Rotary drill operators for oil and gas set up or operate a variety of drills to remove underground oil and gas or remove core samples for testing during oil and gas exploration.

  • Train crews, and introduce procedures to make drill work more safe and effective.
  • Observe pressure gauge and move throttles and levers to control the speed of rotary tables, and to regulate pressure of tools at bottoms of boreholes.
  • Count sections of drill rod to determine depths of boreholes.
  • Push levers and brake pedals to control gasoline, diesel, electric, or steam draw works that lower and raise drill pipes and casings in and out of wells.
  • Connect sections of drill pipe, using hand tools and powered wrenches and tongs.
  • Maintain records of footage drilled, location and nature of strata penetrated, materials and tools used, services rendered, and time required.
  • Maintain and adjust machinery to ensure proper performance.
  • Start and examine operation of slush pumps to ensure circulation and consistency of drilling fluid or mud in well.
  • Locate and recover lost or broken bits, casings, and drill pipes from wells, using special tools.
  • Weigh clay, and mix with water and chemicals to make drilling mud.
  • Direct rig crews in drilling and other activities, such as setting up rigs and completing or servicing wells.
  • Monitor progress of drilling operations, and select and change drill bits according to the nature of strata, using hand tools.
  • Repair or replace defective parts of machinery, such as rotary drill rigs, water trucks, air compressors, and pumps, using hand tools.
  • Clean and oil pulleys, blocks, and cables.
  • Bolt together pump and engine parts, and connect tanks and flow lines.
  • Remove core samples during drilling to determine the nature of the strata being drilled.
  • Cap wells with packers, or turn valves, to regulate outflow of oil from wells.
  • Line drilled holes with pipes, and install all necessary hardware, to prepare new wells.
  • Position and prepare truck-mounted derricks at drilling areas specified on field maps.
  • Plug observation wells, and restore sites.
  • Lower and explode charges in boreholes to start flow of oil from wells.
  • Dig holes, set forms, and mix and pour concrete, for foundations of steel or wooden derricks.
Work Context

Work Context information for this career will be available soon.

Work Activities
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
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Detailed Work Activities
  • Train construction or extraction personnel.
  • Operate drilling equipment.
  • Measure work site dimensions.
  • Operate cranes, hoists, or other moving or lifting equipment.
  • Install drilling equipment.
  • Record operational or environmental data.
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Knowledge

Mechanical
  • Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Mathematics
  • Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management
  • Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
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Skills

Operation and Control
  • Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Critical Thinking
  • Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Operation Monitoring
  • Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Monitoring
  • Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
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Abilities

Problem Sensitivity
  • The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Control Precision
  • The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Near Vision
  • The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Multilimb Coordination
  • The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
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Personality

People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Achievement/Effort
  • Persistence
  • Initiative
  • Leadership
  • Cooperation
  • Concern for Others
  • Social Orientation
  • Self Control
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Technology

You might use software like this on the job:

Spreadsheet software
  • Microsoft Excel Hot Technology
Word processing software
  • Microsoft Word Hot Technology
Industrial control software
  • CAPSHER Technology SureTec
  • Drillingsoftware DrillPro
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Education

Less than a High School Diploma or
High School Diploma
usually needed

Get started on your career:

Job Outlook

New job opportunities are very likely in the future.
Salary
$53,820
$33,600
$90,640