Oil Rig Job Hierarchy

The Oil and Gas Company performs processes of exploration and extraction, refining and transportation of petroleum products. Oil and gas are vital in many industries and more over it forms the backbone of the transport system in all the countries of the world.

There are different positions offered in this industry and while the engineers get the top most positions, the basic work needs to be done by manual laborers. Below given is the detail of the job hierarchy in an oil rig job:

oil rig job hierarchy

Roughnecks and Roustabouts

The beginning of your oil rig career generally starts with a job as a roughneck or a roustabout. These terms more or less means the same as the job description for the both is same and people with no skills or semi-skills can join the oil rig at these positions as manual laborers. This is one of the most important positions in the rig as they need to work in the difficult conditions and usually for every crew in the oil rig; there are two roughnecks/roustabouts and they are required to complete difficult tasks every day. Some of their duties include:

  • Cleaning the deck and removing any thing that serves as an obstacle and restrain the work of the crew by making use of the right vehicle.
  • Heavy lifting whenever required and assisting the motor hand and the other crew members whenever required
  • General housekeeping on the floor
  • Removing garbage, painting, digging ditches etc.

Motor Hand

The roughnecks/roustabouts are promoted to this position and are responsible for the proper functioning of the rig motors, proper functioning of all the drilling equipments, train all new crew members, testing, maintenance and lubrication of all motor parts, running the rotary table and draw-works and also needs to assist the Derrick Hand and the driller whenever required.
He also needs to be mechanically inclined.

Derrick Hand

The person at this post needs to work in the rig’s derrick for the majority of his time and is responsible for the proper functioning of the circulation system and the fluid pumps. He also needs to monitor the drilling fluid and assist the driller whenever necessary. He also needs to train new crew members and another important responsibility of Derrick Hand is to steady the pipes at the top when these are either connected or disconnected at the bottom.


The main responsibility of a driller is to set the drill at the right location and also run the drilling rig. He needs to ensure that the workers understands and maintains the safety procedures and also maintain all the required reports. He plans and organizes the duties of other workers as well.

Rig Manager

The main function of the Rig Manager is to look after the entire oil rig and ensures that the work is being done smoothly and safely. He also needs to ensure that the operations being conducted are in accordance with the government regulations. He is also responsible for the overall production and cost of the rig. He is also responsible for planning and organizing the final site preparation.

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