A critical role on any oil rig is that of the petroleum geologist. Apart from deciding where to actually drill the hole, geologists are required on a rig crew to assist with the drilling process. Since this chapter is focusing on roles within a rig crew, the role description of the geologist will be limited to his functions on the rig crew.
Some of the key responsibilities of the geologist on a rig crew are listed below:
- The oil rig geologist spends most of his time working with the mud engineer to analyze the composition of the mud through which the drill is passing and anticipating any changes that may occur as the operation proceeds.
- This includes collecting various samples of rock, particles and under the surface materials to fully understand how the sub surface levels are changing.
- The geologist will also examine the gasses that emerge from the borehole wall to evaluate whether any hydrocarbons are present or due to appear.
- Ultimately all the information he gathers is analyzed and studied so that a detailed report can be prepared outlining his opinion on the nature of the mud and suggestions on how to ensure its characteristics are maintained according to the mud composition plan.
An oil rig geologist is expected to have a graduate degree in geology and have built a fair amount of experience in the petroleum industry. It could involve working on oil rigs offshore or oil fields onshore. It is not a job for those looking for an air-conditioned office in the center of a busy metropolis. Chances are you will be positioned in sweltering or freezing conditions, exposed to the elements most of the time, getting your hands dirty with all the materials that are normally associated with an oil rig. The salary of course is commensurate with your education background and experience.
You can expect a starting salary of $80,000 to $100,000 per year and as you gain experience, it could increase by up to 50%.