Spanning Canada and the United States, North America is home to a plethora of major industry players, including Exxon Mobil Corp, the world's second-largest publicly traded company after Royal Dutch Shell. The region's oil and natural gas industry is focused on developing oil sands, deepwater gulf prospects and increasingly profitable shale deposits stretching across the continent. One of the premier sweet spots for deepwater exploration, the Gulf of Mexico is the largest body of water indenting the U.S. continental coastline, and its subsea developments continue to spark both national and international interest.
Drilling fluids, also referred to as drilling mud, are added to the wellbore to facilitate the drilling process by suspending cuttings, controlling pressure, stabilizing exposed rock, providing buoyancy, and cooling the drill bit. Mud engineers ensure that the drilling mud that is used is made to the required specifications based on the expected geology. Drilling fluids can be water, oil, or synthetic-based, and mud engineers must take rock formation composition, as well as environmental impact, into account when making decisions about what drilling fluids might be best for any given well.