Job type

Offshore drilling worker

£20k - £60k

Typical salary

53 – 55

Hours per week

Offshore drilling workers drill for undersea oil and gas on offshore rigs.

More info

  • Work on an offshore oil or gas rig, operating and managing the drilling machinery
  • You'll live on the rig for several weeks at a time and work in shift patterns, often outdoors in all weathers
  • Progress into supervisory or rig management roles

As an offshore drilling worker, your daily jobs will vary depending on what role you are in.


As a derrickhand, your duties will include:

  • Handling and stacking sections of the drill pipe
  • Maintaining the derrick
  • Operating the lifting and hoisting machinery to position the drill
  • Controlling maintaining mud pumps
  • Supervising mud pump operators

As a driller, you'll be:

  • Supervising the drilling team and control the rate of drilling
  • Controlling operations on the drill floor
  • Overseeing assembly of the drilling tools and connecting sections of the drill pipe
  • Operating the drill control machinery
  • Keeping records of the drilling process
  • Making sure the team follows health and safety rules


Your working environment may be cramped physically demanding, at height, outdoors in all weathers, and you'll usually need to spend long periods away from home.

You'll need

For this role, you'll need the ability to work well with your hands, to be thorough and pay attention to detail, the ability to work well with others, observation and recording skills, patience in stressful situations, physical skills, and the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools.

You could get into the job through an engineering operative intermediate apprenticeship before applying to work on offshore rigs.

You could start as a roustabout on a rig and learn on the job before moving into drilling work.

Direct application to offshore oil and gas companies might be possible if you've got experience in an industry like engineering or construction.

You must be 18 or over, complete basic offshore safety training, and a medical check.


You could work for operating companies with their own exploration and production licences, or for drilling and maintenance contracting companies. With experience, you could be promoted from driller to toolpusher or rig manager.