Offshore oil rig jobs are the hot new jobs for this coming decade, bumping IT and finance from their perch. These are some of the jobs in the upstream oil industry, where you look for oil and drill for it. Then there is the midstream, where you refine and transport the oil. Finally, there are the downstream oil jobs, where you sell and distribute the finished product.
Upstream is where both the greatest demand and the greatest competition lies. Most of these jobs are international and require a lot of travel. Employees here often work in Alaska, the Arctic, Canada and the Middle East. The people on the really sharp end are the geologists who look for oil and the people who support them, doing seismic testing and test drilling. Should you try to get in here? This is a judgment call. If you started a university degree with the related qualifications 2 to 5 years ago, you would be in a very good position. Many of the oil company staff here would be in their 50s and 60s, some of them recalled from retirement. If you start today, you'll get your degree in 3 to 5 years time. Demand for a geologist would probably not be as strong. If you have started your geology degree, this is a good time to get the specializations you need to branch into this line of work.
Oil Rig Jobs in the Western United States
The oil jobs in in this part of the United States predominantly are located in Alaska, Texas and California. Less oil rig jobs are also available in the states of North Dakota and Wyoming. Many of oil rig jobs are located not in the sea, but also on the land. They can be similar to offshore oil and gas rigging jobs and positions, since oil drilling can take place wherever the deposits of oil and natural gas are suspected or known to exist. Roustabout and roughneck jobs are most often the entry level jobs on oil rigs that demand rather good physical shape than knowledge and experience, but it's not uncommon that oil companies require having at least high school education for those who they consider hiring for these entry level vacancies.
In spite of the world's financial crisis, the US oil industry keeps offering good opportunities for getting hires for both skilled and unskilled workforce, because more than 50% of the current oil and gas rig workforce will retire during the next decade, leaving their positions vacant. Therefore the need for oil rig workers in America is on the rise, positions ranging from the entry-level roustabouts and roughnecks to the impressively paid petroleum extraction engineers.
A better choice for someone starting out is to get an offshore oil rig job as a roughneck or roustabout. While you are technically a laborer, your salary is better than many managers (unless they work for a tobacco company). Let your high school peers enjoy their better-sounding titles. You get to laugh all the way to the bank. In addition, if you show the right attitude and skills, you can work your way up the hierarchy from roustabout all the way up to derrickman, driller and oil rig manager. Whether or not you make it to oil rig manager, do remember history. Oil prices will eventually drop again after about 1 decade. Save some of your salary and use it to build your nest egg. Don't blow all your salary on beer and cigarettes and living the high life. Make sure you can retire when the oil boom ends. Another good choice is to get a good trade skill like electrician, mechanic, medic or cook. These are some of the support positions also needed on an oil rig. You don't get labeled as a laborer, but you still get a good salary and excellent benefits. For spending 6 months every year in the middle of nowhere, you get more pay than your peer working on land. It is still a pretty good deal. In addition, when the oil market bubble bursts again, you have your trade skills to get by.
Rigging jobs can be found in many locations of the world
Most offshore oil platforms are located on a portion of the continental shelf so rigs can be found all around the coast line of the USA, in the Gulf of Mexico, in the North Sea, and many other places in the world.
While most of the entry level jobs are in the "upstream" or exploration and production sectors, there are many other offshore oil jobs that need to be done within the "village" that lives and works on an oil rig.
Oil rig platforms come in all shapes and sizes but are generally massive structures that are attached to the sea bed, or floating or part of an artificial island. Costing over $700 million each, an oil rig can have thirty or more wellheads, each with directional drilling which accesses the oil reservoirs at various depths and can even deal with positions that are as remote as 8 kilometres or 5 miles from the rig. Some rigs also have single or multiple wellheads that are remote enough to be connection and accessed through an umbilical link.
The oil industry is expanding in many of the older oil fields around the globe plus in places that have had little or no exploration or extraction as yet like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, thus needing many more people. One study showed that over the next ten years, over half of the current jobs in the oil and gas industries will have to be re-filled because of workers retiring. Right now there aren't enough people applying to fill the jobs available.
If you were to apply for a job on a rig in say, the Gulf of Mexico, you could expect much better weather conditions (for the most part) than you could in, say the North Sea, although treacherous weather happens during the hurricane season.
There are thousands of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico so there are many options for jobs on those rigs and although the work is hard, often with 12 hours days, seven days a week, where will you find a job that pays as well for an inexperienced person, working just six months of the year? Being out at sea, on a floating platform, doing the heavy physical work required of roustabouts and other members of the drilling crew is definitely choosing a life style but one which comes with great wages, great benefits and lots of time off.
The roustabouts, the roughnecks and many of the other people working in offshore oil jobs have to be physically strong, brave and willing to work hard, often in severe weather and dangerous conditions - these are certainly not jobs for those not willing to accept huge challenges. But those with the guts get the rewards!