Roustabouts in the Oil and Gas Industry: Job Duties, Examples, and Progression

Roustabouts in the Oil and Gas Industry: Job Duties, Examples, and Progression

The field of oil and gas extraction is vast and complex, requiring the contribution of numerous workers to ensure smooth and safe exploration, drilling, and production activities. One important role in this field is that of the roustabout. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive overview of what this job entails, some examples of the work, what kind of education or training is required, how one progresses through the ranks, and how to get started in this field.

What Is a Roustabout?

A roustabout is a type of unskilled laborer who performs various tasks related to maintenance, construction, and general support of oil and gas drilling operations. They work in a wide range of environments, from offshore platforms to onshore rigs, and are expected to perform physically demanding work in all weather conditions.

Some common duties of a roustabout include:

  • Helping to move heavy equipment and machinery
  • Maintaining and repairing rig structures and equipment
  • Cleaning and painting the rig and surrounding areas
  • Assisting drillers, welders, mechanics, and other skilled workers
  • Operating small machinery and tools
  • Rigging up and rigging down equipment

Examples of Roustabout Jobs

As mentioned, roustabouts work in a range of environments and may be employed by different types of companies. Here are a few examples of roustabout jobs:

Offshore Oil Rig Roustabout

Working on an offshore oil rig is one of the most common roles for roustabouts. Here, they may be responsible for tasks such as:

  • Painting the rig and associated equipment, such as cranes and diving towers
  • Moving heavy loads using cranes and winches
  • Assisting with maintenance and repairs of pipes, valves, and other rig components
  • Cleaning up oil spills and other hazards

Onshore Roustabout

On land, roustabouts may work in areas such as oil fields, drilling sites, and pipeline construction projects. Some tasks expected of onshore roustabouts include:

  • Maintaining and repairing drill bits, pumps, and other drilling equipment
  • Clearing the site of debris and waste
  • Building and repairing fences, walkways, and other structures
  • Managing storage areas for equipment and materials

Education and Training Requirements

Roustabout jobs typically do not require formal education beyond a high school diploma or equivalent. However, a candidate must exhibit a willingness to work hard in an often challenging environment. Some employers may require a roustabout to have a sufficient level of physical fitness to carry out the demands of the job. That said, those who possess certifications or training in related fields such as safety training or equipment operation are highly valued.

Progression as a Roustabout

While the job of a roustabout may seem like a dead-end job, many successful oil and gas professionals started their careers in this role. With hard work, dedication, and a willingness to learn new skills, a roustabout can progress up the career ladder into more skilled and better-paying roles. Specific promotions depend on the employer, but common routes a roustabout can take include:

  • Becoming a welder, mechanic, or electrician
  • Achieving supervisory positions, such as rig manager or area supervisor
  • Becoming a consultant or starting one’s own oil and gas business

Getting Started as a Roustabout

If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a roustabout, there are several paths to get started. Here are some basic steps:

  • Build experience by seeking entry-level oil and gas industry roles
  • Pursue training and certifications related to equipment operation or safety
  • Develop a network of contacts in the industry to learn about job opportunities
  • Be willing to work hard and take on physically demanding tasks

Overall, a career in oil and gas can provide many opportunities for advancement and success, and a job as a roustabout is an excellent starting point with broad prospects for future growth.

Roustabouts, oil and gas, are workers who perform physical labor on drilling sites and oil rigs. They are responsible for handling equipment, cleaning and maintaining drilling machinery, and assisting in the drilling process. The occupation is considered not able to be leveled, meaning there is no clear career progression or hierarchy within the role.

According to US national average salary data, roustabouts, oil and gas, make an average annual salary of $51,272.00, with a lower average salary of $46,612.80. The salary variation among roustabouts, oil and gas workers can be attributed to factors such as unionization and job level. Nonunionized workers make an average annual salary of $43,680.00, with a lower average salary of $40,996.80. Full-time workers at all levels make an average annual salary of $46,072.00, with a lower average salary of $42,515.20. Full-time workers who are not able to be leveled make an average annual salary of $51,542.40, with a lower average salary of $46,737.60. Finally, time-based pay workers make an average annual salary of $45,697.60, with a lower average salary of $42,140.80.

The effects of unionization on the occupation of roustabouts, oil and gas, can impact salary and working conditions. Unionized workers have a bargaining power that allows them to negotiate better wages, benefits, and working conditions. However, some non-unionized companies hire lower-paid workers to avoid the higher cost of unionized workers’ salaries, which leads to a lower average salary for non-unionized workers.

According to PayScale, the best-paid cities for roustabouts, oil and gas, are Houston, Texas, and Midland, Texas. The average annual salary in Houston is $44,105 – $63,395, and the average annual salary in Midland is $33,000 – $63,119. The least-paid city for roustabouts, oil and gas, is Farmington, New Mexico, with an average annual salary of $25,000 – $50,850.

In conclusion, roustabouts, oil and gas, are a vital part of the drilling industry, performing physical labor, and maintenance tasks. The salaries for the occupation vary based on unionization, job level, and geography. Unionization can lead to higher bargaining power and better salaries, while non-unionized companies might hire lower-paid workers to avoid the cost of unionized worker salaries. Houston and Midland, Texas, are among the best-paid cities for roustabouts, oil and gas, while Farmington, New Mexico, is the least-paid city.

Salary Data Table:

| US National Average | Salary Level | Roustabouts, Oil and Gas |
| $51,272.00 | All workers | Not able to be leveled |
| $46,612.80 | All workers | Not able to be leveled |
| $43,680.00 | All levels | Nonunion |
| $40,996.80 | All levels | Nonunion |
| $46,072.00 | All levels | Full-time |
| $42,515.20 | All levels | Full-time |
| $51,542.40 | Not able to be leveled | Full-time |
| $46,737.60 | Not able to be leveled | Full-time |
| $45,697.60 | All levels | Time-based pay |
| $42,140.80 | All levels | Time-based pay |