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Wellsite geologist: Salary and conditions

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  • The range of typical starting salaries for those employed by oil and gas companies is around £25,000 and £45,000.
  • At a senior level, you can expect £35,000 to £120,000, sometimes with up to 50% extra in allowances and bonuses.
  • New consultant wellsite geologists can earn between £350 and £450 per day. Those with experience can earn between £800 and £1,000 per day.
  • Salaries vary according to experience, where you are working in the world and what type of organisation you work for.
  • This is not a secure profession, as work depends totally on drilling activity. Most wellsite geologists work around 150 days a year, but this could vary between 50 and 200. They are paid by the day.
  • In the North Sea, working hours are normally 12 hours on and 12 hours off continuously for two weeks, followed by a break ashore of two to three weeks.
  • Work on offshore rigs is physically hard, often undertaken in dirty, noisy and bad weather conditions.
  • Almost all wellsite geologists are self-employed. Career breaks are possible but part-time work is rare.
  • There are currently very few women working in this area.
  • In the UK, activity, and therefore work, is currently located mainly off the east coast of England and Scotland, but exploration is also being carried out in the western approaches, the Irish Sea and west of the Shetlands. Work is available on rigs throughout the world, some in very remote and hard-to-reach places.
  • Although there are still a few rigs where living conditions are basic, on most they are very good, with meals and a laundry service provided and gyms and snooker rooms are often available.
  • Alcohol and recreational drugs are not allowed on rigs.
  • There is considerable disruption to personal and home life.
  • Travel to rigs by helicopter is normal, sometimes at short notice, so flexibility is required.
  • Travel to sites in some parts of the world can be complex and difficult.

Salary figures are intended as a guide only.

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Written by AGCAS editors
July 2015

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