In order to become a wellsite geologist, you must usually have at least a bachelor’s degree in geology and usually several years’ worth of experience working in the field, either as a driller or as a mudlogger. A wellsite geologist is an expert who in many ways serves as a drill site manager. He or she analyzes the site, including soil and mineral composition, and directs field workers’ activities. It is not usually possible to become a wellsite geologist without first gaining a lot of hands-on experience. With a bit of planning, however, you can set yourself on the right path to land the position down the road.
Geology is a broad field. Some geologists work in surveying, while others work in land formation and natural resource conservation labs. Wellsite geologists are primarily concerned with oil drilling. In order to become a wellsite geologist, you will need both broad academic training in geology and experience with petroleum wells and the nuances of drilling in various terrains.
Many wellsite geologists have master’s degrees in fields such as geochemistry, geological engineering, and petroleum geoscience. An advanced degree is not necessarily required to become a wellsite geologist, however. The most important qualification you can bring to the job is a deep understanding of how drilling operations work and how to predict and understand well conditions.
One of the best ways to get the experience needed to become a wellsite geologist is to work as a mudlogger. A mudlogger is a geologist who works with a petroleum exploration team to help identify potential well sites. Jobs in this field are usually available with only a bachelor’s degree.
Mudloggers are responsible for boring small sample holes in potential well sites, then analyzing the composition of the elements found there. They record the presence of certain gasses, minerals, and soil solids and use these to make predictions about the site as a whole. In most cases, they will then report their findings to the wellsite geologist overseeing the exploration.
Starting out as a mudlogger will give you an acute understanding of what exactly goes into well exploration and will help you understand the materials and analysis you receive from your team. Some of this can be learned in school. Education, particularly when it comes to performing complex geological analysis and calculations, is important. Just the same, employers often want their managers and wellsite heads to have tangible experience, too.
Wellsite geologists typically work for large, often international, drilling companies. Most of these companies recruit their most senior employees from within the field. They may also advertise positions on their websites or through university career services offices.
It is usually a good idea to meet with someone in your career services office early on about your desire to become a wellsite geologist. The career counselors there should be able to help you both select courses and plan out the early trajectory of your career path. Even if it is not possible to jump right into wellsite management at graduation, you can tailor your early experience to make yourself a prime candidate in the years ahead.