What does a Wellsite Geologist do?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A wellsite geologist tracks operations on the site of an oil or gas well to provide advice about how to conduct drilling. This person collects and analyzes samples of material taken from the well, advises personnel on site, and submits reports to geologists at the company's headquarters. The wellsite geologist is also part of the health and safety monitoring team, advising people of safety risks so they can adjust their activities accordingly. People in this field usually have a degree in geology, along with substantial experience in the oil and gas industry.

Geologists analyze rock samples from boreholes.
Geologists analyze rock samples from boreholes.

When an oil and gas company starts drilling in a given area, a wellsite geologist travels to the site to participate. She will review documentation from the period of oil and gas exploration, including results of surface testing. As the drill is sunk into the borehole, she analyzes samples of rock and mud. This information is used to construct a profile of the formation the company is drilling into. The geologist can provide advice about how and where to drill, and when to stop.

Wellsite geologists collect samples and provide advice on drilling oil wells.
Wellsite geologists collect samples and provide advice on drilling oil wells.

The wellsite geologist is in a good position to identify safety problems. If he sees issues of concern, such as hazardous substances in the samples, he should bring this up with the foreperson and other members of the drilling crew. The geologist offers technical advice on safely accessing the formation and controlling conditions on site to keep members of the crew safe, as well as protecting expensive drilling equipment.

This member of the crew generates detailed logs about the drilling process, taking note of all samples analyzed and events that occur during drilling. This information becomes part of the documentation for the well and can be useful when people want to analyze productivity, close off a well, or engage in other activities. In the event of an incident, the logs will be part of the materials a safety inspector reviews to learn more about the circumstances of the accident. Logs may reveal careless activity and could become the basis for a suit, or could show that the company took every reasonable precaution during drilling.

People interested in careers as wellsite geologists will need to receive a degree in geology and may want to focus on oil and gas exploration while in school. They should take advantage of internship and training opportunities to get experience during their time in college. After graduation, a prospective wellsite geologist can apply to an oil and gas company. Positions will usually start with junior ranking to give people a chance to train under the supervision of someone with experience, and eventually people will be able to supervise on-site geology at their own wells.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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