How To Find An Offshore Oil Rig Job
The oil and gas industry is recovering from the downturn and finally there are some drilling companies starting to hire again. It is still tough to find an oilfield job offshore and on a land rig but things are picking up some. Companies such as Nabors Drilling and H&P already have a roster of seasoned hands, many who have been laid off to turn to, however there are a few openings here and there for skilled drillers, toolpushers, floor hands and derrick men. The best offshore jobs go to those with the best resume and the best work history.
Networking with friends in the industry is also a good idea. If you know anyone who has any influence on the hiring process you should contact them and ask for help. Those workers with the best reputation for showing up on time and pulling their own weight will be the first hired back.
On the less skilled side of oilfield work there is always some drilling company somewhere, either offshore or on land, hiring roustabouts. Roustabouts come and go, and many young people today find the work too hard.
Roustabout jobs on a drilling rig are hard, grimy, back breaking and lacking in respect from the rest of the rig crew. The job of a roustabout on a land rig may involve getting into tight spaces and cleaning and scraping out crud in tanks, hooking up heavy water and mud hoses, digging trenches, painting and just about any other hard task you can imagine.
Offshore roustabout jobs are much the same and involve helping unload goods from work boats and barges, stowing away sacks of mud, sandblasting and scraping, painting and more.
It takes time to be accepted on a drilling rig and new workers are called "worms". Once you prove you can handle the work you earn more respect.
Even still, good companies may pay roustabouts as much as $15.00 an hour, though the average wage is more like $10.00 per hour, plus a lot of overtime. Because of the high turnover you may be able to find a roustabout job simply by showing up a a drilling rig with your hard hat and steel toed boots on. This is true for the very small drilling companies but big operators like H&P or Patterson Drilling have a strict hiring process, drug testing, physical, etc that must be gone through first.
Where The Oilfield Jobs Are Located
Offshore jobs have yet to catch up to land rig work. One of the hottest areas for oil and gas drilling (mostly natural gas) is the Marcellus Shale. The Marcellus is located in the US northeast, under much of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It is one of the most exciting gas discoveries ever found. Thanks to horizontal drilling gas can be obtained from the hard shale rock for the first time. Chesapeake Energy, XTO, EOG and other companies are leasing up thousands of acres for drilling there and the drilling activity will be intense for at least the next decade. According to one geologist there may be twenty to thirty years worth of drilling in the Marcellus shale alone.
Other hot areas include the Haynesville and Fayetville shales. There are oil rig jobs to be had, and a few offshore to be found.