The Difference Between a Christmas Tree and Wellhead


For anyone in the oil and gas industry, knowledge of all the different pipes needed on the site is vital. Of course, the necessary materials will depend on the goals of each job. But it’s also essential to have the proper understanding of how these pipes function and which are the right ones for the job.

What is a Christmas Tree in the Oil and Gas Industry?

The term Christmas tree refers to an assembly of valves, spools, and fittings used for a variety of wells such as:

  • An oil well
  • A gas well
  • A water injection well
  • Water disposal wells
  • A gas injection well
  • A condensate well
  • And other types of wells

The name was given because it resembles a decorated Christmas tree with all the different connections.

The Role of a Christmas Tree Assembly

The primary role of the Christmas tree focuses on controlling the flow of oil or gas into or out of different wells. Some other functions the tree provides include: 

  • Chemical injection points
  • The means for well intervention
  • Ways of relieving pressure relief (for example, annulus vents)

The Christmas tree assembly also provides points where you can monitor:

  • Pressure
  • Temperature
  • Corrosion
  • Erosion
  • Sand detection
  • Flow rate
  • Flow composition
  • Valve and choke position feedback
  • Connection points for various devices (for example, DHPT)

A Christmas Tree vs. a Wellhead

Although many people will often use the terms Christmas Tree and Wellhead interchangeably, they are actually entirely separate pieces of equipment. 

A wellhead is a structure located at the top of a well, providing a structural interface for any drilling and production instruments. Aside from the job it performs, another key difference is that a wellhead must be present for a Christmas tree to be used and, during drilling operations, can function without a Christmas tree.

Make Sure Everything is Reddy!

No matter your piping needs, the expert team at Reddy Pipe & Supply, Inc. is ready and eager to answer any questions you may have. We’ve provided excellent service in the oil and gas industry for the past 33 years.

Contact us today to order your pipe and supplies for your next job.

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