Oilfield jobs are often some of the most desired in the country. Individuals travel from every province, often to Alberta, in hopes of finding employment in the provinces largest and most successful (even despite the downturn) industry.

Probably the most major draw to the industry is the pay. It is no secret that oil and gas workers typically make decent (or more than decent) salaries. However, these salaries are not without cause, with workers in the industry often working overtime hours, working weeks or months without a day off, being away in camps, and working around potentially life threatening substances.

Knowing some of the lesser-desired aspects of the job, let’s take a look at how much oilfield workers in certain positions make an hour.

Gas Plant Operators

The national average salary for Gas Plant Operators is around $89,000 per year, ranging from $58,000 up to $144,000.

What do Gas Plant Operators do? They handle the production, storage, and transportation of various types of natural gasses. This can include duties such as: monitoring, cleaning, and even repairing equipment; observing pressure, flow, and temperature of the gas; and recording data. Typically, a college certificate is required to work in this field.

Why do Gas Plant Operators make this much? While the job is often described as easy, it involves the potential for serious accidents in multiple aspects. Often, these operators are working around equipment containing H2S gas, which is highly poisonous, corrosive, and flammable; it is extremely dangerous is anyone is exposed to a leak without having the proper masking. The extreme amounts of pressure contained within these gas pipelines also pose a risk to these workers. These dangers are reflected in the wages paid to the operators.

Drilling Engineers

The national average salary for Drilling Engineers is around $117,000, ranging from $75,000 up to $242,000.

What do Drilling Engineers do? Drilling engineers are responsible for designing equipment and creating procedures for the safest and most efficient and effective ways to drill wells. Aside from designing the necessary equipment, they also will usually oversee the operations. Working in this field typically requires the individual to hold a Bachelors Degree or higher in Engineering.

Why do Drilling Engineers make this much? There are multiple reasons why these engineers make the wages they do. One of the largest reasons is supply and demand. For how many oil companies there are in Canada that require these engineers, there are not enough accredited Drilling Engineers available. Secondly, it is a position that requires a lot of education and a lot of talent, combined with working long hours in remote locations.


Through even just two examples of differing types of oilfield positions, it is easy to understand why these workers make the level of wages that they do. Whether working more physical jobs or more intellectual jobs, these individuals are in demand, work around dangerous materials, and face undesirable working conditions.

In order to attract the necessary skills, compensate for working conditions and risk, and retain highly in-demand individuals, high salaries are a must within the oil and gas industry.