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How to Get a Job In The Oilfield
Update. The hiring environment in the oil and gas industry has become tighter in the past few months. The price of oil has increased but natural gas prices remain low, which is curbing drilling for gas. Most rigs drill for natural gas in the United States. There are a few oilfield jobs available still.
Here are some of the kinds of jobs that are available.
How to get a job in the oilfield, tips and resources for those looking for oil rig jobs.
Roughnecks and roustabouts work directly for the drilling rig and do the hard labor. Roughnecks work up on the rig floor and up in the derrick hooking together the pipe or drillstem that goes into the ground. It is hard manual labor and to become a roughneck takes months of training but salaries are in the twenty dollar an hour and up range for many companies with a lot of overtime. You will need to start out as a roustabout, doing ditch digging, painting and the lowest jobs on the rig in order to work your way up to roughneck. From roughneck you can move up eventually to driller (who runs the rig) and to his boss, the toolpusher with many more years under your belt.
When looking for oilfield jobs, consider service companies.
Service hands work for companies that provide contracted services to an oil company or rig. They can be anything from septic services for the mini village of mobile homes around a rig or the company that provides those mobile home rentals to the oil company, satellite services, trash services, security and gate guarding services and so on.
Service companies provide drilling fluid or mud, instruments that are placed down the well bore on a cable or wireline to check for oil and gas in the rocks, companies that contract to monitor the drilling fluid and rock cuttings for traces of oil and gas (mudlogger), companies that provide directional drilling motors and equipment, tank rentals, water hauling trucks. The list is almost endless and mind boggling for those unfamiliar with the industry.
When Considering Oilfield Jobs, Read Up On The Industry First
Before looking for an oilfield job you will first want to learn more about the industry and how wells are drilled. There are a number of good books that are introductory to oil and gas drilling. There is a link to an oilfield bookstore at the end of this article.
You will first want to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are as a prospective oilfield employee. You will need a good mechanical background and aptitude in repairing things if you want to work on the rigs or for many service companies. If you have an engineering degree or geology background you will have a fairly good chance getting on in one of the science based service companies like Schlumberger that does well logging or analysis of the rock layers with high tech equipment. For electronics technicians there are service companies that provide satellite and internet to rig sites as well as drilling rig automation. These companies will hire persons and train them on the job with another employee for a few months before "breaking out".
Your best bet for oilfield jobs is to check sites like Rigzone.com and the classified sections of newspapers in cities like Houston, New Orleans, Tulsa Oklahoma, Midland Texas and other areas where there is a lot of new oil and gas activity. One such area where there is a lot of new activity is the Barnett shale of North Texas around Fort Worth. Other hot new areas are in Pennsylvania in the Marcellus Shale Formation where gas well drilling is picking up. These former rust belt states are about to get a boost from oil and gas drilling that the western states have enjoyed.
When looking for oilfield jobs don't be afraid to cold call and visit oil companies and service companies in person. Have a resume ready and highlight your technical and mechanical skills. Try phoning these companies and asking if they are hiring. Many don't advertise but some post on Rigzone.com and Monster.com.
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