A day in the life of a rig worker: Assistant Driller

Working on the rigs isn’t for the faint of heart. It can be loud, busy, dirty and cold. Basically, it’s no desk job. But it’s also a rewarding career with room for advancement and a schedule that allows you to travel and spend time with family. As you may have heard, the money is pretty good. Oh yeah, you also get to work with some sweet equipment.

Here’s a look at rig life through the eyes of one of our team members:


Name: Ryan Wollin
Position: Assistant Driller
Team: Trinidad Rig 38 (located southeast of Grande Prairie, Alta.)
Camp or non-camp job: Camp
Years of drilling experience: 11
Years with Trinidad: Just over four
Schedule: 20 days on, 10 days off

What a day on the rigs looks like for Ryan

Wake up at the crack of dawn:

The alarm clock goes off at 5:30 in the morning. I get up, have some breakfast, have a cup of coffee, and then around 6:30 the crew truck is ready to take us to work. Then we get changed and we meet up in the doghouse.

First things first: Getting the team on the same page

We have a crew change-over/hand-over meeting when the duties from the previous shift are told to us: anything that needs to be done, how the night went and how the rig is running.

Then the night crew goes home, and we stay there and follow-up: have our own safety meetings, our J.S.A. (job safety analysis) talks, plan out our work scope of the day . . . then after that everybody’s clear on their duties.

How Ryan describes his job:
  • Make sure all the safety meetings are done in the morning prior to starting jobs
  • Help the Driller where needed
  • Make sure the other guys (the crew) are taking care of their jobs and responsibilities around the rig
  • Make everyday operations run smoothly
When they’re tripping pipe:

I usually run the controls for the Driller while he does his books.

There are some repairs that need to be done only when we trip rather than when we’re drilling, so if there are any maintenance issues we need to deal with, then we deal with those while we’re tripping.

Coaching his teammates:

I spend quite a bit of time going over jobs that are new to the greener hands – the inexperienced guys.

The not-quite 5 o’clock whistle:

We do our 12-hour shifts, and then we go back to camp, and that’s where we make our second home. There’s a TV room there, a weight room, our meals are provided there, and our lodging.

Braving the elements (doesn’t it get cold?)

You can work in anything, as long as you dress for it and you’re ready for it.

About his crew:

I like to say, “It’s my second family.”

What a day away from the rigs looks like:

I like playing hockey, quadding, motorbiking . . . I farm. I wakeboard, and I travel.

Join our team:

If Ryan’s career sounds like a good challenge for you, check out this post: 5 steps to get you on the rigs.

If you have experience in the drilling industry, take a look at some of the current opportunities on our team or learn more about the Trinidad Advantage here.

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