From the Persian Gulf to the North Sea, many of the world’s largest and most profitable oil reserves sit under the seabed. Meanwhile, as drilling techniques and technologies evolve, our ability to extract undersea oil is improving all the time.
As such, oil and gas companies are often on the lookout for talented and adventurous professionals to live and work on offshore oil platforms in all corners of the world.
Interested in joining them? As you may imagine, many of the jobs on oil platforms are engineering roles that require strong STEM skills and higher education in a related discipline. However, an engineering background isn’t essential: you can also work on an oil platform in a project management capacity, as a HSE professional, or as a roustabout, for example.
Read on to find out more about the kind of jobs you can do on an offshore oil rig, as well as some of the current global hotspots and the qualifications that’ll stand you in good stead. We’ll also give you some pointers on where to look for your next oil platform job, and whether you should apply through an oil company or recruitment agency.
What kind of jobs are available on an offshore platform?
It’s not uncommon for an oil platform to have a crew of up to 200 workers, all of whom need to live and work together in close proximity for weeks at a time.
This will include offshore installation managers, engineers and labourers, but also a range of support staff to ensure life on the platform is safe and comfortable, and that risks to the environment are minimised.
Oil platforms are structurally complex. They need to sustain both drilling and pipeline operations in potentially harsh and uncompromising conditions. As such, structural engineers are vital and much sought-after crew members.
As you would expect, drilling engineers play a key role in subsea oil drilling operations. They help develop and implement drilling programmes, monitor efficiency and safety, and ensure work is carried out in line with environmental protection standards.
Another key engineering role on an oil platform is pipeline design, monitoring and maintenance. Once oil is extracted from under the seabed, skilled engineers help to ensure it is transported and stored in a safe, efficient and low-risk way. They also supervise pipeline maintenance and repairs.
Project managers are responsible for planning, implementing and monitoring large-scale construction and engineering projects. They own the scopes and schedules, ensure resources are available for the work to be undertaken in line with best practice, and ensure outcomes and performance targets are met. In an oil platform context, project managers will often have an engineering background and may also have certification in PMP or PRINCE2.
Oil platform workers face challenging conditions every single day, so specialists in health, safety and environment (HSE) are essential crew members too. An oil platform HSE professional will be responsible for managing risks around the use of heavy and electrical equipment, structural stability, flammable materials, and more.
A roustabout is responsible for general labour such as deck maintenance, basic repair jobs, offloading supplies from boats and so on. You don’t need a degree to be a roustabout on an oil platform, making it a potential entry level position for someone interested in the industry. However, you do need to be trained and certified to work offshore.
Where in the world can I work on an offshore platform?
As mentioned above, some of the world’s biggest oil fields are offshore. Examples include:
The North Sea - Europe’s most substantial oil and natural gas reserves sit under the North Sea. The UK, Norway, France, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands are all active producers.
The Gulf of Mexico - A significant proportion of US crude oil and natural gas production originates from offshore drilling off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The Persian Gulf - Home to the world’s single largest oil field, the Persian Gulf is renowned for offshore oil and is a key contributor to the economies of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, so check out our oil and gas jobs page/locations page for more information on the global hotspots for oil platform jobs.
Interested in working abroad but not quite sure what to expect?
Most oil and gas companies (and their recruitment partners) rely heavily on ex-pat labour. If you find a role that requires moving across the world, we can help with the relocation process.
What qualifications will I need to work in offshore oil and gas?
Not all oil platform jobs require a degree or higher education qualification. However, to work as an engineer offshore, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in mechanical, structural or civil engineering. Similar qualifications may also be required for many of the more technical project management and HSE positions on oil platforms.
Moreover, it’s a legal requirement in many countries to have completed a course in working offshore. Examples include the Basic Offshore Safety Induction and Emergency Training Certificate (BOSIET), which you must have passed in order to work offshore in the UK. Many candidates do this in their own time and at their own expense while looking for work, although some companies offer sponsorships.
Beyond this, all offshore workers will need to exhibit skills such as:
Excellent communications skills (and the ability to communicate with workers from different disciplines and backgrounds)
Ability to work as part of a close-knit team (often living and working together in close proximity for weeks at a time)
Ability to work under pressure (especially in conditions that may be stressful and challenging, such as extreme weather and long working hours)
Excellent attention to detail (especially when it comes to their own health and safety and the safety of others)
Airswift is a global workforce solutions provider serving the energy, process and infrastructure industries. We’ve been recruiting for the offshore oil and gas industry for over 40 years, so we’re experts in helping talented technical workers find exciting, rewarding positions on oil platforms.
If you choose to find your next job through us, we’ll assign you to your own account manager to help you pinpoint the best opportunities for your skill set and career aspirations. You’ll get regular job alerts about new job openings that match your profile and we’ll keep you in the loop about the progress of your applications. Finally, we’ll be on hand to assist with any requirements around relocation.
With over 60 offices worldwide and headquarters in three of the world’s largest oil producing regions, we also have access to more opportunities than almost any other recruiter.
All of the Airswift Employees I have been in contact with from day one of recruitment to now have been absolutely amazing. Keep up the great job of professionalism, promptness and excellent people skills. All have been there and helped me with everything and were so positive and courteous.
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