Wellsite geologists study rock cuttings from oil and gas wells to determine what rock formations are being drilled into and how drilling should proceed. They identify critical strata from core samples and rock-cutting data and build up knowledge of the structure being drilled.
They are experienced geologists, deciding when specialised tests should be carried out and, ultimately, when to stop drilling. They send reports and logs of completed drilling to the operations geologist and offer geological advice to oil company representatives. They also incorporate health and safety requirements in daily geological operations. Wellsite geologists also liaise with drilling engineers, petroleum engineers and mudloggers during the course of projects.
Typical Work Activities
- Evaluating offset data before the start of drilling.
- Analyzing, evaluating and describing formations while drilling, using cuttings, gas, femwd (formation evaluation measurement while drilling) and wireline data.
- Comparing data gathered during drilling with predictions made at the exploration stage.
- Advising on drilling hazards and drilling bit optimization.
- Taking full responsibility for making decisions about suspending or continuing drilling.
- Advising operations personnel on-site and in the operations office.
- Acting, in effect, as the representative of the onshore oil company geology team.
- Supervising mudlogging, femwd and wireline services personnel and monitoring quality control in relation to these services.
- Keeping detailed records, writing reports, completing daily, weekly and post-well reporting logs and sending these to appropriate departments.
- Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of mwd (measuring while drilling) tools, such as gamma and resistivity, as geosteering becomes increasingly important.
- Communicating regularly with onshore operations offices.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- The ability to work independently, as well as within a team of multidisciplinary professionals.
- Analytical and critical-thinking skills.
- Confidence in giving an opinion.
- The ability to evaluate complex information and make decisions at any hour, day or night.
- An understanding of the activity that is taking place in the well and its implications.
- Sensitivity to different cultures and ways of working.
- Leadership and supervisory skills.
- Practical skills.
- The ability to work with sophisticated technology.
- Strong mathematical and scientific analytical skills.
- The ability to get on well with others in and outside a working environment (you will be working and living with the same set of people without respite for several weeks).
- Competence in it with the ability to use standard office programs and specialised software.
- The ability to cope with working under pressure.
A current driving license is important since much of the work is on remote sites. Good colour vision is also required. All rig personnel, including wellsite geologists, are required to pass several tests of physical fitness and survival. Offshore fire qualifications are normally required.
Before securing a post as a wellsite geologist, you will have probably gained a minimum of two (but more likely about eight) years’ experience as a mudlogger and/or MWD engineer (measuring while drilling). You may also have a relevant MSc and possibly direct experience of working as a geologist for an oil company.
As an independent consultant, you will be largely responsible for your own career development. The best way to maintain some continuity of work is to develop a good working relationship with one or two oil companies and become their preferred contractor or one or more of the geological services organizations that provide staff to oil companies. Professional accreditation is not currently an issue but may be required in the future as part of competency assurance. Graduates considering wellsite geology should aim for chartered geologist (CGeol) status, which can be applied for through the Geological Society upon gaining at least five years’ experience.
Some wellsite geologists go on to become operations geologists for oil companies, which may be on a long-term contract requiring relocation or on a rotating contract. Others might undertake further training (usually self-funded) and become petrophysicists or reservoir engineers for oil companies.
Original content at prospects.ac.uk