Oil and Gas Drillers, Operators, and Related Workers

(NOC 8232, 8412)

in All NS Occupations

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.

Job Outlook

Limited

Read more

  • Estimate Decline sharply employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate -40 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate High rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All NS Occupations

  • Estimate Weak growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 33315 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Moderate rate of unemployment in 2016

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)

Hourly Pay

$16.00

Minimum

$32.00

Median

$45.67

Maximum

Annual Pay

$28,314

Minimum

$83,575

Median

$196,292

Maximum

Compared to: All NS Occupations

Hourly Pay

$11.00

Minimum

$19.89

Median

$40.00

Maximum

Annual Pay

$2,872

Minimum

$29,983

Median

$83,126

Maximum

About the job

Nature of work

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.

Job duties

The following is a summary of some of the duties performed by oil and gas drillers, operators, and related workers:

  • 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.

Sample job titles

  • 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

Skills

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.

Job requirements

  • Completion of high 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.

Other considerations

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.

By the numbers

Quick look

280

employed in 2016

92.2%

employed full-time

3.6%

self employed

0.0%
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100%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
N/A

median age

Compared to: All NS Occupations

427,305

employed in 2016

78.0%

employed full-time

10.0%

self employed

49.2%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
50.8%
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44.6

median age

Where will I likely work?

27.7%

Cape Breton

25.5%

Northern

25.5%

Halifax

16.0%

Annapolis Valley

4.3%

Southern

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

47.4%

Support for Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction

22.8%

Construction

15.8%

Oil and Gas Extraction

7.0%

Other Services

3.5%

Professional Business Services

What is the age of Employment?

33.5%

35-44

31.1%

25-34

19.3%

45-54

10.6%

55-64

4.3%

15-24

1.2%

65+

Compared to: All NS Occupations

42.3%

45-54

26.1%

55-64

18.9%

35-44

8.1%

25-34

3.6%

65+

Top levels of education

31.3%

Trades certificate

$72,255 median annual income
29.1%

College certificate or diploma

N/A
25.1%

High school

$69,031 median annual income
10.1%

Less than high school

$41,601 median annual income
2.2%

University certificate or diploma

N/A

Compared to: All NS Occupations

34.0%

Less than high school

$14,445 median annual income
31.5%

High school

$14,229 median annual income
14.3%

College certificate or diploma

$21,289 median annual income
14.0%

Trades certificate

$19,107 median annual income
4.3%

Bachelor's degree

$15,980 median annual income

Education & training

Adult high school/secondary diploma programs

This program is typically offered at the high school level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that defines the prescribed requirements, specified by the appropriate jurisdiction, for the completion of and graduation from a secondary school program of academic subject matter offered for adult learners outside of the regular secondary school program. This does not include adult compensatory education programs resulting in completion of a high school equivalency certificate or diploma.

Institutions providing this program

Universite Sainte-Anne

Siège Social: 1695, Route 1

Pointe-de-l'Église, NS B0W 1M0

(902) 769-2114

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

50 Elliott Road

Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0

(902) 825-3491

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

PO Box 550, 1 Main Street

Springhill, NS B0M 1X0

(902) 597-3737

Nova Scotia Community College - Akerley Campus

21 Woodlawn Road

Dartmouth, NS B2W 2R7

(902) 491-4900

Nova Scotia Community College - Burridge Campus

372 Pleasant Street

Yarmouth, NS B5A 2L2

(902) 742-3501

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Nova Scotia Community College - Lunenburg Campus

75 High Street

Bridgewater, NS B4V 1V8

(902) 543-4608

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

5685 Leeds Street

Halifax, NS B3K 2T3

(902) 491-6722

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue

Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0

(902) 752-2002

Nova Scotia Community College - Shelburne Campus

PO Box 760, 1575 Lake Road

Shelburne, NS B0T 1W0

(902) 875-8640

Nova Scotia Community College - Strait Area Campus & Nautical Institute

226 Reeves Street

Port Hawkesbury, NS B9A 2A2

(902) 625-2380

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Truro Campus

36 Arthur Street

Truro, NS B2N 1X5

(902) 893-5385

Electrical, electronic and communications engineering technology/technician

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of electrical, electronics and communication engineers. These programs include courses in electrical circuitry, prototype development and testing; systems analysis and testing, systems maintenance, instrument calibration, and report preparation.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Cumberland Campus

PO Box 550, 1 Main Street

Springhill, NS B0M 1X0

(902) 597-3737

Nova Scotia Community College - Kingstec Campus

236 Belcher Street

Kentville, NS B4N 0A6

(902) 678-7341

Nova Scotia Community College - Pictou Campus & School of Fisheries

PO Box 820, 39 Acadia Avenue

Stellarton, NS B0K 1S0

(902) 752-2002

Nova Scotia Community College - Marconi Campus

PO Box 1042, 1240 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6J7

(902) 563-2450

Nova Scotia Community College - Waterfront Campus & Aviation Institute

80 Mawiomi Place

Dartmouth, NS B2Y 0A5

(902) 491-1100

Petroleum technology/technician

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of engineers and other professionals engaged in the development and operation of oil and natural gas extraction and processing facilities. These programs include courses in principles of petroleum extraction and related geology, petroleum field mapping and site analysis, testing and sampling methods, instrument calibration, laboratory analysis, test equipment operation and maintenance, environment and safety monitoring procedures for oil/gas fields and facilities, facility inspection procedures, and report preparation.

Institutions providing this program

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Well drilling/driller

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to set up, maintain, repair, and operate well drilling equipment; locate, drill, construct, and develop water, gas, and oil wells; and test and monitor wells to ensure adequate flow. These programs include courses with applications to home, business, and industrial uses.

Institutions providing this program

Maritime Drilling Schools Ltd.

150 Peppett Street

North Sydney, NS B2A 2P6

(902) 794-1132

Employment requirements & contacts

Regulations

Rig Technician

Certificate of Qualification (Voluntary): This job is a designated trade in Nova Scotia. Employers may require certification, however, a certificate is not needed to legally work in this job.

Regulating body:
Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency
2021 Brunswick Street, PO Box 578
Halifax, NS B3J 2S9
(800) 494-5651
(902) 424-0717

Contacts

Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, Occupational Health and Safety Division
PO Box 697, 5151 Terminal Road
Halifax, NS B3J 2T8
Tel: (902) 424-5300
Enform
5055 - 11th Street NE
Calgary, AB T2E 8N4
Tel: (800) 667-5557
Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum
Suite 1250, 3500 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West
Westmount, QC H3Z 3C1
Tel: (514) 939-2710
Fax: (514) 939-2714
Red Seal
c/o Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency PO Box 578
Halifax, B3J 2S9
Tel: (902) 424-5651
Fax: (902) 424-0717

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