The Derrick Operator must understand how the derrick is designed and know how to operate and maintain it. The operator must know how to position the derrick properly to ensure that drilling is done in the right location. In managing the derrick, many tasks are required of the operator. This includes positioning the pipes, guiding them into the elevators, making sure they remain steady, and keeping all elements of the derrick aligned. They must set up the pumps to remove drilling sediment, and monitor pumping circulation.
A key component of the drilling process is drilling mud, which is pumped into the bore hole. The Derrick Operator must know how to mix the mud and water and chemicals to create the proper mud viscosity. He or she listens to the pumps and must recognize the signs that they are operating properly and vibrating correctly. Mud reports must be prepared and chemical additives balanced. Mud flow must be monitored and logged.
The Derrick Operator also inspects the derrick, using climbing devices and harnesses, and must check for any flaws or potential problems. Inspections may need to be done from the derrick platform and the operator must handle sections of the drill string assembly during drilling. The operator keeps the derrick clean and the machinery properly lubricated. Often he or she serves as the crew boss, directing others in keeping the operations of the oil derrick running smoothly and safely. Good record keeping is an important part of the job, since all derrick activities must be carefully recorded.