Drilling and service rigs dot the Canadian landscape, and play
an important role in meeting our everyday needs for petroleum
products. Without these rigs, we would not have heat for our homes,
fuel for our cars or everyday products that are made out of
plastic. People who work on these impressiverigs play a key role in
offshore and onshore oil and gas exploration and production!
Once a company's geoscience team has identified potential oil
and gas reserves, a drilling crew uses mechanical and computerized
equipment to drill the first hole for an oil or gas well. A service
rig crew then prepares the well for production. The service crew
returns periodically throughout the life of the well to maintain,
improve production and eventually shut it down.
Drilling and service rigs vary in type and size, depending on
well depths. Offshore drilling and service rigs are typically
combined and work just like those used in land-based
What do Drilling and Service Rig Helpers,Labourers and
Semi-skilled workers do?
There are two entry-level jobs:
Floorhands on drilling crews assist in placing pipe into wells,
collect samples of drill debris for analysis and clean and maintain
equipment. Floorhands on service crews assist with moving the rigs
and equipment from one site to another, and help move tubing in and
out of the well. They also keep the rig, equipment and site
Leasehands typically load and unload trucks, clear debris from
walkways, clean tools and put things away.
How do I become a Drilling and Service RigHelper, Labourer and
At a minimum, you will need a high school diploma, clean drug
and alcohol test results, and a valid driver's license. Employers
also seek people in good physical condition with strong work ethics
and willingness to learn. Once hired, the employer will provide you
with safety and on-job training.
What are the working conditions like?
Onshore, work is mostly performed outdoors in remote locations.
You may be exposed to extreme weather, and may stay at hotels,
motels or camps. Dirt, dust, noise and fumes are typical of rig
operations. You might be required to lift items that weigh more
than 25 kilograms. Following safety protocols is essential, as some
exposure to hazardous conditions is possible.
Drilling rigs operate in rotational 12-hour shifts in a 24/7
work environment. Service rigs typically run eight- or twelve-hour
daylight shifts. Appropriate time off is given depending on the
rotation and overtime is common.
By its nature, work on an offshore rig or vessel is isolated.
You may be exposed to inclement weather, harsh sea and potentially
hazardous work conditions; however safety protocols are strictly
adhered to. Everyone works as a team. Crew quarters and meals are
Do I fit the bill?
Do you think you have what it takes to become a Drilling
and Service Rig Helper, Labourer and Semi-skilled
- I have mechanical ability and
understand technical instructions.
- I am willing to ask questions and
learn on the go.
- I am willing to do different things
- I am not easily
- I can follow safety rules and
precautions, and understand their importance when dealing with
potentially hazardous material and equipment.
- I can handle hard physical work and
am not afraid of heights.
- I can work rotational shifts and long
hours, and do not mindchanges in routine.
- I can handle considerable travel to
and from rig locations.
- I can work and live in isolated
regions for extended periods of time.
- I have the tolerance, stamina and
flexibility to work outdoors in any weather conditions.
- I believe in teamwork and understand
that other people will be relying on me.
- I believe that I have what it takes
to be an excellent Drilling and Service Rig Helper, Labourer and
Quick tips and next steps!
- Visit career fairs and talk to
employers who offer jobs and careers in this occupation. Check with
employment centres, educational institutions, newspapers,
petroleum-related magazines and the internet for information on
- While in high school, sharpen your
skills and knowledge in areas such as mathematics, chemistry,
physics and computer science.
- Participate in National
Technology Week which is held annually during November and
offers a host of activities along with interactive and fun
resources to help students, teachers and parents explore technical
careers. See details at: www.cctt.ca.
- Check out websites of industry and
professional associations such as the Canadian Council
ofTechnicians and Technologists at www.cctt.ca.
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