What are the Different Oil Rigger Jobs?

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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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Jobs in the oil industry range from working on the deck crew as a roustabout or roughneck to engineering duties on the barge. Crane operators also serve a vital function on offshore oil rigs, as do safety coordinators. Oil rigger jobs also include the need for maintenance workers and people to oversee their work. Radio operators and electronic technicians are also critical to offshore drilling operations.

A roustabout works on the drilling rig as part of the deck crew. This oil rigger job includes loading and unloading supplies and equipment from ships that support the oil rig, along with keeping the work area tidy. The position might also include guiding the cranes that are used on the rig, and relieving other crew members for meal breaks.

The duties of a roughneck involve the actual drilling operations on the rig floor. This is considered a promotion from a roustabout oil rigger job. Knowledge of mechanical apparatus and welding is a plus for this position. Roughnecks typically work in groups of three and receive good benefits and salary because the job is very physically demanding.

Supervising the deck crew are the crane operators. They work with assistants to oversee all loading onto the offshore rig. The supplies include drilling equipment and food for the employees. These materials must be safely lifted off supply boats onto the rig, which requires good reflexes and depth perception.


Oil rigger jobs also include drillers, who keep track of what happens above and below the rig floor while operating drilling equipment that creates a hole in the seabed. Drillers must know about well pressure systems and emergency procedures. It usually takes many years working various oil rigger jobs before someone can work as a driller.

Derrickmen and pumpmen deal with mud pumps and other machinery. A derrickman gets the name from climbing high onto the drilling tower to assist the roughnecks when drilling pipes must be removed from the hole. They are responsible for maintaining equipment in the pump room and mixing drilling fluids needed for the operations.

An offshore oil rig relies on maintenance personnel and mechanics to keep equipment running properly. Oil rig jobs in this category include electricians, electronic technicians, and mechanics. All these jobs require emergency repairs, if needed, and may involve being hoisted high off the ground when equipment fails.

Safety is also important on an oil rig. Medics who work offshore are typically former nurses or experienced medics in the military or in emergency services; few oil rigger jobs require licensed doctors as medics. This person may also teach rig safety. Some offshore oil rig companies provide physical examinations to employees twice a year.

Several other oil rigger jobs round out the myriad duties in the offshore drilling industry. Subsea engineers, instrument technicians, radio operators, and storekeepers are some of the other jobs that keep operations running smoothly. Since oil rig workers live aboard the rig, cooks and bakers are employed. With any large-scale endeavor, managers and supervisors are required. These range from the offshore installation manager, who is in charge of the entire rig, to the toolpusher, who is the overall boss on the rig floor.


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