Oil Rig Worker Careers

How to become an Oil Rig Worker

What does a Oil Rig Worker do?

Derrickmen/women, assistant drillers and drillers 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.

Derrickmen/women work 20-25 metres above the rig floor on the derrick, the mast that supports the drilling assembly. Duties include:

  • handling and stacking sections of the drill pipe
  • maintaining the derrick
  • operating the lifting and hoisting machinery that positions the drill
  • controlling and maintaining mud pumps, and supervising mud pump operators. Training usually happens on the job to be able to do this but a course in oil and gas operations is a good start for anyone hoping to get into this career.
The work is carried out under the supervision of the driller and assistant driller.

Assistant drillers coordinate the activities on the drill floor, communicating instructions and information from the driller to the rest of the drilling team. Drillers perform a highly-skilled role, controlling the rate and continuity of the drilling as well as supervising the drilling team. Duties include:
  • controlling operations on the drill floor
  • overseeing assembly of the drilling tools, and connecting sections of the drill pipe
  • operating and controlling the machinery that raises and lowers the drill
  • keeping records of the drilling process
  • ensuring health and safety procedures are observed.

What's the working environment like working as a Oil Rig Worker?

Derrickmen/women and drillers work up to 12 hours a day on a 24- hour shift rota. They normally work on a rig or platform for two or three weeks, followed by two or three weeks’ rest period ashore.

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.

They are likely to wear protective clothing, which includes eye protection, harnesses, hard hats, gloves, ear defenders and thermal boiler suits.

What does it take to become a Oil Rig Worker?

To be a derrickman/woman or driller you should:

  • have good practical skills
  • be able to live and work as a member of a team
  • be prepared to live and work away from home
  • be assertive and able to follow and give instructions
  • be aware of health and safety issues
  • be physically fit
  • be able to work at heights.

Oil Rig Worker Career Opportunities

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Oil Rig Worker that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Cogent (Sector Skills Council for Chemicals, Nuclear, Oil and Gas, Petroleum and Polymers)
Minerva House
Bruntland Road
AB12 4QL
Tel: 01224 787800

Westhill Business Centre
Arnhall Business Park
AB32 6UF
Tel: 0870 870 4564

Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB)
Blue Court
Church Lane
Kings Langley
Tel: 01923 260 000

Facts and Stats:

  • The world produces 9.5m tonnes of oil every day
  • Christmas tree lights were introduced by Edison General Electric Co in 1901
  • A drop of water may travel thousands of miles between the time it evaporates into the atmosphere and the time it falls to the earth again as rain, sleet, or snow

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