Salaries for Roughnecks & Oil Drilling

Written by denise brandenberg
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Salaries for Roughnecks & Oil Drilling
Derrickmen are rig workers who often climb the drill tower. (NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Both land and offshore oil rigs need different types of workers to run properly. The overall purpose of a rig is to extract oil from wells and reserves that are miles below the surface, and it takes various types of rig professionals to achieve this goal. Some of the main players on oil rigs are roughnecks and drillers. These rig professionals can make lucrative salaries for all of their hard work.

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Roughnecks

Roughnecks work on the rig floor in teams of three and are responsible for operating the drilling equipment and machines in support of the driller. One member of the roughneck team typically works in the mud process room taking mud weights and ensuring that the shakers are working properly. According to Rigworker.com, the average annual salary for a roughneck is £38,350. Oil Rig Job International reports that many roughnecks start out at salaries between £27,950 and £30,550 per year. Other perks include free airfare, meals and room and board, as well as medical insurance.

Pumpmen

The pumpman position is a drilling job that supports the derrickman. Pumpmen work in the mud pump room; their main responsibilities include checking the mud room weights and shaker equipment. They work as backup roughnecks when needed, as well. According to Rigworker.com, the average annual salary for this position is £39,325.

Derrickmen

The derrickman on an oil rig is typically responsible for operating and maintaining all the equipment in the mud pump room. This equipment includes the mud pumps and mud holding pits, as well as the other machines in that area. Another main job duty is to climb the drilling tower to rack the drill pipe. Other responsibilities include mixing drilling fluids and mud to ensure the chemicals and consistency are correct. The average annual salary for this position is £42,250, according to Rigworker.com.

Assistant Drillers

Assistant drillers are in charge of supervising the pumpman, derrickman and all the roughnecks. They also provide assistance to the driller, as well as take on any other miscellaneous tasks as needed. Assistant drillers are expected to fill in for any of the other drilling positions when necessary. According to Rigworker.com, the average annual salary for this position is £47,125 per year. However, Oil Rig Jobs International lists the average annual salary at £35,100 for this position.

Drillers

The oil rig driller has the most responsibility out of all the drilling crew. He's in charge of everything that occurs on and above the rig floor, as well as the person who operates the drill that makes the hole in the earth. The average annual salary for this position is £55,900, according to Rigworker.com.

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