What To Expect On An Oil Rig – FAQ

We are often asked by visitors of RigJobs what’s it like to work on an Offshore Rig, and what are the expectations.  We’ve put together a FAQ on commonly asked question. If you have a question, or work on an offshore oil rig and have suggestion for this FAQ please Contact Us, we would love to hear from you.

What should I consider before taking an Offshore Oil Rig Job?

The job requires being away from friends and family and working in remote locations. Make sure your significant others, and family are onboard. If there are stresses in your family unit they can be amplified with prolong absences.

Are you physically fit, and healthy enough to work long hours in a physically challenging environment.  The company will do a medical examination to make sure your health meets their standards, but you should also consider for yourself.

What are the hours on an oil rig?

The usual shift is 12 hours on, 12 hours off 7 days a week. The reality is it can be up to 13 hours with handovers between shifts. Most offshore operations run 24 hours a day so expect day or night shifts.

How much time off will I receive?

It can vary depending on the company and position but the most typical is a 14/21 rotation where you work long hours for 14 days, but then you get 21 days off.

Will I be able to contact my family?

Yes. Mobile phones typically don’t work out at sea but these days almost all offshore rigs have wifi access allowing you to Skype Video, Email, use messaging apps to stay in contact with loved ones and friends.  Keep in mind that bandwidth at sea is limited, so not likely you’ll be able stream movies on Netflix.

How are the accommodations?

Generally you will share a room with a few colleagues, with a bathroom shared among a few rooms. Most rooms will have their own sink and TV.

The food is usually good. Fresh food such as meats, fruits and vegetables are ahipped in regularly, and prepared by a kitchen staff. Because of the 24-hour nature of an Oil Rig, the kitchen is a 24-hour a day buffet.

What is there to do when I’m not working?

Between the 7 days a week, 12-hour shifts, and sleeping there isn’t a lot of free time on an offshore oil rig, but with the free time you do have you won’t be bored. Most rigs have small movie screening rooms, video games, wide screen TV’s, pool, air hockey.

Can I Drink and smoke?

As a matter of safety alcohol is usually prohibited. Heavy machinery, long work hours, and alcohol just aren’t a good mix.  Smoking is allowed but due to the risks of fire, it is always in pre-determined locations.

What About The noise?

An oil rig is very noisy. To a certain extent you will get used to it but most production decks are at 80-85 decibels, and near 100 around compressors. Anything above 80 causes long term damage so you will be need to wear ear protection while working, and should consider wearing it in your time off as well.