Driller, assistant driller, derrickhand
Offshore drilling workers drill for undersea oil and gas on offshore rigs.
Salary range: £12,000 to £50,000
How to become an offshore drilling worker
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You may be able to do an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship before applying to work on offshore rigs.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You could start as a roustabout on a rig and learn on the job before moving into drilling work.
You can apply directly to offshore oil and gas companies if you’ve got experience in an industry like engineering or construction.
You can find out more about working in the offshore oil and gas industry from MyOilandGasCareer.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- observation and recording skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
- the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
- the ability to work well with your hands
- the ability to monitor your own performance and that of your colleagues
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- complete basic offshore safety training
- have an offshore medical certificate
- be over 18 years of age
What you’ll do
As a derrickhand, your duties will include:
- handling and stacking sections of the drill pipe
- maintaining the derrick
- operating the lifting and hoisting machinery to position the drill
- controlling and maintaining mud pumps, and supervising mud pump operators
As a driller, your duties will include:
- supervising the drilling team and controlling the rate of drilling
- controlling operations on the drill floor
- overseeing assembly of the drilling tools and connecting sections of the drill pipe
- operating the drill control machinery
- keeping records of the drilling process
- making sure the team follows health and safety rules
You could work on a rig.
Your working environment may be cramped, physically demanding, at height, outdoors in all weathers and you may spend nights away from home.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
Career path and progression
You could work for operating companies with their own exploration and production licences, or for drilling and maintenance contracting companies.
With experience, you could be promoted from driller to toolpusher or rig manager.