About the job
Oil and gas well drillers and well servicers control the operation of drilling and hoisting equipment on drilling and service rigs, and direct the activities of the rig crew under supervision of the rig manager. Oil and gas well loggers, testers and related workers operate specialized mechanical or electronic equipment, tools or instruments to provide services in conjunction with well drilling, completion or servicing. Workers in this group are employed by drilling and well service contractors, petroleum producing companies and well logging or testing companies.
Oil and gas well drilling workers operate drilling and service rig machinery as intermediate members of the rig crew. Oil and gas well services operators drive trucks and operate specialized hydraulic pumping systems to place cement in wells or to treat wells with chemicals, sand mixtures or gases to stimulate production. Workers in this group are employed by drilling and well service contractors and by petroleum producing companies.
- Oil and gas well drillers direct rig crew in setting up rigs and drilling, completing or servicing oil and gas exploration and producing wells; operate controls of drill or service rig drilling and hoisting machinery; train or arrange for training of crew; maintain records of drilling and servicing operations; and ensure safety procedures are followed.
- Oil and gas well loggers and testers drive well service or wireline truck to well site; assemble and attach equipment, tools or recorders to drill stem or wireline to conduct required procedures and tests; operate or direct the operation of wireline or unit controls to lower, position and retrieve equipment and instruments; operate recorders and computers in mobile testing or logging unit to collect data; and may perform limited data interpretation.
- Oil and gas well drilling workers use specialized equipment, information and maps to determine and document the location of buried pipelines and other utilities; align and manipulate sections of pipe or drill stem from platform on rig derrick during removal and replacement of strings of pipe, or drill stem and drill bit; operate and maintain drilling mud systems and pumps during drilling, and mix mud, chemicals and additives; record mud flows and volumes and take samples; and operate and maintain mechanical equipment.
- Oil and gas well service operators drive well services truck to well site; assemble pumping equipment and attach pumps and hoses to wellhead; operate hydraulic pumping systems to pump chemicals, gases, sand, cement or other material into well; read gauges to monitor pressure, density, rate and concentration and adjust pumping procedure as required; and may mix chemicals and cements.
- control room operator - offshore drilling
- driller - oil and gas drilling
- gas tester - oil field services
- logging and perforating operator - oil field services
- motorhand - oil and gas drilling
- pipeline locator - oil and gas
- pumper operator - oil field services
- rig technician
- service rig operator - oil field services
- well testing operator - oil and gas drilling
To work in these jobs, you should have good health, physical stamina, and strength. Agility, coordination, and a mechanical aptitude would also be helpful. You must be able to take direction and carry out instructions given by supervisors.
- Completion of secondary school is usually required.
- A college diploma in drilling or may be required.
- Completion of a college program in electronics or engineering technology may be required for open hole well logging.
- Completion of petroleum industry-approved training courses may be required.
- Oil and gas well drillers and well servicers require three to six months of formal on-the-job training, college or petroleum industry-approved training courses and four or more years of work experience in subordinate rig crew positions.
- Oil and gas well loggers, testers and related workers require three to six months of formal on-the-job training and several years of experience in subordinate logging and testing positions or on drilling and servicing rigs.
- Training of up to three months with an experienced operator is required for oil and gas well services operators.
- Certificates in first aid, hydrogen sulphide awareness, blowout prevention, well control, workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS), transportation of dangerous goods (TDG) and a special oil well operator (boiler) certificate are required for Oil and gas well drillers, servicers, testers and related workers.
- Certificates in first aid, hydrogen sulphide awareness, blowout prevention, well control, workplace hazardous materials information system (WHMIS), transportation of dangerous goods (TDG), cryogenic safety or in other safety concerns may be required for Oil and gas well drilling and related workers and services operators.
- A provincial blaster's licence, and seismic blaster and oil well blaster certification are required for well perforation services.
- Rig technician certification for motorhands and derrickhands may be required by some employers.
- Red Seal certification (allowing for interprovincial mobility) is available for qualified rig technicians.
Mobility between jobs on drilling and service rigs is limited by the differences in the machinery, tools and operations performed, but mobility is possible especially from drilling to service rigs. Progression to crew supervisor or manager is possible with experience and additional education and training. Offshore work requires several years of experience in an equivalent position on land. One year of experience as a floorhand, assistant or labourer is usually required before entry into these positions.
Labour Market Information
The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “limited”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is below average when compared with other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is not a large occupation in Nova Scotia so job opportunities may not be that frequent and jobseekers may face competition. The number employed in this occupation is expected to decline significantly over the next few years, which will limit the number of new opportunities available. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Oil and Gas Drillers, Operators, and Related Workers most commonly work full-time hours. Also, a fair portion of the workforce is self-employed, so having the option to "work for yourself" may appeal to some individuals’ interests/motivations.
The median employment income for 24% of Oil and Gas Drillers, Operators, and Related Workers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $82,282. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)
|Occupation||Estimated employment in 2018||Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019||Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019||Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018||Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)||Estimated annual earnings in 2015|
|Oil and Gas Well Drillers, Servicers, Testers and Related Workers||280||Decline sharply||-40||High|
|All NS Occupations||427,305||Weak growth||33,315||Moderate|
|Oil and Gas Well Drillers, Servicers, Testers and Related Workers||Compared to: All NS Occupations|
|Percent employed full-time||92%||78%|
|Area of Employment||Oil and Gas Well Drillers, Servicers, Testers and Related Workers||Compared to: All NS Occupations|
|% Employed||Median Annual Income||% Employed||Median Annual Income|
|Age||Oil and Gas Well Drillers, Servicers, Testers and Related Workers||Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining|
|% Employed||% Employed|
|Gender||Oil and Gas Well Drillers, Servicers, Testers and Related Workers||Compared to: All NS Occupations|
|% Employed||% Employed|
|Education||Oil and Gas Well Drillers, Servicers, Testers and Related Workers||Compared to: All Farming, Fishing, Forestry, and Mining|
|% Employed||Median Annual Income||% Employed||Median Annual Income|
|Less than high school||10.1%||$41,601||34.0%||$14,445|
|College certificate or diploma||29.1%||x||14.3%||$21,289|
|University certificate or diploma||2.2%||x||1.1%||$17,641|
|University advanced certificate or diploma||N/A||x||0.3%||$17,206|
|Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry||1.1%||x||N/A||N/A|
Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.
Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.