Oilfield Equipment and Services

"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy."
Drillers reacting to Edwin Drake in 1859

You've heard the story more than once. There are always naysayers, just before something or someone takes off. Most times, it occur right before creating an entire new industry. As we talked about in our Exploration, Drilling and Production Sub-Industry page, Edwin Drake discovered the first underground oil reservoir near Titusville, Pennsylvania, after drilling a well only 69 feet deep.

Servicing Rig

Servicing Rig

To the naysayers from back in 1859, the answer is Yes, there are companies that drill for Oil and Gas. And yes, there are even companies that only specialize in providing necessary equipment and technical services for drilling.

The Oilfield equipment and services industry involves companies that do not directly own wells or produce crude oil. Instead, these companies provide the specialized equipment, expertise, services and skills needed for producing oil. Companies usually fall into one of two camps, those that rent drilling rigs and those that provide various services.

Oilfield service companies help drilling companies by setting up oil and gas wells. These companies assist in manufacturing, repairing and maintaining the equipment used in oil extraction.

These services can include:

Testing of Seismic Equipment
Seismic Testing

Mapping the geographical structure underneath the surface

Transport Services

Moving land and water rigs

Directional Services

Specialization in horizontal drilling

Rigging Up and Rigging Down

Many of the hazards found in the oilfield equipment and serves industry are similar in nature to those highlighted in our drilling sub-industry page.   In addition, though, there are intricate hazards that occur when rigging up a well for the first time.

Rigging up and rigging down involves moving and transporting a rig from one site to the next.  It requires positioning and constructing various portions of equipment and initially putting together the rig for drilling.

Here are the steps to rigging up and the unique hazards associated with each step:

Setting up the substructure
1. Setting Up the Substructure

Equipment is unloaded near the exact drilling location

Common Hazards Include: Struck by the crane and burns from cutting/welding

Raising the Rig Floor
2. Installing the Rig Floor and Mast/ Derrick

Setting up the rig floor

Common Hazards Include: Struck by swinging equipment and falling tools.

3. Installing Handrails, Guardrails, Ladders, Stairs, and Walkways

Installed for safety and access to the rig

Common Hazards Include: Slips and falls

Installing the Power System
4. Installing the Power System

Power is needed to operate rig equipment

Common Hazards Include: Pinch points and chemical hazards

Oil Mud Pump
5. Rigging up the Circulating System

Mud tanks and pumps are set

Common Hazards Include: Pinch points and struck by hammer when connecting mud lines

Setting up pipe racks
6. Installing the Auxilary Equipment

Pipe racks are positioned

Common Hazards Include: Crushed when setting up pipes


For more precise information on Rigging up, visit OSHA's Oil and Gas Well Drilling Servicing eTool.

Top Companies

Here is a look at the companies you find operating across this industry segment.

Company Employees
Baker Hughes 70000
Halliburton Company 50000
Schlumberger Omnes, Inc. 38916
National Oilwell Varco 37000
Phillips 66 14800
Weatherford International, LLC 13980
Conocophillips 13300
Patterson-UTI Drilling 8000
Baker Hughes 70000

Services the Above Companies Provide

  • Acidizing oil and gas field wells
  • Building oil and gas well foundations
  • Building, erecting, repairing, and dismantling
  • Cementing oil and gas well casings
  • Chemically treating oil and gas wells
  • Cleaning oil and gas field lease tanks
  • Cleaning out (
  • Cleaning wells on a contract basis
  • Cleaning, repairing, and dismantling oil and gas field lease tanks
  • Core cutting in oil and gas wells
  • Core drilling, exploration services
  • Derrick building, repairing, and dismantling at oil and gas fields
  • Dismantling of oil well rigs
  • Drilling rat holes and mouse holes at oil and gas fields
  • Drilling shot holes at oil and gas fields
  • Drilling site preparation at oil and gas fields
  • Drill-stem testing
  • Excavating mud pits, slush pits, and cellars
  • Exploration services for oil and gas
  • Fishing for tools at oil and gas fields
  • Gas well rig building, repairing, and dismantling
  • Gas, compressing natural, in the field
  • Geological exploration (except surveying) for oil and gas
  • Geophysical exploration (except surveying) for oil and gas
  • Hard banding oil and gas field service
  • Hot oil treating of oil field tanks
  • Hot shot service
  • Hydraulic fracturing wells
  • Impounding and storing salt water in connection with petroleum production
  • Installing production equipment at the oil or gas field
  • Lease tank cleaning and repairing
  • Logging wells
  • Mouse hole and rat hole drilling at oil and gas fields
  • Mud service for oil field drilling
  • Oil sampling services
  • Perforating oil and gas well casings
  • Pipe testing services
  • Plugging and abandoning wells
  • Pulling oil and gas field casings, tubes, or rods on a contract basis
  • Pumping oil and gas wells
  • Removal of condensate gasoline from field gathering lines
  • Rig skidding, oil and gas field
  • Roustabout mining services
  • Salt water disposal systems
  • Sandblasting pipelines
  • Seismograph exploration
  • Servicing oil and gas wells
  • Shot hole drilling
  • Skidding of rigs
  • Slush pits and cellars, excavation of
  • Steam cleaning
  • Stratigraphic drilling
  • Surveying
  • Swabbing oil or gas wells
  • Well casing running, cutting and pulling
  • Well plugging
  • Well pumping
  • Well surveying
  • Wireline services

Moving Pipes


Here is a look at the top occupations found across this industry and the above top 10 US refineries: (Click an occupation to expand and learn more.)

  • Perform tasks involving physical labor at construction sites. There are roughly around 21,000 of these workers found in Exploration, Drilling and Production. You will find these workers using hand tools, repairing drilling equipment, and transporting materials. Helper, Laborer, Post Framer, and Construction Worker.

  • Install, repair, and maintain mechanical regulating and controlling devices and other mechanical governors. There are a little over 500 of these workers in Exploration, Drilling and Production. You will find these workers repairing mechanical control devices, lubricating mechanical parts, and installing electric meters. Common job titles for this worker are Control Valve Technician, Service Technician, and Valve Technician.

    Employement of Control and Valve Installers and Repairers

  • Rig derrick equipment and operate pumps to circulate mud through drill holes. There are around 9,200 of this occupation employed in Exploration, Drilling and Production. You will find these workers inspecting derricks, repairing mud tanks, and setting crown blocks to posts at the top of derricks. Common job titles for this occupation are Derrick Hand, Derrick Worker and Floor Hand.

    Employement of Derrick, Rotary Drill, and Service Unit Operators

  • Distribute or process gas by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines. There are over 1,000 of these workers in Exploration, Drilling and Production. You will find this worker operating plant equipment, monitoring flammable products, and controlling compressors. Job titlees for this worker are Gas Controller and Plant Operator.

    Employement of Gas Plant Operators

  • Gather samples such as rock, mud and soil. There are around 2,800 of these workers in Exploration, Drilling and Production. You will find these workers monitoring well exploration activities and analyzing drill cuttings. Common job titles are Data Technician and Technician.

  • Worker activities include repairing, installing, and adjusting industrial machinery. There are around 2,100 of this occupation works in Exploration, Drilling and Production. You will find these workers cutting and welding metal to repair broken metal parts. Job titles for this position are Fixer, Industrial and Master Mechanic.

    Employement of Industrial Machinery Mechanics

  • Lubricates machines, changes parts, and performs machinery maintenance. Exploration, Drilling and Production employs a little over 5,200 of these workers. You will find these workers cleaning machine and machine parts. Cleaning solvents, oil and metalworking fluids are a definite concern for these workers. Common Job titles for this position are Lubricator, Maintenance Man, and Oiler.

  • Help move materials across Exploration, Drilling and Production operations. There are around 10,000 of these workers in Oil and Gas extraction. You will find these workers operating conveyors, transporting materials, and operating machines. Common job titles are Laborer and Operator.

  • This occupation makes many of the PPE related decisions within a mine. They review, evaluate, and analyze work environments. This occupation also design programs and procedures to control, eliminate, and prevent disease or injury caused by chemical, physical, and biological agents or ergonomic factors. There are roughly around 1,000 of these workers found in Exploration, Drilling and Production. You will find these workers recommending safety measures and evaluating workplace safety equipment. Common Job titles for this position are Certified Industrial Hygienist; Chief Safety Officer; Corporate Safety Director; Director Employee Safety and Health; Environmental Health and Safety Manager; Environmental, Health, and Safety EHS Officer; Health and Safety Manager; Risk Control Consultant; Safety Consultant; Safety Specialist

  • Operate petroleum refining or processing units. There are around 3,800 of these workers in Exploration, Drilling and Production. You will find these workers monitoring gauges, opening valves to regualte the flow of oil, and operating manifold/pumping systems. Common Job titles for this position are Gauger, Head Operator, Pumper, and Refinery Operator

    Employement of Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers

  • Monitor both input and output to ensure systems are working correctly. There are roughly 5,300 of these workers in Exploration, Drilling and Production. You will find these workers operating valves, engines, generators and pumps to keep everything running smoothly. Common job titles are Process Operator and Operator.

    Employement of Plant and System Operators

  • Operate power-driven, stationary, or portable pumps to transfer gases, oil, other liquids, slurries, or powdered materials to and from various vessels. There are around 900 of these workers in Oil and Gas extraction. You will find these workers tending vessels that store gasses and turning valves. Common job titles for this position are Chemical Operator, Pipeline Operator, and Pumper.

    Employement of Pump Operators Station Operators

  • Operate a variety of drills to remove underground oil and gas. They also remove core samples for testing during oil and gas exploration. There are around 1,800 of these workers in Oil and Gas extraction. You will find this worker connecting sections of dril pipe, operating drilling equipment, and raising drill pipes. Common job titles for this occupation are Drill Operator, Driller, and Oil Rig Operator

    Employement of Rotary Drill Operators, Oil and Gas

  • Assemble and repair oil field equipment using hand and power tools. There are around 5,000 of these workers in Exploration, Drilling and Production. You will find these workers tightening pipes, casings and pump rods. The workers move a lot of peipe and bolt together a lot of pumps. Common job titles for this occupation are Floor Hand, Galley Hand and Rig Hand.

    Employement of Roustabouts

  • Operate equipment to increase oil flow from producing wells. There are 6,400 of these workers in Exploration, Drilling and Production. They also remove stuck pipe, casing, tools, or other obstructions from drilling wells. You will find these workers installing pressure-control devices, maintaining safety inspections and operating cranes and other lifting equipment. Common job titles are Rig Operator, Tool Pusher, and Wireline Operator.

    Employement of Service Unit Operators

  • Operate power pumps producing flow of oil or gas from wells. There are around 8,000 of these workers in Exploration, Drilling and Production. You will find these workers operating pumps, unloading pipes and pumping equipment, repairing oil gauges, and performing routine maintenance. Common job titles for this occupation are Oilfield Operator, Pumper, and Well Head Pumper.

    Employement of Wellhead Pumpers

  • Operate machines designed to cut, shape and form metal. There are roughly 400 of these workers in Oil and Gas extraction. You will find these workers fabricating metal products, lifting heavy materials and working with their hands. Common job titles are Sheet Metal worker and Welder. Be sure to check out our Metal Fabrication industry educational page.

  • Operate welding, soldering or brazing machines that weld, braze, or heat treat metal products. Exploration, Drilling and Production employs around 300 of these workers. You will find these workers adding material to work pieces, joining metal components, and annealing finished work pieces. Common Job titles for this position are Fabricator, Mig Welder, Spot Welder, Fitter-Welder, and Braze Operators.

  • Use hand-welding, flame-cutting, hand soldering, and brazing equipment to weld/join metal components, fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products. Exploration, Drilling and Production mploys around 300 of these workers. You will find these workers welding components in flat, vertical or overhead positions. Common Job titles for this position are Maintenance Welder, Mig Welder, and Welder/Fabricator

    Employement of Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

Equipment and Services Safety

The most dangerous Oil and Gas sub-industry belongs to the Equipment, Services and Support industry.  Pulling out casings, plugging wells and dismantling rigs are just a few of the activities that present hazardous working environments.

For every 100 employees, there are 3 incidents.  The closest sub-industry to this one is Oil and Gas Extraction at 1.5 incidents, which still falls into what this industry specializes in and provides. 

Workers have to be always work safely in this industry, which starts with the correct mindset.

"Don’t be safety blinded, be safety minded"

Sometimes, workers become blinded by the everyday familiar routines that are established. Unfortunately, this is when accidents are not far away from occurring... Being safety minded is the key to avoiding this trapped mindset.

At MCR Safety, we protect people! Staying safety minded is what we do.
Let us keep you protected when rigging up and servicing oil wells.

Common Oilfield Equipment and Services Hazards

Find the right MCR Safety product that protects you against these common hazards.

Chemicals and Liquids

Hydrogen sulfide occurs naturally in oil and gas.  You will need chemical gloves, face shields, and goggles when handling chemicals and opening pressurized systems. Check out our chemical permeation database.

Learn More About Chemicals and Liquids Protection

Crush and Impact

Blunt force impact is an everyday concern for a rigger.  Impact protection is this worker’s best friend.  Are you ready for the new impact impact standard?

Learn More About Crush and Impact Protection

Drilling Fluids, Water-Based Muds and Oils

Exposure to fluids is a definite concern for oil production workers.  Examples include drilling fluids, water-based mud, hydraulic oil, gear oil, and grease.  You will need safety gear made to last!


Silica is the basic component of sand and rock, meaning dust exposure is common during hydraulic fracturing operations.  Conveyor sand, operating engines and motors are all concerns for getting dust in your eye.  Lined eyewear will keep it out of your eyes!

Learn More About Dust Protection

Fire and Explosion

Explosions caused by a spark igniting certain vapors or gases is a major concern for workers.  Flame resistant gear is mandatory across all production platforms, drilling rigs, and construction barges.  Max Comfort gear will keep you safe!

Impaired Vision

There is no shortage of activities on a drilling rig where a worker’s eyes need protected.  Splashing chemicals, flying debris, and sparks are concerns every Oil and Gas worker faces.

Learn More About Impaired Vision Protection

Inclement Weather and FR

Working in the rain and around liquids, plus staying FR compliant has always been a challenge.  Not anymore, with Big Jake rainwear protecting workers from ARC flash hazards!

Liquid and Crush

High-risk activities demand high impact gear!  56% of all recordable incidents in 2014 for Oil & Gas were attributed to "struck by" and "caught between” objects.  Back-of-hand protection is a lifesaver, when working with oils, liquids, muds and objects that roll/pinch.  Check out our brand new Ninja Alchemy.

Common Applications:

  • Drilling, Mixing Chemicals, Valve Line Maintenance and Repair, Pipe Handling, Moving and Swinging Pipes. High Pressure lines and hose

Sharp Objects

Upstream workers are always exposed to sharp metal.  Cuts and Lacerations make up 7 percent of all oil and gas injury claims.. Rest assured, we simplify the selection process on our cut protection page.  Grip with confidence next time you are handling heavy iron, jagged material and sharp metal!

Learn More About Sharp Objects Protection

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