Career Profiles

Directional Driller

Directional Driller

Company: Schlumberger



One route is to achieving a Directional Driller position with Schlumberger is to complete the Petroleum Engineering Technology program at the College of the North Atlantic. High school mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, English and computer courses may be especially beneficial to this post-secondary route.



In this job, an employee is responsible for wellbore placement to optimize the recovery of hydrocarbons. Well profiles are designed by company personnel onshore who relay the profiles to directional drillers in order to help guide them in the placement of wells as required by the oil companies. Directional Drillers are specially trained to use the specific tools required for well placement.


While offshore, Directional Drillers work 12 hours a day and usually spend 21 days offshore during each trip to the rig. They receive base salary and they also receive a set day rate in addition to their salary for each day while at the rig site. Shift rotations vary depending on client demands (not always 3 weeks offshore and 3 weeks at home); people in this position have to be quite flexible in order to respond to unexpected calls to travel to the rig site.  Other times they are required to work at the base while not working offshore.


Directional Drillers work in harsh weather environments where it can often be quite cold or quite hot; being able to adapt to a less than desirable work environment is important. About half of the time is spent inside at a computer desk monitoring the well while drilling or preparing for future operations. Since offshore rigs can be quite noisy, use of proper hearing protection is mandatory. Workers in this position must also adapt to the isolation of working offshore for extended periods of time.


There are many hazards that Directional Drillers and their fellow workers must prepare for. They work around and under heavy machinery and must be careful to avoid being trapped between moving objects or hit by dropped objects from above. They must always be aware of their surroundings and practice proper body placement. Working on an offshore installation involves a considerable amount of risk, but emergency response drills are held on a weekly basis to prepare personnel for possible fire, gas and rig abandonment emergencies. These issues are also covered in the training phase before being allowed to travel to an offshore installation.


Directional Drillers have the opportunity to live in and visit other parts of the world. Training seminars are held in various places around the globe. Some consider travel to be one of the most attractive features of working for Schlumberger.


Compensation and Benefits

Salaries for this occupation range from $120,000-200,000 annually, and career compensation can range similarly. Schlumberger benefits include Health and Wellness Benefits, a stock purchase plan, pension and profit sharing plan, safety and performance awards.


Salaries for his position in the oil and gas industry are generally higher than similar positions in other industries. Schlumberger provides a continuous learning environment, and offers extensive training to its employees. People in his position are required to keep up-to-date with new technologies and must be able to train junior personnel at the wellsite.