Photos of Oilfield Pumpjacks (Pump Jacks)
The photos below are of oilfield pumpjacks. The massive weight of the horses head and counter balances offset the weight of the pump rods in the well, allowing a small electric motor to lift the heavy pump rods up and down, pumping oil from the well. Pump jacks come in all shapes and sizes but the principle remains the same.
Some pumpjacks are driven by electric motors, such as the one below, others use one cylinder internal combustion engines that run off of natural gas from the well itself or propane which is delivered to a tank that sits near the motor. Units with electric motors are more reliable but since many wells are drilled in remote areas, getting a power line to the well may not be feasible.
Oilfield gaugers or "pumpers" who check the wells routinely have to start pumpjack engines, especially when the weather is cold. They also have to change the heavy rubber and nylon reinforced belts that transfer energy from the motor to the pumpjack as they tend to wear out. In some fields where "infill drilling" has occurred, rows of pumpjacks can be seen in a straight line, regularly spaced apart from each other. This is a common sight in areas such as Eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle.
The pumpjacks in the photos below are located in an oilfield near Lubbock Texas that has been producing since 1945. Horizontal drilling techniques have been used to prolong the life of these wells by drilling out sideways into the oil bearing formation for a longer profile of the oil bearing rocks.
This has increased the production of some of these wells by as much as tenfold. Eventually, the horizontal well will begin to deplete and the oil company will re-drill another "lateral" or horizontal hole, often in another direction and at a different depth in the same well. Some wells may have several of these laterals, all flowing oil into the same vertical hole where a pumpjack and downhole pump bring it to surface. Scroll down for more pump jack photos.
The pump jack photo below was taken in the Eagle Ford Shale, near Three Rivers Texas. Stop motion photography using flash. Two drilling rigs can be seen in the distance.
The pumpjack photo above was taken near Sterling City.
Pump jacks in West Texas against a blue sky. Photo of a pump jack near Lubbock, Texas
Pumpjacks and red New Mexico sky. Rusted pump jack still in operation.
Above is a neon outlined pumpjack that was done from a photo I took and doctored in Photoshop. Makes a nice oilfield desktop background.
PumpJack Graveyard" Old pump jacks rusting in storage yard.
Pumpjack in Texas, flowers. Springtime in the oilfield.
pumpjack near Hobbs, NM
Twin pumpjacks in motion in the Eagle Ford Shale, south of Pleasanton Texas.
Old pumpjack in West Texas. Note the unique design of the pump jack in the photo above.
For anyone interested in getting a job in the oil and gas industry the two books that I recommend the most are The Nontechnical Guide To Petroleum Geology, Exploration, Drilling and Production and A Primer Of Oilwell Drilling by Ron Baker. Both used by many colleges and technical schools as well as Oilfield Service companies in their training programs. For production only try Oil and Gas Production In Nontechnical Language. Drilling Technology In Nontechnical Language is a lower cost alternative to "A Primer Of Oilwell Drilling". All can be found in The Oilfield Bookstore,