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Roustabouts and roughnecks are based on offshore facilities such as oil or gas rigs or drilling platforms, working as part of a team of up to 20 people.
Roustabouts undertake labouring tasks that help to maintain the drilling area. These include:
Most of the work is carried out under supervision of an assistant driller. See Derrickman/Driller (Oil and Gas) for further details.
Oil drilling rigs are small, mobile structures; production platforms are larger, accommodating 50 to 100 workers, where facilities include cabins, canteens, recreational facilities and offices. Alcohol and smoking are banned. Working on a rig or platform can be physically demanding, working in all types of weather, often very cold, and at heights.
Roustabouts and roughnecks are likely to wear protective clothing, which includes eye protection, harnesses, hard hats, gloves, ear defenders and thermal boiler suits.
Around 30,000 people work offshore on mobile drilling rigs, fixed production platforms or FPSOs (floating production, storage and offloading units). There is a high turnover of roustabouts, so opportunities for finding work are good.
Employers include: operating companies (usually oil companies), drilling companies, maintenance contractors, FPSO operators and specialist service companies (equipment suppliers, seismic firms and catering providers).
Roustabouts who show ability can become roughnecks after about six months. Further promotion is to derrickman/woman, assistant driller and driller. It is possible to become a driller within about five years.
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