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Mudlogger: Job description

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Case studies

Mudloggers keep records of drilling operations to provide information about well status for the extraction of oil or gas. They help to increase the efficiency and placement of wells and the data they collect and monitor informs crucial decisions.

They use a range of equipment and laboratory techniques, such as binocular microscopes, ultraviolet fluorescence and thin section analysis to create mud logs showing a geological record of the site being drilled. Drilling parameters that are monitored include:

  • speed of rotation;
  • rate of penetration;
  • oil and gas shows (whether oil and/or gas is present);
  • pit levels;
  • cutting rate;
  • mud flow rate.

The mudlogger ensures that accurate samples are taken at the right intervals and records any issues encountered during the drilling. They mainly work offshore and are contracted to an oil company via a service company. Less commonly they work in water well and mineral exploration.

Mudloggers may also be known as logging geologists, mudlogging geologists or mudlogging technicians. Mudlogging is also known as hydrocarbon well logging.

Typical work activities

Tasks carried out by a mudlogger include:

  • working in wellsite units collecting, processing, logging and analysing geological samples;
  • using various laboratory techniques to evaluate detailed and complex data for signs of oil or gas;
  • monitoring computer recordings of drillings;
  • interpreting information and feeding it back to the drilling team to enhance safety and success;
  • operating and maintaining a real-time computer-based data acquisition system, the advanced logging system (ALS), which records all aspects of rig activity;
  • undertaking some on-site maintenance, for which a knowledge of electrical and mechanical systems is useful;
  • taking on the primary health and safety role for the well through constant monitoring of all critical drilling parameters;
  • predicting dangerous situations, such as over-pressured formations;
  • assisting the wellsite geologist during coring operations;
  • reporting to the wellsite geologist and the oil company in written reports;
  • frequently acting as a drilling engineer, collating and then logging details of drilling operations in oil companies' computer systems.
Written by AGCAS editors
September 2013

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