Drilling and Service Rig Operator Spotlight

Drilling and Service Rig Operators are at the hub of the activity at ant oil or gas wellsite. They are overseeing the activities of workers, facilitating the movement of equipment and ensuring the safety of others.

What a typical day looks like:

Drilling and Service Rig Operators are ultimately in charge of operating and maintaining the drilling and service rigs on an oil and gas site. On top of this, they are also a teacher and a mentor to less experienced crew members who need guidance on the correct procedures to follow. They also communicate the progress of the operations to the Wellsite Supervisors.

They can be classified as either a Drilling Rig Operator or a Service Rig Operator depending on the type of equipment they use and the time they spend at the site. Drilling Rig Operators will often spend weeks or months at a wellsite. Once the work is completed, they may never return to the site. Service Rig Operators are often at a wellsite for a few days or weeks, and they return to the site for ongoing maintenance or to shut-in production.

The tasks at hand and roles also change between a Drilling Rig and a Service Rig. On a drilling rig, Motorhands maintain drilling rig engines, transmissions, heating systems and other mechanical equipment. Situations on a rig can change rapidly. operate and maintain drilling fluid systems and pumps during the drilling process. Drillers supervise a drilling crew and operate the drill line reels, rotary equipment and pumps.

On a service rig, Derrickhands set up and dismantle the derrick and tanks, and service, operate, inspect and monitor the pumps and engines. Operators and Drillers operate hoisting equipment control panels, monitor the progress of operations and supervise the on-site service crew.

Regardless of their location or role, Drilling and Service Rig Operators attend daily safety meetings and ensure all crew members are aware of changes in operations and proper safety procedures for the tasks at hand.

Typically employed in the oil and gas services sector of the oil and gas industry, they are often working outdoors, in all weather conditions, and at different times of the day. Both onshore and offshore drilling rigs operate 24 hours a day and can take several weeks to drill a single well. Due to this, Drilling and Service Rig Operators often work at a drilling site for weeks or months as new wells are drilled.

The kinds of problems Drilling and Service Rig Operators solve at work:

Situations on a rig can change rapidly. Drilling and Service Rig Operators monitor every move and action at the wellsite, and make sure that all the equipment is functioning as planned. If a drill isn’t moving as quickly as planned, is taking a different direction, or if the equipment isn’t functioning properly, Operators will be in charge of stopping the operation, making the necessary changes and communicating new tasks and goals to the crew. Safety is at the forefront of all of these changes, decisions and judgements.

Skills used most on the job:

After working their way up from other jobs on the rig, Drilling and Service Rig Operators have built up a lot of experience, a strong work ethic and leadership skills. They bring organization and patience to the wellsite, and their leadership and interpersonal skills help shape the work ethic of crew members. They also have strong communications skills that allow them to work with both junior crew members and management.

Drilling and Service Rig Operators are in charge. Wellsites are safe and organized because they are under their watchful eye.

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