Tech Tips ‘Trial’ Turned Industry Resource

30 Jul ,2023

Some ten years ago, as I sat in my first day of mud school with a drilling fluid manual 3- inches thick, it quickly dawned on me just how much technical information and knowledge existed in the drilling fluids industry – let alone the drilling process in general. With a green hard hat on (required by some operators to let the rig crew know I’m new to the worksite) and a fresh pair of boots, my first day on a rig as a mud engineer-trainee found me in Elk Hills, just outside of Bakersfield, California. The mud engineer dedicated to this rig was tasked with training me while also performing his day-to-day duties. “I don’t know why the office keeps sending you greenies out here,” was the very first thing he muttered under his breath. The second thing he told me was, “You can never know it all. I’ve run mud for a long time, and not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new.” As a seasoned mud engineer with over 30 years of experience, it became clear to me how valuable of an opportunity I was given to be mentored by him – as long as I stayed out of his way and paid close attention to all the sage advice.

After years of working on the technical side, these words still ring true today. When it comes to providing technical support in any industry, the job is never complete – and the drilling fluids industry is no exception. As someone who provides technical support here at AES Drilling Fluids, the issues our customers face vary in complexity. However, throughout the years and after many conversations, I have found that a significant portion of technical discussions can continuously improve by understanding fundamental drilling fluid concepts.

The need to understand these concepts is why we came up with the idea for TechTips – a series of videos explaining drilling fluid concepts and aspects in detail using motion graphics. Some episodes provide a deeper understanding of topics, such as viscosity or shale inhibition, while others walk through standard drilling fluid testing procedures. These videos are based upon established principles and concepts widely accepted across the industry. All episodes are available to the public via our YouTube channel.

We are encouraged by the feedback received thus far – some operators have even asked for our permission to use the TechTips for their own internal training/educational efforts. We continue to release episodes periodically and hope to build a complete knowledge repository to benefit the industry as a whole. A common understanding of key drilling fluid concepts serves as a great base to tackle complex issues.

After all, when it comes to drilling fluids, “not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new.”