Derrickman Oil Jobs: Alberta Derrickman Jobs, Derrickman Wages & Job Openings Back to Articles

Second in rank to the driller on a land oil rig crew is what's known as a Derrickman. The name derives from the fact that the person working this position is placed on a platform attached to the derrick, or mast, above the rig floor. Derrickman jobs are very demanding and dangerous since the role requires working on the outside of the rig structure with a safety harness allowing him to lean out from the platform to reach the drill pipe in the center of the derrick. One of the most physically challenging jobs on a land based oil rig crew, the Derrickman needs nerves of steel, confidence and agility while working in high places and in extreme weather conditions. A skilled Derrickman will know inside and out all the tools and equipment used in the pipe-racking system and pipe tripping operations. Typically a land based oil rig Derrickman will be suspended from the rig platform in a safety harness that allows him to lean out from the work platform (also called a monkeyboard) to reach the drillpipe in the center of the derrick, throw a line around the pipe and pull it back into its storage location (or fingerboards) until its time to run the pipe back in to the well. In case of an emergency, a Derrickman usually has access to what's known as a "Geronimo Line" to safely reach the ground via an escape line. In addition to the standard tasks, an oil rig Derrickman can often be called upon to manage the mud processing area during periods of circulation. A Derrickman will report directly to the rig driller about the consistency of the mud and the general condition of the pumps and mud room. An oil Derrickman is also asked to measure mud density and conduct viscosity tests on a regular basis. Though many new oil rig platforms have automated pipe handling equipment that allow the Derrickman to control the machinery rather than physically handling the pipes, most Derrickman jobs will require that the applicant know how to actually handle all pipes and equipment should the automated process fail. A trusted Derrickman with experience will also be expected to supervise crew members underneath his rank, including floor hands and roustabouts. Though the hours are long and the conditions can be extreme and hazardous, a Derrickman can expect to be well paid for his efforts. Depending on your experience as a Derrickman and the company or contractor you are applying with, the average Derrickman can expect an annual wage of $45,000 to $65,000 USD. Of course, with more experience, responsibility and overtime pay some Derrickman jobs can pay a wage in excess of $75,000 USD.
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