GEOL40550 Drilling and well logging

Academic Year 2023/2024

This module addresses drilling techniques, graphical logging and open hole log interpretation. The module will also focus on interpretation of commonly used drill data and how they are used to constrain sediment, fluid and rock properties in the subsurface.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module, you should be able to:
• Describe how wells are drilled for different industrial objectives
• Create and interpret graphic logs from cores
• Interpret the sediment, fluid and rock properties using different petrophysical logging data
• Describe common pitfalls in drilling and log interpretation and apply them to analyses

Indicative Module Content:


Lecture 1 : Drilling Processes
Drilling within the value chain. Operations for resource evaluation and geotechnical applications. Casing designs, bit types and terminology, circulations systems, pressure control and mud window. Abandonment.

Lecture 2 : Drilling data and applications
Datums, well headers, TVD, TVDss, MD. Borehole condition, cuttings, lithologs. Temperature data and geothermal gradients.

Lecture 3 : Core and core evaluation
Coring operations. Types of information from core and application to geomodelling. Routine core analysis, special core analysis.

Lecture 4 : Radioactive logs
Introduction to logging and borehole environment. Wireline, LWD. Gamma ray, spectral gamma ray, formation density log, photoelectric factor.

Lecture 5 : Porosity logs
Neutron logs. Sonic logs and density porosity. Porosity determination.

Lecture 6 : Resistivity logs
SP log. Resistivity principals, shale volume. Deep versus shallow resistivity logs. Lithology and fluid interpretation. Archie Equation and water saturation estimation.

Lecture 7 : Image logs
Types of images logs and how they are acquired. Interpretation of drilling induced fractures, natural fractures, lithologies.

Lecture 8: Formation Testing
Testing tools (DSTs, RFT, XPT, MDT). Pressure gradients for fluid identification. Fluid sampling.


Practical 1. Investigation of drilling data (datums, cuttings, temperature data)

Practical 2. Core data and gamma ray

Practical 3. Porosity, resistivity and water saturation

Practical 4. Image Logs

Field Trip : National core store depository in Sandyford (accessible by Luas, South Dublin). Access to cores from mineral exploration, oil and gas and geotechnical wellbores.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours




Field Trip/External Visits


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Module will be based on lectures and hands-on practicals using real world data examples.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: Final examination will cover lecture material and practicals. Unspecified No Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Assignment: Weekly practical work Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will receive individual feedback on assignments.

Rider and Kennedy. (2011). The Geological Interpretation of Well Logs. THIRD EDITION. 978-0954190682.
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.

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