Job Description of a Derrickman
Derrickman nature of work
The derrickman is one of the drill rig
crew members who gets his name from the fact that during trips
he works on a platform attached to the derrick or mast,
typically 85 ft (26 m) above the drill rig floor.
On small land drilling crews, the derrickman is second in
rank to the driller. Larger offshore crews may have an
assistant driller between the derrickman and the driller.
In a typical trip out of the hole (TOH), the derrickman
wears a special derrickman safety harness that enables him to
lean out from the work platform (called the monkeyboard) to
reach the drillpipe in the center of the derrick or mast, throw
a line around the pipe and pull it back into its storage
location (the fingerboards) until it is time to run the pipe
back into the well. In an emergency, the derrickman can quickly
reach the ground by an escape line often called the Geronimo
His other job is to handle the mud-processing area during
periods of circulation. The derrickman measures mud density and
conducts the viscosity test on a regular basis. The derrickman
reports to the toolpusher during periods of circulation, but is
instructed in detail by the mud engineer on what to add to the
mud, how fast and how much.
Derrickmen are employed by drilling and well service
contractors and by petroleum producing companies.
Derrickman work conditions
The derrickman usually work long hours in all
weather conditions on extended roster systems, usually as
member of a crew. In terms of skill, physical exertion and
perceived danger, a derrickman has one of the most
physically demanding jobs on the drill rig crew.
Derrickman duties and tasks
The derrickman perform some or all of the following
- Align and manipulate sections of pipe or drill stem
from a platform on the rig derrick during the removal and
replacement of strings of pipe, or drill stem and drill
- Assist in setting up, taking down and transporting
drilling and service rigs
- Operate and maintain drilling rig diesel motors,
transmissions, pumps and drilling mud systems, and mix mud
chemicals, cements and additives
- Read gauges to monitor pressure, density, rate and
concentration and adjust pumping procedure as required
- Record mud flows and volumes and take samples
- Supervise floorhands and laborers
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