Work Life – Working Week and Shift

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Drilling offshore by its very name implies that you will be working on a platform or ship in the middle of an ocean. It means you have to live on the site for a specified period and work a specific number of hours a day.

Number of Working Days

Oil rigs vary on their working day patterns but are consistent in providing the same number of days off as days on. So essentially whatever you earn for the year corresponds to 6 months of work on a rig. The schedule can vary from 14 days on and 14 days off, 21 days on and 21 days off or 28 days on and 28 days off. Very few organizations expect their workers to work longer than a 28-day stretch however if the replacement crew doesn’t arrive or the replacing worker fails to show up, extended support may be expected.

There are no off days on the rig. You will be expected to work on all the days of your schedule without any break. Similarly your time off is completely yours to enjoy. You will not be asked to ‘drop by the office’ for a meeting; it’s literally impossible as the office is in a remote location accessible only by helicopter or ship. At the same time, rarely can you ask for an extension of your time off. The crew offshore needs to be relieved and without you, at least one crewmember cannot be relieved. Unless there is a dire emergency, you will not be given any impromptu or extended time off.

Working Hours

A typical shift on an oil rig is 12 hours long with a lunch break and 2 fifteen minute coffee breaks. Your shift timings could vary from conventional schedules. A number of companies take advantage of the 24-hour presence of workers and run two shifts requiring half the team to work through the night and the remaining to work through the day. Meals are provided at designated times depending on the shift schedules. Smoking is permitted in most rigs but only in designated areas and only during your breaks or non-working periods.

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