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An Oil-Well Pump Dynagraph

A bottom-hole instrument for recording action of oil-
well plunger pumps is described; methods of interpret- I ing records are considered; and preliminary results are

Oil-well plunger pumps have been used in this country I n securing satisfactory operation -of a pu~nping
with satisfactory results for two-thirds of a century. well, it would seen1 desirable to distinguish clearly
During most of this period i t was commonly agreed that between the performance of the pumping equipment
a loss of pump displacement could be expected to re- and the performance of the well itself-considering the
suit in the deeper pumping wells from stretch of rods latter both with regard to individual possibilities and
and tubing. The exception which occasionally tended with regard to the part the well should play in the
to disprove this rule was probably explained either a s general scheme of econoinical withdrawal of oil and gas
due to a " semi-flowing " condition, or simply a s a from a given producing zone. It is now generally agreed
kindly act of Providence. However, upon introduction that determination of individual well characteristics is
of the rod-type sectional-liner pump, some eight years a matter of prime importance, and there can be no doubt
ago, and with its extended use in deeper settings in place t h a t abplication of recording devices for determining
of the cup-plunger pump, convincing proof was pro- fluid levels in relation to rates of inflow has been the
vided that the plunger stroke does a t times exceed the most significant improvement so f a r contemplated for
polished-rod stroke by a considerable margin. In addi- securing efficient operation of deep pumping wells.
tion to unsettling evidence of this sort, the costs involved I t may be anticipated with some confidence that de-
in deep-well pumping and the appearance of alternative vices located a t the well head, such a s fluid-level finders
methods of production both have led to more critical and polished-rod dynagraphs, will ultimately provide
examination of the efficiency of rod-operated pumps, all necessary information for efficient regulation of oil-
and it has become increasingly obvious that the action well pumps. However, the study of pumping conditions,
of a pump a mile o r more under ground cannot be with use of instrumelits located a t the pump, is es-
accurately understood from observations made a t the sential a s a preliminary step toward this objective, and
well head. This situation has led to the development should lead to improvements in equipment and operating
of a device for recording pumping action a t the pump. control.

Description of Pump Dynagraph cut in the outer surface of the rotating tube, a s shown
a t B in Fig. 1. The members so f a r described recipro-
The pump dynagraph is a n instrument which pro- cate with the rods and the plunger. The final member of
vides indicator diagrams analogous to the indicator the dynagraph is a cover tube (10) integrally-connected
diagrams ordinarily obtained for engines, compressors, to the sealing-head mandrel a t the upper end of the pump
and surface pumps-with, the principal distinction that body. The cover tube (10) is constructed with two ver-
no zero-pressure line is traced on the record. Indica-
tical grooves (11) in which ride the two lugs (12) of the
tion of the plunger loading is obtained by recording the winged nut. 'At the upper end of the cover tube a r e
stretch in a calibrated length of the sucker rods im- mounted two lugs (13) which ride in the spiral grooves
mediate]? above the pump, a stylus which bears on a of the rotating tube. Due to this arrangement, the
cylindrical tube being used for this purpose. At the recording tube (1) is prevented from rotating a s the
same time, the plunger motion is recorded by rotational pump plunger reciprocates, and the rotating tube, with
oscillations of the stylus. the stylus, turns back and forth amounts proportional
As shown a t A in Fig. 1, a thin cylindrical recording' to the plunger travel. I t will be seen t h a t any stretch o r
tube (1) is mounted on a winged nut (2) threaded onto change in length of the rod between the bearing (7)
a calibrated rod ( 3 ) , which is coupled to the pull rod and the winged nut ( 2 ) is recorded by vertical inove-
(4) of the pump (5). A rotating tube (6) is connected ment of the stylus with reference to the recording tube,
by means of a self-aligning bearina ( 7 ) to the upper and that any change in position of the plunger is re-
end of the calibrated rod, and on the lower end of the corded as a rotational movement of the stylus around
rotating tube is mounted a stylus (8) which bears upon the recording tube. Thus, when the pump is in opera-
the recording tube. Two opposite spiral grooves (9) are tion, the stylus traces a series of indicator cards, one
* Shell Oil Co., Los Angeles. Calif. on top of the other. When a new series of indicator

cards is desired, the rods a r e turned a t the well head strunlent and flattened into a sheet, which then forms a
while the pump is operating. The twist in the rods, due permanent test record. P a r t s of such records are repro-
to this operation, is dissipated in one or two pump duced in Fig. 3.

Correlation of a Dynagraph Card with Pumping

I n Fig. 2 successive steps in the tracing of a dyna-
graph card are shown in relation to the plunger motion,
valve action, fluid pressures, and rod loading-the

FIG. 2

principal events which occur during each phase of the

pumping cycle being listed in Table 1.
To simplify the illustrations in Fig. 2, the gas in the
pump is shown separated from the liquid. Gas usually
enters the pump in the form of bubbles; and, usually,
some of these bubbles a r e still present in the fluid
occupying the clearance space, after the plunger has
Pump Dynagraph Shown in Bottom-Stroke Position. reached the bottom of its stroke. If ffee gas is not
FIG. 1 present in the clearance space, the load is assumed by
the rods before perceptible motion of the plunger
strokes by rotation of the lower end of the string, which occurs, and the dynagraph curve D-A becomes a straight
causes the recording tube to mount higher on the cali- line.
brated rod. Upon completion of a test, the recording Further discussion of the pumping cycle is included in
tube (which is 36 in. in length) is removed from the in- the appendix, in connection with the development of
formulas for use in analyzing pump-dynagraph records. this reason, the operating compression ratio of the pump
These formulas a r e based upon the Joule cycle con- tends to limit the extent to which the fluid level may be
sisting of two adiabatic and two isobaric pressure- reduced. Close plunger spacing, to minimize the clear-
volume changes, a s the records obtained in nearly all ance volume, and use of longer strokes, both help to
wells so f a r investigated conform to this general tjrpe reduce gas-locking for a given operating fluid level. I t
of cycle with sufficient accuracy for purposes. should also be pointed out that a temporary increase in
speed aids in overco~ninggas-lock by increasing the
Interpretation of Pumping Action from Dyna- plunger stroke and reducing the clearance space. This
appears to constitute a good reason for setting the
graph Cards ,
governor of a gas engine with sufficient latitude to
A number of different types of pump cards are illus- permit some increase of speed when the power require-
trated in Fig. 4. ment decreases a s i t does when a pump approaches a
A t the beginning of the " pumping-up " period, a s gas-locked condition. The theoretical example of Fig. 5
indicated a t A in Fig. 4, the stroke of the plunger is is introduced to illustrate the fact that existence of a


Events of Normal Pumping Cycle
I Motion
From To Valve Action Fluid in Pump Fluid Load Is:
D A Both Calves remain Gas in clearance space expands Assumed by the rods a s
closed from static pressure in tubing to pressure in the pump
. fluid-level pressure a t pump decreases
A B Standing valve opens Fluid is drawn into the pump Sustained by the rods
. a t A and closes a t B
B C Both valves remain Gas. in the pump is compressed Transferred from the
closed from the fluid-level pressure t o rods to the tubing a s
the static pressure in the tubing gas, in the pump is
C D Traveling valve opens Fluid is displaced through the Sustained by ,the tubing
a t C and closes a t D traveling valve into the tubing

maximum, and gradually diminishes a s the load on the gas-locked condition is no guarantee that the well i s
plunger increases. If the plunger is not accurately being " pumped off."
spaced, over-stroking during this period may cause the Cards F and G in Fig. 4 are typical of those obtained
plunger to hit u p or down with a force equivalent to when both gas and liquid are being handled with a
two or three times the normal plunger load-with conse- fluid-level pressure of 200 lb. per sq. in., or more. Card
quent possibilities of damaging rods and pump. The G', a s compared with card G, indicates a lower fluid level.
practice of filling the tubing, and the practice of reduc- The arrows in these cards indicate the loss of stroke due
ing the pumping speed until the fluid reaches the well to spacing, which is poor in the case of card G. When
head, both tend to prevent difficulties of this sort. the operating fluid level is close to the pump, and also
I n Fig. 4 cards B and C represent sticking of the when only liquid is being handled, poor spacing does not
traveling valve and standing valve, respectively. A materially reduce the effective stroke.
sticking traveling valve results in over-stroking, and Card H indicates perfect pump performance, with
may cause the plunger to hit up or down; while a stick- only li,quid being handled. However, this card also
ing standing valve would result in under-stroking. indicates the probability that more liquid is available
Gas-lock and gas-compression cards are shown a t D than the pump is handling. Card J indicates perfect
and E in Fig. 4. I n the case of the former (refer to pump action, and also indicates that all the available
equations (7) and (8) of the appendix) the compres- liquid is being handled.
sion ratio of the pump is too small, with the result that Card K indicates a " pumped-off " condition, with the
neither valve opens until either the clearance space fills rods going into compression momentarily a s the plunger
by leakage past the plunger, or the fluid level outside hits the fluid. (Experience in use of the dynagraph
the pump rises so t h a t a smaller compression ratio is leads to the conclusion t h a t opening of the traveling
required to force gas from the pump into the tubing. valve is very often.accompanied by a shock which i s
Usually, when any considerable amount of free gas is perceptible by holding onto the polished rod even when
present in the fluid, the percentage volumes of gas and considerable volumes of gas are being pulr~ped and,
liquid in the pump are continually changing; and, for accordingly, this shock is not a foolproof indication of

= I ----------







Interpretation of Pump Cards.

FIG. 4
the pumped-off condition.) I n this case the displacement - in Fig. 2, all a t approximately full scale except those
is excessive. from well E, which are slightly greater than full scale.
Cards L and M in Fig. 4 indicate loss of stroke due I n one or two instances it was necessary to re-touch the
to hitting down and up, respectively. When the pump record. The pumping-up cards of well G are of special
hits down, the clearance volume is minimum, so that interest, a s they are not susceptible to analysis on the
opening of the standing valve practically coincides basis of the Joule cycle, and are responsible for the ir-
with the start of the upstroke, regardless of the gas- regular data shown for the 3,000-ft. pump setting of
liquid ratio of the fluid handled. Card M indicates less well G in Fig. 8: Cards of this type, which were also
liquid production than card L, due to the large clearance noted in connection with the large acceleration factor
volume and consequent loss of effective stroke. In for well B, Table 3, are unusual, and cannot be satis- ,
general, spacing a pump too high introduces the possi- factorily explained on the basis of present informa-
bility of a double loss in effective stroke. tion-although there is no lack of suggestions a s t o

C o i ~ t p ~ e s s i oRatio
n f o r Contplete Ga.s Lock:

G a s Lock i s Cleared b y :
1. Rise of fluid level.
2. Leakage past plunger or traveling valve.
3. Temporary increase of pump speed.
Pump setting= 6,000 ft.
S= 50 in.
LC= 8 in.
Pa depth of setting
If--= .
P1 helght of fluid level above pump '
Maximum fluid level above pump for occurrence of gas ,

= 504 ft.

(Theoretical esample.)
Colr~pleteGas Lock.
FIG. 5

The three superimposed cards a t N in Fig. 4 are illus- possible causes. This type of card did not occur in the
trative of the usual pump action which accompanies test of well G with the pump set a t 2,404 ft. of depth.
temporary increases in the percentage of free gas
handled with constant pumping speed. Such increases Measurement of Plunger Stroke
may apparently be counted upon materyally to decrease
over-st~okingin the downstroke di~ection,so that the I t is apparent from dynagrapli cards so f a r obtained
actual stroke is reduced and a t the same time the that temporary increase of free gas handled in the
effective clearance volume is increased. Conversely, de- pump generally reduces the actual pump stroke, a t any
crease in the percentage of gas Handled results in a constant speed, in addition to displacing liquid in the
longer stroke and a smaller clearance volume. This pump. Also, a s free gas pumped into the tubing rises
action, which may cause cyclical fluctuations of the faster than the accompanying liquid and is not produced o
operating fluid level, is indicated by the cards of test 1, a t a constant ratio, i t will be observed that gas and
well " J," Fig. 2. The increase of stroke, without change liquid are often produced alternately a t the well head.
of the engine-throttle setting, was artificially produced Such changes may materially affect the load carried by
in this instance by closing in the casing, thus tempo- the plunger, and this in t u r n affects the plunger stroke.
rarily reducing the displacement of gas bubbles and There is also a variety of other factors which may cause
forcing more liquid into the pump with each stroke. incidental' changes in length of stroke, such a s changes
A number of different types of records are illustrated in pump friction and valve action, impulse loads and

harmonic stress reflections occurring with certain speed . From data now available, i t i s evident that the plunger
and load conditions. For reasons of this sort, the stroke becomes less predictable as the pumping depth
plunger stroke a t any given moment is not accurately increases. Three examples are given in Fig. 6. In the
predictable from consideration only of the polished-rod first test made with the dynagraph, a s shown for well
stroke, the rod loading, and the pumping speed. Never- A, the actual stroke a t 4,823 ft. of depth was considerably
theless, average measurements do indicate a general greater than the computed stroke. The same observa-
relationship of these factors to the stroke lengths in tion holds for well E, with a pump setting a t 6,335 ft.;
any particular well. while in the case of well D, with the pump at'6,SOl ft.,
Table 2 is introduced a s an indication of observa- the computed curve fits the observed strokes with f a i r
, tional errors occurring in measurement of recorded accuracy. Data relative to these and other tests a r e
stroke lengths. summarized in Table 3.
In all cases the computed stroke referred to in this
TABLE 2 paper was obtained by use of the theoretical method
Differences in Separate Detern~inationsof Stroke of estimating plunger over-travel suggested by C. J.
Length from the Same Record Coberly * (Kobe, Inc.). Also in determining rod stretch,
the plunger load, a s measured by the pump dynagraph,
Plunger Stroke Maximum was used; and the modulus of elasticity was taken to
be 29.5 x 10%lb. per sq. in. The " measured " curve pass-
Cycles A B C' Difference
Per I (Per ing through t h e points was obtained by selecting the
Minute (Inches) Cent) I acceleration factor which seemed to conform most closely
in each case to the recorded data.
16 38.8 38.8 39.1 0.5 ' Results obtained in a n electric-motor-operated well
20 47.7 47.8 47.7 0.2 by changing the length of polished-rod stroke are shown
24 54.4 54.0 53.5 0.9 in Fig. 7, the two speeds being due to use of different
25.5 53.9 54.1 54.3 0.8
surface units. In this well the average plunger stroke
27 55.1 55.0 54.7 0.7 conformed closely to the stroke computed with use of
28.4 60.1 59.1 59.8 1.7 the theoretical acceleration factor a s indicated both in
Average. . . . . . . . . . 0.8 Fig. 7 and in Table 3 under well C.
" Pumping-up " tests may prove of value in supplying

I n the double-size photographs of the original records information from which the approximate stroke with
used in analyzing results, the recorded stroke lengths any size of plunger in a given well may be predicted.
are 5.12 per cent of the actual plunger travel, and a Provided under discussion of paper on " H i g h Volum:tric
plunger load of 10,000 lb. would be represented by a de- Emciencv of Oil-Well Pumping and I t s Practical Results by
flection of 1 in. , Hallan R. Marsh i n A. P. I. Prod. Bull. No. 207, beginning'with
p. 59.





30 20 '
10 20 30 10 20 30 10 to 50
C.P. M. C.P.M. C.P.M.
Well "A." Well " E." Well " D."

Relation Between Plunger Stroke and Puniping Speed.

FIG. 6
Acceleration Factors Determined from Pump-D~nagraphTests
P e r Cent
Length in Feet of : Thee-
A hfasimum Fluid Load retlcal
'7 $5-111. Polished- Computed Accelera- A c ~ ~ ~ ~
Setting Tubing Rod Plnnger Cycles Plunger from tion
Depth $-In. . $-In. Below Stroke Size Per Stroke Dynagrapli Factor t
Well (Feet) Rods Rods Catcher (Inches) (Inches) Minute (Inches) (Pounds) (A)
A 4,823 2,460 2,363 923 48 13 28.4 59.8 3,700 3.2 170
B 6,786 , 2,027 4,759 976 42 11 24.2 68.7 4,620 . 4.8 250
C 4,600 1,250 3,350 4,600 22 to 46 It 20.3 37.3 3,340 2.0 100
D 6,801 1,777 5,024 1,401 44 11 27 51.5 3,570 1.7 90
E 6,335 2,135 4,200 6,335 . 40 12 24 46 3,400 3.3- 120
F 6,874 1,757 5,117 1,376. 43.5 1 22.9 ' * 2,050 4.2 220
F 6,874 1,757 5,117 1,376 43.5 It 22.5 * 3,150 4.3 220
G 3,000 0 3,000 3,000 34 12 24.8 * 3,200 2.6 130
G 2,404 0 2,404 2,404 34 12 24.8 * 2,980 1.9 100
H 4,100 0 4,100 4,100 48 It 22.5 61 1,650 5.1 260
* Refer to Fig. 6.
+ T h e s e fa,:tors replace 1.93 a s given by Rlr. Coberly i n e - e'= (1'9fbAiN''
. Refer to 8. P. I. P r o d . Bull. Jo. 207, p. 60.

A number of dynagraph cards is taken a s the fluid is The range of acceleration factors, for wells listed in
being pumped to the surface, preferably using a plunger Table 3, is shown graphically in Fig. 9.
of maximum diameter. Having established the relation-


Variation of Over-travel in Different Wells Tested.
FIG. 9

correlation of Polished-Rod Cards with Pump

Principal attention has been directed toward develop-
ment of ability to analyze pump cards, and no concerted
effort has yet been made to correlate bottom-hole and
top-hole cards., However, a considerable amount of data
POLISHED ROD STROKE IN INCHES is now available for such investigation, and comparative
Relation of Plunger Stroke to Polished-Rod Stroke in cards a r e shown in Fig. 10 a s a matter of incidental
Well L' C." interest.
FIG. 7
Dynagraph Measurements of Production Rat-
ship between plunger stroke and loading, the load to be
expected for any smaller size of plunger may be esti- Five tests have been made a t one well, using both the
mated and the corresponding plunger stroke determined. pump dynagraph and a clock-work pressure-recording
Pumping-up tests made in two wells a r e shown in Fig. 8. gage mounted below the pump. Use of these two instru-
Depth ........................... 6,874 ft.
Free tubing ...................... 1,376 ft.
&in. rods ........................ 1,757 ft.
$-in. rods ........................ 6,117 ft.
Polished-rod stroke ............... 438 in.
Single-Cylinder Gas Engine.
Well " F."


Tubing ........................... 24 in.
Rods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 in.
Plunger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1s in.
Polished-rod stroke ................ 34 in.
Cycles per minute. ................. 24.8
Specific gravity .................... I
Electric Motor.
Well " G."

Pumping-up Tests.
FIG. 8
ments permitted computation of production rates from formula ( 3 ) ) and averaged. Parts of runs 2 and 3 of
bottom-hole data, which could be checked against read- test 4, Table 4, a r e shown in Fig. 2. The intermediate
ings of a plunger-type meter connected in the flow line thin cards were made for correlation with polished-
from the elevated trap. During test 1, speeds were main- rod cards, and only the heavy cards were used in com-
tained for periods of less than 15 min., and i t was found puting production rates.
that irregularity of operation of the meter made corre- In further correlations of this sort, it would be sug-
lation of flowing rates impracticable. No pressure rec- gested that the pressure recorder be placed a s close to
ord was obtained for test 2. Comparative results of the pump a s possible, and that six 15-min. cards be ob-
tests 3, 4, and 5 are shown in Table 4. No corrections tained a t each speed.

Run N S B/D Mcf/D1 Hp, Hp,, E,

A 18.2 48 243 3.24 6.6 7.1 93
B 18.2 48 176 7.9 6.3 7.1 88.5
13-in. plunger
43141. polished-rod stroke
235-1b.-per-sq.-in. fluid pressure
Comparison of Pump and Polished-Rod Dynagraph Cards.
FIG. 10

were applied for temperature in the pump or for plunger Selection of Gas Anchors
slippage. Considering the fact that the meter only
operated for short intervals of 5 min. or less from two Use of the dynagraph has proved conclusively that
to five times a n hour, depending on the pumping speed, loss of displacement in wells a t pump settings below
these correlations are a s close a s could be expected. In 5,000 ft. of depth is generally not due to loss of stroke,
obtaining these data, a constant speed was maintained but may often be attributed to.ineffective separation of
during each r u n ; and a number of cards was made by gas froin the liquid pumped.
moving the dynagraph record a t regular intervals. In Since chemical reactions practically double in in-
this way a series of cards was obtained for each run, tensity for each 10-deg. rise in temperature, there can
from which the production was computed (by use of be little doubt that heat generated in compressing gas
Comparison ef Production Rates Determined from Dynagraph Cards with Rates Determined from Oil-Meter Readings
Production in Barrels
per Run from:
7 -A Per Cent
Duration Dynagraph Difference Difference

Test Run
of Run
, (Hours)
Oil Meter
Barrels (yx 100)
3 1 1.5 21.1 19.7 ... - 6.6
2 1.5 15.5 14.9 ... - 3.9
3 1.5 10.35 11.75 ... 13.5
4 1.5 20.1 21.6 . ... 7.5
5 1.5 22.6 18.9 ... -16.3
6 1.5 15.1 14.2 ... - 6.0
7 1.5 11.8 12.0 ... 1.7
8 1.5 22.9 23.2 ... 1.3
9 1.5 20.9 21.5 ... 2.9
( 1 to 9) 13.5 160.4 157.8 2.6 - 1.6
- - -
1 1 15.2 15.5 .. . 2.0
2 1 10.7 11.6 ... 8.4
3 1 8.7 9.0 ... 3.5
( 1 to 3) 3 34.6 36.1 1.5. 4.5
- -- -
1 0.75 8.9 9.25 ... 3.9
2 0.75 5.0 7.1 . .. 42.0
3 0.75 5.8 6.55 ... 12.9
4 0.75 3.75 4.05 ... 8.0
5 0.75 4.9 6.25 ... 27.5
6 0.75 6.25 5.65 ... - 9.6
7 0.75 3.0 3.9 ... 30.1
8 0.75 1.75 3.1 ... 77.0
9 0.75 5.5 6.55 ... 19.1
- 10 0.75 5.05 5.55 ... 9.9
11 0.75 3.9 3.95 ... 1.3
12 0.75 3.85 3.30 ... ' -14.3

( 1 to 12) 9 57.6 65.2 7.6 13.2

- - -
pump. With this in mind, use of the best available
equipment for excluding gas from the pump shiuld
prove profitable in areas where difficulties from cor-
rosion are acute.
Referring to Fig. 11, i t was found that use of a casing-
type gas anchor (test 5) in well J resulted in more effec-
tive exclusion of gas than use of a n anchor of conven-
tional type having a single down-pass and employing a
15-in. skeeter bill 5 ft. in length (test 4). No gas anchor
is universally applicable, and in this well the casing-
type anchor was not required to secure maximum pro-
duction. However, the illustration is provided a s a n in-
dication of the possibilities in securing comparative in-
formation regarding such equipment under known well
Relation Between Pumping Speed and Gas-Anchor
Rod-Transmission Efficiency
FIG. 11
I t was found that individual comparisons, between
in the pump is a n important factor tending to accelerate work done a t the pump and work supplied per cycle
corrosion both in the pump and in the tubing near the a t the polished rod, varied widely. The data of Fig. 12
were obtained by averaging the efficiencies of each run vanced that rods are an inefficient means of power trans-
so that 'points plotted in the figure each represents a run mission. Individual wells probably differ widely in this
of one hour or more. The opinion has often been ad- respect. However, i t is apparent from the data of Fig.
12 that rod-frictional losses in well J are not excessive a t
ordinary pumping speeds.

2 80

60 The purposes of this paper have been to describe a new

W type of instrument, to outline preliminary results ob-
tained with its use, and to supply sufficient information
40 SIZE OF RODS=3/4 INCH to obviate unnecessary duplication of effort on the part
a SIZE OF TUBlNGzZ 1/2 INCH of others -who may take occasion to investigate its ap-
I I I plication in solving practical pumping problems.
It is desired particularly to call attention to the part
ably taken in this development by S. B. sargent; Jr.
0 1 I I I I I I (Sargent Engineering Corporation) a s co-inventor and
10 15 20 25 designer of the pump dynagraph, and to acknowledge
CYCLES PER MINUTE the assistance of Ned Clark (Shell Oil Company) in ob-
taining and analyzing data, and the helpful coopera-
Relation Between Pr~mpingSpeed and Rod-Transmission
tion of H. C. Pyle (Union Oil Company) in organizing
field tests to determine the validity of pump-dynagraph
FIG. .12 measurements.


Although a n oil-well pump is designed primarily to
raise oil to the surface, i t is generally required to handle
some gas in the free. state, and thus performs the dual
function of liquid pump and gas compressor.
During the pumping cycle the gas bubbles entrained
in the liquid tend to rise to the top of the pump so that
the gas-liquid ratio of the fluid in the pump, when the
plunger is a t the top of its stroke, may be perceptibly
greater than the gas-liquid ratio of the fluid in the
clearance space when the plunger reaches the bottom of
its stroke. I n handling some fluid mixtures a t slow
pumping speeds, this separation of gas and liquid may
be almost complete; or, in handling "fluffy" oil, i t may
be negligible. However, for clarity in representing pump
action, i t is convenient to consider the gas a s com-
pletely separated from the liquid in the pump and oc- PLUNGER MOTION IN INCHES .
cupying a space above the liquid and under the traveling
Gas comes out from solution in oil by reduction of
pressure f a r more readily than i t can be re-dissolved
by compression. Accordingly, in the following discus-
sion i t is assumed that the proportion of free gas in the
pump returned to solution during the compression stroke
'is small enough to be neglected.
Ideal pump cards a r e represented in Fig. 13. Starting
a t the point A, where the standing valve opens, fluid is
drawn into the pump by the upward motion of the PLUNGER MOTION IN INCHES
plunger from A to B. During this phase of the cycle Pump Cards.
the pressure in the pump is nearly constant a t ordinary FIG. 13
List o f Symbols
Symbol Units Description
sq. in. Total plunger area.
bbl. per day Liquid production rate.
A coefficient = 1

D in. Plunger diameter.

E,. A relative index of gas-anchor efficiency= So/S,.
Ev Apparent - volumetric efficiency of the pump = S,/S.
EL Apparent liquid displacement efficiency of the pump=So/S.
E, Efficiency of rods in transmitting power to the pump.
E,, Efficiency of the surface equipment between prime mover and polished rod.
Et Total efficiency of equipment in transmitting power from p r i ~ n emover to pump.
HP, Power delivered a t the pump.
HPC Rate a t which work is done on the fluid.
HPL Rate a t which useful work is done on the liquid.
HP'L Rate a t which useful work would be done on liquid if no gas were present in tubing.
HP, Rate a t which useful work is done on the liquid by gas compressed in the pump.
HPP~ . Power delivered to the polished rod.
H P ~ Power delivered by the prime mover.
K A coefficient= .B /D (Refer to Fig. 14 for evaluation of R.)
L in. Plunger stroke plus effective clearance length =S +LC.
LC in. Effective clearance lengthzclearance space/plunger area.
L, and L', in. Equivalent lengths of free gas in pump for top and bottom positions of plunger,
Lo and L', in. Equivalent lengths of liquid in pump for top and bottom positions of plunger,
Mcf /D' cu. ft. per day Rate a t which gas is compressed in the pump expressed in thousands of cubic
1,000 feet per day a t 14.73 lb. per sq. in., and a t 60 deg. F.
Pump cycles per minute.
Theoretically, the ratio of the specific heat a t constant pressure/specific .heat a t
constant volume, of the gas handled in the pump (values of n may be determined
from dynagraph cards).
PI lb. per sq. in. Average absolute pressure acting upward on plunger during upstroke.
Pz lb. per sq. in. Average absolute pressure acting downward on plunger during upstroke.
lb. per sq. in. Fluid pressure in well a t the pump setting.
lb. per sq. in. Product of specific gravity of liquid, depth of setting in feet.
1,000 .Gas-liquid ratio a t the surface including only that p a r t of the gas produced
cu. ft. per bbl. through the tubing.
Rp .... Ratio of free gas displacement to liquid displacement in the pump.
S in. Full plunger stroke.
S1 in. Gas-expansion phase of upstroke.
Sz=Se in. Intake phase of upstroke=effective stroke.
S3 in. Gas-compression phase of downstroke.
S, in. Exhaust phase of downstroke.
So in. Effective liquid stroke.
s, in. Effective gas stroke.
tl deg. F. ,Temperature of fluid in pump a t end of upstroke.
t, deg. F. Temperature of gas in pump a t end of compression phase of downstroke.
T , and Tz deg. F. Absolute temperatures corresponding to t, and tz, respectively.
Wr ft-lb. Work done on the fluid per cycle.
WP ft-lb. Work done a t the pump per cycle.
x and y Proportions by volu~neof liquid/total fluid and gas/total fluid in pump a t end of
upstroke, respectively.
speeds, and nearly equal to the fluid-level pressure out- Rates of liquid production a s determined by'use of
side the pump. More specifically, equation (3) should be diminished in accordance with
the differences in temperature of the liquid a s measured
P.-b=PI 2 PI-Ps.. ............ (1)
in the pump and a s measured a t the surface. In addi-
Pi =fluid-level pressure. tion, rates of both liquid and gas production, measured
Pt=pressure due to the inertia of the fluid, above in the pump, will exceed those measured a t the surface
and below the pump, set in motion by the by the rate of leakage past the plunger and traveling
plunger. valve on the upstroke, and past the standing valve on the
P.=pressure loss developed by restrictions to flow downstroke. Temperature corrections are discussed
of fluid in entrance passages, including those below.
of the standing valve. The gas displaced per cycle is closely proportional to
During the phase represented by B-C, in Fig. 13, gas the difference between the volulne of gas present when
in the pump is being compressed adiabatically by down- the traveling valve opens a t A, and the volun~eof gas
ward motion of the plunger, both valves remaining present when the traveling valve closes a t B. Con-
closed. At the beginning of this phase, fluid may con- sequently:
tinue lnomentarily to enter the pump due to the inertia s,= (L,+Ss) - (Lt6+S,)
of the moving column of fluid in the entrance passages. Sizce: L6=CS3 and L1,=CSI:
At C the pressure in the pump 'has increased sufficiently
to cause the traveling valve to open, and during the
phase C-D the plunger continues to the bottom of its
stroke-the pressure in the pump remaining approsi-
mately equal to the static pressure in the tubing above
the plunger. At the bottom of the plunger stroke the
traveling valve closes, and during the phase D-A the gas
remaining in the clearance,space espands adiabatically,
a s the plunger moves upward, until the cycle is com-
In order to develop equations for gas lock, the effective
pleted by opening of the standing valve, a s represented
pump stroke Se may be related to x and ? j , the propor-
a t A. Thus, when both liquid and gas are being handled, tions of liquid and gas in the pump when the plunger is
the ideal pumping cycle includes four principal changes, a t the top of its stroke, a s follows:
of which two tend to be isobaric and two tend to be
adiabatic. For determining pumping efficiencies and
amounts of liquid and gas handled, i t is assumed that
changes of state of the fluid in the pump are truly iso-
baric or adiabatic.
On the basis of the above assumption, the equivalent F,ron~?ohiclr.:
liquid levels in the pump a t the top and bottoln of the
plunger stroke may be determined a s follows:
P,(L6+S3)n=P2L6n Arlrlixg X L to both sides of this last equation and divid-
and ing by L:

C, which appears in several of the following formulas, From Fig. 13 it will be seen that:
may be conveniently evaluated from 91, P,, and P2by the
graphical method indicated in Fig. 14.
From the previous equation :

and by the same process:

So that :
Since the volume of liquid displaced per cycle is directly
proportional to the difference in heights of the equivalent
fluid level a t the beginning and end of 6he downstroke,
the effective liquid stroke:
When the pump is gas-locked, S,=O. For this condi-
tion, equation (6) becomes :
and tl?e producing rate:


Ps DAY =
~ P [SI -C (53- SI)] Nlf -
M.C.P. pm ~ a = rb +t] (5>.:;)gAR

1 5,. Sz e n d 5,musf be converfcd f o
inch- ofp/vngcr /rave/ before
(~~;bsI,lu/,o inn +he rborc eyushona
I andm.




G-S Pump-Dynagraph Computation Chart.

FIG. 14
112 zulz.ich the limits of x and y are: are not controlling factors, i t may be found useful to
. lry>- . compare Hpr, with:
O L x < - LC and , respectively.
S+Lc S+Lc
For the limiting condition of gas lock where no liquid
is present in the pump, x=0, y = l , and equation (7) in which PI.-PC represents the average differential
becomes : pressure on the plunger which would result if no appre-
ciable quantity of free gas were present in the tubing.
Thus, a measure of the rate a t which useful work is
done on the liquid by gas compressed,in the pump may
Co~nparisonof gas-liquid ratios measured a t the sur- be obtained from:
face with gas-liquid ratios handled in the pump may be
obtained by dividing equation (5) by equation (3) from -
which, after simplifying:
I/ Temperature and Pressure Effects-
With the method of analysis used, .it is not prac-
S ticable to distinguish volume changes of the liquid from
with R1.= Mcf/D' and R,= 2. This equation includes
B/D So volume changes of the gas occurring during the pump-
only that part of the total gas which is produced through ing cycle. However, reduction in volume of the liquid
the tubing. under the full static pressure a s encountered in pumping
practice will be less than 2 per cent and, i t is believed,
On the basis of the assumption that the pumping cycle
for all practical purposes may be neglected.
may be considered a s made up of two adiabatic and two
The per r e n t increase in volume of water, and the
isobaric changes, the work done on the fluid per cycle
per cent increase in volume of oils. through the usual
may be shown as: .
range of gravities, is shown in relation to temperatures
in Fig. 15 and 16, respectively. If desired, liquid-produc-
tion rates determined from pump cards may be dimin-
Evaluating these areas : ished in accordance with these data if the temperature
of oil entering the pump and the per cent water cut
have been satisfactorily determined. I .
and since L6=CS3 and L1,=CSI: The relation between the absolute temperatures of '

gas in the pump a t the beginning and end of the com-

A P z C S ~ - P I S ~ ( ~ - ~ C ) - P , C S I + PSI
I (I+C)
+ I~,S,-P~S~] - pression phase of the downstroke is given by:
A (Sz-Si) [P,C-P1(1+C)I
\vc= - [ +P,S~-P~S.]........(10)

c~ndthe fluid horsepower :

I Pumping Efficiencies
WrAK - A N
Hpf = -
(Ss-S,)[I',C-PI(l+C)l ...(11) In many cases pumping wells a r e not producible a t
396,000- 0 - [ n-1 +P:s~-P~E~] maximum rates of inflow because of the loss of liquid ;
The work (W,) and power (Hp,) expended in the displacement incidental to handling free gas in the
pump nlay be determined in the usual manner from the pump. Since gas anchors are designed to prevent en-
areas of pump cards. This procedure involves no as- trance of free gas into the pump, the efficiency of a gas
sumptions a_s to the nature of volume-pressure changes anchor for any steady producing rate in a particular
during the cycle. well may be represented by:
The work done by the pump in compressing gas is not effective liquid stroke -
entirely lost, since the gas introduced into the tubing E,.= so - (16)
total effective stroke - So+S6 -1 R,,'

tends to diminish the static head and inertia of the fluid

column in the tubing-thus reducing rod loads-and, in Although the gas-axchor efficiency might be shown a s
expanding, returns energy to the pumping system. The the ratio of the effgctive liquid stroke, So,to the total
rate a t which potential energy is stored in the liquid by stroke, S, the efficiency defined by equation (16) is 0

preferable because; fpr example, in comparing two

the pump is:
types of gasanchors used alternately in, the same well
for the sanie fluid-level condition, neither type would be
penalized by differences in plunger spacing. Gas-anchor
efficiencies, a s defined, may be evaluated using equations
(2) and (4) for Soand'sg; or, if surface indications are
acceptable, from equations (16) and (9) :
In connection with determining the effectiveness of 0.198P1
gas anchors where pump displacement and rod loading E,. = 0.198P,+R1sT1 ......... (16a)
The apparent volu?~tentric eficiency of a plunger Pump cards do not supply adequate indications of such
pump may be represented a s : leakage and, accordingly, S., So, and Sg a s obtained from

effective stroke - So+S, S, - . . . . (17) pump cards will be too large in proportion to the leakage
per cycle past the plunger, traveling valve, and standing
stroke - S - S
The apparent liquid, displac'ewaent eficiency :

a s determined from normal pump cards, is subject to

correction for leakage a s indicated in connection with -
equation (17).
- The ratio of Wf, the work done on the fluid a s deter-
mined from equation ( l o ) , to Wp, the work done in the
pump a s determined from the area of a pump card,
has been considered a s a means of estimating the me-
chanical efficiency of the pump. However, i t is doubtful
whether this ratio can be used to advantage, since
entrance pressure losses cannot be separately evaluated
and, consequently, PI and Pzcannot be evaluated with
sufficient accuracy for this purpose. I n this connection,
i t may be mentioned that theoretically the specific equa-
60 tion of a n adiabatic change nlay be determined by two
0 I 2 3 4 5 6 7 methods if the value of n is known as, for example, by ,
PERCENT INCREASE I N VOLUME OVER V O L U M E A T 60 DEG. F. measuring the tangents a t two points on the curve and
Relation Between Temperature and Volu~neof Water. the pressure or volume intercept between the two points
(Derived from Sn~ithsonianTables.) and solving for the adiabatic constant in two siinul-
FIG. 15 . taneous equations of the first differential. However,
sufficiently reliable values of PI and P2have not resulted
from preliminary attempts to apply this method.
The ~ o d - t ~ a n s n z i s s i oefficiency
n is :
Er=, work represented by area of pump card \V,.
- \V,,
!vol.k represrnted by area of polished-rod card
and, since the surface-equipttent eficie?zcy is:
horsepower delivered a t well head -HP"~
horsepower delivered by the prime mover - Hp,,,
The over-all power transnzission eficiency is:
llorsepoaer represented b; area of pump card --Hpr
Ilorsepoaer delivered by the prinie mover - ltl)pm
This over-all efficiency should be adaptable to use in
comparing rod-operated pumps with pumps operated

John F. Kendrick (Sullivan Machinery Company)
(written) : The fact that the dynagraph cards do not
give any positive indication of increased stress due to
0 10 20 30 -40 5 0 6 0 inertia is a n interesting characteristic not touched upon
A.P.I. GRAVITY AT 6 0 DEG. F. by Mr. Gilbert. There is no question of phase difference
involved, and it should be f a i r to expect such a n increase
Approximate Relation Between Volun~e of Oil at to appear a s a peak a t the beginning of the upstroke
60 Deg. F. and,Volume of the Same Oil at Higher Tem- line. However, no such peak has been observed in the .
peratures. (Derived from " Revised Supplement to many dynagraph cards examined.
N.B.S. Circular C-154," National Bureau of Standards.) Basically, the shape of the dynagraph card is rec-
FIG. 16 . ' tangular, the upstroke and downstroke lines being
roughly horizontal. Where the gas present is negligible,
and may be used to evaluate loss of stroke due to poor a s is frequently the case in a heavy water well, the
plunger spacing. The true volumetric efficiency would reversal a t the bottom of the stroke is shown by a line
account for leakage past both valves and the plunger. that is nearly vertical. This characteristic has been
observed to persist throughout the entire speed range, formation which' is very valuable to the petroleum in-
when a series of cards has been traced a t various dustry, in that i t gives us actual facts relative to pump-
polished-rod velocities, the points separated by about ing conditions which have been calculated in the past
15 ft. per min. and going a s low a s 30 or 45 ft. per min. using many assumed factors. Through the courtesy of
A t the lower speeds the surface cards, taken simul- S. P. Sargent, our company has r u n several tests with
taneously, show definite indications of rod stretch, which this instrument. I n one of our most recent tests we r a n
disappears in the cards taken a t the higher speeds. one instrument directly above the pump and a second
Therefore, it is probably safe to conclude that this line instrument 3,050 ft. from the surface in a 6,300-ft.
represents rod stretch throughout the entire range of well in the Oklahoma City Field. These two instruments
speeds, and to deduce that the string of- rods stretches were r u n with two different designed sucker-rod strings,
sufficiently a t each speed to eliminate the peak that one test using a full string of &in. rods, and the second
otherwise would be espected to result from inertia. string using 3,000 ft. of &in. rods and 3,300 ft. of 1-in.
Thus the dynagraph adds fuel to a n old argument, and rods. The recordings on the tests using the combination
probably points the way to the extension of the useful- $-in. and a-in. strings were very satisfactory; however,
ness of the sucker-rod pump. in the full string of Z-in. rods, making two tests, we
During its brief existence the dynagraph has dem- were unable to obtain records in the middle dynamom-
onstrated the inadequacy of inertia alone to account for eter due to mechanical difficulties within the instru-
plunger reaction, while a t the same time it has strength- ment. This was believed to have been caused by a2-in.
ened the conception of the sucker-rod pump as a vi- rod being used inside of the instrument which was over-
brating system with 1 deg. of freedom, with forced loaded to a degree that satisfactory recordings were not
vibrations and viscous damping. Those interested in the obtained. I t will be interesting to note that the dyna-
operation of sucker-rod pumps will find it well worth mometer in the middle of the string indicated similar
the effort to become familiar with the characteristics of cards to those on the polish rod.
such a system as defined by the mathematics of S. We found in the conlbination string test that in some
Timoshenko ' and discussed by others.' cases we obtained a greater indicated horsepower in the
middle and bottom dynamometer than was obtained in
the surface dynamometer. At this time we are hesitant
Mr. Gilbert: 'In regard to inertia loading, it should- to offer a n explanation of this unusual indication, in
perhaps be pointed out that while the full static load that it was shown only in the one series of tests. As-
of the liquid in the tubing is concentrated a t the plunger, sumptions a r e that this unusual condition prevails due ::
the center of mass of the liquid is often 4 mile or more to the rods being smaller in diameter and stretching to
up the hole. Since the speed of force transmission in the a greater degree than the full &in. string. This might
liquid is less than 1 mile per second, any acceleration also be correlated with the fact that the plunger was not
of the plunger a t the s t a r t of the upstroke could not in harmony with the polish-rod stroke. -,
be transmitted to the liquid throughout 5,000 ft. of These factors indicate to us that additional work will
tubing until after one second had elapsed. Consideration be necessary to correlate these unusual conditions, and
of such factors leads to the conclusion that the plunger the necessity of developing an instrument which will
usually stops its relative nlotion in the pulnp a t the record in such a manner that the action a t the pump
bottoln of the stroke, while the rods a r e being stretched can be correlated with the action in the polish rod. I t
sufficiently to permit them to assulne the static load. would be very valuable to obtain dynamometer indicator
Then even if the plunger starts upward with a very high cards on the tubing, together with the bottom-hole
acceleration, an appreciable time interval must elapse dynamometer and the surface dynamometer. We believe
before this acceleration is transmitted throughout the that the tubing action in a well offers a great many
length of the liquid colun~n. Consecluently, the plunger
difficulties with which we a r e not familiar a t this time.
does not encounter resistance from the full mass of the
The indication of over-stroking in the pump a t in-
liquid a t the s t a r t of its upstroke, and nlaximum inertia
creased speeds we have found would be possible in wells
loads are, therefore, not to be expected a t this point in
producing fluids containing less than 50 per cent salt
the cycle.
water. I n the only test which we have conducted under
I t is believed that inertia effects appear in the dyna-
these conditions, we find that the heavier fluid tends t o
graph card principally during the phase A-B, Fig. 3, a s
decrease the plunger travel a s the speed is increased.
suggested by equation (1). However, it is apparent that
We should like'to obtain a n expression from Mr. Gilbert
inertia loads do not cause critical rod stresses under
relative to his experience under these conditions.
ordinary pumping conditions, and no detailed study has
I t is our thought that we should study the char-
yet been made of this p a r t of the general problem.
acteristics of load action a t points where we find the
greatest number of breaks in the rod string. This in-
J. S. Montgomery (Phillips Petroleum Company) formation would allow us to improve the design of our
(written) : The contents of this paper bring forth in- rod strings and materially increase the economic life of
the string.
1 S Timosheuko and J . RI. Lessels, Applicd Elastioitl/ 1st edi-
tion. ' Westinghouse Technical Night School Press, ~ a k tI'itts-
br~rgh Pa. ( 1 9 2 5 ) . Mr. Gilbert: The procedure initiated by Mr. Sargent
- J . ' P . Den Hartog, Mccha~ticnl T i b m t i o ~ ~ s1st
, e ~ l ~ t i o nhlc-
, and Mr. Montgomery of using instruments a t inter-
Ornlv-Hill Book Co., New Tork ( 1 9 3 1 ) .
mediate points between the polished rod and the plunger the stroke a t the surface, to make i t very difficult to
offers interesting possibilities for improving design and study the pump action from observations made a t the
operation of sucker-rod strings. well head.
Although it is believed that the action of the plunger The device described in this paper offers a simple,
and the polished rod may be correlated with use of in- direct solution to a complex problem, and should prove
struments of the types now available, this work would to be a very useful tool to the production engineer.
be greatly facilitated if a'definite means of time corre- The results given in Table 2 are assumed to be from
lation could be used. Mr. Montgomery apparently has well A given in Table 3. Using the data of Table 3,
in mind the need for some such device. Consideration Table 1 (Coberly) was made to compare the measured
has been given to the possibility of transmitting time " dynagraph " stroke with the estimated stroke, a s de-
signals down the rods for this purpose. termined by deducting the rod and tubing stretch from
Regarding the cases mentioned by Mr. Montgomery, the polish-rod stroke and adding the over-travel com-
in which the work done p e r cycle a t the pump or a t an puted by the relation:
intermediate point was found to exceed the input a t
the polished rod, similar instances have been found in
tests conducted in California, particularly when load
conditions a t the pump were continually changing. Two points of interest a r e suggested by this com-
However, when cards for any one pumping control were putation.
averaged, results a s shown in Fig. 12 have been ob- First, the stroke shown by the " dynagraph " is longer
tained-the average output always being greater than than the computed stroke a t all speeds except 16 s.p.m.
the input a t the polished rod. Undoubtedly, energy may The results given in Table 3 also show actual strokes
be temporarily stored in the rods, and in such a vibrat- longer than the computed. The acceleration factor
Polish- Stretch of ~ e t Dynagraph
Cycles Rod Rods and Computed Stroke,
Per Stroke Tubing Over-travel Stroke Average Difference
Minute (Inches) (Inches) (Inches j (Inches) (Inches) (Per Cent)

ing system i t is apparently too much to espect that (1.93) is based upon the very elementary conditions of
correlation of two simultaneous cycles (one a t the top simple harmonic motion, no reflected stresses, and no
and one further down the string) will provide a reliable time lag in the transmission of stress through the sucker
index of power-transmission efficiency. rod. Some of these deviations from the assumed condi-
The test mentioned by Mr. Montgomery, where in- tions add materially to the acceleration. With a crank
.crease of pumping speed resulted in decreased plunger motion in which the pitman is four times the crank a n n ,
travel, is of especial interest. So f a r we have not ob- the acceleration is 25 per cent higher than with simple
served any similar instance, although tests have been harmonic motion. This, in round figures, would raise
made in one or two wet wells. For example, the water the acceleration factor to 2.5. Variation in crank-pin
cut in well F, Fig. 8, is about 46 per ,cent, and in this velocity will also materially alter the acceleration.
-well a definite increase in plunger travel accompanied When this acceleration method of estimating over-travel
increases in pumping speed. was suggested, the magnitude of these uncontrolled
variables appeared to be so large that the selection of
any factor other than one based upon simple conditions
C. J. Coberly (Kobe, Inc.) (written) : Engineering was not warranted. However, with sufficient data from
problems involved in the study of positive-displacement test with this device, i t will be possible to determine an
punlps are relatively simple a s long a s the prime mover average acceleration factor which will give good agree-
is adjacent to the pump. When they are several thou- ment between the estimated and actual pump stroke.
sand feet apart, a s in a n oil-well pump, the change of Second, there seems to be a cyclic variation in the
deformation of the rod and tubing with variation of difference between the computed and actual stroke a s
both static and dynamic load and the time required for the strokes per minute are varied.
the transmission of stress are such that the motion of The natural period of longitudinal vibration in the
the pump plunger may differ materially from that of sucker rod and tubing is such that all pumping speeds
the motion supplied a t the surface in form, magnitude, are sub-synchronous; and, hence, i t is not possible to
and phase. In deep wells, a s pointed out by Mr. Gilbert, reach the fundamental resonance point. The natural
these effects may be sufficiently laige, compared with period of the fluid colun~n,however, is much longer, and
might correspond to thk cycle o r half-cycle time of the interest in others a s i t did in myself. There can be no
pump motion. This would account for abnormal stroke doubt that Mr. Gilbert and those who assisted him have
length a t one or possibly two speeds within the normal contributed a most valuable work to the a r t of producing
range, but not a t two speeds fairly close together. Re- oil wells with rods and pump. They not only have con-
flected stresses in the rod system, while they would be tributed a valuable device, but have also worked out
materially damped after traversing the rod the number details on its practical application and interpretation of
of times required to be in step with the pumping cycle, the results.
could account for the variation shown in the above As was pointed out in this paper, little has been done
results. The reflected stress would be in phase with the toward analyzing polish-rod cards to determine the hap-
acceleration a t the s t a r t of the upstroke in the well re- penings a t the pump. This work has been delayed be-
ferred to a t 15.3, 17.8, 21.4, 26.8, and 35.6 s.p.m., and cause there has been no means of checking conclusion
would be in phase a t both ends of the stroke a t 15.3,21.4, against the actual cycle of the pump in the well. The
and 35.6 s.p.m.; 21.4 s.p.m. corresponds closely to the dynagraph now offers this means, and rapid progress
speed which gave the maximum deviation from the com- ' should be made in this direction by its use. The dyna-

puted stroke. It would be of interest to check other wells graph has certain limitations. I t should be clearly
on which " dynagraph " cards have been taken a t differ- pointed out that the card of the dynagraph represents
ent pumping speeds to see if any general correlation of force a s one ordinate, and relative distmce a s another.
this kind can be obtained. The absolute distance and, hence, the actual work done
The cards obtained with the " dynagraph " are very may not correspond to the recorded work done. The
simple in form, while polish-rod cards taken simul- recorded work done is that done against the fluid within
taneously are the usual irregular, unsymmetrical form. the tubing. It is quite clear that the movement of the
A space time card of the polish rod is quite regular, par- tubing is not recorded. Also there is no indication of
ticularly when driven by a motor or an engine with rate of movement or speed, nor can that be predicated
close speed regulation. Since we have a regular-speed upon polish-rod motion directly. The beginning of the
card and irregular-force card a t the polish-rod end of upstroke a t the polish rod does not necessarily occur a t
the system, and have a regular-force card a t the bottom the same instant a s the plunger. I n this connection i t is
end, i t would seem reasonable to expect an irregular- interesting to note that the relative plunger stroke is
speed card a t the bottom. Such a velocity cycle for the decreased with a n increase in rod load a s shown in
pump plunger in combination with valve or plunger Fig. 8. Alsoin Fig. 6, well A shows a nearly constant
leaks would offer a logical explanation for some of the relative plunger travel from 24 to 27 s.p.m. This sug-:
variations shown in the " dynagraph " cards. gests that the plunger travel also depends upon the
As Mr. Gilber't has pointed out in this paper, the degree of synchronism of the rod frequency of the well
" dynagraph" is of particular value in studying in de- and the strokes per minute. It seems to me that here is
tail the action of the oil-well pump itself. Polish-rod an al~nostuntouched field for research.
cards serve a different purpose. Correlation of simul- This instrument also offers a means of determining
taneous bottom-hole and top-hole cards will permit the value of anchoring the tubing. I n deep wells prac-
analyzing the polish-rod card with a definite knowledge tical experience has already proved the value of tubing
of bottom-hole conditions; will greatly simplify the anchors; but i t is still unknown a t what depth, with
technique of dynamometer-card analysis, and should respect to plunger size and tubing size, it'is worthwhile
lead the way to a much better understanding of pump- to anchor the tubing. By a comparison of polish-rod
ing conditions a s . interpreted from well-head instru- dynamometer and dynagraph cards (with and without
ments. . anchors) the efficiency of gas anchors (with and with-
out tubing .anchors) production, etc., the amount of
Mr. Gilbert has referred to the necessity for adequate
gas anchors, and the value this device has in the study wasted work due to friction in the free tubing, could
of gas anchors. The point is entitled to further em- be determined. Again we might learn some interesting
phasis, a s i t is of great importance to all forms of facts from two dynagraph cards taken simultaneously,
pumps. An oil-well pump is fundamentally a poor com- one a t the' pump and one a t the tubing anchor where
pressor; and, if reasonable volumetric efficiencies are there could be no relative tubing motions.
to be obtained, separation of gas and 1iqui;d must take I t is rather surprising to find the compression of the
place ahead of the pump; 50 cu. ft. of free gas per gas in the pump to be adiabatic instead of isothermal.
barrel of oil a t a bottom-hole pressure of 50 lb. per sq. If the gas were in the form of small bubbles, the com-
in. limits the maximum volumetric efficiency to 33 per pression would be isothermal. However, with a 'wide
cent. range in pressures, such a s would be encountered in a .
This paper, and the device i t describes, is a real con- deep well with low fluid level, the compression would no
tribution to production engineering. I think Mr. Gilbert doubt lie between a true isothermal and a true adiabatic.
and those who have been associated with him in this In wells having a low fluid level and high bottom-hole
development should be congratulated 011 having given us temperature, i t is quite conceivable that vapor pressure
something new and something of value to the inchstry. may prevent the pump cylinder from filling. Because the
vapor pressure would be small, i t would not be detected
on the dynagraph card, and the well would "pound
J. C. Slomleger (The..Falk Corporation) (written) : fluid "-although, in fact, i t would not be pumped off.
No doubt Mr. Gilbert's paper has aroused a s great an I t might be interesting to experiment with an extremely-

light standing valve. The weight of the ball divided by has used for t h e , purpose of getting a n approsimation
th'e area of the valve gives the difference in pressure of actual plunger travel. Any exact method of deter-
necessary to hold the valve open. Since the vapor pres- mining plunger motion from calculations requires . ' a
sure is a function of temperature only, it is quite obvious better knowledge of the behavior of sucker-rod strings
that the vapor pressure will determine the maximum ! than we have a t the present time. The method, a s given,
difference in pressure between the outside and inside of is based on certain assumptions which do not appear a t
the pump barrel. If this difference is close to the pres- present to be unreasonable, and is to be used in connec-
sure necessary to hold the valve open, the pump will tion with dynamometer cards. This method requires
fail to fill even though there is plenty of fluid in the hole. that the time the valves operate be known, since the
Here again the dynagraph offers a means of comparing position of the polished-rod stroke where the traveling
effective stroke length, and thus offers a n effective means valve operates can usually be determined from the dyna-
of research in t h a t direction. . mometer card by inspection. The position where the
No doubt, many uses not now apparent will be found standing valve closes can be assumed, with little error,
for this ingenious instrument. to be a n equal distance from the other end of the stroke
when it cannot be determined from inspection. To illus-
trate briefly, three general conditions will be considered.
Mr.. Gilbert: Undoubtedly, the gas-compression and Fig. 1 (Kemler) shows a normal card for moderate
-expansion curves vary between a true isothermal and a pumping speeds. On this card the points a t which the
true adiabatic, a s suggested by Mr. Slonneger-the traveling valve closes and the point where the standing
value of ?a increasing with increase of pumping speed. valve closes have been indicated. I t will be found that,
Probably experimental values of n will not be the same
for expansion a s for con~pression. While selection of
good values of ?L a r e important in estimating free gas
produced through the pump, the value is.relatively un-
important in estimating rates of liquid production from
pump cards.
As Mr. Slonneger points out, the pump dynagraph is
designed to record relative motion of the plunger in the
pump body, and does not record the independent motions
of either the plunger or of the puinp body. If it were
desirable, and suitable surface equipment were avail-
able, it would be possible to pump with present bottom-
hole pumping equipment by reciprocating the tubing in-
stead of the rods. The point is that, regardless of how
it may be obtained, the relative motion between the FIG. 1 (KEMLER)
plunger and the pump body a s recorded by a pump dyna-
graph is the only motion which contributes to useful
pumping action. on a given well, the higher the speed, the greater the
Anchoring the tubing a t a point near the pump milii- distance the polished rod will travel before the traveling
mizes expenditure of energy in tubing friction, and will valve closes. The reason for this is t h a t the time to
usually be found advisable in deep wells, a s it also pro- transmit the motion from the polished rod to the plunger
vides additional displacement (in proportion to the depends on the velocity of sound in steel; and, a s this
normal tubing stretch) without increasing rod loads. is constant, the faster the pumping speed, the farther
I t would seem that a reciprocating pump cannot re- the polished rod would have traveled before the polished-
duce the fluid level in a well below the level for which rod motion is transmitted to ,the plunger. I n this case
the pressure a t the intake is equal to the vapor pres- it is seen t h a t the load a t the time the traveling valve
sure for the liquid pumped. However, when a pump closes is higher than the load a t the time the standing
ceases to function through gas o r vapor lock, both valves valve closes. Since there is a smaller load on the rods a t
will remain closed throughout the cycle. the end of the stroke t h a n a t the start of the stroke, they
will be shorter, and the plunger will, therefore, have
traveled a distance greater than the polished-rod travel.
Emory Kemler (Gulf Oil Corporation) (written) : Fig. 2 (Kemler) shows the case of a well pumping a t
The instrument which Mr. Gilbert has developed is a high speed. I n this case the difference between the load
very important contribution, and will do much to im- a t the s t a r t of the stroke and the bottom of the stroke
prove our knowledge of pump operation. I t will also is still greater, indicating a still larger over-travel.
be very valuable in the study of general pumping prob- Fig. 3 (Kemler) shows the case of a well on which the
lems. The question of over-travel has always been one pump was sanded. I n this case the load a t the s t a r t of
of considerable interest; and, while this instrument will the upstroke was much less than a t the end. This is a
make it possible actually to measure it, it is a rather reversal of the case of pumping a t high speed; and, a s
expensive and involved test to make for routine investi- the load is larger a t the end of the upstroke, the rods
gations. The following method is one which the writer would have stretched a large amount, resulting in the
plunger traveling much less t h a n t h e polished rod, o r cuit is a product of voltage and current. I n a mechanical
giving " under-travel." system, power is a product of forck a n d velocity. While
I n actual cases i t is necessary t o take into account t h e the tern1 " power factor " in a mechanical system is not
dynamic loads of the rods a t each of these points. The a common term, i t h a s somewhat t h e same significance
method is essentially t h e same, except t h a t p a r t of t h e a s in a n electrical circuit. If the force and velocity a r e
load becomes a distributed load rather than a concen- cyclic in nature, they can be resolved into harmonic com-
trated load. I t would be interesting to see whether a ponents. If these con~ponentsa r e i n phase, i t is obvious
method such as this, when applied to surface dynamom- that, f o r a given power requirement and a given velocity;
the force will be a minimum. If they a r e out of phase,
the force must necessarily be larger i n order to give
the same power. The significance of this is t h a t in a
pumping system, assuming the same plunger displace-
ment, the lower the mechanical power factor, t h e larger
the forces necessary to supply this power. The cards
shown in Fig. 1 and 2 (Kemler) show the difference be-
tween these two systems. I n Fig. 1 (Kemler) the force
is more'nearly in proportion to t h e velocity; so that, f o r .
transmitting equal amounts of power, smaller forces
a r e required pumping under these conditions than in t h e
case shown i n Fig. 2 (Kemler). I n Fig. 2 (Kemler) the
force is very much out of phase with the velocity, and
i t is seen to be relatively much higher. It would be inter-
esting to have dynamometer cards taken sin~ultaneously
to show the relative phase displacements a t different
points in the sucker-rod string. The information which
Mr. Gilbert's instrument will give, however, will con-
FIG. 2 (KEMLER) tribute a g r e a t deal to our knowledge of pumping

Mr. Gilbert: I believe i t is, o r will be practicable, in

most polished-rod cards to distinguish the load pick-up
and t h e traveling-valve closure. However, the opening
and closing of the standing valve a r e not accompanied
by abrupt changes of load when f r e e g a s is being han-
dled with the liquidin t h e pum11, and in such cases these
two events will not be easily distinguishable. From
preliminary observations, i t is very obvious t h a t a dis-
cussion of force wave reflections will do much to esplain
the load changes recorded in polished-rod cards. I n
several cards we have been able to identify a t least
. three reflections of the load release, and three reflections
of the pick-up.
I11 order to derive maxilnunl benefit from polished-rod
cards, some uniform basis of comparison of data ob-
eter cards, will check with t h e information obtained tained in different wells will be necessary. It is, there-
from the sub-surface dynamometer. Should such a rela- fore, suggested t h a t t h e ratio of t h e natural period of
tionship prove to exist, i t will then be possible, without vibration of the rods to the forced period of vibration is
a n escessive amount of work, to calculate the actual a definite characteristic, a n d t h a t cards with the same
volulnetric efficiency of t h e pump from the surface card. vibration ratio should have the same general appearance
There is a n analogy between a n electrical and me- if the bottom-hole cards a r e comparable. (Vibration
chanical system.' I n electrical systenls we commonly
refer to the " power factor." 'Power in a n electrical cir- r a t i oLN= , where L I l e n g t h of rod string, in feet;
E m o r r Iiemler. "An I n r e s t ~ g a t i o nof Espe1~imellta131ethnds AT=pumping cycles per minute; and I7=velocity of
of ~jeter&inintr Sucker-Hod Loads." T r a n s . .4 J J ~I ~. r s t .J l r ~ i r , ~o~zd
~j stress translnission in the rod string.)
M e t . Eny. (K& Tork nleetiug, Feb. 1016), 118, SY (192lil.