By Steve Cox, Sr. Member, Technical Staff, Fluid Components International (FCI)
Upstream oil/gas production companies around the globe depend on mud logging service companies to analyze mud samples that help them maintain the correct direction for their drilling field operations. In mud logging, samples of rock cuttings from bore holes are brought to the surface by recirculating drilling media (mud) for analysis by a mobile laboratory to determine the lithology and fluid content of the sample.
The surface logging process helps oil/gas engineers determine the correct drilling direction and depth when first commissioning a new well. The drilling operation including mud logging and data analysis can take from three to four weeks. Drilling mud is pumped down the hole to help keep the bit from overheating and to bring rock cuttings to the surface for analysis.
Engineers from the logging service company and the production company generate the logged mud data. The careful analysis of this data helps the engineers confirm the presence of oil and gas to maintain drilling efficiency.