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Mudlogging: The Mudlog Alun Whittaker

Sanders and Whittaker

Vallejo, California, U.S.A.

INTRODUCTION material that arrives at the surface as drilling takes place (see
chapter on "Mudlogging: Drill Cuttings Analysis" in Part 3).
Information gathered by the mudlogging crew is first Information is commonly presented as lithological symbols,
recorded on a data sheet (Figure 1) and then plotted onto a each representing 10% of the total sample volume. This is
mudlog form (Figure 2). Each mudlogger is responsible for commonly referred to as a percentage log.
plotting the data acquired during his or her tour. In this way, Some mudlog formats have an interpreted lithology
the mudlog becomes an accurate and up-to-date record of column adjacent to the percent lithology. This interpreted
nearly all activity related to the drilling of the well. lithology log attempts to take into account factors that might
It is very important that a mudlog be recorded on a affect cuttings recovery, such as sloughing and trips.
standard format using standardized plotting and reporting
Additional reservoir information can also be recorded in
procedures. This is necessary to allow valid and convenient
track 2. In the example log shown in Figure 2, a separate
comparison of log data from well to well and to prevent
column is included for qualitative porosity estimation.
confusion or misunderstanding over the meaning of a log
trace or annotation.
Track 3: Depth Annotation

LAYOUT OF A MUDLOG Depths are noted in track 3 using the traditional scales (in
the United States) of 2 in. to 100 ft (1:600) and 5 in. to 100 ft
Figure 2 is an example of the layout and information (1:240). This track also includes the location (depth or
content of a standard mud log. The general usage of the interval) of the following:
tracks (columns) on a mudlog are outlined here.
Conventional cores
Log Headings Sidewall cores
The log heading identifies mudlog and records para- Drill stem tests (DSTs)
meters used in preparing the log. The various headings are Wireline formation tests
as follows:
Tracks 4 and 5: Hydrocarbon Evaluation
Operator and well name
These two tracks consist of the following information:
Rig name and type
Total combustible hydrocarbons from gas trap, mud,
cuttings blender tests, and nonformational borehole
Dates and times
gas events such as trip gas, carbide lag checks, and
Mudlogging company and crew
connection gas are recorded.
Other mudlogging services
Casing sizes and depths Hydrocarbon chromatograph with gaseous alkanes
Mud type and characteristics (methane, ethane, propane, butanes, and pentanes) are
Mudlog symbols and abbreviations plotted as individual tracks. Chromatograph
Gas calibration information calibration checks are also included, providing they do
not obscure well data.
Track 1: Rate of Penetration (ROP) Oil evaluation includes subjective and qualitative
evaluation of oil staining and solvent-cut oil. (Many
This track gives a relative indication of rock strength and mudloggers include these data in the lithology track.)
porosity. Track 1 includes the following information: This evaluation can also include qualitative analysis of
oil fluorimetry, refractometry, and geochemistry.
ROP and normalized ROP (NROP) (see chapter on
"Rate of Penetration" in Part 3)
Bit number, type, and diameter Track 6: Geological and Lithological Evaluation
Number and size of jets Track 6 is subdivided into the following categories:
Bit run (time per feet drilled)
Bit grade (wear and damage) Mineralogy and geochemical analyses
Weight on bit Interpreted lithology log
Rotary speed Lithological descriptions
Mud (standpipe pressure and flow rate) Comments, which include special analyses, reports of
borehole conditions, and reports of drilling events that
Track 2: Cuttings Lithology
have an effect on overall log interpretation (such as loss
Track 2 identifies and records the lithology of the cuttings of returns and power failure)