About This Career
Drilling and Service Rig Operators operate and maintain drilling equipment at a well site. The type of equipment and the time spent at the site are the primary differences between the two occupations.
Drilling rigs and service rigs each have a distinct function in the oil and gas industry. A drilling rig is used in exploration to determine the feasibility of a formation to produce oil or gas. A service rig is brought to a site after a drilling rig's work is complete to support the well's ongoing production. Service rigs are also used to shut in a well, repair a well or do maintenance to enhance the well’s production. A Drilling Rig Operator can spend weeks or month at a wellsite and once completed, may never return to the site. A Service Rig Operator, meanwhile, may be at a wellsite for days or weeks, returning for ongoing maintenance or to shut-in production.
The typical roles in the drilling crew include:
- Motorhands maintain drilling rig engines, transmissions, heating systems, diesel/electric generators, motors, hydraulic systems and other mechanical equipment.
- Derrickhands operate and maintain drilling fluid systems and pumps during the drilling process.
- Drillers supervise a drilling crew and operate the drill line reels, rotary equipment and pumps.
The typical roles in the service crew include:
- Derrickhands set up and dismantle the derrick, pumps and tanks and service, operate, inspect and monitor the pumps and engines at the well site.
- Operator/Drillers operate hoisting equipment control panels, monitor the progress of operations and supervise the on-site service crew and all operations of the rig.
Education: High school graduation is not required. However, previous experience in an entry-level labourer role, such as Floorhand, is typically required. Both drilling and service rig contractors have structured on-the-job training. Drilling Rig Operators can enroll in a Rig Technician Apprenticeship program while Service Rig Operators can participate in a Service Rig Competency Program.
Employment: This occupation is found in both onshore and offshore environments and is employed in the oil and gas services sector of the oil and gas industry.
Example job titles: Motorhand, Derrickhand (Drilling Rig), Driller, Derrickhand (Service Rig), Rig Technician
- Here are the two most recent postings:
Production testing operator - oil and gas well drilling
Posted on Feb 16 2018
By weyburn oilfield well testers ltdWeyburn Dependant upon experience
Directional driller - oil and gas drilling
Posted on Feb 02 2018
By the crossing company incorporatedNisku Dependant upon experience
Long Periods of Standing
Working from Heights
Some Overtime Required
Careers also exist in the following industries:
- Forestry and logging
- Heavy and civil engineering construction
- Mining and quarrying
- Professional, scientific and technical services
- Utilities, including renewable energy
Oil and gas services
8412, 8232, 8222
- Grade 10
- H2S Alive
- Standard and emergency first aid
- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
- Fall protection
- Confined Space Entry and Rescue
- Well Control
- Drilling Rig Operators require a Class 5 driver’s licence and a clean driving record
- A Class 5 or 3 driver's licence (with air brake endorsement) is an asset for Service Rig Operators
- Ability to pass a pre-employment physical assessment and drug test
- A reliable vehicle to get to and from a drilling site