One day as an oil rig worker.


There is a growing demand for oil rig workers in offshore oil platforms, as a new work on new reserves is booming. Living away from home for weeks, long shifts, extreme isolation, open ocean, stressful environment make it quite demanding job. However, oil workers tend to get attractive wages and benefits. Every applicant for an oil rig worker wonders how it is like to live in such environment. So what is life on an oil rig really like? What does a day in the life of an oil rig worker entail?

It is important to mention that conditions vary according to different posts. Drilling or construction employees work outdoors while for example geologists do their tasks in offices, inside oil rig platform. This is the reason that it is impossible to generalize what a day on the rig looks, but let’s look at the average working conditions and what life is generally like.

1. Accommodation

Accommodation can vary from one rig to another and from one company to another, but accommodation can be anything from single rooms with suite facilities to a cabin shared by shift workers. Nevertheless, living conditions on oil rigs have improved considerably and  nowadays many offshore installations meet hotel standards. While on board, you can spend your free time in a wide variety of amenities and amusements such as modern satellite TV, updates selection of videos, gym, sauna, video games, connection to Internet. This is not the norm, but many companies offer this kind of activities for oil workers to avoid stress and  ensure the quality of work.

2. Schedule

Schedules and shifts are another important subject. They can vary between companies and  positions. A very common types of schedule consists in 14 days on, followed by 21 days off or working for 1, 2 weeks or even a moth and leaving for the same period. Sometimes, depending of the service, you will have to work until the job is finished. Timetables are between 80-100 hours per week, typically work shifts tend to last 12 hours. They can begin at any time depending on the particular schedule on the rig. This means working for a long shift, followed by 12 hours of rest.

3. Salary

Salaries – like on land – are established depending on position, experience, education. Also, those who arrived for shorter period of time earn less than workers employed on a permanent positions. Of course, the salary is calculated only on working-days. The range of salaries is from 150 euros / day for up to 400 euros / day and more. It should be noted that the higher the risk associated with the job is, the higher the salaries are. Moreover, food and accommodation is fully paid for while you’re working, and any transport to the rig is also arranged.

4. Isolation

Needless to say that work on the rig is not for everyone. The job drives some people crazy, a lot of people have trouble with getting used to open ocean and sometimes claustrophobic conditions. You have to consider that you can’t go anywhere. Space is an issue on an offshore rig, which is basically a camp that is propped up on ramps in the sea, so life on the rig can be quite claustrophobic. Workers compare it to having a second family. The isolation, the intensity of working so many hours straight and the danger breed closeness uncommon in most jobs. There are movie nights and video game tournaments. There’s even a nurse who get their cholesterol and blood pressure tested.

In conclusion, life on an oil rig can get monotonous, but is mitigated by fairly long breaks that allow you to recover, attractive salaries and additional bonuses and benefits.

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About author

Agata Gruszczak

Editor in YoungPetro, fourth year student of Mining and Geology at the Faculty of Drilling, Oil and Gas at AGH University of Science and Technology, member of AGH UST Student Chapter. Interested in enhanced oil recovery and unconventional resources. Keen on Scandinavian culture, reading fantastic literature.

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