Surface Machinery and Methods for Oil-Well Pumping Page: 5


chine shop, warehouse, and yards, where good operating methods are
found in an isolated oil field.
The presence of much brush, undergrowth, and timber may deter-
mine the method used in pumping oil wells. One central power or
jack plant usually operates fewer wells in such areas than in those
free from brush, undergrowth, and timber.
Many oil fields lack good water for camp and power needs. Poor
boiler water or a scarcity of water makes desirable the use of electric
power and the use of central power plants, where provision can be
made for the installation of suitable equipment for treating the poor
water available and for conserving the supply if scarce. Plate I, C,
shows a water-distilling plant in the Salt Creek oil field, Wyoming.
Oil fields in hilly or mountainous country often require certain
equipment and methods of operation because of the topography. In
some of the oil fields of West Virginia the hills are so steep and the
valleys so narrow that wells must be pumped individually by steam
or gas engines; if the topography were not so rough the wells could
be pumped better by a power or jack plant. However, in the
Coalinga field, California, some powers are being used in very rough
and mountainous country under conditions that required large ex-
pense for installation; see Plate I, D.
To justify building a large central power plant in a field, or run-
ning high-tension lines from a distance to meet power needs, enough
wells must be producing. Plate II shows part of a large well-
developed oil field-the Eldorado, Kansas-where most of the wells
are pumped by electric power.
The kind of surface equipment and method of production used in
an oil field often depend upon its probable life and stage of develop-
ment. If the field has been producing for years and has nearly
reached its economic limit, few changes are warranted. If it is a
new oil field promising extensive development and large production,
changes are often beneficial. Plate III, A, shows a newly developed
oil field.
Often the introduction of new and improved methods and equip-
ment in an oil field is difficult. Labor may be slow to accept changes
that may have proved effective at other places under the same or
similar operating conditions.
When an oil field has nearly reached the stage of depletion, old
equipment on hand is often used, even if it may not be the best, as
the probable future life of the property does not warrant costly
changes. Many of the older oil fields of Pennsylvania and Ohio have
reached their low economic limit chiefly because nearly all renewals
are from " second-hand " equipment from abandoned oil-well


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George, H. C. Surface Machinery and Methods for Oil-Well Pumping, report, 1925; Washington D.C.. ( accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library,; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.