Mud Logging Overview

Mud logging is the process of collecting data associated with the mud which has returned to the surface from the drill face. During the drilling process, mud (also known as drilling fluid) is pumped down the well to the drill face to keep the drill bit cool, facilitate the movement of cuttings to the surface, and prevent clogging and friction. Polymers, clays and other medium are other added to the mud to improve drilling performance.

By observing important characteristics in the mud such as lithography, consistency, temperature and natural gas composition, a ‘mudlogger’ can identify possible indications of hydrocarbons. SIFT-MS is the ideal on-site and on-line analytical technique for hydrocarbon detection in mud-logging, due to its high speed, high selectivity and minimal sample handling requirements.

Mud Logging with Syft's Mudlogger Instrument

Syft Technologies Mudlogger

High-Resolution, Well-Side Mud Logging of Hydrocarbons Using SIFT-MS

High-penetration-rate drilling technologies present a challenge to current mud-gas analysis techniques: they are either too slow (gas chromatography), or do not quantify a complete range of compounds (photometric and electrochemical techniques). For example, gas chromatography (GC) analyses are often limited to 1 – 5 minutes per analysis cycle, and compounds containing less than six carbon atoms. Faster photometric and electrochemical techniques detect only a limited range of compound types. Syft’s Mudlogger solution provides fast, reliable, and economic analysis of drilling mud at the well site.

Our Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS) overcomes these limitations, identifying and quantifying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) directly from mud-tank headspace gas in real time to the mid-part-per-billion (ppb) concentration range. Hence SIFT-MS makes real-time hydrocarbon analysis viable in high penetration rate drilling operations. Only the high-speed, direct mass spectrometric analysis provided by Syft Technologies solution keeps pace, providing reliable and economic analysis at well sites around the globe, such as Texas, the North Sea, and China.

In this article, C1 – C11 data are presented that were acquired in a field test of the Syft Technologies solution. Total gas concentration versus depth is shown in Figure 1, with GC data from the dried sample stream shown for comparison. The concentration of linear branched and cyclic hydrocarbons are shown in Figures 2 to 5. Figure 6 shows the detection of several aromatic compounds. Note that all analytes at each data point shown in Figures 1 to 6 have been acquired simultaneously with a 12-second cycle time. As the rate of penetration is always less than 300 feet per hour, more than 1 data point will be averaged at each foot of depth.

The results presented here demonstrate that the Syft Mudlogger solution can quantify the volatile organics present in drilling mud, including the heavier hydrocarbon fractions. Connected to an appropriate sampling manifold, the high time resolution allows gas in / gas out measurements of the drilling mud, providing easy identification of hydrocarbon recirculation. Moreover, SIFT-MS minimizes both sample pretreatment and calibration requirements. SIFT-MS provides the ultimate solution for rapid, broad-spectrum hydrocarbon analysis at the well-side.


Total gas concentration vs drill depth

Figure 1: Total gas concentration vs drill depth

Hydrocarbon concentration vs depth

Figure 2: C1-C5 hydrocarbon concentration vs depth

Linear hydrocarbon concentration vs depth

Figure 3: Linear C6 –C11 hydrocarbon concentration vs depth

Branched hydrocarbon concentration vs depth

Figure 4: Branched C6 – C11 hydrocarbon concentration vs depth

Cyclic hydrocarbon caoncentration vs depth

Figure 5: Cyclic hydrocarbon concentration vs depth

Aromatics concentration vs depth

Figure 6: Aromatics concentration vs depth

Key benefits of the Syft Mudlogger solution:

  • Instantaneous quantitation of C1 to C14 hydrocarbons, aromatic hydrocarbons, and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
  • High time resolution (<15 seconds) for unparalleled depth resolution – both now, and in the future
  • No cold trap or sample preparation required
  • Robust field-deployable solution designed for remote and automatic operation
  • Live data streaming.

SIFT-MS offers unparalleled opportunities for highly sensitive, selective and non-discriminatory analysis of hydrocarbons and other VOCs in diverse petrochemical industry applications, including:

  • Real-time, selective analysis of hydrocarbons in high penetration rate mud logging

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