Well loggers provide detailed geologic information for oil drilling operations.
Drilling for oil and natural gas involves well logging, also known as borehole logging. Professionals involved in this process install scientific equipment, collect data using physical samples and interpret the data collected. Experts working as part of the well-logging process also specialize in software programs and have knowledge of the geology in regions with large reserves of petroleum and natural gas. Well-logging duties combine several career specialists and the salaries paid recognize the diversity of training and education for each field.
A variety of occupations work as part of well-logging operations, including operating engineers, equipment operators, service unit operators, rotary drill technicians and wellhead pumpers. Workers earn hourly pay, typically for contract assignments in various geographic locations that require travel during the year. The median hourly pay ranged from an hourly low of $14.72 to a high of $27.95. Well loggers working in oil and gas industries topped the salary chart with hourly median wages reaching $31.58 for oil and gas extraction workers. Rotary drill operators in oil and gas industries took home a median wage of $22.01 an hour. College-educated mining and geological engineers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, earned a median hourly salary of $41.99 in 2010, but the geological drilling specialists focusing on oil and gas made $55.90 for an hour of work.
Modern techniques in well logging include the use of computerized hardware to capture data from the well as the drilling tools collect samples of the rock core. This highly technical equipment requires installation, monitoring and repair by workers holding training certification or degrees in the technology field. Trained technology specialists working in research and data collection the oil and gas industry took home a median hourly wage of $49.59 in 2010, according to the bureau.
The computerized hardware used to evaluate data from the well core samples mandates specialized software and trained computer operators to develop the software to do the sophisticated analysis. Software specialists and programmers design programs for specific drilling applications for field well loggers working in the oil and gas industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded the median hourly salary for professionals in the software development field as $42.21 in 2010.
Geoscientists play a key role as a member of a well-logger team. Geologists and related specialists use higher-education training, including the study of Earth’s layers, gas and oil, underground water sources, basic principles of physics and mathematical science, to locate oil and gas reserves. Scientists working in the well-logging operations focus on directing the drilling operation and analyzing core samples taken from the drilling. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported geoscientists earned a mean hourly wage of $44.89 in 2010. Entry-level pay started at $21.07 in the same year.