It takes a large number of differing jobs and personnel to extract oil from the ground and send it through pipelines to refineries to turn “black gold” into usable products. Geologists first locate the hidden reservoirs of oil buried deep underground. Agents then secure mineral rights leases on the land. Soon crews arrive to erect the derrick structures that direct the pipes downward toward to the oil. All of these jobs require specialized training.

Geologists first locate the hidden reservoirs of oil buried deep underground. Agents then secure mineral rights leases on the land. Soon crews arrive to erect the derrick structures that direct the pipes downward toward to the oil. All of these jobs require specialized training.

The heart and soul of the crews responsible for actually working the well and extracting the oil are workers called “roughnecks,” also known as roustabouts. Roughnecks are hard-working manual laborers. The term can be applied to many industries, but it is best known as the name for workers who do the grunt work on oil drilling rigs.

The roughneck position is an entry-level job that requires no particular skill other than being able to handle long hours of demanding physical labor. This being said, the roughneck’s job is as important to a successful drilling operation as any other crewman. They work long, hard hours in long shifts in all types of weather conditions. Regardless of wind, rain, snow or boiling heat, roughnecks stick it out to get the job done.

Common Job Responsibilities for the Roughneck

There are usually three to four crews for each oil rig with 3 roughnecks for each crew. They traditionally work in 8 to 12-hour shifts. Besides the normal maintenance tasks of cleaning, painting and removing rust, roughnecks might be required to:

• help assemble and repair machinery and equipment.
• dig ditches and post holes, pour concrete, and help erect the derricks.
• keep the platform clean
• handle moving various equipment around the rig
• help connect the sections of well pipe
• assist in rigging loads being moved by cranes
• clean up oil spills and bailing it into barrels

In short, the roughnecks on a drilling crew are expected to handle the bulk of the dirty, rough jobs. No questions asked. They need to be trustworthy and energetic team players who accept that position without complaint. It is not a job for the weak of heart, body or spirit. A strong body and mental toughness are essential.

The key to becoming a successful roughneck is the ability to do hard work, follow orders, and to learn all of the aspects of how an oil rig operates.

Average Pay for Oil Roughnecks

It’s no secret that the oil industry pays its employees well, starting at the bottom with roughnecks. Depending on the well location and weather conditions, roughnecks earn between $200 to $400 per shift. On an annual basis, because roughneck jobs tend to be sporadic and not always available, a typical roughneck can earn between $28,000 and $40,000 per year. However, if they’re lucky enough to hook up with a crew on a long-term basis in a place like the North Slope of Alaska, six-figure incomes are common.

Oil Rig Roughneck Job Advancement

Many of the people working in the oil and gas industry started out as roughnecks. From that bottom-rung position, a worker can be promoted to skilled, higher paying jobs based on their experience and work ethic. More responsible positions, like drillers and toolpushers, can be earned fairly quickly once a roughneck has paid his dues by demonstrating their ability to handle the roughest and dirtiest jobs on the oil rig.

To advance, oil roughnecks should have a good understanding of how mechanical systems work, handle power tools well, and show their ability to fix breakdowns. Being adept at reacting to emergency problems quickly and knowing how to check and maintain drilling machinery are also important functions of the roughneck worker.

Jobs from Indeed

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here