Make Big Money as a Mud Engineer

  • Average Salary in the U.S. → $75,000+
  • Job Requirements → Training
  • Field Demand → Growing
  • Mud Engineer Jobs

    As industry demand continues to grow, Mud Engineer Salaries are reaching new highs. In fact, according to Indeed statistics, Mud Engineers can make well over $75,000 per year working in America's fast paced drilling industry. To learn more about what a Mud Engineer does and how to become one, continue below.

    Job Description

    When ranking oil rig jobs, Mud Engineers top the list. Thanks to high pay rates and excellent work conditions, they truly have one of the most satisfying jobs in the field. So, what exactly is "Mud" and what do Mud Engineers typically do?
    Mud is simply another name for the drilling fluid used at drilling rigs. As oil and gas wells are drilled, special types of Mud are pumped down into the borehole to maintain stability, cool the drill bit, and clear rock cuttings. In order to work effectively, Mud has a number of different properties that need to be managed by trained specialists called Mud Engineers.
    Having earned their title, Mud Engineers condition the Mud so that it meets certain field requirements. To do this, they perform a series of Mud Tests using equipment that most anyone can operate with proper training. After recording their test results, Mud Engineers write out instructions for the rig's crew so that they can then get started making key Mud treatments. If needed, a Mud Engineer can stay onsite to advise the rig's crew and supervise treatment methods.
    Aside from managing Mud properties, Mud Engineers are also responsible for creating Mud reports, ordering treatment products, and maintaining field relationships. The fact that they have a variety of tasks out on the rig may be yet another reason why Mud Engineers are known to experience high levels of overall job satisfaction.

    Working Conditions

    So, what is it like to be a Mud Engineer? To answer this, we will start by looking at their top 3 job benefits.
    The first and most basic benefit of being a Mud Engineer is that the job is free from manual labor. Apart from handling small test equipment, Mud Engineers have no reason to participate in physical tasks out at the rig. On top of this we find our second benefit; the minimal amount of paperwork. Although Mud reports do need to be filled out, most of the job really focuses on checking the Mud to make sure that it's right. And finally, to finish off our top benefits, is the fact that Mud Engineers get to escape from dull office lifestyles. Being outdoors on an oil rig is exciting, especially when keeping company with lively roughnecks.

    Job Requirements

    To get a job as a Mud Engineer you must start by getting trained at a Mud School. Since only a few Mud Schools exist, current training options are clearly limited. Because of this, many new Mud Engineers have chosen to go through month-long courses like Ace Mud School. If you would like to take your first step toward an exciting career as a Mud Engineer, click on this link and visit www.acemudschool.com for more information.

    Oil and Gas Developments

    According to Geological Survey statistics, the United States' current reserves of oil and gas are increasing rapidly. Why? In part, it's because new assessments of national reserves are starting to account for advances in technology. As technologies like frac and injection improve our ability to recover oil and gas, the total amount in reserve has spiked. But this is not the only factor that has increased our reserves. New oil and gas finds have also been adding to our totals. For a description of these new finds, continue below.

    California's San Joaquin Basin

    Spanning from Modesto in the north to Bakersfield in the south, Central California's San Joaquin Basin holds an estimated 393 million barrels of oil and 1.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Since these figures describe only what can be currently developed, the USGS also released a forecast stating that 3.5 billion barrels of oil may be recoverable from the basin in the future. A majority of this future oil is projected to come out of the Monterey Formation which is an emerging shale play that stretches across much of California. In the end, this may mean that some of the oil rig jobs in Long Beach will have to relocate a few miles north over the coming years.

    Haynesville/Bossier/Shreveport Shale

    Found stretching from Eastern Texas through Western Louisiana, the Haynesville Shale formation is likely to be the fourth largest natural gas find in the world. Various sources indicate that it holds between 230 and 250 trillion cubic feet of retrievable natural gas in reserve. Located at depths between 10,000 and 14,000 feet below the earth's surface, this is enough natural gas to supply the U.S.'s total domestic demand for over 10 years. As recently as 2008, the Haynesville formation was responsible for creating approximately 32,000 jobs while contributing $4.5 billion in revenue to the state of Louisiana. With numbers like this it is hard not to be impressed.

    Montana and North Dakota's Bakken Shale

    In 1995 the U.S. Geological Survey reported that there was an estimated 151 million barrels of oil in the Bakken Shale Formation spanning from Montana to North Dakota. Over a decade later in 2007, roughly 105 million barrels of oil had been produced. With this, some outsiders thought that the area was about to experience steep production declines. To their surprise, recent survey estimates put the Bakken Formation's oil reserves between 3 and 4 billion barrels. Ultimately, this makes the Bakken Formation the largest single find in the lower 48 states, even ahead of the sizable Austin Chalk Formation of Texas and Louisiana. As a result, oil rig jobs in North Dakota and the Williston Basin are now booming.

    Marcellus Shale Formation

    Currently the Marcellus Shale holds the largest natural gas resource in the North East. Found under much of New York, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, the total amount of recoverable gas in the formation is estimated at 260 trillion cubic feet. Although some researchers say that this number could be much higher in the future, current estimates are thought to be most accurate based on available data. To put this into perspective, 260 trillion cubic feet of natural gas is enough to meet roughly 12 years of U.S. consumer demand. Since statistical information about the resource is still being gathered, the number of Mud Logging Jobs in the area is fast on the rise.

    North Eastern Utica Shale

    Deeper than the Marcellus is the Utica Shale Formation which covers a much larger geographical area. In fact, the Utica Shale spans across New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and both Virginias. Although it is currently under production, this formation is estimated to hold well over 60 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in reserve. With major producers rushing to stake claims, the land lease market in Ohio has been particularly active. Even local drilling fluids companies are starting to gear up for the coming wave of drilling activity. Ultimately, when considering local employment options it should be noted that there will likely be some great opportunities for those wanting Mud Engineer Jobs.

    South Alaskan Oil and Gas

    The last USGS assessment of Southern Alaska's oil and gas in was in 1995. At that time, it was estimated that roughly 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas was in reserve and could be recovered at some point in the future. Since then, advancements in surveying technology and recovery techniques have given us the ability to re-evaluate the region's resources. Now, Southern Alaska's Cook Inlet Region alone has an estimated 19 trillion cubic feet of gas and an additional 600 million barrels of oil. Even though a majority of Alaskan oil is produced out of the Prudhoe Bay area, this new find should increase the total number of future oil rig jobs in Alaska.

    South Texas and the Eagle Ford Shale

    Spread over an area roughly 400 miles long and 50 miles wide, South Texas' Eagle Ford Shale is starting to draw a good deal of attention. Not only is the formation rich in natural gas, but it also has an estimated 3 billion barrels of oil in reserve. According to local public officials, in 2010 the region produced approximately $2.9 billion worth of oil and provided for 12,600 full time jobs. Current estimates are that by the year 2020 the annual economic output of the region will reach $21.5 billion while supporting approximately 68,000 oil rig jobs. It truly is no mystery why all the major oil and gas producers are starting to take an active interest in the area.

    Texas Barnett Shale

    Found in the Fort Worth basin, the Barnett Shale is responsible for over $65 billion of economic activity. Within the past 10 years alone, production of the Basin's 30 trillion cubic feet of natural gas has lead to the creation of over 100,000 jobs. According to Fort Worth's Chamber of Commerce, salaries in the region are about 8.5% higher than they would have been without the Barnett Shale. Further, between the years of 2001 and 2011, local tax receipts showed an estimated $5.3 billion in revenue for the state due to oil and gas drilling in the area. If this isn't a proof positive of how local economies can benefit from oil and gas development, then what is?

    The Tuscaloosa Marine Shale of Louisiana

    Over a decade ago the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale was reported to have approximately 7 billion barrels of oil in reserve. Up until now, widespread development of the formation had been impractical. With recent developments in fracking technology, efforts have again turned toward producing this extensive resource. Since the formation spreads from the east border of Louisiana into the western part of Mississippi, many of the regions' communities have eagerly anticipated the arrival of new drilling operations. Not only is this good news for the American consumer, but local economies in both Louisiana and Mississippi will greatly benefit from added jobs and revenues.

    Offshore Drilling Rigs: A model of self-sufficiency

    To the eyes of an outsider, an offshore oil production facility looks like a modern day medieval castle. It is gigantic, complicated, and most of all misunderstood. Many would even say that an offshore drilling platform has only one essential purpose; to produce oil and natural gas. However, current offshore rigs are much more than just energy producing giants. They are models of self-sufficiency and overall sustainability. These "floating cities" are typically able to produce their own energy while at the same time provide for their own water. More than that, the workers who live on offshore drilling platforms have sacrificed greatly in order to meet our energy demands. To understand the many ways that offshore drilling benefits our society we will start by examining what life is like aboard an offshore rig.

    Life Aboard an Offshore Oil Rig

    Living and working offshore is no easy task. Work days are long and weeks spent out at sea can easily make workers long for loved ones at home. To compensate for this, offshore employees are frequently provided with the highest of living conditions. Private quarters are roomy and are usually equipped with the latest forms of technological entertainment. Many rooms even have private bathrooms and showers as well. Don't want to be stuck in a room all day? No problem. Rigs are provided with full scale cafeterias that have all-you-can eat portions available 24 hours a day. Because most rigs operate on a never ending cycle, this is simply a must have condition. Other basic amenities include a maid service for cleaning and around the clock laundry service. Even the best hotels cannot offer that type of on the spot service. So now that clothes are clean, room is no longer messy, and the belly is full, what to do next? Rigs have to have forms of entertainment and recreation for employees. Small gyms are very common aboard rigs. The gym serves many purposes. It keeps the mind and body healthy which in turns keeps the employee working hard and effectively. Too tired to work out after a hard day? The lounge is the place for you. Big screen televisions and couches are the hub for social interaction within the rig. Think of the lounge like you would a college dorm lobby. Ping-Pong tables, pool tables, and a relaxed atmosphere. One often overlooked aspect of the oil rig is the attraction of wildlife. Migratory birds regularly use oil rigs to rest their bodies after long treks. Small fish and plant life are attracted to the rig because of the safety and artificial reef-like environment. With small fish come bigger fish and with bigger fish come sport fishermen. It is not uncommon for oil rig employees, given favorable conditions, to use their time off to fish off the side of an oil rig. How does all this translate into a functional self-sustaining facility? The answer again is the people.

    The Professions Aboard an Oil Rig

    To compare an oil rig to an ant colony is a shrewd yet easy comparison. Like an ant colony there are different jobs and functions that need to be handled by professionals. An oil rig will employ a number of different experts in fields such as management, production, safety, and even catering. The number of jobs aboard an oil rig are almost too many to count. Craftsmen such as welders, electricians, and mechanics are what most people would expect aboard an oil rig. However, there are also scientists, engineers, and medical professionals as well. All the elements of an oil rig work together to make a self-sufficient society. Unemployment is a large issue affecting the United States today and offshore oil rigs are part of the solution to this problem. As mentioned above, an oil rig needs employees from all forms of professions. The number of individuals needed to build and maintain an oil rig is staggering. Offshore drilling may be controversial in many sectors of America, but one thing is undeniable. Offshore oil rigs create jobs. Interestingly enough, many jobs on the oil rig require no prior work experience. Cooks, maids, laundry attends, and even porters are usually starting out on their first job. In other words, many have the opportunity to show value and worth by working hard and demonstrating their talent in their respected positions. By starting at the bottom of the hierarchy and working hard, an oil rig employee can rise through the ranks to achieve stable and fulfilling careers. But the question remains, how do oil rigs provide a model of self-sufficiency and overall sustainability?

    The Oil Rig: A Model for the Future

    As stated above, an oil rigs main function is to produce energy. It is a fact that the United States has to import a majority of its oil from foreign markets. This leaves the United State vulnerable to ever fluctuating global economic conditions. When the oil producing countries raised oil prices in the 1970s it left the United States with an oil and gas shortage which started the debate on the idea of oil self-sufficiency. In order for the United States to become self-sufficient it needs to invest in the construction and maintenance of offshore oil rigs. The oil rig, which produces its own energy, is the perfect model for the United States. Almost everything an oil rig needs it can make. Clearly, an oil rig needs energy to power its infrastructure. The oil that a rig produces is enough not only for the individual rig, but there is a tremendous amount of excess energy that will be used by the average American. Critics may argue about the environmental impact of an oil rig, but the major reason these arguments arise is when there is an unfortunate disaster. There is no doubt that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was a disaster, but it should not affect the entire industry. The argument that the Deepwater Horizon spill should close down all offshore oil drilling is absurd. It was an accident and of course a travesty, however, the closing of offshore drilling will be even more catastrophic.

    A Step Forward

    Offshore drilling is an important step in making the United States a more productive and self-sufficient society. The jobs aboard an oil rig are in demand and offer many key benefits such as the pay, the experience gained, and the amenities provided. Companies across the globe are always searching for individuals willing to take a chance at life aboard an oil rig. Just in North America alone there are countless job openings from Vancouver, to Canada, to the Florida Keys. With the continuing development of science and technology there will be a continued advance in the design and implementation of offshore drilling. The already extremely high safety measures will continue to evolve and with time events like the Deepwater Horizon will be even fewer and further between. With less and less accidents there will be less impact on the natural environment around large scale oil rigs and drilling processes. America and the World need to take notice of what a true technological marvel an offshore drilling operation can be.

    What Sets the Price of Oil?

    What sets the price of oil? Some may think that this would be an easy question to answer, however the price of oil is dependent on a number of complicated factors. To start, oil is classified as a commodity because it is widely used and traded. This means that its price is determined by large markets where it is exchanged. Since market values are dictated by both supply and demand, oil prices also tend to be based on the perception of its scarcity. Things like political turmoil and natural disasters often increase oil's scarcity and price, even with powerful organizations like OPEC intervening. The following article will assess four of the major factors named above that are most responsible for oil's price in today's modern market.

    Commodity Trading

    Commodity traders are responsible for bidding on future oil contracts. These contracts are to buy or sell an amount of oil on a future date at a pre-determined price. By establishing agreements about future values, companies can plan for changes in the market which helps stabilize the economy as a whole. But, commodity traders also speculate to make a profit. They can even influence the price of oil to go up or down so that their contracts hold more value when they sell them. Regardless of their motives, all oil traders use the same basic rationale to determine the market's price. They compare OPEC's projected output quote to the actual amount of oil that was produced. If there is going to be a supply decrease, the price gets bid up. However, if the supply of oil increases then the price will drop. After analyzing the projected quota, traders then look to oil reserves. Some countries like the United Stated and Saudi Arabia have extensive oil reserves that can be tapped into to increase the oil supply if the price gets too high. When these countries promise to use some of their reserves, traders will allow the price of oil to drop which helps to stabilize the market. On top of information about oil quotas and reserves, traders use the projected demand for oil as a tool to determine prices. Typically, the demand for oil increases dramatically during the summer months. This information is given to the traders by the Energy Information Agency which is trusted for the accuracy of their data. Travel information regarding vacation driving is also considered and is provided by the AAA. After taking all of this information into account, it is up to the commodities traders to determine oil's end price.

    World Crises

    As a result of a crisis in an oil producing country, the price of oil often increases dramatically. This is because the traders usually assume that a crisis limit of the supply of oil coming out of that country. A recent example was when Iran was accused of developing nuclear weapons. This caused a spike in oil prices in January 2012 as Iran threatened to close the Straights of Hormuz. Following this threat, the United States said that it would reopen the straight with military force if necessary. During this time, oil's price per barrel fluctuated between $95 and $100. Finally, in February, the price peaked just over $100 per barrel when tensions reached their highest. Back in the spring of 2011, the unrest in Libya, Egypt, and Tunisia also strongly affected the price of oil. During this time the price of oil spiked up to $113 per barrel which became known as the Arab Spring. However, the effects of the Arab Spring lasted into Summer 2011. With revolts eventually leading to the removal of several dictators, commodities traders were understandably worried that the supply of oil would be disrupted. Contrary to their fears, the oil supply was not adversely affected and therefore the price of oil began to drop again. By the middle of June, per-barrel prices fell to under $100 which eased consumer stress as well. Taking these examples into consideration, it is easy to see how world crises can create fluctuations in the price of oil.

    Disasters

    Any disaster can affect the price of oil if it is severe enough. This is partly due to lowered production and damaged equipment, but commodities traders can still play a surprisingly large role. In fact, traders will bid up the price of oil in anticipation of a coming natural disaster (i.e. hurricane) that is predicted to reduce the amount of oil on the market. If the disaster does not have as large an impact as was predicted, then the price will drop over time. In most cases damage to the industry's production line is very real and the price of oil will rise in an attempt to combat the lower supply. If the drop in supply is severe enough, a country may choose to open up some of its oil reserves in an effort to cut rising prices. One example from 2005 is Hurricane Katrina. In its aftermath, oil prices increased by $3 per barrel. This is because 19% of the United States' oil production was affected by the hurricane. Between Hurricane Katrina and its predecessor, Hurricane Rita, 113 offshore oil and natural gas platforms were destroyed. In addition to the destroyed platforms, 457 pipelines experienced some form of damage. Obviously, this magnitude of damage lead to a severe increase in the price of oil. A smaller incident that still resulted in a price hike was the flooding of the Mississippi River in May 2011. Commodities traders were concerned that the flooding could damage oil refineries so the price was bid up despite the damage not being as severe as expected.

    OPEC

    In addition to the factors mentioned above, OPEC often plays a very large role in regulating the cost of oil. It stands for Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It is comprised of 12 nations that span the Middle East, Africa, and South America. Together, they account for over 60% of the world's crude oil reserves and over 40% of the world's annual oil production. The official purpose of the organization is to create price stability for the market while providing necessary profits for its members. To achieve these goals, it works to influence oil prices by increasing or limiting supplies. The power of the organization has decreased somewhat since the 1970's due to technological and political changes. However, it is still the only organization that can effect production enough to strongly influence the market price of oil.

    Conclusion

    Most recently, it has been conflicts in the Middle East, natural disasters, and the 2008 financial crisis that have had the largest influence on the cost of oil. The various conflicts that have taken place over the last 10 years have also helped to steadily drive prices up. In the near future the United States may be forced to release some of its crude reserves in an attempt to drive the price of oil back down.

    How is Oil Used?

    While gasoline may be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of oil based products, in reality almost everything uses oil at some stage of its product lifecycle. In fact, it is used in the asphalt that we drive on, the plastics we wrap our food in, and even the fertilizers we use to grow our food. In this article, we will discuss the top five uses for oil and explain why the world is so dependent on it. We will also go over some statistics outlining oil consumption around the world.

    Transportation

    A majority of oil today is used for transportation. This includes gasoline, diesel, lubricants, and jet fuel. In the United States, the use of oil as a transportation fuel accounts for close to 60% of its consumption each year. Gasoline usage alone represents about 45% of the oil used by the United States annually. Further, 20% of the oil used for transportation is in the form of diesel fuel.
    With 1.4 million barrels used each day in 2010, jet fuel is not consumed in the same quantities as gasoline or diesel, but it is still a significant part of modern life. We use jet fuel to transport goods, services, and most importantly, people. If oil based fuels weren't used as a means of transportation, hardly anything would get to where it needed to be. The world's entire economy would literally come to a complete halt without oil. Used in trucks, planes, ships, trains, and cars, oil has managed to weave its way into the very core of the way the world interacts and does business. Let's face it, without oil as a means of transportation few of us would even be able to get to work.
    Used in the production of asphalt, oil is also an essential ingredient in the roads we drive on. Asphalt is created by a refining process of oil. With almost 3 million miles of paved roads in the United States, it is pretty obvious that asphalt is a crucial ingredient in the survival of our modern economy. Without paved roads, car and truck travel would be dramatically slowed. This would result in a crippled infrastructure where very few things would arrive at their destinations on time if at all. Clearly, the world is as dependent on oil used in the production of asphalt as it is on oil used in the production of transportation fuels.

    Products

    So far, we have only addressed the use of oil in sectors related to transportation. The next largest share in the consumption of oil is its use in the making of plastics, polyurethane, and other consumer goods. Obviously plastics are a massive factor in the world's economy. They are used as components of virtually every consumer product and are even used to produce most of them. Look around, almost everything that you see has some form of plastic in it. Some of the oil in question may be used as a raw material, or feedstock, in the creation of some of these plastics and polyurethanes. Other oil is used as fuel to generate the energy needed for the production processes of these products. Take away petroleum and the plastics industry would likely vanish, taking all of its related industries along with it.

    Heating and LPGs

    In addition to providing for a means of transportation and being used in products, oil is widely used as a source of heating. Liquefied petroleum gases, or LPGs, are mixtures of propane, ethane, butane, and other gases. These gases are produced at natural gas and oil refineries. In 2010, 2.2 million barrels of LPGs were consumed each day. Propane is the main LPG consumed and it is used in homes mainly for heating, cooking, and drying clothes. It is also used in the chemical industry as an ingredient in the making of many plastics and nylons. Propane is also the most widespread alternative fuel for vehicles. Obviously it is not as widely used as gasoline, but it is a growing substitute. Despite its use in transportation, it is still mainly used by the industrial sector and by individual homeowners. If the production of propane and other LPGs came to a halt, many homes and businesses would be forced to switch to electrical heating appliances.

    Electricity

    Yet another use for oil is in the production of electricity. There are several different ways that oil can be used to generate electricity. First, oil can be burned to create steam which can then be used to produce electricity. A second way is for the oil to be burned and for its exhaust gases to spin a turbine that generates electricity. The third way that oil can be used to make electricity is a combination of the above two processes. While not the main method by which electricity is generated, oil is still one of the most widely used fuel sources for electrical energy. It is obvious that without electricity our world would not be the same. While the absence of oil as a source for electricity would not completely eliminate electrical power from the world, it would certainly put a sizable dent in the amount produced.

    Why So Much Oil?

    The next logical question to ask would be, "Why do we use so much oil?" Sadly, the answer is not nearly as simple as the question itself. However, there are several main reasons that contribute to our extensive use of oil. First and foremost, we are able to both find and drill for oil in large quantities. Also, when compared to other fuels it is comparably cheaper to acquire and process. This is one of the factors most favored by market forces. And since switching over completely to an alternative fuel source today would be massively expensive, we would are much more likely to make a gradual switch over our lifetimes. In fact, it is safe to say that the oil drilling in the near future is set to continue growing as the amount of oil used throughout the world increases.