Roustabout Jobs: Land Based Oil Rig Jobs & Roustabout Deck Crew Positions Back to Articles

On land based oil rigs a roustabout is essentially a support position to the oil and gas operations. Considered an entry-lever position on an oil rig deck crew, roustabouts do most of the cleaning, transporting and hauling and also provide assistance to crew roughnecks when needed. A good way to get started on a career in the oil and gas industry, being a roustabout will give you great experience on the daily operations of an oil rig and often leads to quick promotion to more responsible positions including driller and toolpusher. Oil rigs are always in need of skilled roustabouts and plenty of opportunities exist in booming oil regions including Alberta Canada. Being versatile and a skilled manual laborer are essential qualities for making it as a roustabout. Job descriptions vary depending on the contractor or petroleum company you work for but most roustabout positions require tank installations and repairs, digging pits and lines, hauling pipes and rods, cleaning up oil spills and performing maintenance and repairs on tools and equipment. Equipment one should know how to operate before applying for a roustabout job includes backhoes, maintainers, forklifts, trenchers, trucks and trailers. It’s hard to define the roustabout position on a land based oil rig since the activities are quite varied. Having a thorough understanding of tools and equipment, being able to perform many skilled manual labor tasks and operating heavy machinery, trucks and drilling equipment is essential to being a successful roustabout. Oil roustabouts are part of a deck crew and are often asked to relieve roughnecks for breaks. This means in addition to the tasks you have already you also need to know the roughneck job as well so you can offer timely relief. As with roughnecks, oil rig roustabouts work long days in harsh conditions and must be physically fit and mentally tough to handle the work. Having a background in mechanical systems, construction and heavy equipment operation will aid you in being hired for an oil roustabout position. Being able to fill in for many different tasks and performing each successfully will increase your chances of being promoted quickly from a roustabout job. Since roustabout oil jobs are considered entry-level the wages usually average between $34,000 and $45,000 USD. Most companies and contractors will want a high school diploma or GRE equivalent and generally start out roustabouts at around $16/hour USD. Some roustabout positions can pay by the day and in such cases a skilled roustabout can expect anywhere between $300 to $475 USD per day though the work is not always guaranteed and you will most likely have to travel constantly to find daily work at different rigs.
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