Surface Machinery and Methods for Oil-Well Pumping Page: 1

This bulletin deals with prime movers, power-transmitting ma-
chinery, and the surface equipment and methods used to pump oil
wells. It does not discuss geological problems nor the methods and
equipment used in drilling or at flowing oil wells. Much of the
presentation is by photographs and drawings which are described
in the text. Underground equipment and methods for pumping oil
wells will be discussed in a later publication of the Bureau of Mines.
Geological knowledge is a valuable aid in the discovery of new
oil fields. In the early days of the industry, wells were sunk at ran-
dom; now the geological formations and structures are studied be-
fore a new field is drilled. Drilling methods, also, have been broad-
ened and modified to meet conditions in new oil fields. In California,
Texas, Louisiana, and other places where the formations are soft
and loose, rotary drilling rigs have replaced standard tools. Casing,
cementing, and mudding problems have been carefully studied, and
many improvements made in solving them.
The surface equipment, machinery, and methods used for pumping
wells, however, have not been correspondingly developed. Many of
them are practically the same as those used 25 years ago. The aver-
age production for a well in the oil fields of the United States is
less than 5 barrels a day. To maintain production of the individual
well is as important as to discover new wells, and this can only be
done by the use of modern machinery and of improved equipment
and methods.
Many oil wells if pumped individually would show a loss, but
operated as members of a group they show a profit. As modern
industry becomes more and more dependent on petroleum products,
more consideration must be given to the individual well in relation

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George, H. C. Surface Machinery and Methods for Oil-Well Pumping, report, 1925; Washington D.C.. ( accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library,; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.