Snubbing Operator

NOC #83101

  • Environment Primarily outdoor work
  • Education High school diploma
  • Average salary $63,000 to $101,000

Career profile

Snubbing operators use snubbing equipment such as complex hydraulic systems to insert drill pipe, tubing and specialized equipment into, or remove from, pressurized oil and natural gas wells. These wells are closed using blowout preventers which contain well pressure. This occupation is one of the most safety-sensitive roles during drilling operations due to the potential for explosions and blow-outs.

Snubbers are highly specialized. Responsibilities increase along with the roles from assistant operator through to snubbing supervisor, for example:

  • Assistant snubbing operators are primarily responsible for providing support with pre- and post-snubbing operations.
  • Class 1 snubbing operators work in wells where the pressure is less than 10 mega pascal (MPA) and there is no presence of poisonous gas (10 MPA pressure is about the same pressure as water spray from a pressure washer). They work within a single zone of the wellbore.
  • Class 2 and 3 snubbing operators work in progressively more complex medium and high pressure environments. They may work in the presence of sweet or sour gases.
  • Class 1 supervisors are responsible for overseeing activities in a wellbore with pressures less than 21 MPA (21 MPA is equivalent to the ballistic pressure exerted as a bullet strikes a solid object).
  • Class 2 supervisors are responsible for wells with pressure greater than 21 MPA.
Oil and gas services

In this occupation activities may include:

  • Isolating a specialized tool between blowout preventers to enable the tool to be used in the well (i.e. staging)
  • Directing the pre- and post-job inspections and testing of the snubbing units, and ensuring that all pre- and post-job inspection forms are completed
  • Assembling and inserting production pipe into wells to enable well production (i.e. completing)
  • Attaching pumps and hoses to wellheads
  • Fitting and removing pressure-control equipment to the wellhead to enable


  • There are no specific educational requirements. However, progressive experience is required to move up from Assistant Snubbing Operator to Supervisor. A high school diploma may be required at the supervisory level.


  • Standard and emergency first aid
  • Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS)
  • H2S Alive
  • Confined space entry
  • Fall protection
  • Traffic Control
  • Respirator fit training


  • Class 1 or 3 driver’s licence
  • Travel likely required
  • Shiftwork/variable work hours
  • Primarily outdoor work
  • Physical work
  • Safety-sensitive environment
  • Work away from home/in camps

You are a quick learner. You are adaptable and can think on your feet. You are in good physical shape.

  • Active listening
  • Installation
  • Stress tolerance
  • Mechanical
  • Public safety and security
  • Document use
  • Equipment selection
  • Equipment maintenance
  • Instructing
  • Troubleshooting
  • Operation and control