Photo of a sunset with an oil rig, and the e&h logo.
Photo of a sunset with an oil rig, and the e&h logo.

Pumpjacks - Cute Name with Real Function


A pumpjack, also known as a nodding donkey, beam pump, or horsehead pump, is a common device used in the oil industry to extract crude oil from underground wells. It is an integral part of the process of oil production.

We at E&H have been designing and manufacturing these for decades, with 100’s of satisfied clients.

The primary function of a pumpjack is to mechanically lift the crude oil from the well to the surface. It consists of a large, long beam connected to a fulcrum or pivot point. The beam is powered by a motor, typically an electric motor or a combustion engine, which generates the necessary mechanical energy to move the beam up and down.

The up-and-down motion of the beam is converted into a rotating motion through a series of rods and joints connected to the beam. At the bottom end of the pumpjack, a sucker rod is attached, which extends into the well and is connected to a piston or plunger located within the pump at the bottom of the well. As the beam moves up and down, it creates a reciprocating motion in the sucker rod, causing the piston or plunger to move within the pump.

This reciprocating motion creates a pressure difference within the well, which allows the crude oil to be lifted to the surface. When the piston or plunger moves upward, it creates a low-pressure zone, causing the oil to flow into the pump. On the downward stroke, the piston or plunger pushes the oil upward through a pipe or tubing to the surface, where it is collected and transported for further processing.

Pumpjacks are commonly seen in oil fields, and their rhythmic motion, resembling a nodding donkey, gives them their nickname. They are widely used in both onshore and offshore oil production operations, particularly in areas where the pressure of the underground reservoir is insufficient to bring the oil to the surface naturally.

It’s important to note that pumpjacks are just one method of extracting oil, and there are various other technologies used depending on the characteristics of the reservoir and the specific requirements of the oil field.

Call us to learn more at 304-344-9875.