Machines have just recently been released, this wiki will be updated as more is learned about them. For now, probably the most helpful thing is the explanation from the Minethings Help section.
Machines are used by Pilots to extract oil from the ground and pipe it to a landing pad where it is packaged into barrels for helicopter extraction. Machines can only be deployed from the city where they are mined. Adjacent to this city is a field where underground oil is plentiful but acid rain eats at everything. Once a machine is deployed, it will work automatically at its designed purpose until the rain eats it away. Other players deploy their machines at the same field and you may find that not all the oil you extract ends up in your inventory.
There are many different models of machines all categorized into these types:
Pump: Pumps oil from the ground into the pump's hex. There's no limit to the oil underground. Oil will collect at the pad unless it's piped elsewhere.
- Pipe: Moves oil from one hex to another.
- Pad: Packs oil into barrels for retrieval. When a barrel is full, the owner of the pad can retrieve the barrel. Unfinished barrels persist through machine changes.
- Pelter: Throws rocks at a neighboring machine, reducing its lifespan.
- Power: Powers an adjacent machine.
Machines must be deployed no more than N+1 hexes away from the center where N is the distance of the closest empty spot. Within this area you can place machines on any blue empty spot or top of your own deployed machines replacing them. Once deployed, machines cannot be moved or rotated.
Oil has a number of uses. It makes your mining robots run much faster (+10 bph for 3 days). It makes your factory workers more efficient (+1 CPH). It even makes your vehicle faster (+10% if carrying oil -- doesn't consume).