What does a Drilling Supervisor do?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2019
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A drilling supervisor is in charge of commercial oil drilling and workover processes as well as the direction and management of the crew. He may supervise either onshore or offshore projects. Workover refers to what occurs after the drilling is complete and the well is cleaned and repaired in preparation for the next project or phase of production.

In every stage of plotting and planning drilling activities, the drilling supervisor is typically required to keep safety in mind. Whether onshore or offshore, drilling for oil is a job that has the potential to be dangerous at almost every juncture. Even in the most ideal conditions, hazards may develop. The drilling supervisor is normally expected to be prepared to handle these situations without endangering his crew or himself.

Before drilling begins, the supervisor regularly confers with all involved personnel to ensure everyone is well informed on the particulars of the job, including being aware of any anticipated problems. These employees generally include support staff as well as geologists, contractors and drilling and petroleum engineers. The drilling supervisor normally fields questions and concerns during this pre-drilling meeting.


Besides overseeing the execution of each drilling exercise from start to finish, the supervisor is generally required to document details of the drilling and submit the results to the drilling superintendent. Other paperwork required of the supervisor commonly includes reports on equipment and employee safety and security, cost controls and environmental influences. If operations were interrupted or aborted due to inclement weather or other adversities, a detailed report of the circumstances is generally required of the supervisor.

If any of the drilling or auxiliary equipment fails, the drilling supervisor is the person who customarily decides how to proceed with the project. He may choose to attempt repair or opt to wait for replacement equipment to proceed with the work. To prevent downtime, he is ordinarily expected to monitor the contractors and crew members to guarantee they are following prescribed guidelines for the storage, maintenance and repair of the equipment and machinery.

Drilling supervisor jobs are customarily available all over the world, in both offshore and onshore settings. Gas and oil companies that hire drilling supervisors include those involved in oilfield maintenance, petroleum product marketing and crude oil refinement. Natural gas manufacturing companies as well as export firms and crude oil production operations also commonly employ drilling supervisors.

A qualified job applicant for the position of drilling supervisor typically must have a bachelor’s degree in electrical, mechanical or petroleum engineering along with a minimum of four years experience in the industry. Some companies require only a high school diploma if the candidate has 13 or more years relevant experience. A background in both offshore and onshore drilling is preferable.


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