You have put in a lot of effort to get your first oil drilling job. Once you get hired, here are 10 tips to get you started off on the right foot.
1) Be humble. Start from the bottom, just like everyone else on the oil rig, even the rig manager.
2) Be prepared. There are no stores on an offshore oil rig. Make sure you bring along enough toiletries and cigarettes (even if you do not smoke). You can trade the extras, or “bribe” a seasoned colleague to teach you part of his job. As mobile phones usually do not work on offshore, take along a prepaid card. You will need to find out who the phone service provider is on board your oil rig.
3) Clear up any personal issues before you leave shore. Communications can be expensive if your rig does not have mobile phone coverage. Offshore phone services like Petrocom charge up to $5.00 a minute, so your prepaid cards could run out pretty fast. Unless you have a life-threatening emergency, you will be stuck on the rig for weeks (depending on your contract, possibly up to 6 weeks). You should realize that transport on and off the rig is strictly controlled, as ferrying an employee to shore by helicopter costs thousands of dollars.
4) Get some basic knowledge of maritime law and protocol. An offshore oil rig comes under maritime law and is treated as a sea going vessel. Protocol on board resembles that of a commercial ship – the toolpusher or rig boss and the drilling company representative serve as co-captains of the rig. Law breakers will be turned over to the coast guard.
5) No drug use. If you have a drug habit and cannot give it up, do not get an oil drilling job. Rigs test employees regularly for drugs, so you will be quickly found out and fired. Apart from that, laws in your host country will also come into effect. If you are found with drugs in your personal effects, you could face the hanging penalty for drug trafficking in oil rigs off the shore of countries like Malaysia and Singapore.
6) Buy enough life insurance. While safety is a high priority on modern oil rigs, it never hurts to be prepared for the worst case, especially if you have family members dependent on you.
7) Be prepared to travel. You will usually be far away from home in a remote location for several weeks. After all, there is a reason they are giving you all that extra salary.
8) Make sure you are single or have a stable marriage. More than one employee has found himself divorced due to the odd working hours and long hitches. If you are married, make sure you can trust your wife to keep your household affairs running.
9) Be prepared to work hard, no matter how rough the weather condition is. Also be prepared to work for demanding supervisors. An oil rig costs thousands per hour to operate and has no room for slackers and layabouts. More importantly, offshore rigs are often isolated away from civilization and any serious mistakes you make could cost the lives of your colleagues.
10)Get a sense of what the industry is all about. Check out books such as “A Primer to Oil Well Drilling” in your local library. Make sure you have the right expectations of your colleagues and bosses on board the oil rig.
Follow these 10 tips for your first oil drilling job, and you will find things going smoothly. Flout them, and your career will be in choppy seas.