Kevin Batterberry, looks over a tired, old, 50 horsepower Superior engine in Texas-a single cylinder, duplex, two cycle in sad shape.
1887 Dahlstedt Road, Burlinaton, WA 98233.
The single cylinder, heavy duty gas engine is alive and well in the Texas oil fields. They are much in evidence in the equipment sales yards and at the wellheads throughout South Texas. On a recent two day trip to the area in and around Alice, Texas, we saw innumerable engines in the fifteen to fifty horsepower range. Most are equipped to run on the natural gas available at the wellhead. Natural gas collects in the well casing at pressures of 1000 PSI or so. A regulator at the casing drops the pressure to around 100 PSI. A second regulator at the engine drops the pressure to a few ounces. The engine breathes this low pressure gas from a receiver of several cubic foot capacity. The engines are equipped with sensors to detect excessive speed, heat, or failure of the lubricating system. All in all the engines provide a reliable and economical method of pumping deep oil wells. Most engines are of the Ajax, Arrow, or Witte brands. Don't plan on running down to Texas and adding one to your collection. Prices start at four to five thousand dollars.