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The drilling fluids engineer or mud engineer may be a university, college, or technical institute graduate, having gained experience working on rigs which could be over 10 years. This experience is gained from working in various roles such as a Derrick Hand, Offshore Engineer or Pump Man. Special training courses actively operated within 'mud schools' will provide a strong background and the opportunity to work alongside senior mud engineers to gain valuable experience of the role. 

The Drilling Process

Mud Engineers will have knowledge of the expected geology, in which products to be used, concentrations of those products, and fluid specifications at different depths are all predetermined. As the hole is drilled and gets deeper more mud will be required. The mud engineer is responsible for ensuring new mud is added to meet the required specifications. It is sometimes necessary to completely change the mud to drill through a particular subsurface layer.

As drilling proceeds, the mud engineer will get information from other service providers such as the mud logger (mud logging technician) about progress through the geological zones, and will make regular physical and chemical checks on the drilling mud. In particular the Marsh funnel viscosity and the density are frequently checked. As drilling proceeds, the mud tends to accumulate small particles of the rocks which are being drilled through, and its properties change. It is the job of the mud engineer to specify additives to correct these changes, or to partially or wholly replace the mud when necessary. He or she must also keep an eye on the equipment which is used to pump the mud and to remove particles, and be prepared if the geologists' predictions are not entirely correct, or if other problems arise.

It is sometimes necessary to stabilize the wall of a borehole at a particular depth by pumping cement down through the mud system, and the mud engineer is sometimes in charge of this process.

The mud engineer is well supported by the mud supply company with computer aids and manuals dealing with all known problems and their solution, but it is his or her responsibility to get it right in a situation where mistakes can be very costly indeed.

A mud engineer's job may involve long shifts of over 12 hours a day. Typical offshore and foreign work schedules are four weeks working and four weeks off.

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