Industry Education

What it’s like to work on an offshore oil rig

Working on an offshore oil rig or platform is a unique experience

Note: In this article, we will use the word “rig” and “rig” almost interchangeably, but one rig does the drilling and one rig does the pumping. There are similar challenges to living on a rig or offshore oil platform, or in boarded accommodation on a platform.

Offshore oil fields account for a significant proportion of the world’s total crude oil production. In 2015 this proportion was 30%. Now, it’s probably more likely with several recent discoveries made in Brazil, Norway and Guyana, among others. Offshore oil business is growing, as is the demand for labor on the platforms that pump it.

If there’s one thing that everyone agrees is that it’s fine to work on an offshore oil rig or rig, then this kind of work is the opposite of boring. When you work on an offshore platform, you work where you live and work long, busy hours. The work is often challenging and can even become dangerous immediately when the weather changes. But it could be a rewarding job, with solid opportunities for professional growth.

Before you leave

There are a number of basic requirements for those interested in working offshore in the oil industry. These are mainly concerned with physical and mental endurance. An oil rig works round the clock, and although the work is divided into shifts, these shifts are long, so you should be able to last 12 hours straight and even longer if you’re new start.

To apply for the discounted job on a platform, you must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent certificate of education. Smoking and drinking are prohibited on offshore platforms, so the absence of these practices is an advantage.

Fitness is essential as so much of the work on a platform, especially for beginners, involves handling heavy machinery and carrying loads. Mental fitness is also essential because the typical length of a worker’s stay on a platform is two to four weeks without having to return to shore. It may not seem very long when you first hear it, but it is quite a long time.

Survival training

Before embarking on your first hut, or assignment, on an offshore platform, you will need to follow a survival course due to the many inherent dangers of offshore work, including inclement weather, combustible materials, and the ever present risk of boat failure. equipment.

The oil and gas industry takes its health and safety very seriously, so it has developed the Basic Sea Safety and Emergency Training Induction Course, or BOSIET, which you should complete before getting on the helicopter on the platform . The course teaches things like surviving a helicopter crash, providing first aid, surviving at sea, and using a lifeboat. The BOSIET course could cost anywhere between $ 400 and $ 2000 depending on your location.

Working on an offshore oil rig or drilling rig

A two- to four-week stay on an oil rig is known as a hitch in the industry. Shifts are called trips. Offshore work veterans recommend planning ahead before you leave, making sure your family has your employer’s contact details. Your employer also has your family’s emergency contact details. This is important because only senior staff on an oil rig have unlimited access to an offshore phone.

Preparing thinking for hard shift work is also essential. A typical tour begins with a pre-trip meeting about half an hour before the start of the tour where the people who work on this tour discuss day or night tasks. After the trip, there is a delivery meeting, much like how shifts work in hospitals with a team informing the next person about what happened during the day. Outside of the trips, new employees also take part in training and safety meetings, which further increases the workload.

Risks at the top

The first risk of an offshore oil rig is fire. Oil and gas are flammable, so responding to an emergency in the event of a fire is an important part of the survival training you receive before you can work on an oil rig.

In addition to the liquids and gases produced by oil rigs, however, there are also flammable chemicals used in drilling and these chemicals are also a fire hazard.

Then there are the moving parts of all the engines needed to drill oil and gas. (Then remove oil and gas from the ground and transport them). As with any type of machinery, this equipment could injure or kill you if you’re not careful.

The well itself could also be a danger, as tragically evidenced by the Horizon Deepwater disaster. Despite significant progress since then in ensuring the safety of a well, the risk of pressure building up and closing the well still exists.

Fatigue could also become a problem when you are not used to the busy schedule and limited opportunities to distract from work during your time.

The state of life

Few platforms can offer single rooms for staff to stay in. Space is limited, so you will almost certainly need to share a room with one or more people. The bathrooms are divided between different rooms. In such close quarters, veterans advise, you have to respect the personal space of others, as it is.

Keeping your space tidy and making sure you don’t have to go back to the room after the trip has started because you forgot something, always risk disturbing the colleague who is resting after the trip is a good idea.

Due to the nature of offshore work, cooked food is available 24 hours a day, with fresh produce regularly transported by helicopter. New platform workers are often surprised that the food is not only fresh but also good. Essentially, oil companies are trying to make living conditions for their workforce as comfortable as possible in areas where this can be controlled.

Free time on the platform

Despite the cramped space, the oil rigs also have various amenities such as gyms, pool tables, televisions and even cinemas. As with food, it is essential that the people working on the platform have the opportunity to relax and unwind, so employers provide the means.

Oil rigs have an internet connection but, again, it’s worth being aware of the needs of others to communicate with their families and limit the time you use on Skype or Face-Time, so that others too have the opportunity to see their families.

Awareness is just as important as physical and mental fitness on a platform. Friendships for life are often made during seizures where people respect each other’s space and needs. Not doing so could make a hut a much more unpleasant experience despite the excellent pay.

Career opportunities

It’s no secret that there is healthy competition for jobs on oil rigs because offshore jobs pay much better than onshore jobs. There are benefits and an opportunity to quickly level up, which makes these jobs even more rewarding. And yet you have to be ready to start from the bottom.

The most basic – and most physically challenging – position on an offshore oil rig is the roustabout site. The roustabout job is the one with the heaviest lift and the longest working hours, and it pays the least. However, as a roustabout you will gain many valuable skills in maintaining drilling equipment, for example, and electrical systems, as well as skills that could then open up more specialized jobs.

Next on the scale is the rough. Roughnecks operates cranes, operates drilling machines and pipes, and generally gets more skills and pays more jobs to run. Several years of work as a ‘roughneck’ is enough to pass it to the next level, a derrick hand, or derrickman.

Derrick’s hands are responsible for drilling mud and mud pumps. If they stay in the job and have the ambition, they could progress further towards the exercises. This is the first supervisory position in the hierarchy of an oil production team, with the drill overseeing a cruel team.

Wellhead pumps also fall within this middle-wage class. They are the people who operate the equipment around the well head and monitor oil flow. They also have supervisory responsibilities for the rude.

After the puncher is the drug dealer, who oversees all the rough teams and also does the administration, the equipment printers earn the highest wages among manual workers on a platform to reflect their responsibilities.

Further up are the experts with degrees in petroleum engineering, geosciences, naval engineering, and other relevant fields of knowledge. The system on an offshore oil platform is essentially a merit. Salary increases according to an employee’s responsibilities and skills. Geologists and roughneck superintendents do more than roustabouts and fountainhead pumps, and reservoir engineers do more than geologists. Production managers, in turn, because of their many responsibilities, do more than field engineers.

The highest paid position on an oil rig, however, is the job of the offshore drilling consultant. The people in this position primarily oversee all operations on the platform on a daily basis, from drilling and manufacturing to contractor management and ordering of supplies, to security monitoring and hiring.


Work on an offshore rig or platform is undoubtedly challenging, even for senior staff. Limited personal space, long absence from friends and family, and a hectic work schedule are not for everyone. However, despite all the challenges, working on an offshore platform also offers opportunities for a lucrative career. There is a waymarked route to the top, as long as you have the ambition and the willingness to work hard, at every step of the school.


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