Oil and Gas 101: Following the Pipes around an Oil and Gas Well Site

In this Oil and Gas 101 video, we take a trip around a well site and explain what each piece of equipment is doing to separate the oil, gas, and water being produced.

Well Head

The well head is where it all begins. The producer in this video has drilled a well and set up a rod pump pumping unit to get the liquid to the surface.

This pumping unit attaches to a series of rods, and at the bottom of the rod is a pump. It’s a sleeve with a plunger inside with a check valve ball at the bottom and a check valve at the top.

The pump is positioned in the well bore where the oil is leaving the fracture and coming into the well bore that’s been drilled as it fills that area.

This liquid then is brought to the surface through the tubing.

The flow line takes this emulsion—oil, water, and gas—to the production equipment.

2-phase Vertical Separator

The first vessel the flow line reaches is a 2-phase vertical separator. This separates gas from the water-oil emulsion.

The gas is run from an outlet on the top to either a sales meter or to be flared.

The fluid—a mix of oil and water—is dumped into the pipe and sent downstream for further processing at the next vessel: a heater treater.

Kimray products operating on this separator include a Back Pressure Regulator and Mechanical Dump Valve.

Heater Treater

The next vessel is a vertical heater treater. A heater treater uses a heat, delivered by a burner and fire tube, to heat the liquid inside the tank. This accelerates the process of separation.

Similar to the 2-phase separator, the valves and piping will send the gas to either sales or flare, and the oil will be sent downstream, this time to storage tanks.

Water also comes out of this tank and is sent downstream to a disposal well.

Kimray products operating on this separator include a Back Pressure Regulator and Treater Valve.

Storage Tanks

The processed oil will sit in storage tanks until a truck comes to hook up and pump it out.


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Mark Anderson serves as a Product and Applications Trainer at Kimray.