What is an Oil Rig? – Life, Jobs and Career on the Rig

Oil rigs are floating structures that protrude above the ocean waters where drilling, extracting, and refining operations take place. These structures can be surrounded by water or sit on shallow seabeds. Out of sight of land, oil rigs are often hundreds of miles from the nearest major city and any other kidn of infrastructure.

Oil rigs are expected to have job openings in almost every industry sector, as well as in various corners of the world. From the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea, from Australia to the seas in Madagascar, it is no surprise that many professionals spend their lives abroad when working in this industry. In fact, several point to the possibility to travel to remote, unique places, a huge attraction to the job. 

There are many kinds of offshore platforms used for oil and gas drilling, exploration, and offshore fabrication. Some of these are fixed to the ocean floor and others are floating platforms or vessels. Each is designed for different water depths, purposes, functions, and uses. As a result, there are several different groups working on a rig at any one time, from an unskilled manual laborer doing grunt work for minimum wage to a highly skilled professional employed by a large international petroleum manufacturer.

Oil rig work can be a great career choice for those who want to make a difference in the world. It is one of the most important industries that provide energy for everyday life. If you want to become an oil rig worker, you should know what it takes to do this job.

Some examples of jobs on oil rigs are the following:

  • Operations staff (process)
  • Stewards (housekeeping, laundry, meals etc.)
  • Drilling team (during drilling operations)
  • Medic (healthcare)
  • Services (logistics, storage, materials)
  • Scaffolders (temporary structures, barriers etc.)
  • Maintenance (welders, painters, electricians etc.)
  • Well Services (maintenance of wells)

How can I start a career in an oil rig?

Becoming an oil rig worker usually requires completing an engineering apprenticeship. If you’ve already acquired some experience in construction or engineering, you may be able to apply directly for an oil rig job without completing an apprenticeship program. However, it will be necessary for you to show your transferable skills like attention to detail and teamwork when applying for any offshore position.

The minimum age limit for becoming an oil rig worker is 18. In addition, carrying an offshore medical certificate and emergency response training is mandatory. When you receive the offer of joining a position offshore, undergoing Basic Offshore Induction and Emergency Training is inevitable. When it comes to applying for an engineering apprenticeship, a general certificate of secondary education is required. 

How is life on the rig?

Keep in mind that rigs often resemble small self-contained communities, and that means that even though you are far away from land, you will still have access to forms of communication with your loved ones onshore. Not only that, but some modern rigs even include gyms or TV rooms where workers can spend their leisure time in!

Because of the nature of the job, many employees work on a 28/28 rotation basis, where 28 days are spent on the rig working and 28 days are spent onshore resting. To learn more about the pros and cons of working on a 28/28 rotation basis, read here

Be prepared to make friends for a lifetime and meet places you’ve never dreamed visiting before. Life on the rig is not the most glamorous but it certainly is memorable. 

Finding offshore work

At WTS Energy, we provide talent with opportunities at top energy companies around the world. We have been providing the best staff to the energy industry for more than 20 years. We are here to help you connect with your next best work opportunity. We also take care of transporting you to wherever the job requires you to be present at, filing all necessary documentation and logistics.  If you are ready to take on the next challenge of your career, have a look at our vacancies page.


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