What Does a Roustabout Do?
The oil industry is one that entails constant use of large mechanical equipment in order to run efficiently. These machines are not stored fully-assembled until they are needed, however. They are put together and disassembled before and after every job. Roustabouts use hand and power tools to put pieces of oil field equipment together for operator use. Should a mechanical problem occur, the roustabout is also relied upon to get things moving again by effecting repairs.
Roustabout Skills and Abilities
The safety procedures and laws for oil drilling vary between companies and states. Therefore, prior to even touching a power tool, it is part of a roustabout’s job to be aware of all of these rules and ensure that equipment and drilling procedures are in compliance. Since the oil drilling industry requires all of its workers to be safe and precise, you need to have a firm grasp of the mechanical workings of each piece of equipment so they can be properly maintained. A background in some advanced forms of mathematics helps a great deal in ensuring that everything is properly assembled. An ability to accurately read and act upon problem indicators on equipment allows you to remedy issues before they become dangerous or job-crippling.
The assembly job entails a number of smaller tasks to get equipment up and running including unscrewing or tightening pieces of pipe and casing, bolting together parts, constructing derrick frameworks and clearing sites of foliage to minimize fire risk. In addition to assembling and dismantling oil drilling equipment, you also act as something of a supervisor in the interim. You keep main deck and pipe deck areas free of debris, use electronic detectors to find and then repair leaks, and bail spilled oil into barrels as necessary.
Roustabout Tools and Technology
You will make use of a wide array of tools while working as a roustabout depending on your assigned machinery. A few that are the most common include hoists, safety hooks, power grinders, safety belts or harnesses, and adjustable wrenches. The kind of software you will most frequently use has to do with keeping thorough records of activities done on site, so that no crucial step is left undone. Software for word processing, project management, spreadsheet creation, inventory management and enterprise resource planning (ERP) should all be made available to you if you are to do your job correctly and safely.
Education and Training for Roustabouts
Many roustabouts have obtained at least a high school diploma before starting work, though one is not necessarily required. However, some workers even take the time to do some coursework in a college to hone their mathematical skills. Additionally, expect to go through hands-on training before being allowed to work on your own.
Though taking a job as a roustabout may not be the most lucrative venture, it nevertheless is a position in a thriving industry that constantly requires the help of new workers as Earth’s fuel-using population grows. The bottom ten percent of workers in this position make close to $24,000 annually, while the median figure for the nation is close to $36,000. Should you gain enough experience, you could graduate to the top ten percent who make nearly $56,000 per year.
Roustabout Jobs by Geography
In terms of sheer numbers, the highest concentrations of roustabout jobs are in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. High growth can be found in some other states, however, such as Utah and Montana. Colorado in particular is expected to see growth in the 70% range over the next few years. If you are more interesting in moving where the money is, look into positions in northern states like Alaska, Montana and North Dakota.