Gas flares and pumps at an oil field

Gas flares and pumps at an oil field

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Credit: JIM WEST/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Gas flares in front of jack pumps ( nodding donkeys ) on an oil field. Gas flares are used to burn off small amounts of natural gas in the crude oil. This method is used where the volume of gas is not sufficient to justify extraction for commercial use. Jack pumps are used for oil extraction where the natural pressure in the oil well is too low to force oil out at an economic rate. Such pumps are now becoming less frequently used as new recovery techniques are developed. Photographed at Watford City, North Dakota, USA, on the Bakken shale formation.

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