Day in the Life: Warren – Service Rig Operator (Driller)

“Hi, I’m Warren, and I’m a driller on a service rig operated by Nabors Production Services. It’s my job to supervise the rig crew, which consists of me, a roughneck, a derrickman and a leasehand.

Our crew operates a truck-mounted service rig that’s much smaller than the drilling rigs that drill the oil and gas wells. It’s our job to help get the well ready for production by working with the companies that provide special services like fracing and perforating. If something has to go down hole into the well, we help get it there. We also work on wells that are already producing, doing maintenance, replacing equipment or helping enhance production.

When I started working in the patch about four years ago, I worked on a drilling rig for a few days, but I found out that wasn’t for me. For one thing, drilling rig crews work 24/7, while on a service rig we usually work 12-hour day shifts. A drilling rig can stay on the well site for weeks, but mostly we’re on site only a day or two. That means I get to travel a lot more, and that’s something I really like doing. So far I’ve worked all over Alberta and in Saskatchewan. Another bonus is that on our smaller rig it’s more one-to-one with people, especially since our crew usually stays together from job to job.

I didn’t plan on going into the oil and gas industry when I left school. In fact, I was working as a pool hall manager when I drove a friend to the Nabors’ office. One of the guys there told me that they had jobs open and said I should put in an application. Since I had heard a lot about how good the money was working on the rigs, I thought why not? Two days later I was hired as a roughneck. It was all pretty confusing at first, but after two months of training and people helping me and explaining what to do, I got the hang of it.

I was a roughneck for nine months and then I went derricking for two years. Five months ago I took my Blowout Prevention course so I could move up to driller. A driller gets more money. He also has a lot more responsibility, but that’s great if you like that and you’re up to it.”

Company: Nabors Production Services

Location: Brooks, AB

Base Salary Range: Visit Canadian Association of Drilling Contractors Wage Schedule. Wages also include living or subsistence allowances.

Education: Grade 12 plus several industry certificates

Salary, education and advancement may vary from company to company.

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