A mud logger (sometimes called a mud logging technician) is a contract professional working in the oil and gas industry for a mud logging or service company that is contracted by an E&P company. At the beginning of a drilling operation a mud logger installs equipment and sensors used for monitoring the drilling operation including characteristics of the mud, temperatures, lithology, gas levels, pump rates, and more. This contractor logs, monitors, and interprets this essential data regarding the geology of the well for the duration of the operation.
What are the responsibilities of a mud logger? A mud logger is responsible for providing data that facilitates the safe, economic, and efficient drilling of a well. This includes analyzing drill cuttings for the lithology and mineral composition of the formation, assessing mud for oil and gas content, and determining the location and potential use of subsurface hydrocarbons. The most essential function of a mud logger, though, is creating a mud log presenting information such as ROP, porosity, lithology, pressures, and gas content. This along with data from the MWD and LWD engineers is utilized by the wellsite geologist and others to ensure a safe and efficient drilling operation. Finally, a mud logger is responsible for installing, maintaining, and monitoring the logging equipment which may include various detectors and monitors, chromatographs, calibration systems, microscopes, and more.
What is the required experience or career path for a mud logger? A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field such as geology, physics, engineering, chemistry, or geosciences is preferred in a prospective mud logger. Experience is not usually required as this position is trainable. With experience and specialties a mud logger may progress to become a senior data engineer or wellsite geologist.
Where does a mud logger work? When they are on a job, a mud logger spends almost all of their time on location, leaving only for necessary groceries or errands when possible.
What is a mud logger's schedule? A mud logger’s schedule varies depending on the schedule run by the E&P company. Schedules for this position are similar to those of other contractors working on location at a rig. The following are the most common hitches (days on site/days off):
Shifts typically last 12 hours per day. Usually one contractor works the day shift and another works the night shift. Some companies, though, only run one mud logger who is responsible for 24-hour operations.
Who does a mud logger report to? A mud logger (mud logging technician) reports to and works closely with the company man, tool pusher, and wellsite geologist.
Who reports to a mud logger? There is typically no direct report to a mud logger.
How much does a mud logger make? On average a mud logger makes $14-$20 per hour. Salaries range from $50,000 to $100,00 per year, depending on experience, rank, location, degrees, supply, and specialties.