Oil well pumps

Reply Wed 3 Jan, 2007 11:02 am
After an oil well is drilled and ready to be pumped, the derrick and rig is removed and a pump is installed over the well head to ... pump up the oil. The pump resembles a huge iron see-saw that goes up and down 24/7. Some of these wells, especially those that belong to independent producers, are located in some pretty remote places, a long way from main roads and electrical power lines.

My grandson stumped me when he asked: "What powers those pumps?" I told him that I suppose a tanker truck has to haul gasoline or diesel fuel to the pumps on a regular basis to keep them going. Or maybe they're like a diesel engine locomotive -- a diesel engine produces electricity to supply an electric motor which powers the pump?

Any Texans or Oklahomans on here that know the answer? He asked the question in an email to an oil company but they ignored the question -- they probably don't know either. His science teacher and "environmentalist" didn't know what he was talking about.

Thanks and happy new year to all!
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Reply Wed 3 Jan, 2007 12:47 pm
Check out this article at How Stuff Works. I've linked to the page about pump extraction, but you and your son may be interested in starting at the first page. It's an interesting read.


Electric motors are used. How that electricity is supplied is not stated in the article. My guess is that an underground cable is used to tap into an electrical source such as a nearby generator.


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Reply Wed 3 Jan, 2007 03:46 pm
Just for what it's worth, that thing at the top of the well is called the pump jack. The pump is in the bottom of the hole, and operated by sucker rod attached to the pump jack.
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Reply Wed 24 Jan, 2007 03:52 am
I am sure someone will correct me, but I think I read somewhere that the oil pumped was used as the fuel for the engine. ( filtered ofcourse)
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