Mudlogger - Jobs in the Drilling Rig Industry

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Many of today's career seekers are wondering if there are any high paying jobs left in this country that don't require a four year degree or advanced technical training. It seems that unless you have a college education, the only jobs around are positions in retail or fast food. Fortunately, in the OilAndGas industry, there are plenty of high paying jobs, and the need for workers in positions of all types is only projected to grow in the next 10 years.

Over half the workforce in the OilAndGas industry is going to retire in the next decade, and the need for new workers has never been higher. After the last oil boom, in the 1980s, the big players in the energy sector stopped hiring, as they had over invested during the boom, and when it went bust, they were stuck with too much gear and too many people. Today, almost 30 years later, there hasn't been enough hiring to replace the people who are in their final years before retirement. The opportunities available now for those getting into the oil business have never been better.

There are many jobs in the OilAndGas industry that don't require any training or experience, just a good aptitude for mechanical things and machines. Entry level jobs like roustabouts and roughnecks are the most common starting positions. Working up the drilling rig ladder, you will also find the motor man, who runs and maintains the machinery used for the drilling operation. You'll also hear about the derrick man, who hands off the pipes used for drilling from the derrick storage bars to the roughnecks, who clamps the pipes together and tells the driller to run with it.

The driller and assistant driller are the guys who run the whole drilling operation and operate the actual rotary drill machine, monitoring pressure and gauges to ensure everything goes smoothly and safely. And then you will hear about the mud logger, who plays a critical role in preventing blowouts.

The way the mud logger accomplishes this fundamental task is by performing a chemical analysis of the soil, oil and gas they are drilling into. At various layers in the drilling operation, the soil, bedrock, sand and shale will have different compositions; the viscosity of the oil they are drilling into can vary as well.

Based on the results of the analysis, the mudlogger will compose the drilling mud, which is used to pack the pipe and casing of the drill hole. The viscosity of the drilling mud needs to be of such a composition and consistency that it will block any pressure surge of oil or gas when those pockets or deposits are hit, yet still allow for the drill to have enough leeway to get through the ground into the pay dirt discovery of an oil reserve.

Many mudloggers learn on the job, starting out as a roughneck or roustabout and work their way into the position by working closely with the mudmen, as they are also called. They can then start working as a ''drilling fluids technician'', while doing some studying on the side, either through a university or through the many in-house training programs that most large OilAndGas companies provide for their workers. Having some geology and chemistry is also helpful. Starting salaries range from the low 50s; experienced mudloggers can earn 74,000 a year or more.
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