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Oil Rig Worker: Job Description and Salary

Oil Rig Worker: Job Description and Salary
To put it in the simplest of terms, an oil rig worker works on oil rigs. CareerStint here gives you an insight into the job description and salary of an oil rig worker.
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Fast Fact
324 oil rig workers are believed to be laid off by the end of 2014 by Hercules Offshore, a drilling rig contractor based in Houston.

As the name implies, an oil rig worker works on pipelines and oil rigs. This job is one of the toughest and most physically challenging ones. Though very demanding, the industry offers great career opportunities and a good pay. There is a hierarchy of staff within the confines of this field, and they all need to contribute equally to run the company in a successful manner. In the paragraphs below, you will understand what an oil rig worker does and how much he earns.

Oil rig workers are classified based on their designations. Roughly, the designations are:
  1. Derrickman
  2. Motorhand
  3. Roughnecks
  4. Roustabout
  5. Driller
  6. Rig Welder
  7. Manager
  8. Technician
Job Profile
  • Oil rig worker duties include a variety of tasks based on their designation.
  • Any kind of repairs and associated maintenance is handled by the rig welder.
  • He can work offshore as well as underwater.
  • Any repair work associated with hydraulics, metal, etc., is handled by him, along with the related technician.
  • The managers supervise the entire drilling and other associated tasks.
  • This is a top-notch position and expects a high level of responsibility.
  • The designation of the driller is one of the most important ones. He supervises the operations assigned to the drilling team, keeps records, controls the related machinery, oversees the piping and tools, etc.
  • At the entry level, a worker would commence as a roustabout.
  • His duties are completely ground level - to supervise the cleaning, dusting, painting, driving other workers, etc.
  • Next in line are the roughnecks or floormen, who supervise the drill floor and work in the mud room.
  • They are supposed to report to the motorhand, and they work mainly on the assembly of tools and other equipment.
  • The motorhand is responsible for huge, motorized machines that control the working of the oil rig.
  • They inspect all the machines, help in their inspection and repair, order new parts, etc.
  • Then we have the derrick man, who works mainly on the derrick (platform).
  • His duties mainly comprise supervising the drill pipe - which is inserted and extracted periodically out of the drill hole.
  • He also has to supervise the fluid circulation systems.
  • The higher positions involve senior technicians, managers, control room operators, etc.

Educational Qualifications
  • More than an education, experience counts for this field.
  • The best way to get an entry is to complete an apprenticeship program.
  • To qualify for the same, you would require 4 GCSCs, to begin with.
  • English, math, and a science-related subject are mandatory.
  • Experience in any other similar industry will also do.
General Requirements
  • You must be over 18 years of age.
  • An offshore worker has to undergo the emergency response training program.
  • Alternatively known as BOSIET (basic offshore induction and emergency training), this program can be undertaken as a part of the apprenticeship.
  • It will provide you with all the necessary training to work offshore.
  • With regards to personal skills, you need to be physically compatible and have good practical and leadership skills.
  • You have to be a cooperative team member and be willing to work away from home, 24X7, and even in night shifts.
  • You will have to have presence of mind and be very alert, owing to the dangers of the work.
  • Salary varies as per the designation.
  • Entry-level roustabouts are paid up to USD 30,000.
  • Drillers and derrick men earn more than USD 40,000.
  • As one rises up the ladder, they can earn much more than USD 55,000, based on experience.
  • Highly experienced as well as high-level positions earn up to and even more than USD 100,000.
  • Salaries may vary as per laws and the company policies.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Work Environment
  • This job involves working in the oil wells - that is to say, they can be located anywhere.
  • Onshore as well as offshore drilling have a number of dangers associated with them.
  • The death rate of workmen is common if proper safety precautions are not administered.
  • Improper oil usage, defective equipment, faulty machines, etc., can lead to sinks and explosions and fires.
  • While working onshore, a number of accidents are likely to take place.
  • You are required to be in good physical condition precisely because the job involves such potential dangers, though the interesting aspects cannot be ignored.

As mentioned earlier, this job involves potential risks and dangers. It is definitely not for the faint-hearted; the job is only for the daredevils. If you are zesty and adventurous, and are ready to work hard, this field will be the one for you. Go ahead!