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Mudlogger: Job description

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Mudloggers monitor and record drilling activity, providing information about the well status during the extraction of oil or gas.

The data they collect and monitor, the 'mudlog' helps to make important decisions about the efficiency and placement of the well sites.

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 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 be known as:

  • logging geologists;
  • mudlogging geologists;
  • 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.

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Updated by AGCAS editors
August 2015

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