Like Bob Dylan sang many years ago, “The times they are a-changin.” The energy industry as a whole is in a rapid and perpetual state of change thanks to a combination of engineering, technology and innovation. This change has left no part of the industry untouched, including the job requirements of a mud logger.
For many years, the mud logging industry has had a reputation for employing what I will affectionately call characters. These individuals were capable of working long shifts alone, but often lacked interpersonal skills. But, the demands of the job have evolved and a unique skillset is required to be successful on today’s job site.
So, if you’ve ever thought of getting into the business, here are 4 skills that are mandatory for the modern mud logger.
#1 Great Communication Skills
Oil and gas companies expect and require all service company employees to be good communicators, and mud loggers are no different. A successful mud logger communicates and reports valuable data to geology and engineering. The mud logger should be proactive in establishing and building rapport with the geologist they report to. This helps clearly define expectations for the job. Mud loggers should also establish good communication with the mud engineer, rig personnel, MWD personnel, geosteerer, directional driller and on-site company men. Today’s increased expected communication is in contrast to the past where mud loggers could feel like the forgotten man on location.
#2 Multitasking Expert
Trying to say on top of catching, cleaning and analyzing samples, updating mud logs, running a calcimeter and looking for pressure trends while answering questions is enough to make your head spin! Being overly analytical or too focused on one aspect of the job can lead to the detriment of other areas. The ability to multitask and quickly shift job priorities is a must.
#3 Thrives Under Pressure
Once upon a time, 100 feet per hour was considered a drill break. Now on most wells, rates of penetration easily exceed 200-300 feet per hour. The industry standard has traditionally required catching 30 foot samples. The faster drilling rates on modern rigs make accurately keeping up with samples extremely difficult, if not impossible in some cases. Sometimes, sample catchers are provided to relieve pressure. But more often than not, the mud logger is on his own. If you also factor in Murphy’s Law, computer glitches will happen and sometimes equipment fails. When this occurs it’s not hard to imagine how stressful the situation becomes.
#4 Jacks Of All Trades
Today’s mud logger needs to possess good technical and computer skills. He also needs to know how to write good geological descriptions, can fix things when they break and is able to communicate effectively. Often times, jobs are in remote locations and you can’t always wait on parts or replacement equipment. This means the mud logger needs a solid understanding of all equipment to ensure as little down time as possible.
Having said all of that, the industry still has a few of the characters I referred to earlier. But, most have evolved. The ones who refuse to adapt will soon go the way of the dinosaurs. Because to survive and thrive, today’s savvy service companies in the oil and gas industry have to be ready for whatever changes and challenges lie ahead. It’s time to evolve or get out of the way.
What do you think? How has the industry’s rapid evolution changed your job? Please leave a comment below.