How Do You Become an Offshore Welder (Oil Rig Welder)?

Offshore Welder

An important person in the oil sector is the rig welder. A rig welder employs special welding techniques to weld metals aboard oil rigs, which are big platforms built for oil drilling, storage, and processing. The infrastructure required to produce and process oil and, in many cases, natural gases must be strengthened, and rig welders play a crucial role in this. In addition to fabricating pipes, rig welders join metals to create beams, vessels, and structures and ensure that welding tools are used, maintained, and stored correctly.


The simplest approach to become a rig welder is to complete an apprenticeship, which will give you the practical training and certification preparation you need to become a certified rig welder. You will get knowledge of the several rig types that these welders use to work on so that you may pick the workplace that is appropriate for you. Find an entry-level job after completing your qualification and apprenticeship. You will become eligible for more experienced rig welder roles as you gain some experience.


Following are a few simple steps to becoming an offshore welder:


1. Gain Experience


You must be familiar with working on an oil rig to become an oil rig welder. That necessitates having a bit of mechanical, electrical, and hydraulic repair skills. Additionally, you should be familiar with using welding equipment. Start as rig mechanic, numerous employers will educate you while you work. On a large scale oil rig, though, rather than a smaller one, it is considerably simpler to get experience.


Mechanics require a few unique skills, you must be able to squeeze yourself into tight spaces and crawl beneath large equipment in inclement weather. Additionally, you must lift large objects over your shoulders for extended periods, which requires a lot of muscle. You have a high chance of being hired as an oil rig welder if you are eager to put in the necessary effort and possess the necessary abilities.


2. Get Certification


Apart from the welding qualifications (for various materials) you should have, you need to register for the TWIC card before you may work as an oil rig welder. To get onboard an offshore oil rig in the US, you must have a TWIC card. Security checks and fingerprinting are required for this certification from the Transportation Worker Identity Certificate.


3. Search for Welding Jobs on Oil Rigs


Applying for welding positions on oil rigs is among the most crucial things anyone can do. Although the competition is fierce, persist. Companies may start approaching you once they learn that you are a licensed welder.


4. Investigate the Oil Industry


You should prepare yourself with knowledge before looking for work as an oil rig welder. You can learn what to anticipate by researching the oil sector. Learn about the products that oil and gas firms create and why they operate both onshore and offshore. Discover the methods used to drill for and extract gas and oil, learn about welding on oil rigs. Read a oil and gas newspaper, journals, websites, and watch the news. Converse with those who work in or have worked in the oil sector.


5. Get Contacts for Operate Oil Rigs


Finding work on an oil rig is best accomplished through personal connections. It can be a member of the family, a relative, or a friend. Most likely, you will have some time with oil rig employee. They are more likely to provide guidance and support if you encounter difficulties. Furthermore, ask around. If you are fortunate, one of your friends or relatives may know a welder who works on an oil rig. Fortunately, those who work on oil rigs are friendly and like telling others about their experiences.


6. Check job Posts


Check out the classifieds in the newspaper. Call nearby oil businesses if you can not find any employment postings. Do you have particular expertise in mind? Was your previous employment welding on oil rigs? Ask if there are any open positions.


welding steam pipe
(Source: Rigging International Group)


Work of Rig Welders


Rig welders can work on offshore drilling rigs once they have gained the necessary experience. Since these rigs are frequently found in remote locations, getting to the work site could take a long time. Additionally, oil refineries, manufacturing facilities, marinas, and ports are hiring rig welders. A rig welder’s workplace is frequently noisy because of the regular power equipment and tools usage.


The Lifestyle of Oil Rig Welder


The lifestyle that goes along with working as an oil rig welder is crucial. You need to be aware that while this is not your standard eight to six work, it will greatly impact your personal life. This may not be a major issue for single people, but it can be very stressful for those in committed relationships. An oil rig welder’s normal workday includes the following:


Time-Based on Project: You may spend a significant amount of time away from home because of these arrangements, which can vary substantially from project to project. If you have a strong roster, at least 50 percent of the time you are away, and substantially more if your roster is less generous.


Long-period Job: You will not have much time left over to engage in other things.


Living in a shared residence: In most cases you stay in a shared residence. Catering is handled and meals are served in community dining rooms. 


Oil rig welding positions: Since there are typically only two to three welders stationed at each site, you will be expected to handle almost all welding needs. Onboard, as much as practically possible, welding is performed in a welding workshop comprising an explosion-proofing structure so that no explosive gasses can reach the welding shop and cause an explosion. Additionally, the shop ensures neither sparks may get out and into an uncontrolled region.


Skills for Oil Rig Welders


A large portion of an offshore oil rig welder’s tasks are related to small maintenance jobs, which are typically simple. But occasionally, it becomes necessary to weld a wide variety of various corrosion-resistant alloys. Consequently, the offshore welder must be capable of doing this with assurance in challenging situations and welding locations. The primary welding procedures or methods an oil rig welder must be able to employ are:


TIG and MIG Welding


For welding corrosion-resistant alloys or improving the appearance of any kind, gas tungsten arc welding (TIG Welding) is the preferred method. Besides, for completing the root runs of single-sided welds in pipelines and frequently for the whole weld. Gas metal arc welding (MIG Welding) is the primary method used to weld basic metal parts and deposit fill and cap passes on pipelines. You might need to be familiar with both GTAW (TIG Welding) and GMAW (MIG welding) to work onboard rigs.


Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)


Since this is unusual for maintenance-related activities in offshore rigs, you might be able to survive without being capable of performing FCAW. FCAW is still a useful skill to know because more and more businesses are employing it for large structural fabrication jobs.


Materials Typically Welded


Several systems use a wide range of materials. On an offshore site, multiple different systems employ a wide range of materials. As a result, an oil rig welder must have expertise in welding various materials using various welding supplies.


This implies that to work as a welder on an oil rig, you must have experience welding various materials using various welding processes. Welding materials include:


Stainless Steel: SS316 and other stainless steels with molybdenum are most frequently used because they are less likely to corrode than metallic materials without molybdenum. Inside an offshore environment, corrosion durability is undoubtedly crucial. Another stainless steel is the Super Duplex stainless steel, in particular, these materials are more resistant to stress corrosion cracking. Yet, they are more precise when it relates to welding.


Niobium-based alloys: Under very high temp conditions, nickel-based alloys are utilized, and some different metal welds additionally need the use of NBA welding consumables. As a result, the offshore welder must be knowledgeable about using these welding supplies.


Copper Nickel: This is frequently used in offshore seawater installations, like fire water and deluge pipelines.


Titanium: Titanium will be utilized in a few unique marine applications. Yet, this is a fairly small application, and as it requires specific knowledge and tools to weld, an offshore welder will not often be needed to be expert in welding titanium.


Rig Welder


Benefits of Becoming Offshore Welder


Working on an offshore welding operation is among the top welding jobs that you can get in the welding business today if you are worried about job security and want a job opportunity that pays above-average wages.


Here are the top best explanations of why you ought to work as a welder on an offshore rig:




Working and living onboard a rig is an entirely different experience from anything you have ever done before; an offshore rig is similar to a tiny city. Unquestionably a lot more intriguing and thrilling than operating in a fabrication facility, on a conventional construction site, or performing standard field repairs.


Impressive Work


The range of welding tasks you will be working on will not only keep you busy but also engage your attention and keep you on your heels. You will undoubtedly gain experience.


Salary Scale


Welders working on oil rigs typically make $60,000 a year on average, which is more than double the wage for most construction and manufacturing professions.


Workplace Safety


Job security is a major concern in the welding industry as more manufacturing employment migrates abroad and as the government stimulus monies supporting numerous construction, transportation, and public works projects run out. However, still welders are in greater demand than ever in the offshore welding sector, making it simpler than ever to find and remain employed.




Operating on a rig can be your ideal profession if you enjoy traveling and have a strong desire to see the world. Every large ocean and sea in the world has offshore operations.




Top-paid welders are those who work on oil rigs. Companies give this type of job to the best and qualified candidates since any mistakes they make could have dangerous impacts.


Share This Article
About The Author
Ahmed M. Aly

Ahmed M. Aly

Ahmed is a mechanical engineer with a vast experience in ship repair project management, production department management, and Oil & Gas industries. He is certified Weldment Inspection Personnel "CSWIP - TWI, UK", Certified Coating Inspector "CIP LII - NACE, USA" and NDT Experts "ASNT NDT LIII Certified".
Related Articles

Workshop Insider Newsletter

Be a Workshop Insider! Get our latest collection of news and announcements delivered to your inbox...

Follow Us!

Latest Articles

Get Your Copy of Our​


Guide to MIG Welding


Workshop Insider MIG Book