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How to Get A Job As A Directional Driller In The Oilfield

Directional drilling job horizontal well


Directional drillers earn good money and there is a need for them in the modern oil and gas industry.

What Does A Directional Driller Do?

Begin by learning what directional drilling is all about. A career in horizontal or directional drilling in the oilfield can pay quite well. Horizontal drilling is a method of oil well drilling in which the well is drilled at an inclination of up to ninety degrees or more for several hundred or even thousand meters.

Research the types of jobs that can lead you to becoming a directional driller. The jobs that are related to horizontal drilling include the job of directional driller itself, the MWD or measure while drilling technicians and support personnel that manufacture and repair the directional drilling equipment.

To get a job as a directional driller one usually needs a strong background in the oilfield as either a regular oil well driller or a MWD - LWD technician. Measure while drilling or Logging While Drilling technicians operate the devices that tell a directional driller which way the drill bit is going underground.
In either case the candidate should have strong math skills, especially in trigonometry.

oil rig horizontal drilling pump jack

This is necessary to calculate the amount of bend that is needed in the mud motor (which drills wells horizontally) and to know how long and in what direction to point it as the well is turned horizontally from vertical.

Get on with one of the companies that support horizontal drilling. All of this complicated MWD - LWD equipment and the mud motors or rotary steerable tools that make horizontal drilling possible must be repaired. Companies such as Sperry Sun, Baker Hughes, Weatherford and Compass Directional hire technicians with a strong background in electronics and physics to repair and design complex directional drilling equipment.

Where Does Most Directional Drilling For Oil and Gas Occur?

Directional drilling is used to reach pockets of oil from a single offshore oil platform, so that additional platforms are not required. These wells are often not true horizontal wells, but directional drillers are required.

Shale gas formations, such as the Marcellus Shale are an important new source of natural gas. There are many here in the United States. The Marcellus shale alone holds over 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Directional drilling is used to bore sideways across shale and also coal beds to release natural gas and methane. Directional drilling accounts for more than 80% of all new gas wells drilled in the Northeastern United States. In areas such as the Barnett Shale, near Fort Worth, that number is nearly 100%. Directional drillers are needed for this type of work, though recently the price of natural gas has been low, thus hampering drilling activity.

Directional drillers are used to deviate wells, to correct wells back to vertical, to drill vent holes for coal mines and even river crossings for power and communication cables. Non oilfield directional drilling occurs throughout the world. Wages for non oilfield directional drilling are not as high but are still competitive with similar engineering jobs.

Do You Have What It Takes To Become A Directional Driller?

If you are willing to train for up to several years, have a strong oilfield or engineering background, are good at working in high stress environments and don't mind being away from home for weeks on end, then the job of directional drilling may be right for you.

For those persons that wish to enter the high paying field of directional drilling I suggest contacting companies that specialize in horizontal and directional drilling and submit a resume. There is a lot of hiring activity as the drilling activity in gas bearing shales such as the Marcellus Formation, Bakken and Barnett Shale increases.


For More about how oil wells are drilled horizontally see:  How Wells Are Drilled Horizontally

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