What does a Drilling Contractor do?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 December 2019
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Drilling contractors are used by a wide range of mining, oil, and construction companies. Many drilling contractors find work with large oil companies or governments, traveling to different sites to complete drilling projects. Regardless of the employer, however, a drilling contractor generally has four primary areas of responsibility centered around planning projects, hiring and supervising workers, maintaining safety on the job, and satisfying clients.

Most drilling contractor firms employ a range of specially skilled staff, from geologists to civil engineers to drilling operators. It is the responsibility of the contractor to ensure that all staff members are properly trained, follow the proper safety protocols, and maintain current licenses or professional certification. There is no specific post-secondary training program in drilling, but many people who work in this industry have training in a related skilled trade.

Planning the drilling project is the primary responsibility of the drilling contractor. This process includes obtaining the appropriate permissions and conducting and reviewing geological surveys. This type of project is typically quite large in scope and often requires the services of a professional project manager to implement properly.

Most drilling contractor firms hire professional project managers to complete the tasks required. Project managers are responsible for planning the project, creating time lines, organizing meetings, working with contractors and staff, and keeping the team on track. The size and scope of the project determines the number of people involved.


Drilling contractors also help manage or supervise a wide variety of operations staff. For example, a drilling contractor for an oil drilling project may require skilled staff to work specific kinds of equipment. The type of equipment used for a drilling operation in water is quite different, and may require specially trained staff.

Drilling contractors also interact with clients. Good people skills, therefore, are a must. Additionally, conflict resolution is critical.

A drilling contractor is hired to meet very specific client needs. It is his or her responsibility to review the requirements, determine if the needs can be met, and find a safe, effective way to complete the work. In this industry, projects are typically several months in length and are often in remote locations.


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