Oilfield Jobs Guide

North Dakota Oilfield Introduction

Interested in working in North Dakota’s oil patch but aren’t familiar with the oil industry or where to even begin your job search? Dakota Oil Jobs and this Oilfield Employment Guide are great places to start your career.

North Dakota’s booming oil industry continues to draw interest from all across the country. The prospect of getting a job and potentially earning high wages in the $60k – $100k/yr range is attractive but may require extra effort and due diligence on your part. Also, keep in mind as you conduct your job search that there’s more to working in the oil industry than working on the rigs themselves. The oilfield industry employs biologists, computer programmers, engineers, welders, and many other professions crucial to the industry’s success. Dakota Oil Jobs wants to make your search for an oilfield job a positive one and to provide you the tools to get you started. Keep reading this guide for information that can help you get off to a good start with your search for a job in North Dakota’s booming Bakken oil field.

Let’s get started. And good luck with your job search!

If you’re ready to jump ahead and begin your job search right now, register online and upload your resume here.

Know what to expect when applying for a job

Workers are coming from all over the country to work in the oilfields. Here’s what you can expect for most oilfield positions:bakken_shale_map

  • House will be difficult to find. Ask employers if they offer housing assistance.
  • Work days are long and physically demanding.
  • Minimum age requirements may apply. (18 or 21 years of age is common)
  • Compete applications truthfully and include all felonies on your record.
  • Most companies require background checks.
  • Drug tests are required in the hiring process and are preformed randomly on the job.
  • Have proper identification available to prove your eligibility to work in the U.S.
  • A valid driver’s license and clean driving record may be required.
  • Most positions involve some outdoor work, regardless of weather conditions.
  • Work hours vary greatly. Overtime hours may be available and vary by company.
  • You will need reliable transportation to get to and from your job site.
  • Be flexible in your job schedule expectations. You must work the schedule that is best for the company’s needs, not your own. You will be in a better position to negotiate scheduling options as you gain experience.
  • Be prepared to use a computer to apply for jobs online and to send your resume to employers by email or other electronic means. Get help from someone with computer skills if necessary.
  • Many employers require an email address on their applications. You can create a free email account through gmail.com, hotmail.com, or yahoo.com.
  • Create your resume in Microsoft Word and save it on a flash drive and/or in your email.


Have a plan in place

It’s very important to have a plan in place as you search for a job in North Dakota’s booming oil industry. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Secure housing before heading to the oil patch if possible. The rapid influx of new residents has created a major housing shortage. If you have housing, put it on your resume because that’s a plus.
  • National media has shown many individuals living out of their vehicles and working in the oilfield. While this may be an acceptable solution to some new resident workers during the summer months, the winter months make this a dangerous thing to attempt. North Dakota winters can be deadly when temperatures routinely approach -20 to -40 F below zero. If you do move up here during winter months, BUY a winter survival kit HERE first.
  • Prepare for childcare, if necessary.
  • Follow each oil company’s application instructions. You may be required to apply online.
  • Schedule interviews in advance rather than showing up and expecting an interview.
  • Allow time for the hiring process – it may take longer than you expect, in some cases three to six months.


Apply for North Dakota Oil Jobs Today

If you’re ready to jump-start your new life in North Dakota, begin applying for jobs today! Simply register online and upload your resume to begin applying for jobs online. Registration takes only a few moments and you can apply for jobs via the Apply Now link that is available on every job listing. Begin your search under the Latest Jobs section of the home page. Good luck. And welcome to Dakota Oil Jobs!

Horizontal Drilling Basics

The Bakken Shale formation is considered by many to be the largest oil discovery in the last 50 years. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing in the Bakken Shale formation are major contributors to the oil boom in North Dakota.

It may help in your job search if you know some basics about horizontal well drilling and maintenance. There are three main processes:

  1. Horizontal drilling enables oil companies to reach and extract oil from formations that may not otherwise be accessible and often provides increased production. The first steps are to set up the drilling rig and drill down (then over horizontally), install pipes, and put cement casing around the pipes. While the hole is being drilled, mud loggers take regular samples of the mud that comes out and the site geologist determines and verifies that the drilling is being done in the right location underground.
  2. Perfing is the process of perforating the casing. A perforating gun is lowered into the casing with an explosive wireline. Small holes are shot through the casing and into the shale formation in preparation for fracing.
  3. Fracing (Pronounced fracking) is short for hydraulic fracturing and is the process in which water, sand, and chemicals are pumped into the well under extremely high pressure where they will be forced out through the perforations into the shale. This causes the shale to fracture and release oil back into the pipes.

Once the fracing is done and the oil is flowing, a pumping unit is attached to the well head to extract the oil and channel it into storage tanks. At this point, the drilling rig crews, wireline operators, and fracing crews all move on to the next well site. The entire process usually takes a month or less if everything goes as planned.

Once a well is up and running, the workover crew comes in and maintains the well, troubleshoots any problems, and builds and removes structures as needed. Workover crew positions are generally long-term jobs since wells have a 30-year life expectancy.