Surface Machinery and Methods for Oil-Well Pumping Page: 44

Triplex plunger-pumps, power pumps, and centrifugal pumps are
driven by belt or gear transmission by means of steam, gas, or oil en-
gines, electric motors, or combinations of these systems. Choice of
pump depends on whether high or low pressure is to be met and
whether direct, geared, or belt transmission is preferable.
Some of the common types of reciprocating pumps are single and
duplex steam-pumps, single and double acting triplex plunger-
pumps, and geared and belt-driven power pumps. All of these vary
in design to meetdifferent requirements. Steam pumps probably
have the broader range of service; they are used as boiler feed
pumps, water pumps, pipe-line gathering-system pumps, main line
pumps on oil pipe lines, terminal and large loading station pumps,
and for forcing mud into wells being drilled with rotary tools.
Centrifugal pumps are single and multiple stage, according to the
head or pressure under which the pump is worked.
A detailed discussion of the plunger pump or of other types used in
oil or water wells does not fall within the scope of this paper.
Pumps for handling oil at the well are used to pump oil from the
well, or from sumps, to the production or collecting tanks, and from
there to the receiving or central shipping tanks. In hilly or rugged
country, pumps are often unnecessary, as the oil will flow by gravity
from the well to the collecting tank and from there to the shipping
tank. In some fields of the eastern United States the oil flows by
gravity from the shipping tank of the producer to the storage tank
of the purchasing company. In flat or level country, or for heavy or
viscous oil, pumps must be used.
The oil lines from the various production or collecting tanks may
lead to a central point from which a pump forces all of the oil to
the storage or shipping tanks: Steam pumps or power pumps belted
or geared and driven by steam, gas engine, or electric motor are gen-
erally used.
Plate VIII, B, shows a duplex steam-pump used for pumping oil
from the production tanks to the storage tanks. The steam cylinders
are shown at a, the steam chest at b, the oil cylinders at c, the steam
line at d, the oil intake pipe at e, the oil discharge pipe at f, and the
lubricator at g. The boiler that supplies steam for the pump is also
used to steam the oil in the production tanks before its delivery to
the pipe line leading to the storage tanks.
The " tail pump " is commonly used to avoid small installations for
moving oil from the well to the collecting or production tank, and
from there to the storage or shipping tank.
The tail pump consists of a 2-inch to 6-inch pump cylinder and
plunger operated from the beam of a well pumping on the beam, as

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George, H. C. Surface Machinery and Methods for Oil-Well Pumping, report, 1925; Washington D.C.. ( accessed May 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library,; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.