Petroleum engineers are spread all over the world. Most of them work directly in the petroleum industry, but some engineers are in outlying areas such as scientific research and development. The majority of petroleum engineers will be retiring within the next five to ten years. However, due to the price boom of oil, the amount of students going into petroleum is rising. This will hopefully help fill the future engineering gap.
With new students come new communities/societies. Petroleum programs are now international (not just in the US and Europe), so societies such as SPE (Society of Petroleum Engineers) have seen global expansion. These communities are a vital networking resource for current and future engineers. The global exchange of jobs, experience, personnel and general know how would not exceed without them.