Out of the Box Mud Engineer
April 6, 2016
As many mud engineers are currently in the spiraling down fall of the oil and gas industry and out of work. Many have just decided to “wait it out”. Is this truly a smart decision?

Although mud engineers are by far the most common in the oil and gas industry. They are also utilized in many other industries, although smaller and more niche industries, they are still used on a regular basis.

A few years ago when I graduated from DFE Tech, my mud school, I was faced with the decision myself to jump into the oil field or move into non conventional industries. Seeing that there was a serious bubble in the oil and gas industry and it was soon to burst, I made the decision to not go O&G like my fellow classmates. I soon got on with one of the largest mud companies in the U.S., CETCO, but they operate in non-oil and gas industries. To this day it is been one of the best decisions of my career, I have had no shortage of work, and has lead me to a very satisfying career thus far.

I have since left that company, to start my own firm, which is been very successful. And we service many industries including heavy civil, energy industry, and geotechnical. In light of the new developments out of the Middle East and low oil prices now for the past 18 months and projections being further and further into the future before there is any rebound. I would urge many to consider moving into another industry to continue their trade.

Employers won’t mind if you changed industry to pursue your trade, I see this all the time as I screen consultants. But if you all of a sudden jump into selling insurance, they’ll be concerned with your loyalty if the O&G market bounces back that you’ll leave them after they put time and resources into training you.

For those that may want to continue their trade, here are some words of advice:

1-Join the associations with the relevant industries, it a great way to rub elbows and make contacts that can lead to work.

2-Invest in your education, just because you have completed a “mud school” does not mean you have all the knowledge you need to run mud anywhere on any rig. There are many different applications, including some self cleaning fluids that are exactly as their name describes.

3-Be prepared to travel outside the US. A lot of work is in the Middle East, India, and Australasia. This means have a passport ready, and also check with your doctor about any vaccinations you might also need. (I learned this personally)

4- Work with reputable companies. When dealing with international business it can be hard to find much information an companies to work for. Even with the internet it is not easily available. Research who you are going to work for as best you can.

If these are things you are comfortable with, then there is the possibility you can find work. It won’t be right away, but it is an alternative to leaving the O&G industry completely.

Just some thoughts for those of you considering waiting.

Bridger Cottle is the Engineering Manager and President of Drilling Fluids Solutions. He can be contacted at or on the website: