How Does an Oil Pump Jack Work?

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The Oil

After the location has been drilled and the oil has been discovered, there has to be a way to remove it from the earth. The oil down in the earth will not just spurt up out of the hole ready to be collected. It is usually mixed with sand and rocks, and is sitting in a reservoir underground. This is where the oil pump comes in. After the hole is dug, it is stabilized so that it won't collapse by putting a piping and pouring concrete between the pipe and the earth. At this point a pumping station called a jack pump is put in place above the hole.

Oil Removal

The pump is made up of several components. There is a lever above ground that is powered by an engine. A pulley and gear system is turned by the engine which moves a counter weight connected to the leaver. The lever moves and is it does the counter weight swings around. When the counter weight gets to the top is helps the engine continue to move the lever through its momentum. A pole is attached to the lever. The pole goes down into the hole. Attached to the pole is a sucker. The sucker pulls the oil out of the ground. It accomplishes this by the up and down movement of the lever creating a sucking motion. Once in motion, the oil is sent up to the top and into piping where it will be placed in containers for shipping to refining stations.

Heavy Oil

In some cases, the oil cannot be moved up out of the ground with the normal pumping methods and the pump jack needs help by having something else help force it out. If the oil is thick, this is the case. The pump cannot create enough suction to pull the oil out, and when this happens a second hole is dug nearby. Steam is used in the other hole by pushing it down to create pressure that will help push the oil up out of the only other outlet. The steam also helps by combining with the oil to create a thinner substance. With these two things happening the pump is able to remove the thick oil from the reservoir.

About the Author

Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.

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