Blood, Sweat and Oil; What Mud logging in the Oilfield is like

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Drillship in the distance

Extraction of volatile substances sometimes under extreme pressure in a hostile environment — means risk; accidents and tragedies occur regularly.

As a Mud logger my job is to take, describe and log the rocks and gas all the way down to TD. I also monitor the well, watching for problem indicators on our sensors. At the end of the day we produce reports for clients.

The job is sometimes hard, with long hours of dirty, sweaty work in hot cramped machine rooms. The job can also be boring, spending 10 hours staring at computer screens. I experience social isolation during the 14-28 days I am out here. But it does come with its perks.

Advantages:

The views.

Money. All food is provided, no long car commute. Pay is pretty good.

Hot showers, warm bed, laundry services, all you can eat buffets.

28 On / 14 Off Schedule. Is good for traveling.

Gym onboard, no alcohol. Can get in shape and lose weight.

Ability to read a lot. I’ve read many books while offshore.

The Oilfield Life

“It doesn’t rain in the oilfield” Applies today well. I am working the Midnight to Noon shift. It is pouring down rain and lightning is hitting around us. Still the rig crew keeps tripping out pipe.

It never stops working. These rigs go 24 hours a day 7 days a week. No holidays because it costs 1.5 million dollars per day to operate.

I work 12hr/day. My back to back, does the exact same job for the other 12 hours.

After I knock off I can play guitar, watch tv, or go to the Gym. I have been going to the gym less often this hitch because my circadian rhythm is still off.

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Sikorsky S-92 Personnel Helicopter

To get out here I take a 1 hour helicopter ride from Houma on a 20 passenger Sikorsky S-92, 20. Was exciting at first and now just monotonous. I normally just bury my head in my paper back because they don’t allow electronics.

My Drill Ship is 780ft long, 138ft wide. 10-15 floors. Built in 2014 in South Korea and cost 700 million dollars. Includes a cafeteria, helipad, 2 gyms, and a movie theater.

The global oversupply has led my company to cut around 30,000 jobs. My pay has been cut by 30%. Morale out here is pretty bad. Most of us are just happy to have jobs. People are getting laid off right and left. The training schedule has been canceled and we are all making sacrifices.

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Sunrise on the Drillship

Oilfield Downturn

Operations On Pemex Centennial And La Muralla IV Deep Sea Crude Oil Platforms30$/ bbl Oil is causing havoc in the industry. In my company the layoffs come in groups of 20-30.

They call you in for performance reviews and remind you to bring your laptop. The managers send out emails filled with doom and gloom; citing reorganizing which read like eulogies for our comrades.

My roommate got the axe last week. Unemployment sucks for him. He is in the black hole of job hunting.

The boomtown of Lafayette, LA is contracting fast. For sale and for rent signs are popping up all over town. People who bought houses and trucks during the boom are seeing the possibility of sale or foreclosure.

I have seen 2 mudloggers and 2 Data Analysts fired in my 9 months on the same boat. Thankfully the boat I am on just signed another contract for 2 more years of drilling. We also got end of well bonuses.

I try and stay away from the news about the downturn. Entering the industry I knew that the job is boom/bust. It’s folly to listen to the wall street guys about the price/barrel. My job is in the air for now.