Understanding Day-to-Day Oil Rig Operations

The idea of working on an oil rig has always been a lot of big machines and dirty work. While this is true, not everyone understands the details of oil rig operations.

Even working in the industry, if you have never spent time out on an oil rig, it can be hard to piece together all the little details. Each job, part, and structure is essential, and without organization, they all fall apart.

To get yourself acquainted, we have put together a solid explanation of the basics of oil rig operations and the people who work on them. 

The Basics of Oil Rig Operations

There are dozens of different variables that can make any single oil rig unique. Location is one of the biggest ones, but the number of people, company policy, and type of drill can be factors as well.

The point of an oil rig is simple, drill down, and extract oil. The process has hundreds of moving parts, and the balance of activity and part maintenance can make each day complex. 

While we can go on for hours on each individual rig part, instead, we’ll focus on the core of any oil rig: the people. 

The Workers of an Oil Rig and Their Jobs

The workers on an oil rig ensure the process is smooth and avoids damage to the equipment, oil supply, and surrounding area. 

The seven positions below cover the basics of an oil rig, but often positions can include multiple people, and the numbers in each position vary.

1. Company Representative

The company representative will often be in charge of the general operations on a rig. They’re taken from the company that owns the rig. They are often either a senior manager from the company or a senior member of the crew.

Overseeing operations, a company representative will often direct the building of roads to the rig, installation of the wellhead, and final decisions on formation tests.

2. Derrick Worker

In a more permanent rig operation, a derrick worker is vital. They operate from the tall derricks surrounding the drill. 

Often, a derrick worker will add or remove sections of pipe from the drill string. They add more pipe as the drill goes deeper and remove sections as the drill pulls back. 

3. Driller

The position often manages the rig crew outside of the company representative. They operate the draw works, which are a system of cables and pulleys that runs the pipe, thus their operational name.

They can stand in for the toolpusher as needed.

4. Floor Workers

The most inexperienced people on the crew, the floor workers, always operate in pairs. They are the ones who operate the oil rig tongs.

Often there are two levels to the floor workers, the lead and the backup. The more experienced of the two will get the lead. 

5. Motor Man

Often the extra or 5th operator, the motor man or motor worker, is an experienced position that gives support and backup to the positions as needed. Often they do close work with the driller. 

6. Tool Pusher

While the company representative controls the operational decisions and over-arching plans, the tool pusher is the direct manager during operations hours. 

The tool pusher is the field management compared to the company representative’s corporate management. 

7. Lease Pumper

The leaser pumper is a position taken during the drilling of a new well. Their general focus is on ensuring that the rig remains clean and avoids damaging or spilling into the surrounding area.

When an oil rig is set up onto a leased area, such as a farm not owned by the oil company, it is onto the leaser pumper to ensure excess oil or improper mud pits do not taint the farm.  

Quality Workers, Quality Equipment

Oil rig operations are a complocated affair. The wrong move and it could cost you thousands of dollars in damaged equipment and spilled oil.

With a better understanding of the jobs and operations of an oil rig, you can get a good grip on what kind of oil rig equipment you need. We at Kor-Pak distribute only the best, so our equipment is guaranteed quality

Posted in Industrial Equipment.