Oil Pumpjack

The first commercial oil well in North Dakota was the #1 Clarence Iverson well drilled in Williams County. The well was drilled by Amerada Petroleum Corporation and the field was named Beaver Lodge. The well was drilled to a depth of 11,786 feet by March of 1951. It flowed oil and gas at a rate of 451 barrels of oil and 3.9 mmcf of gas during a 16 hour test from the Silurian Interlake Formation on April 4, 1951.

Since that first barrel of oil was produced, over 1 billion barrels of crude have been recovered in North Dakota from formations as deep as 14,636 feet and as shallow as 2,983 feet. The oldest producing formation is the Deadwood Formation and the youngest producing formation is the Spearfish Formation.

Below is a diagram of a pumpjack. Although some oil flows to the surface on its own, most wells sooner or later require a pump to raise their fluids. There are different kinds of pumps used throughout the oil industry, but one kind of pump commonly seen in the oil fields of North Dakota is the rod-pumping unit, better known as the pumpjack.

This pumpjack is maintained by the American Petroleum Industry.

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