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Oil Rig Mechanics

The maintenance department of an oil rig usually employs a number of mechanics as part of their crew to help with maintenance and servicing of equipment. They help to ensure that all the machinery is functioning smoothly by inspecting the hydraulic systems, motors and other machines, using a checklist. When something is not working as it should, they are required to help resolve the issue and restore it back to its original working condition. They are also responsible for working with the storekeeper and ordering supplies as required by the technical personnel of the crew.

The hours of a rig mechanic are long and very often they may have to work extended shifts as the need arises. They should be in excellent physical condition because on many occasions, their work requires them to stand for a long time or crouch in a cramped position.

However it is an excellent way to make good money using your skills. Even if you have basic mechanic skills, you can get an entry-level job on a rig, which pays $50,000 annually. If you are good at your work, you will soon grow and can opt for some of the mainstream positions as described above.


On any rig there is an endless amount of supplies. Supplies for the rig, supplies for the kitchen, supplies for the crew and so on. All this has to be effectively tracked and inventoried to minimize unnecessary losses. This is where the role of the storekeeper becomes relevant.

The storekeeper maintains the stock of supplies on board the rig. He or she is responsible for ensuring that there is sufficient stock at all times, that it is effectively tracked and monitored, that it is maintained in good working or usable condition and that it is stored as per specifications. While the storekeeper is not ‘in the forefront’ kind of role, it is still a vital addition to the rig crew. The rig will just not be able to operate, as it should if the storekeeper doesn’t do his job well.

A storekeeper should have good planning and organizing skills, a strong attention to detail, ability to pick up the rig’s inventory tracking methodology and work in an efficient manner. Annual salary is usually in the range of $45000.

Introduction into Oilfield Offshore Jobs

You may have heard lots of news lately about alternative energy, but the truth is that the world will depend on oil for the majority of our power needs for generations to come. In fact as the population continues to grow, the demand for oil is growing with it so Oilfield Jobs are available. If you are looking for a challenging, good paying job in a dependable industry, then you should definitely look into Oilfield Jobs.

Salary and Reward

One of the reasons why Oilfield Jobs make great careers is the great pay. A typical entry level roughneck makes $40,000 to $50,000 yearly and work less than 20 hours a week when averaged out over the year. Typically, roughnecks work for two weeks straight than have the next three weeks off. An added bonus is free food and lodging are supplied when you are on the rig. You do not need to pay any expenses and get to walk away with a huge paycheck.

Looking For career

Due to the benefits a lot of competition exists for an oil work career when they are posted. Looking into and for example can be useful but being mindful of oil company websites is also a good option. The HR departments will advertise Oilfield Jobs before they reach the generic job websites, by doing this they are ensuring reaching those who are truly in tune with the industry and want to work as opposed to those who are grasping at straws.

Relationship Trial

It takes a strong relationship to survive those sorts of absences. A spouse who is self-reliant and capable of dealing with household problems that may come up in the absence of the partner is essential. It may be simpler if you are a bachelor, but not so if you have a girlfriend who doesn’t like to be left alone for long periods. However, though these are significant difficulties, you will be earning lots of money once you become a pro.

What to Anticipate

Some of the bigger companies hire so much, they are always accepting applications for oil work . You can download form from their website and mail them to the company. Keep an eye on their site so you can see if any positions become available on any Oilfield Jobs. This is the perfect time to call their human resources department and re-affirm your interest of employment with the company. Following these steps will give you a better chance of getting oil work as well as rigging jobs.


Maintenance Department

The maintenance department on board the rig keeps the rig running as it should at all times. It may be a support function but without a strong and efficient maintenance team, the rig would not be able to operate.

Crane Operator

On any oil rig, there are hordes of supplies that have to be carried on and off the rig. It could be materials like casting pipes or other equipment, essential for the smooth running of the operation. It could also be the groceries and food items required to sustain the crew for this extended period. These items are usually reached to the rig via supply boats and cranes are used to transport them from the boats to the rig. A crane operator is therefore an essential and vital component of any rig crew.

A crane operator is responsible for effectively maneuvering the crane so that heavy equipment can be moved across tight spaces. As part of his function, he might also be expected to keep the crane machinery in good working order, which could include oiling, painting, lubricating and cleaning. He has a fair degree of responsibility over other members of the crew. His role will include instructing the roustabouts on various tasks and in all likelihood will have an assistant crane operator working with him to help him with his responsibilities.

To get a job as a crane operator, it will be useful to get some experience operating a crane. This could be on a rig, in which case you would start off as a roustabout and then work towards becoming an assistant crane operator where you will build most of your experience. Alternatively you can also gain crane-operating experience onshore at regular construction or related sites. However it will definitely be more challenging to get a rig crane operator job without prior rig experience.

A good crane operator is cool under pressure, has a sound knowledge of the equipment he managers, is physically strong and healthy and is a team worker. He should be able to lead, motivate and manage his team and have a close eye for detail. He may be expected to undergo additional training to improve his knowledge about the role. Typical salary for an assistant crane operator would be in the range of $28000 to $65000 per year. Crane operators will make anything upwards of $65000 per year.

Company Man

The structure of an rig crew usually involves an oil company hiring a drilling contractor to carry out the drilling operations. The rig crews are employees of the drilling contractor so in order to ensure that the operation is carried out according to the specifications, timelines and other goals, a company representative is assigned to each rig crew and this individual is referred to as the company man.

Some of the primary responsibilities of the company man are provided below:

  • Ensure and support all safety precautions and regulations on board the rig.
  • Ensure that the operation is proceeding according to the set time lines, budget and other goals.
  • Provide any company support the rig crew might require for the drilling operation or for any softer issues.
  • Serve as the eyes and ears of the oil company and report back any inconsistencies, concerns or discrepancies that may arise.

The company man is required to be around for all shifts and is responsible for the rig’s performance throughout its shifts. He is usually expected to be a college graduate and very often started out as the lowest position on a rig crew, building his experience and knowledge until he obtained this full time senior position with the oil company. A company man can progress to more senior positions like that of a floating foreman or rig superintendent who would handle complex drill issues. It is a respected and highly sought after position and commands a strong salary of $80,000 to $120,000 per year.


A critical role on any oil rig is that of the petroleum geologist. Apart from deciding where to actually drill the hole, geologists are required on a rig crew to assist with the drilling process. Since this chapter is focusing on roles within a rig crew, the role description of the geologist will be limited to his functions on the rig crew.

Some of the key responsibilities of the geologist on a rig crew are listed below:

  • The oil rig geologist spends most of his time working with the mud engineer to analyze the composition of the mud through which the drill is passing and anticipating any changes that may occur as the operation proceeds.
  • This includes collecting various samples of rock, particles and under the surface materials to fully understand how the sub surface levels are changing.
  • The geologist will also examine the gasses that emerge from the borehole wall to evaluate whether any hydrocarbons are present or due to appear.
  • Ultimately all the information he gathers is analyzed and studied so that a detailed report can be prepared outlining his opinion on the nature of the mud and suggestions on how to ensure its characteristics are maintained according to the mud composition plan.

An oil rig geologist is expected to have a graduate degree in geology and have built a fair amount of experience in the petroleum industry. It could involve working on oil rigs offshore or oil fields onshore. It is not a job for those looking for an air-conditioned office in the center of a busy metropolis. Chances are you will be positioned in sweltering or freezing conditions, exposed to the elements most of the time, getting your hands dirty with all the materials that are normally associated with an oil rig. The salary of course is commensurate with your education background and experience. You can expect a starting salary of $80,000 to $100,000 per year and as you gain experience, it could increase by up to 50%.

The Mud Engineer or Mud Man

For any drilling expedition, a vital component is the mud. It is composed of various chemicals and other essential components that ensure that the drill is kept effectively lubricated at all times, the hydrostatic pressure on the borehole wall is maintained which in turn controls any possible influx of the reservoir fluids. Controlling the chemical characteristics of the mud and keeping it constant is vital for the smooth function of the drilling operation and that’s where the role of the Mud Engineer comes in.

The mud engineer’s job responsibilities can be listed below:

  • Before the drilling operation begins, the mud engineer will consult with the geology expert and other references to prepare a ‘mud program’.
  • This will contain a detailed plan on what the chemical components of the mud should be at all times, how to keep its characteristics the same as different surfaces are reached and deciding what should be added or removed to ensure stability of the hole.
  • As drilling progresses, the mud engineer will rely on a number of experts to advise him on how the mud is changing. He will work with them to perform a series of chemical and physical tests to validate forecasts and formulate action plans.
  • As the hole gets deeper, small rock particles begin to emerge which changes the chemical composition of the mud. This has to be controlled with the help of various additives.
  • Ultimately on some occasions, the entire mud will have to be replaced and once again this will be managed by the mud engineer.
  • If at any time the stability of the borehole wall is at risk, cement is poured inside which is often times supervised and managed by the mud engineer.
  • The mud engineer maintains the equipment used to pump the mud so that it is functioning, as it should at all times.

A mud engineer’s experience and knowledge is essential for the effective running of a drill crew. He is usually expected to be a graduate with a degree in engineering or chemistry. He would have also obtained an additional certificate from a ‘mud school’ to supplement his education. Prior to becoming a mud engineer, he would need at least 10 years or more experience on an oil rig performing in roles such as derrickhands or roughnecks before spending more time with senior mud engineers.

Mud engineers are provided a lot of support for their jobs including computer aids and reference material so that all possible issues can be anticipated in advance. It is a highly critical and technical function as any mistakes in this area can prove to be extremely expensive. The salary is in the range of $72,000 per year but can differ according to experience, companies and tasks expected.

Oil Rig Motorman Jobs

An oil rig functions with the help of a variety of machines all of which have to run continuously and seamlessly in order to support the crew. The oil rig motorman’s job is to keep all the machines running smoothly by oiling and lubricating all the relevant parts and ensuring they are functioning as per their specifications.

Oil rigs use a variety of machines depending on either diesel or electricity to support the extraction of oil. Equipment is used to lower and extract the drill from the drill hole, another set of machinery is used to rotate the table that in turn rotates the drill bit; and still more equipment is used to circulate the mud, which is used as drilling fluid. If any of these machines were to malfunction or get damaged, it would severely hamper the productivity of the crew. The oil rig motorman’s job is to ensure that this never happens.

Apart from spending their time on the engines, the oil rig motorman also performs a number of additional tasks, some of which are listed below:

  • Train, mentor and oversee the more junior manual workers like the roughnecks and roustabouts.
  • Support the other rig workers in their roles as the demand arises.
  • Maintain all the machinery by periodically lubricating it and servicing it.
  • Examine certain machinery parts like the tongs, which are used when connecting the spinning chain and the drill pipe.
  • Ensure the stores are well stocked with replacement parts and bits. This includes ordering replacements when required.

The oil rig motorman should have a strong interest and flair for mechanics. Once again, attention to detail is vital as well as a positive team player attitude. Most roughnecks are promoted to this role after completing a certain number of years of experience and backing it up with a number of supporting certifications. It is very rare for a new entrant to grab this type of job without having any previous oil rig experience. The salary of this function ranges from $45,000 to $60,000 per year.

Derrickhand Jobs

The derrickhand is responsible for the uppermost portion of the drill and takes care of ensuring it is effectively lowered or raised from the drill hole. This process is called tripping and occurs a number of times during the day to remove any broken parts or to replace any parts of the equipment. About a quarter of the derrickhand’s time is spent high up on the rig’s uppermost platform also called the monkey board. This location is prone to strong winds and needs careful attention to safety to avoid fatal accidents.

The following are some of the key roles performed by the derrickhand:

  • Raising and lowering the drill from or into the drill hole from the monkey board. They play a vital role in guiding the pipe as it is rejoined to the pipe string when lowered into the hole.
  • Since tripping doesn’t happen throughout the day, the remaining 75% of the derrickhand’s time is spent on other activities like working the mud system, which includes circulating the mud.
  • Thanks to the derrickhand’s strong experience on the rig and dexterity in his function, he is often relied upon to assist the driller in his functions
  • Finally as and when the requirement arises, the derrickhand oversees or actually performs equipment maintenance functions on a case to case to basis.

The role of a derrickhand requires strong attention to detail, ability to work in a team, dexterity and a fearlessness of heights. It pays about $37,000 a year and after gaining sufficient experience in the function, good derrickhands can expect to get promoted to driller positions.