$140K - $200K+ per year
$80K - $90K per year
(1 to 3 years)
Drilling Fluids Engineer
Start a career as a Drilling Fluids Engineer! Also known as Mud Engineers (or Drilling Fluids Specialists) play a key role in the drilling process. Believe it or not, you can become a certified Drilling Fluids Engineer in just 3 to 5 months!
Click here to start learning about the Drillings Fluids career path
What are Drilling Fluids?
Drilling fluids are an integral part of any drilling process. These fluids make it possible for companies to drill thousands of feet into the earth's core; drilling fluids are also referred to as "mud". There are many benefits that "mud" provides to the drilling process, such as: spinning the drill bit, stabilizing the well pressure, preventing deadly gases from rising to the surface, returning rock & dirt cuttings up to the surface, and more.
Mud is created from scratch with various chemicals to form an ideal drilling fluid that has a specific consistency, viscosity, salinity, and weight. Companies will create thousands of gallons of mud to complete a successful drilling job.
The "recipe" or specifications for the type of mud to build are based off geological factors revolving around what type of rock & gases are being drilled through. After the mud has been built or "engineered", it is then sent down the center of the drill pipe until its circulates out through the end of the drill bit. Next, it returns up through the annular of the casing and drill pipe back to the mud pits at the surface. The mud pits serve as holding area to house and test mud that is being circulated. The mud that returns each time will be slightly altered throughout the process so the mud pits are constantly monitored and tested.
What do "Mud Engineers" do all day?
Mud Engineers spend part of their day on the rig floor and the other half day working in an onsite mud lab running chemical tests and creating reports. Once the directional driller gets to the targeted area for extracting petroleum, the mud team will ship the drilling fluids back to the mud plant to be recycled, and the mud engineering team is on their way to next well site. Typical schedules for onshore jobs are 2 weeks on 2 week off, while offshore jobs can be closer to 1 month on 1 month off or even longer.
Mud engineering is not to be confused with mud logging. The 2 jobs do coincide, but involve 2 different sets of skills. Mud loggers have a geological background and analyze the drilling environment including local rock formations being drilled through. Mud loggers are able to analyze rock cuttings brought to the surface by the drilling fluid or "mud"