Oil and Gas Rotary Drill Operators

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Also known as:
Drilling Rig Operator, Natural Gas Shothole Driller, Oil Driller, Oil Rig Driller, Oil Well Cable Tool Driller, Oil Well Cable Tool Operator, Oil Well Driller, Prospecting Driller

ABOUT OIL OR GAS ROTARY DRILL OPERATOR CAREERS
Video transcript

The world runs on oil and gas. Some of the people who help access these vital natural resources are the rotary drill operators. They have the unique expertise to reach the vast fields of oil and gas hidden far underground, whether beneath a sun-baked desert or a stormy sea.

Guided by scientist's maps, the drillers install a derrick at the site to support the drilling equipment and to stabilize the drill rig. This can be a lengthy construction project. Then they start to bore into ground, cutting through layers of rock. The driller collects rock samples to be analyzed for the presence of oil or gas.

Drillers need to carefully monitor their progress and equipment. They keep precise written records, making equipment adjustment and repairs as needed. This is an industry in which workers are expected to put in lots of overtime. Often assigned to remote drilling sites, they may work 10 to 20 days at a stretch before getting time off. Drillers usually start as roustabouts and learn skills on the job, advancing through positions of increased proficiency and higher pay over several years.

Rotary drill operators usually have the most responsibility for the drilling operation, so they earn the highest wages. While jobs in this field are becoming scarcer in the U.S. Experienced driller are often hired by American or foreign companies to work overseas. This work can pay very well, and give you the chance to see some of the world.

SNAPSHOT
Set up or operate a variety of drills to remove underground oil and gas, or remove core samples for testing during oil and gas exploration.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
LOW
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
HIGH
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Remove core samples during drilling to determine the nature of the strata being drilled.

Locate and recover lost or broken bits, casings, and drill pipes from wells, using special tools.

Repair or replace defective parts of machinery, such as rotary drill rigs, water trucks, air compressors, and pumps, using hand tools.

Weigh clay, and mix with water and chemicals to make drilling mud.

Connect sections of drill pipe, using hand tools and powered wrenches and tongs.

Train crews, and introduce procedures to make drill work more safe and effective.

Monitor progress of drilling operations, and select and change drill bits according to the nature of strata, using hand tools.

Clean and oil pulleys, blocks, and cables.

Start and examine operation of slush pumps to ensure circulation and consistency of drilling fluid or mud in well.

Observe pressure gauge and move throttles and levers to control the speed of rotary tables, and to regulate pressure of tools at bottoms of boreholes.

Maintain records of footage drilled, location and nature of strata penetrated, materials and tools used, services rendered, and time required.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Mechanical Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Personnel and Human Resources Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Production and Processing Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
TOP SKILLS
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Instructing Teaching others how to do something.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.