The oil and gas industry records rock and fluid properties to find hydrocarbon zones in the geological formations intersected by a borehole. The logging procedure consists of lowering a 'logging tool' on the end of a wireline into an oil well (or hole) to measure the rock and fluid properties of the formation. An interpretation of these measurements is then made to locate and quantify potential depth zones containing oil and gas (hydrocarbons). Logging tools developed over the years measure the electrical, acoustic, radioactive, electromagnetic, and other properties of the rocks and their contained fluids. Logging is usually performed as the logging tools are pulled out of the hole. This data is recorded to a printed record called a "well log" and is normally transmitted digitally to office locations. Well logging is performed at various intervals during the drilling of the well and when the total depth is drilled, which could range in depths from 300 m to 8000 m (1000 ft to 25,000 ft) or more.

Electric line is the common term for the armored, insulated cable used to conduct current to downhole tools used for well logging. Electric line can be subdivided into open hole operations and cased hole operations.

Open hole operations, or reservoir evaluation, involves the deployment of tools into a freshly drilled well. As the toolstring traverses the wellbore, the individual tools gather information about the surrounding formations. A typical open hole log will have information about the density, porosity, permeability, lithology, presence of hydrocarbons, and oil and water saturation.

Cased hole operations, or production optimization, focuses of the optimization of the completed oil well through mechanical services and logging technologies. At this point in the well's life, the well is encased in steel pipe, cemented into the well bore and may or may not be producing. A typical cased hole log may show cement quality, production information, formation data. Mechanical services uses jet perforating guns, setting tools, and dump bailors to optimize the flow of hydrocarbons.