Career Profile: Snubber

Career Profile: Snubber

by Susan Huebert

Everyone needs help at times. Drilling for oil and gas is a complicated task, and people in this field can use all kinds of help. For getting pipes into or out of the ground, a snubber is the person they need.

You might think that a snubber is someone who says rude things to other people, but actually this job is all about making it possible to get oil or gas out of the ground. Basically, snubbers put pipes, tubing, or other equipment into oil or gas wells or take it out.  This allows other people to do their work of pumping the fuel out of the ground. Often, snubbers come when an oil or gas well is under pressure and they need to decrease the danger of an explosion.

Because snubbers work when there are already problems, their job can be dangerous. They use a large machine that looks like a pole with a platform on top to drill down into the well. Often, snubbers need to remove pebbles or anything else that has fallen into the well. They might have to work for a long time at one place or move from one oil well to another in a very short time. The work can be hard, but with the right equipment, it does not have to take a lot of strength.

Snubbers can work at different levels, and their pay rises with the amount of responsibility they have. Starting wages are about $29 per hour for beginners, but pay for supervisors starts at $56 per hour. Salaries can rise with experience, but many people leave the job as they get older. If you want to become a snubber, you will need a high school diploma and a driver’s license, but the rest of your training comes from your employer.

Even with no official training programs to become a snubber, you can prepare for the work in many different ways. Taking courses in mathematics can help you to calculate the amount of pipe or other materials that you will need to help everything to run smoothly. Also, getting practice in working with your hands could be helpful. Being able to repair broken machines is important, since you will need to make sure that you can take care of the machines you use.

Most snubbing jobs are in areas like Alberta, where the oil and gas usually come from. The number of jobs also depends on how well the economy is doing and what kinds of fuel people are using to heat their homes and run their cars. Snubber jobs are likely to be fairly easy to find when the economy is doing fairly well but harder when demand for fuel decreases. For some people, moving to a different province might not be an option, but it could be possible to fly in to the area for a few months and then to return home, like many people in the oil and gas business.

If you like to solve problems and you don’t mind danger, the job of snubber might be right for you.


Careers in Oil and Gas. “Snubbing Operator: About This Career.”  https://www.careersinoilandgas.com/careers/snubbing-operator

Government of Alberta. ALIS. “Snubbing Services Operators and Supervisors.”. https://alis.alberta.ca/occinfo/occupations-in-alberta/occupation-profiles/snubbing-services-operators-and-supervisors/.

Guera, Tony. “The Average Salary of a Snubbing Driller.” http://work.chron.com/average-salary-snubbing-driller-30235.html.

Huffingtonpost.com. “Oil Patch Jobs: How Much Do They Pay?” https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/11/02/alberta-oil-jobs_n_6090190.html#gallery/563501/25.

Rigzone. “History of Snubbing Units.” https://www.rigzone.com/training/insight.asp?insight_id=348&c_id=.

Schlumberger.com. “Oilfield Glossary: Snubbing.” http://www.glossary.oilfield.slb.com/Terms/s/snubbing.aspx

Wkiipedia.org. “Snubbing.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snubbing.

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