- Oil and Gas Services
- Grade 10
About This Career
You’re the drill sergeant of the oil and gas industry. You’ve worked your way up from other jobs on the rig by applying a strong work ethic and leadership skills. You’re often at the wellsite, overseeing the activities of workers, facilitating the movement of equipment and ensuring the safety of others. Your job is to operate and maintain drilling and service rigs.
Drilling and Service Rig Operators operate and maintain drilling equipment at a well site.
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 months 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.
In this occupation activities may include:
- Ensuring that safety and support equipment are functioning properly
- Performing service rig control tasks, such as operating the blowout prevention (BOP) system, coordinating the removal and installation of wellhead components and conducting pressure tests
- Maintaining equipment logs and preventative maintenance records
- Operating drilling fluid systems and pumps during drilling
- Operating the draw-works, rotary equipment and pumps and supervising the assembly of the drill string
- Maintaining records of footage drilled, the location and nature of strata penetrated, materials and tools used, service rendered, and time required
- Supervising floorhands and labourers
- 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.
- Standard and emergency first aid
- Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
- Fall protection
- Well control
- H2S Alive
- Confined Space entry
- A Class 5 or 3 driver's licence (with air brake endorsement) is an asset for Service Rig Operators
- Drilling Rig Operators require a Class 5 driver’s licence and a clean driving record
You bring organization and patience. Your leadership and interpersonal skills help shape the work ethic of crew members. You may find yourself dealing with entry level workers with higher levels of turnover.
- Selecting equipment
- Maintaining equipment
- Installing equipment
- Monitoring operations
- Administration and management
- Critical thinking
- Public safety and security
- Controlling operations
- Attention to detail
- Ability to pass a pre-employment physical assessment and drug test
- A reliable vehicle to get to and from a drilling site
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting
- Mining and quarrying
- Professional, scientific and technical services
Related Careers in Oil & Gas
Also known as
- Derrickhand (Drilling Rig)
- Derrickhand (Service Rig)
- Rig Technician