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Hands on oil rig experience training

So, you ask how to get a job on an oil rig? The opportunities for unexperienced candidates seeking entry level job on offshore platforms are quite diverse, and the chance of getting hired as greenhand roustabout always exist. But that's not the only way to get into the rigs. Another opportunity could be to get hired for position in the catering department. Generally all unskilled or less skilled entry level jobs on oil rigs, be it galleyhand or greenhand roustabout don't require previous experience. Instead good candidate must demonstrate ability to learn things quickly and get trained as you go, gaining all the needed hands on experience on the workplace


Have several times been asked about how it is to work in the catering out on the North Sea. Since I am interested in how it works I took the opportunity to ask around some during my last trip offshore.


Working in the catering can mean several different tasks. One can either work in the kitchen, cleaning or washing. Catering staff, including chefs, stewards, galleyhands, night bakers, cooks etc. work 2/4-rotation, which attracts many.

Working hours are 06-18 or 18-06. The duties of general laborer in catering include cleaning up everyone's room (changing linens, etc.) when people are eating and serve food. Most of the people I talked to had a background in the restaurant, but someone had actually been a florist before. So it is enough to submit any background if you're lucky. However, you'll find yourself in a preferable position, if you've done with:

  • Safety Course
  • Offshore health certificate
  • First-help courses, 40 hours
  • Work Course, 40 hours

Then it differs of course between the professions. Looking for a job as a chef on oil rig, you should of course have been working as a chef or as a cook with several years of hands on experience. If you really want the job, I think you should relocate, for example, to Stavanger if the job location is Stavanger. That's because they obviously would rather hire someone who lives locally in Norway than who lives in Sweden, which costs lots of extra money to fly to / from work every time. Once worked for a while and got into the system you can afford to move back home again.

The company that had the catering on my rig called Norsk Offshore Catering, they are catering to almost half of all rigs in the North Sea. It says on the website that they are not looking for people now, but according to people I talked to, it is always so simply because they do not want too many applicants. So like many drilling companies are doing. The other companies that have been catering in the North Sea are 4Service and Sodexo.


According to the other source, people in catering on offshore platforms earn about 660 000 NOK (approximately $US 113,000) per year. This is when overtime, but still nice monthly salary of 55 000 Norwegian and be off twice as much as all the others who work on the land.

Salary and Benefits

Entry level workers like roustabout or deckhand, i.e. beginner oil rig crew members who are inexperienced, can expect annual salary between $US 39,000 to $US 49,000. But mind that you will make this amount of money for working just half a year on offshore oil rigs. That's because most companies offer the working schedule that alternates two weeks offshore and two weeks' leave. Taken that during time at work on platform all your needs including meals are taken care of at the expense of the employer, an oil rig worker retains almost the whole salary intact.

Working on oil platforms in Norway

The oil production industry has led to Norway's major economic advantage since the 1970s. Today, oil rigs under construction and development keep Norway at the front edge in the world competition. Therefore mechanical, petroleum, and many other kinds of engineers and construction workers have ample opportunities to get jobs offshore.

In order to work on the oil platform in Norway, successful candidate must pass the so-called offshore training. This course, which can be taken in several places in Norway, costs between 20,000 to 30,000 Norwegian kroner ($US 3430 - 5150), but soon this price can be recovered soon, after you start receiving the high salary you can expect while working on oil rigs. In most cases to get a job on an oil rig in Norway, technical training or other training is required, while the more common jobs include welders, electricians and mechanics. Obviously, there are other vacancies available, such as doctors, nurses, cooks, kitchen helpers, and cleaners.

Working on offshore oil platform has a reputation for being hard and risky, something that is not entirely true. The secluded location and unusual situation to live and work in isolation from the rest of the world may be a hassle for the inexperienced, but the platforms are built for the needs of workers and equipped with every possible convenience to time on the oil platform to run as smoothly as possible. The easiest way to find a job in this field for nationals of Sweden can be by using both the Norwegian and Swedish Employment Service, which is responsible for a large part of the oil industry recruitment.

Accident prevention on offshore oil rigs

Underwater drilling technologies are to change after the accident in the Gulf of Mexico. After the sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig on April 20, millions of liters of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico despite the efforts of BP to seal the leak. Although it's too early to know to what new measures will be taken by the US government, the experts estimate that the following is very possible:

  • Stricter licensing and inspections. The US audit services may require oil companies to present a clear emergency plan should there happen accident resulting leakage, such as that sank the rig BP. The other oil producing states such as Brazil could wish to follow by imposing similar restrictions.
  • Higher taxes and insurance premiums. Each barrel of oil price can be taxed one cent to fund Oil Accident Fund. The cost of the fund will be borne by the oil companies by several million dollars a year, while increases in the prices of insurance premiums are expected to fly off by 25% to 30%.
  • Additional safety measures for offshore rigs. The automatic system to prevent leaks in the Deepwater Horizon did not work and failed so to seal the source. Manufacturers can now be required to design from scratch new automatic leak prevention systems.

Although new security measures will increase the cost of subsea wells, the giant oil companies such as BP, will generally have no problems dealing with the issue. Additional security measures are usually used on offshore platforms in the North Sea cost $US 30,000 to 50,000, while the daily rent paid by the BP for the Deepwater Horizon rig was $US 500,000. Some companies, however, would be discouraged by the increased security costs, as demonstrated by the announcement of Greek interests Tsakos Energy Navigation to abandon its plans to enter the American offshore oil & natural gas market. Globally, at this time undersea oil drilling results in the production of over 5 million barrels of crude per day. 33% of the US domestic oil production comes from the Gulf of Mexico with BP being the largest oil company and the largest employer of the workforce operating in the area.

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