Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers (NOC 8232)

About this job

Oil and gas well drillers and service rig operators control the operation of drilling and hoisting equipment on drilling and service rigs.

People in this occupation:

  • direct the activities of the rig crew and the operation of the rig equipment, under the supervision of the rig manager
  • operate specialized mechanical or electronic equipment to provide services in conjunction with well drilling or servicing
  • work for drilling and service rig contractors, petroleum-producing companies and well logging or testing companies
  • need mechanical and analytical ability, as well as good communication, leadership and management skills
  • must be able to work both independently and in a team environment
  • must be able to follow orders carefully and adapt quickly to new situations
  • should be physically fit
Common job titles
  • coring / downhole tool
  • driller, oil and gas / directional
  • logger, hydrocarbon mud logger
  • perforator, gun / oil wells
  • production test / service rig
  • puller / well puller

Duties

This group includes oil and gas well drillers, service rig operators and oil and gas well loggers, testers and related workers. Drillers and servicers typically supervise installation of and operate drilling equipment, and loggers and testers monitor and collect data about the operation.

Oil and gas well drillers and well servicers:

  • direct rig crew in setting up rigs and drilling, completing or servicing oil and gas exploration and producing wells
  • operate controls of drill or service rig drilling and hoisting machinery
  • train or arrange for training of crew
  • maintain records of drilling and servicing operations
  • ensure safety procedures are followed.

Oil and gas well loggers, testers and related workers:

  • drive well service or wireline truck to well site
  • assemble and attach equipment, tools or recorders to drill stem or wireline to conduct required procedures and tests
  • operate or direct the operation of wireline or unit controls to lower, position and retrieve equipment and instruments
  • operate recorders and computers in mobile testing or logging unit to collect data
  • may perform limited data interpretation.

Work environment

Working conditions vary depending on rig locations and weather conditions. Many jobs in this group are located in remote locations. As a result, workers are often required to travel and stay either on or close to the site for extended periods of time. Worksites are outdoors and workers may be exposed to extreme weather conditions, and to dust, loud noises and fumes common around rigs.

Work in this occupational group is physically demanding and may involve lifting items that weigh more than 25 kilograms. Workers may also be exposed to potential hazards, including exposure to chemicals (e.g., paint, motor oil and drilling mixtures) and moving machinery commonly found on rigs. Safety is paramount and standard safety practices, safety gear (e.g., hard hats, eye protection, gloves and steel-toed boots) and emergency procedures are strictly regulated and followed.

Most workers in this group are full time. However, they generally do not work year-round because of the seasonal nature of the work and the impact of weather conditions. Very few workers are self-employed or work on a part-time basis. Shifts are usually 8–12 hours and rotating shift work is very common, as rigs operate 24 hours a day. Shift length varies by occupation, location and urgency of the job. Overtime and weekend work may also be required.

Insights from industry

Many of the opportunities that will become available in the next several years will be a result of new job growth.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Drillers and service rig operators may advance to rig management or other management positions in the drilling and service rig industries. Workers may also move into drilling-related equipment sales or rig training, regulatory or safety positions.

Direct rig experience is highly valued for advancement. However, additional education and training will also be required.

Additional resources