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Offshore Oil Rig Job

The world's first offshore oil rig was built in 1869, the same year that designer T.F. Rowland patented his offshore rig design. Rowland's concept resembles modern offshore drills, but his designs were used only in shallow waters. Developments in offshore technology wouldn't allow for deep sea drilling until after World War II. In 1947, deep water drilling began in the Gulf of Mexico, which remains one of the primary offshore sites today. On a global scale, there are 971 total offshore rigs comprised of 676 mobile rigs and 295 permanent platforms.

There are a large number of offshore oil rig jobs that are available. The range of employment opportunities include:

Driller, Derrickman, Shakerhand or Mudman, Toolpusher, Floormen or Roughnecks, Motorman, Assistant Driller, Crane Operator, Roustabouts, Cleaner/Painter, Storekeeper, Mechanic/Electrician, Sub Sea Engineer, Rig Mechanic, Rig Electrician, Rig Welder, Barge Engineer, Ballast Controlman or Watchstander, Captain and Chief Engineer, Rig Medic and Safety Man.

In the offshore oil rig industry, there are opportunities for drilling employment and travel to countries such as: Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, the United States, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela, Mexico, Russia, Norway, China, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Typically salaries for roustabouts and roughnecks (drill deck workers) are approximately US $300 per day. Annual salaries work out to be approximately US $47,000.

More specialized jobs such as that of Driller is likely to make around $56,000 per annum, which Toolpushers, Drill Leaders and Supervisors are likely to earn around the US $75,000 - $100,000 mark per year.

Entry level positions typically make between US $50,000 - US $80,000 per annum. Trades, technical and professional positions will likely earn between US $70,000 - US $220,000 per annum.

Here’s some helpful information you might like to know to help you decide if working offshore is for you.

Health Requirements

The first and foremost requirement for working offshore is that you be in sound physical condition. You will be required to pass a thorough physical examination, including a spinal X- ray, before you can be employed. Answer all questions truthfully. You will also be given a drug screening.


In most cases, you must be at least 18 to work offshore for a drilling contractor. You need only be 16 to sit for Coast Guard endorsements. The average age for offshore workers is 27.


The better your experience in your particular field or profession, the closer prospective employers will look you at. If you do not currently have any skill or experience that relates to the offshore industry, it does not mean you will not be hired. There are many entry level positions available which require no previous offshore experience, these can be quickly learned. The most important thing is honesty. Do not misrepresent yourself, your experience, or your skills. For example, do not claim to be a pipe welder if you've only had experience on plate. Or, do not claim to be a diesel mechanic if the only experience you have is doing minor tune-ups in a garage.


The majority of entry level rig jobs do not require a formal education as the employer is more interested in your ability to do your job well and learn quickly than in how many years you went to school. Some jobs, such as a ballast controlman, mud engineer, etc., require at least a high school education. Other positions, as they get more complex, will naturally require higher levels of education.



One of the foremost concerns of offshore employers is dependability. Regardless of how good a hand is, he isn't much good if he isn't there! One of the quickest ways to lose your job is not to show up for crew change. When you hire on with a company, you become part of a team, and it is difficult to operate when any member of the team is not present.


Your interest and ambition will play a very important part in your getting and keeping a job, whether it be offshore or anywhere else.



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