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Drillers are crew members on offshore oil or gas rigs. They set up, operate and maintain the equipment for drilling wells in the search for oil and gas. They supervise the other members of the drilling team: roustabouts, roughnecks and the derrickhand.

The Work

You could be:


The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries vary, depending on:

The salary for assistant drillers can be between £24,000 and £35,000 a year, and experienced drillers can earn in the region of £39,000 to £50,000 a year. (In addition, employers provide accommodation and food, as well as warm and waterproof clothing).


Workforce Employment Status

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Getting In

The UK oil and gas industry is located mainly off the east coast of Scotland and England, although there are also fields west of Shetland and in the Irish Sea. Employers in the industry include operating companies (usually oil companies) that hold exploration and production licences, drilling companies with contracts to do drilling work and a wide range of other major contractors and companies offering specialist technical services. The main recruitment contacts in Scotland are in the Aberdeen area.

What Does it Take?

You need to have:

You need to be able to:


Getting On

More Information

Although some workers spend only a short time on the rigs, many others spend most of their careers – often 20 years or more – offshore.

Most of the major oil and gas reserves in the North Sea have been worked, but new technology is allowing the exploitation of smaller and more marginal fields.

There are also good opportunities for skilled and experienced workers in other parts of the world.


Courtesy of Maersk Drilling


The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Tel: 01925 515200
Twitter: @cogent_skills

Cogent is the Sector Skills Council for the science industries.

Energy Institute
Tel: 020 7467 7100
Twitter: @EnergyInstitute

Tel: 01224 787800
Twitter: @OPITOGlobal

OPITO provides services to the oil and gas industry relating to health and safety, education and skills training.

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