The ToolPusher

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The oil rig manager or toolpusher is the individual who supervises all aspects of the rig, from the crew to the machinery. The entire team depends heavily on the oil rig manager for their safety guidelines, tasks for the day, personnel issues, conflicts and other concerns. In addition, the rig manager is the interface between the oil company and the crew. He will be answerable in case of any delays, issues and disasters. On the flip side he can also claim credit for any key achievements and accomplishments.

Most rig managers get their job after working their way up. They start out as roustabouts and gradually progress up the food chain until they reach this level. Their level of experience is substantial considering they have in all likelihood had a chance to work in most of the functions on the rig. They are also on many occasions right in the thick of things, performing manual labor functions as and when the work demands it. That said, experience alone does not an effective rig manager make. He also has to be an extremely capable leader with the ability to drive a team of individuals towards a common goal.

Some of the roles of a rig manager are listed below:

  • Overseeing and supporting the set up of an oil rig and the closure of it when it is completed.
  • Coordinating and scheduling between different rig crews.
  • Supervision and adherence to all safety precautions and procedures.
  • Ensuring that the rig and crew complies with all governmental, statutory and individual company policies and procedures.
  • Leading and motivating the rig workers and handling any personnel issues that crop up.
  • Planning, organizing and managing the day-to-day activities on the rig with the help of his supporting team.

 In order to become a rig manager, you need to gain a vast amount of oil rig experience, display strong leadership potential as well as build your certifications. Some of the training you would have to complete would be First Aid, Safety, Fall Protection, Oil Field Boiler and others depending on the requirements of the company. Most rig managers have been in the industry for a number of years and depending on their experience and size of rig, can expect salaries starting from $80,000 per year.


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