GATE?

● Top Answer By Himani Arora on 17 Feb 21

Ans. GATE and IES, are very well known among graduate engineers. The IES exam is carried out annually by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and the GATE exam is administered by Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science (IISc) or any of the seven IITs. Syllabus and paper pattern: The complete engineering syllabus is covered by the IES exam, while GATE covers a portion of this syllabus and some other topics useful for higher studies.  While GATE tests problem-solving ability, IES tests conceptual capability.  The IES exam paper contains questions of the objective and subjective type and a total of 4 papers, while the GATE exam paper only contains questions of the objective type and only 1 paper.  Only in the subjective paper, a calculator is allowed. Difficulty Level & Duration: It will be much more difficult to solve the questions you will face in GATE than in IES.  In a single problem, GATE questions require you to apply many concepts. For that, you should have good problem-solving skills.  While most of the questions asked in IES are direct formula or a single concept based. In GATE, in 3 hours, you have to solve 65 questions that are approximately 2.5 minutes per question.  On the other hand, you have 120 questions in 2 hours to solve in IES. So, 1 minute per question which means you get nearly 2.5 times more “time” per question in GATE. But the difficulty level compensates for it. Category of PSUs and Job Scope: UPSC conducts IES examination to recruit candidates under the Govt for different engineering departments (mechanical, electrical, civil, and E&T).  Around India, The departments you get through IES are Indian Railway Service of Engineers, Indian Railway Stores Service, Indian Ordnance Factories Service AWM/JTS., Central Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Service, Geological Survey of India Engineering Service Gr ‘A’, Central Engineering Service (Roads), Gr ‘A’, Central Water Engineering Service Gr ‘A’, Indian Defence Service of Engineers, Central Power Engineering Service Gr ‘B’ and so on. The GATE exam is organized for higher studies (, PH. Ed. etc) and for placements in PSUs and Govt. Organizations. From the above-mentioned factual information, the difference between the two should be clear. Rest all depends on your choice what you opt for.Read more
1 Answer


tanishka shah
What is the marking scheme?
common admission test

Hii Tanishka, GATE 2021 consists of 65 questions carrying 100 marks.  For MCQ type questions +1 or 2 marks will be awarded for correct answers whereas 1/3 marks will be deducted for 1 mark question and 2/3 for 2 mark questions. No negative marking is there in NAT and MSQs. For more details Click Here

mizna harmain
What is the exam pattern?
common admission test

Hii Mizna, Greetings from collegedunia. GATE 2021 Exam Pattern has been revised and it is a 3-hour online test where candidates will have to attempt 65 questions carrying 100 marks. For more details visit GATE PATTERN

saksham mahajan
How many questions are asked in this section?
ankit kumar
What is the cutoff of petroleum engineering?