US 1975162 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 2, 1934.
24 5 1.9 jag A. LAYNE 1,975,162
Filed Aug. 11, 1931 2 SheetS-Shet l a on ATTORNEYS Oct. 2, 1934. LAYNE 1,975,162
METHOD FOR PLACING DIVIDED MATERIALS ATBELATIVELY INACCESSIBLEJPOINTS Filed Aug. 11. 1931 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVEN R ATTORNEY5' Patented Oct. 2, 1934 UNITED STATE-S METHOD FOR PLACING DIVIDED MATE- RIALS AT RELATIVELY INACCESSIBLE POINTS I Leslie A. Layne,
Application Augustv 11, 1931, Serial No. 556,343 8 Claims. 166-1) This invention relates to the art of placing materials having divided form, such as gravel, sand, cement; etc., at points which are ordinarily considered relatively inaccessible. J
One important use for the invention is in the graveling of water wells, and, although it is adapted to many other specific uses such as in the placing of divided materials in oil or gas wells, it will, for purposes of simplicity in disclosing the invention, be described herein in con-' nection with an embodiment employed in the graveling of a water well.
In water wells, and also in other wells, the product to beobtained from the well is often encountered in a sand formation of such character as to pass freely through the well strainer,
' causing cavitation of the well, or of such character as to cause clogging of the screen structure employed in the well. In such instances, and in other instances more favorable, it has been the practice to place gravel between a coarse screen structure and the wall of the well, this gravel being applied by pouring it down through the hole around the outside of the casing and working it down through the annular space in the well which exists outside the well casing, to its position of utility around the screen structure in the well.
This method of application is unsatisfactory owing to the fact that it provides no positive application of the gravel to the required point,
and in passing downwardly through the annular space to its point of utility the gravel often becomes mixed with foreign substances which very much impair the utility of the gravel as a well filter screen, strainer auxiliary or protector.
It is an important feature and object of the invention to provide a positive means and method of applying divided material to a relatively inaccessible point under pressure and at comparatively high velocity- It is an object of the invention to provide a method of and an apparatus for placing divided materials of widely diversified character at desired points of application, and to accomplish this placement positively and quickly by the useof relatively simple equipment.
Additional objects and advantages of the invention will be made evident throughout the following part of the specification.
Referring to the drawings which are for illustrative purposes only:
Fig. 1 is a partly sectioned diagrammatic view showing a simple apparatus by means of which the invention may be carried out.
Fig. 2 is a fragmentary cross-section on the plane represented by the line 2-2 of Fig. 1.
Fig. 3 is a cross-section on the plane represented by the line 3-3 of Fig. 1.
Fig. 4 is a view similar to Fig. 1 illustrating a 0- modified structure by means of which my invention can be practiced; and
Fig. 5 is a section on the line 55 of Fig. 4.
Each form of apparatus that I have shown includes essentially the three following elements, 5 first, a transfer piping system 11, through which fluid under pressure and at a required, comparatively high, velocity is conducted from a point of feeding to a point of application; second, a means such as a pump 12 for moving a fluid through the transfer piping system 11 under pressure and at the required velocity; and third, a pressure feeder 13 for adding the divided material to the flow of fluid passing through the transfer piping system in such proportions or quantities as may be readily and positively transported to the point or area of application in which use thereof is desired.
The transfer piping 11 may include, as shown in Fig. 1 of the drawings, a pipe 14 extending from'the pump 12 to a T 15, piping 16 having a valve 17 therein, the outer'portion 18 of an outlet pipe 19, gate valve 20, horizontal pipe portion 21, a flexible hose member 22, and transfer piping 23 which is connected to the flexible hose 35 22 through an elbow 24, and as indicated at 25, is supported by suitable elevator and tackle mechanism in positionto extend down outside a casing 26 within a well 27. v
The pump 12 may be of any type capable of developing a pressure sufiicient to accomplish the result to be hereinafter set forth.
The feeder 13 may be embodied in such simple form of apparatus as shown in Figure 1, consisting of a container 28, disposed in convenient position relative to the accessible end of the transfer piping system 11, this container having a filling port 29 equipped with a cover 30 which may be closed substantially-tightly against the pressure under which the system is operated.
The outlet pipe 19 projects from the lower end of the container 28 and as shown at 31 is connected to a bend in the end of the piping 16 which is directed outwardly with respect to the outlet pipe 19 so as to direct the fluid into the 1 pipe 19 in the most favorable direction. Com- 'municating with the source of fluid supply 12,
through a pipe 32 which leads into the T 15, is a nozzle pipe 33 having a valve 34 therein, which projects into the container 28, this nozzle pipe .33 having the primary functionof feeding fluid these fluid products, and at the same time hold-' ing back the sand formations so as to prevent cavitation and consequent destruction of the well, it is customary to provide a well screen 37, which is secured to the well casing 26 in the position necessary to place the screen within the production area 36 when the well casing and screen are lowered into the well. As previously herein mentioned, it has been the customary practice to pour gravel into the annular space 38 existing within the well 27 around the casing 26, expecting that this gravel may be finally worked down to its proper position of utility surrounding the screen 37, as indicated by the body of gravel 40.
The present invention, as wili be recognized from the following description of the transferring operation which my invention makes possible, enables the placing of the gravel 40 exactly at the desired point of application, produces a more even placement of the body of gravel around the screen 3'7, produces a body of gravel of greater diameter than is ordinarily possible by use of the old method for the reason that in the natural operation of the new method the production formation 36is cavitated or washed out around the screen 3'7 so as to provide an annular chamber 41 surrounding the screen 3'7 and containing the gravel body 40, and finally the delivery of the gravel to its point of utility without contact of the gravel with. the upper earth formations through which the well has been drilled, thereby preventing mixture of undesirable materials with the body of gravel 40. a
With the transfer piping 23 in place in the well 2'1 outside the casing 26, and with the lower end 44 thereof projecting to or down into the production formation, and with the container 28 of the feeder 13 having been filled with gravel, fluid such as water is directed through piping 32, valve 35, and piping 42 to the pipe 21, and then on through the transfer piping system 11 as indicated by the arrow 43, this water being delivered atrelatively high velocity from the lower end 4 into the space or production area 36 surrounding the screen 37, this introduction of water at high velocity tending to wash sand from around the screen so that it is strained through the screen slots 45 into the interior of the screen 37. The gravel or divided material will separate out of the carrier liquid because of the decrease in velocity of the liquid as it discharges. from the pipe 44, and also because the liquid then passes into the screen or strainer. Where the graveling action is being performed on a well not flowing at the required high velocity to carry sand out with it, a pump is then employed to produce an upward flowof water through the casing 26 and out the upper end thereof, said flow being at suflicient velocity to carry of)? sand or other fine substances which may be washed through the screen 37 after it has been loosened from the production formation 36 by an application of water under pressure from the nozzle end 44 of the transfer piping 23.
The flow of water may then be diverted from the piping 42 to the piping 16, by opening valve 1'7 and closing valve 35, or the flow may be divided between the piping 42 and 16 to any desired proportions by suitable adjustment of the valves 17 and 35, the gate 20 at this time being opened. Opening of the valve 34 allows water to enter the container, permeating the body of divided material therein, this flow of water on discharging from the container carrying with it through the outlet pipe 19 quantities of the divided material which are thus delivered under pressure to the water flowing through the transfer piping system 11.
As a secondary utility, the introduction of water through the nozzle pipe 33 under pressure into the interior of the container 28, produces an agitation at the lower portion of the container which results in producing a more complete mechanical mixture of the divided materials and the water in said container, the outflow of water from said container through the outlet piping 19, being at relatively high velocity and naturally carrying therewith divided materials and adding such divided materials to the water flowing under pressure through the transfer piping system 11, the water being pumped at such velocity that settlement of the solid materials in the system and the consequent clogging thereof is prevented. However, the nozzle arrangement 33 is not essen tial as any other suitable inlet to the tank 28 for the fluid under pressure could be utilized, such, for example, as the valvepipe 38a at the top. Nevertheless, the nozzle 33 has certain advantages because it may serve to assist in the withdrawal of the mixture of water and divided materials from the interior of the container 28 because of the agitation which it will produce in the vicinity of the outlet pipe 19.
It is desirable, but not necessary, toplace the nozzle pipe 33 in a position substantially aligned with the outlet pipe 19, as shown in Fig. 2, so that the flow of water from the nozzle pipe will also act to assist in the ejection of divided materials from the container 28. The result of the foregoing action is to deliver the divided solid materials, in this instance gravel, with a flow of fluidunder pressure and traveling at a relatively high velocity, into the area of application, and thereby to attain the valuable results hereinbefore specified. In this connection I desire to call attention to the fact that all changes of direction in the transfer piping 11 are accomplished by means of gradually curved portions such as the elbow 24 so that no clogging ca occur as would be encountered were sharply ang ed turns to be employed. Furthermore, the discharge from the, system 11v takes place through a straight end 44. These points are important'to successful employment of the invention because without use of this type of equipment the divided material would quickly clog the system.
The simple form of pump with which I illustrate a methodv of washing a screen which has been set in a well and of cavitation of the walls of a production formation, by the delivery of a fluid at high velocity and pressure into such formation externally or" the screen and placing a suction within the screen so as to cause the removal of fine materials through the screen and subsequently out through the casing, is shown in the form of an air lift nozzle 46 secured to the lower end of air lift piping 4'7 equipped with a valve 48 at its upper end for the purpose of controlling the flow of air therethrough. Practice of the invention is not to be limited to the use of an air lift method of pumping, since any other suitable type of pump could be used instead.
In Figs. 4 and 5 I have shown a somewhat different means by which my invention may be practiced. In these figures the casing 26a is provided with a longitudinally extending opening 49 having an overhanging apron 50 which protects the opening from materials which may be dis lodged in the well. Such an apron can be conveniently made by cutting a pipe of suitable diameter on the required angle and welding the section so produced to the casing 26a in proper position over the opening 49. The lower end 51 of the apron is preferably of circular cross section as shown.
As illustrated in Fig. 4 the opening 49 is located so as to bring the outlet end 51 of the apron 'adjacent the production formation 36 and preferably near the upper portion thereof so that the discharge end 44a of the transfer piping 23a can be directed to the proper area in the well. The tip 52 on the lower end 44a is cut at an angle in order to facilitate its entrance into the opening 49 but discharge takes place in a substantial straight line as with the construction of Fig. 1, so that no clogging can occur.
The piping is handled as before by means of suitable tackle mechanism 25 and at a suitable location near the lower end the pipe 23a is pro.- vided with the spring 53 which, by reacting against the inner wall of the casing 26a, forces the end of the pipe 52 into the opening 49, the opening being located by slowly rotating the pipe after lowering it to the proper position in the well.
If necessary an upward flow may be produced by means of the air pump nozzle 46a as before described, although in the showing of Fig. 4 the upper end of the casing 26a is closed by a cap,
54 having a valve controlled outlet 55 and a valve controlled inlet 56. Where difllculty is experienced in removing sand or other undesired material from the zone where the gravel is being ap-- plied, the outlet 55 can be closed and water or other fluid introduced through the inlet 56 in order to cause a reverse or downward flow through the casing 26a, with the result that the water in the lower part of the casing will be forced outwardly through the slots 45 to loosen any material which may have accumulated to clog the strainer 37. By intermittently reversing the flow in this manner undesired material, such as sand from the formation 36, which occasionally is re,- moved with difficulty, can be withdrawn quite readily so as not to interfere with the proper placing of the gravel.
It will be seen that I have developed a method for rapidly, efliciently and satisfactorily placing divided material at relatively inaccessible points which, of course, is peculiarly fitted for use in connection withwells. For best results the flow of liquid thru the transfer piping must be at relatively high speed and under considerable pressure, the velocity, in fact, being sufliciently great to keep the divided material at all times in suspension, as-it were, so that it is always positively carried to the point of application instead of being allowed to seek its way down under the influence of gravity alone. The piping 23, 23a should be of comparatively small size in order to insure the maintenance of the proper velocity and pressure all the way down and all bends or turns should be very gradual and discharge should take place in as nearly a straight line as possible.
Without observing these conditions difiiculties may be encountered because of clogging. will be apparent one of the essential features of the invention is to provide for the'transfer of the divided material to the proper location and the separation of the divided material from the carrier liquid and'flner particles with the removal of the latter materials at the proper rate so that the divided material remains at the desired location. In carrying out the method the outlet end 44, 44a of the transfer piping can, of course, be
- cause gravel always carries with it a certain per centage of sand or very fine particles (sometimes.
quite a large percentage) and when the flow stops for any reason the material in the pipe, of course, will fall .by gravity, the heavier and larger particles accumulating at the bottom and the finer particles above them because they are lighter and the water more greatly retards or resists their fall than it does that of the larger particles. This accumulation of sand forms a plug in the line which it is practically impossible to dislodge except by withdrawing the pipe and cleaning it out.
1. Amethod of forming a body of divided material within a well, including directing a flow of fluid to the point of application at which it is desired toplace said material in the well; adding divided material to said flow of fluid; and straining said flow of fluid at said point of application whereby to retain said divided material at said point of application.
. 2. A method of forming a body of divided material within a well, including directing a flow of fluid to the point of application at which it is desired to place said material in the well; adding divided material to said flow of fluid at an accessible point in said flow; straining said liquid at said point of application whereby to retain said divided, material at said point of application; and directing said flow of fluid to an accessible point to carry off from said point of application materials smaller than said divided material.
3. A method of the character described, including directing a flow of fluid down through a well to the point of application at which it is desired to place divided material; adding divided material to said flow of fluid at an accessible point in said flow; straining said flow at said point of application whereby to retain saiddivided material at said point of application; and directing said flow of fluid from said point of application out through the top of the well.
4. A method of the class described, including directing a continuous flow of fluid at a velocity sufficient to resist settling of divided heavy solids carried therein, down through a well to the point of application at which it is desired to place divided material in the well; adding divided materials to said flow of fluid at an accessible point therein, to the point of application at which it is desired to place said material in the well; adding divided material to said flow of fluid at an accessible point in said flow; straining said fluid at said point of application whereby to retain said divided material at said point of application; and directing said flow of fluid from said point of application to an accessible point to carry ofi from said point of application materials finer than said divided material.
6. A method of forming a body of divided material within a well, including directing a continuous flow of fluid, at a velocity sufiicient to resist settling of divided heavy solids carried therein, to the point of application at which it is desired to place said material inthe well adding in continuous order a relatively small amount of divided material to said flow of fluid at an accessible point in said flow; straining said fluid at said point of application whereby to retain said divided material at said point of application; and directing said flow of fluid from said point of application to an accessible point, to carry oil from said point of application materials finer than said divided material.
7. A method of graveling wells which includes forming a single well bore, placing a well screen in the desired position in said bore, directing a stream of fluid through said well bore outside said screen to the area around said screen, delivering gravel to said stream, and withdrawing the fluid through the walls of said screen to the interior thereof, the velocity of flow of said stream bein'g sufficient to keep in suspension all the particles in the gravel.
8. A method of forming a body of divided material within a well about a well strainer, including directing a flow of liquid under pressure to the point of application around said strainer at which it is desired to place said material in the well; and adding divided material under pressure to said flow of liquid at an accessible point in the flow thereof and returning said flow of liquid through said strainer upwardly to the surface.
LESLIE A. LAYNE.