NEW MUDLOGGING BUSINESS MODEL;
AND THE OUTDATED MUDLOGGING TRAILER
Mud logging trailers have been around since the 1930’s. They are small trailers, normally between 28’ and 32’ in length, and outfitted with both living quarters and a work area. They are hauled to a drilling location and rigged up just before “logging depth” is reached. The purpose of the mudlogging trailer and crew is to detect potential “zones of Interest” while drilling an oil or gas well. They also produce a geological and engineering record of said well.
Mudlogging Instruments of the Past
In the past it was necessary for mudlogging companies to outfit trailers with various instruments. These instruments were large and bulky and had various knobs, dials, and paper chart recorders. They also took up a lot of space and had to be permanently mounted onto rows of instrument racks inside of the mudlogging trailer.
Modern Mudlogging Instruments
Nowadays, with the advent of computers and sophisticated data acquisition software, mudlogging instrumentation has shrunk, in size, considerably (See Geospect.com). Modern mudlogging instruments are portable and can be carried around in the trunk of the mudlogger’s car and moved, with ease, from jobsite to jobsite if necessary. The modernization of mudlogging instrumentation begs the question, “Is the mudlogging company owned trailer the best, most cost effective way to house a modern mudlogging operation?”
Mudlogging Trailers Take a Beating
One of the biggest expense that a mudlogging company faces is maintaining a fleet of mudlogging trailers. Mudlogging trailers take a beating. Oilfield roads are extremely rough on a mudlogging trailer. Many times they are dragged into a location, through the mud, by a bulldozer because a truck would get stuck trying to pull them. They are also occasionally moved around with forklifts. This is evidenced by the fork holes found in many mudlogging trailers.
Mudlogging Trailer Fleets are Expensive to Maintain
Mudlogging Trailer Fleets are Expensive to Maintain. Any owner of a mudlogging company can attest to this. Extensive repairs are often required after a job. Tires need to be replaced. Hot water heaters go out, Air Conditioners need servicing, plumbing needs to be fixed, power cables get ran over, etc. This doesn’t include service calls for things that need to be repaired during the course of drilling a well. There are usually one or more full time employees dedicated to maintaining the trailers.
Companies Specialize in Providing Oilfield Housing
Almost all services that require housing on a modern drilling location, use housing that is rented by the oil company. The exception to this is mudlogging trailers. There are companies that specialize in providing housing to drilling locations. These companies are usually very good at what they do. They provide the housing at a reasonable rates. The quality of the rentals are much better that most mudlogging companies can afford. The living areas are also larger and more comfortable and they also meet safety standards set in place by OSHA, other agencies, as well as those adopted by oilfield insurance companies.
Which Setup Would Be Optimal for A Mudlogging Operation?
A typical setup that would be ideal for a mudlogging trailer would be one that is similar to a mud engineer’s trailer. Just make sure there is adequate sleeping arrangements for two people rather than one. This should be an easy modification for the housing rental company. There is an office/lab area on one end, and the rest of the trailer is dedicated to living space. Most mud engineer’s trailers are approximately 40’ in length and are readily available in most areas where drilling occurs.
Benefits to the Oil Company
There are many benefits that an oil company would enjoy when renting the housing for the mudlogging company. The most obvious benefit should be an immediate reduction in the mudlogging company’s day rate. Also, the dreaded cost of transporting the unit would be eliminated and would offset the transportation cost of transporting the rental trailer. Besides cost, there are also intangible benefits to having the oil company provide a trailer. Below is a list of benefits that an oil company should consider when trying to decide whether to go the traditional route or to rent the housing for the mudlogging operation.
-Cost. The mudlogging company should be able to lower its cost substantially when the oil company provides the housing.
-Assurance of newer type instruments. Mudlogging companies that can move into a company supplied trailer by default, have to be using the newer style instruments, because they are the only ones that are portable enough to be moved into those trailers.
-The unit will normally be newer and much more presentable when investors arrive on location to see the mud logs.
-Mudlogger moral. Have you ever had a good mud logger that you really liked and he or she quit the job in the middle of the well? Consider how much more comfortable the mudlogger’s living arrangements will be in the newer, larger, more modern trailer. Mudlogger moral should change considerably when they are afforded the same type accommodations as other oilfield professionals on location.
-The oil company will be assured that all OSHA safety regulations are strictly followed by the housing rental company, thus reducing the oil company’s exposure in such matters.
-Mudlogging companies can travel greater distances, more economically, when not burdened with hauling a trailer to a remote location, or maintaining a trailer once it gets there.
Benefits to the Mudlogging Company
Many of the same benefits the oil companies would enjoy with the arrangement of them providing housing to the mudlogging company would also be enjoyed by the mudlogging company. That is if the mudlogging company uses modern instruments that are not dependent upon having a trailer. Mudlogging companies could also benefit from:
- A more professional looking setup
-Happier employees with less employee turnover
-Assurance that safety rules and regulation, both publically and privately imposed are followed with regards to employee housing.
-Having the ability to branch out further geographically
-Less (or no) time and resources devoted to trailer maintenance and repairs.
-Fewer support related employees maintaining old trailers.
-Ability to quickly mobilize and manage more mudlogging jobs simultaneously
-Can give customers discounts without decreasing profit margins thereby becoming extremely competitive in the mudlogging field.
Business Model Not Entirely Novel Idea
The business model outlined in this paper is not an entirely new idea. A variation of it is commonly used when drilling in the Bakkin play in North Dakota. The reasons it is being done there are because of the rapid expansion in drilling in the area a few years ago combined with the extreme temperatures in the region. The oil company rents a “command center” to house both the MWD and mudlogging companies operations. The crews sleep in separate quarters. The arrangement seems to work very well.
If oil companies would begin renting housing for mudlogging companies to use instead of mudlogging companies providing the trailers it would be beneficial to all involved; the oil companies themselves, the mudlogging companies, and the mudlogging company field employees.
GEOSPECT MUDLOGGING INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH OIL COMPANIES USING THE ABOVE BUSINESS MODEL
Geospect Mudlogging is especially interested in working with oil companies that would like to try this mudlogging business model. We believe the business model presented above will be the future in mudlogging. We also believe it to be more cost effective and efficient. This model WILL save the oil company money and result in all around better service. Our other company, Geospect Instruments (See www.geospect.com) also manufactures the type of instruments that would accommodate such a mudlogging operation. Additionally, we can put you in touch with our
many customers around the country who have purchased instruments from us, thereby assuring you that we can help you with your mudlogging needs anywhere within the United States.