Rotary Drill Operators Oil and Gas

To become an Oil And Gas Drill Operator you have knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.  If you want to discover if this career is for you, take an entirely free career quiz.

Oil and gas rotary drill operators are employed mainly in oil and gas extraction and in firms offering support for mining. Most oil and gas rotary drill operators work full time, but they often have to work overtime. Oil and gas drilling rigs usually operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Oil And Gas Drill Operator Salary

  • Average Yearly Salary: $53,160
  • Projected Lifetime Earnings: $2,184,650

Oil And Gas Drill Operator – Education

‘Drillers’ will usually require a high school or GED test diploma as well as some vocational training or course work related to the oil and gas industry. There are positions for which an associate’s (or sometimes even a bachelor’s degree) may be needed, but those occasions are few. To become employed in this industry, applicants, in general, are required to have at least one year of relevant work experience. Discover if your future lies in this field by taking a free career fitness quiz!

Workers may be qualifying for quite a few oil and gas or mining jobs with limited formal education, but many positions require specific educational education, and internships are highly recommended. Though not required, most employers prefer to hire workers for drilling jobs that have completed their high school or GED diploma. For engineers, having a bachelor’s degree in engineering is required. Students should really participate internships during their college education if they think about a career in oil and gas. This is the way to secure a job.

Oil And Gas Drill Operator – The Job

Oil and gas rotary drill operators operate or set up a system of drilling to reach underground oil or gas. They may also, during the exploration phase, be removing samples of specific layers of soil for testing. Oil and gas drill operators perform all physical aspects of drilling that later petroleum engineers need to put their plans in place. These rotary drill operators are handling the equipment to dig wells to remove natural oil and gas resources. These experts are the professionals that reach the vast oil and gas fields that are hidden underground, be it beneath a desert, or under a sea.

Where do they work?

Oil and gas drill operators work mostly in the world of oil and gas extraction. They are usually employed by firms that offer support for companies that are active in oil and gas mining. Oil and gas extraction sites are found everywhere, inland waters, on land, or at sea. Sites out at sea are labeled offshore. There have been many times, for example during hurricanes, that offshore drilling and production facilities and oil rigs in coastal regions had to be evacuated.

Rotary drill operators have to cope with a higher rate of non-fatal injuries than the national average, and there is a constant need for training, education, and safety inspections to minimize incidents and to optimize safety in a setting securely working is of eminent importance. Decent knowledge application of protective gear, for example, hard hats and gloves, will minimize the risks at drilling and production sites. Another health threat is caused by the constant noise caused by drilling equipment which complicates required communication, so these drilling workers are really required to obey to safety instructions issued by supervisors or experienced colleagues.

Employment options

The work of oil and gas drill operators makes that they mostly are full-time employed and that they frequently need to work overtime. The oil and gas rigs typically are operational 24/7 meaning there can be no flow in operations. Those who work at land drilling rigs normally make shifts of 8 to 12 hours and there are land drilling rig operators that are working seven days per week with no days off the rig before the well is completed.

In general, these professionals work one or two weeks on, and then the same amount of time off. As the locations offshore oil rigs are often very remote, some workers will be required to live on the site for weeks in a row. They often work 12-hour shifts, but can later enjoy extended leave periods onshore. Herein lies the explanation why part-time workers are hardly seen in this industry and part-time job opportunities are very rare.

Tasks of rotary drill operators

Rotary drill operators (also referred to as drillers) typically perform tasks such as implementing well plans, maintaining drill rigs, introducing and implementing safety procedures. They are required to train crews to work securely and effectively, and the need to move levers and throttles and observe a number of pressure gauges to control rotary tables’ speeds and for regulating the pressure of tools that are placed at the drill holes’ bottoms. They need to observe gauges that are monitoring well flow and prevent overflow.

They also need to keep records of the location and nature of certain layers that are drilled, of the used tools and materials, of the services that were performed, and of how much time the operations required. It is also their task to start pump operations and examine this to make sure circulations are optimal and to ensure the consistency of drill fluids or mud in a specific well. They can use highly specialized tools for the recovery of broken or lost bits of equipment, drilling pipes, or casings.

How much can they make?

In 2014, oil and gas rotary drill operators had median hourly wages of $25.56, and their average yearly earnings were around $53,160 as reported by the BLT (Bureau of Labor Statistics).