Meet Senior Mudlogging Geologist, Julie Taliaferro.  Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, she attended Auburn University where she acquired her Bachelor of Science Degree in Geology.  Julie has been putting her Geology Degree to good use over the past 3 years, on various rigs and drillships in the Gulf of Mexico.

We wanted to know more about the women of the oil and gas sector of the offshore industry.  In reaching out to Julie, we learned a little more about our women on water who work the beat of the offshore petroleum world.  Here’s what she had to say:

What is a Mudlogging Geologist and what do your job duties entail?

“During drilling operations on offshore oil rigs, I analyze the rock cuttings circulated out of the well.  By using these rock cuttings, I am able to create a lithologic log of the geology and rock types we are drilling through.  These cuttings also allow for me to test for the presence of hydrocarbons.  Another aspect of my job involves monitoring real-time safety parameters and the presence and/or concentration of gas coming from the well.”

What was your inspiration to pursue a career of working out on the open water?

“I gravitated towards the unconventional work environment and the potential for travel and exploration.”

Please, share a memorable experience you’ve had at sea.

“Growing up, I always loved the ocean – my childhood fascination with the sea hasn’t waned since then.  I love the views, the sunrises, the sunsets, the epic lighting storms over the water; but, my favorite experience involves the marine life that lives just below our vessel.  One summer, working in the Gulf of Mexico, we had a remarkably high amount of shark sightings around the rig.  We saw all different sizes and types including a 10-foot hammerhead shark!  The fishing had been great and after work some of my co-workers would drop lines off the bow of the drillship, in hopes of catching tuna.  That day, my co-worker let me cast out.  To my shock, I caught a black fin tuna, immediately!  As I was reeling it in, it began to jump out of the water:  The fins appeared and the opportunistic sharks and barracudas wanted my fish.  The race was on!  With my coworkers cheering, I reeled in the tuna as fast as I could, while it dodged the hungry jaws of one apex marine predator after another.  We got it onto the deck and I marveled at not only my fresh catch, but also, the awesome perk of that experience of working offshore.”

What motivates you to continue working on the water if it’s a long-term career for you?

“One of the main reasons I am motivated to continue my career on the water is that it provides a dynamic work environment.  The job site changes frequently, the team you work with changes frequently, the operations and factors such as weather, change frequently, which provides for a fresh and ever-evolving career landscape to learn and work.”

What challenges have you faced in your career?

“The biggest challenge I have faced working in the field, involves the demanding schedule. Being away from friends and family and missing big event and holidays can be extremely difficult.”

What do you think can be done in your industry to encourage more women to pursue similar careers?

“I believe that reaching out to females at an earlier education level, would be best.  Prior to my senior year of college, I was unaware of the opportunities provided for women with those jobs offshore.  It was almost by chance that I found my current career.  I believe that some of my other female colleagues might have been interested in an offshore career had they known of the wide variety of possible offshore jobs.”

Thanks to Julie, for her insight into how our women on water do it, in our offshore oil and gas sector!  Having just had a birthday, we want to wish Julie a happy one, in the hopes that this year brings more incredible and positive experiences into her life and career – sharks and all!