Oil and gas drilling occurs in almost every region of the world except Antarctica. Working on an overseas rig can mean higher pay and even possible tax benefits. Here are some places to look for overseas rig jobs in the oil industry.
First Step, Get Experience In The Oilfield
Most oil drilling companies don’t hire inexperienced workers (“worms”) for overseas work. Only seasoned professionals or newer employees having highly technical skills may be offered jobs on overseas oil rigs. There are basically two paths to getting a job in the oil drilling industry. The first one is to start as a semi – skilled worker doing manual labor. Roustabout jobs and roughneck jobs are the typical entry level path to working in the industry as a blue collar worker. The other path is to obtain a college degree or technical training that may land you a job working in a scientific position, such as geology, well logging, measure while drilling (MWD, see related article on how to get a job as an MWD engineer in the oilfield). Crane operators, highly skilled diesel mechanics and others who have highly technical skills may find jobs on oil rigs overseas. Because many oil exploration companies are based in the U.S. and Canada, they will hire some of the most skilled personnel from their home country, though many unskilled positions, such as roustabout jobs, are most often filled in the countries where the work is occurring.
If you already have some experience working on a rig, your next step in finding a job on an oil rig overseas is to get together a good resume. There are often local companies who can help you write a good resume, as well as online sites that charge a reasonable fee. You can find resume templates online by doing a Google search for “resume template”. Try and include in your resume the most technically and engineering oriented jobs and experience you have. Also, list in your cover letter your willingness to travel, along with any military background if you have any, since that is a big plus with many employers. Most companies will not hire anyone with a criminal background for overseas rig jobs. In addition, you must pass a drug screening, rigorous physical exams and sometimes even psychological tests.
One thing you can do to help the odds that you will be hired for an overseas oil rig job is to visit your physician and begin taking some of the immunizations that will be required for overseas travel. Some inoculations, such as hepatitis, may require several shots over a long period of time. Some local health clinics offer low cost of free travel immunizations. The next step is to get a U.S. passport, (or whatever your home country is).
Where To Search For Overseas Oil Rig Jobs
Sometimes oilfield service companies and drilling companies will post employment ads on sites like Rigzone.com, Monster.com and Careerbuilder.com. In addition to such job websites, try ones with links to oil and gas drilling company HR departments, such as Texasoilfieldjob.com Companies that drill overseas or provide services to drilling companies include Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes, Noble, Transocean, Fluor, BJ Services and Weatherford. Below are the top 10 oilfield service companies:
1. Schlumberger. (www.slb.com)
2. Halliburton. (www.halliburton.com)
3. Saipem (www.saipem.it)
4. Transocean. (www.deepwater.com)
5. Baker Hughes. Website: (www.bakerhughes.com)
6. Fluor. (www.fluor.com)
7. Weatherford International. (www.weatherford.com)
8. BJ Services Company. (www.bjservices.com)
9. Petrofac. (www.petrofac.com/)
10. China Oilfield Services Ltd. (www.cnoocs.com)
One thing you should probably avoid are any “head hunter” companies who promise to get you a job on a rig overseas for a fee or part of your salary. Most often these are scams and will only drain your wallet. Perhaps the best overall approach to getting a job on an oil rig overseas is to get one here in the U.S., with a drilling company or service company that has operations overseas, and request a transfer after you have several months of experience. Things that will be considered in your favor for overseas oilfield jobs are being single, ex-military, high degree of training in your position, getting along well with others, clean background history, having a U.S. passport and above all being willing to be gone for several weeks or months at a time. In addition, companies prefer employees for overseas rig work who have performed above expectations in their job function and who have had no lost time accidents.
When preparing for an overseas oil rig job you should get all of your business and personal affairs in order at home. Set up bills on auto-pay and get other affairs in order before you leave to cut down on costly international phone calls.