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Publication numberUS20030183395 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/113,392
Publication dateOct 2, 2003
Filing dateApr 1, 2002
Priority dateApr 1, 2002
Publication number10113392, 113392, US 2003/0183395 A1, US 2003/183395 A1, US 20030183395 A1, US 20030183395A1, US 2003183395 A1, US 2003183395A1, US-A1-20030183395, US-A1-2003183395, US2003/0183395A1, US2003/183395A1, US20030183395 A1, US20030183395A1, US2003183395 A1, US2003183395A1
InventorsGary Jones
Original AssigneeJones Gary W.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
System and method for preventing sand production into a well casing having a perforated interval
US 20030183395 A1
Abstract
A well completion system and method for preventing sand production into a well casing (38) having a perforated interval (42) is disclosed. The system comprises a sand control screen (40) having expandable end sections (60, 62) each of which having an attachment member (72, 74) positioned exteriorly therearound. An expander tool (44) is operably disposed within the sand control screen (40) such that when the sand control screen (40) is positioned within the well casing (38) across the perforated interval (42), the expander tool (44) radially expands the end sections (60, 62) such that the attachment members (72, 74) are placed in contact with the interior of the well casing (38), thereby creating a fluid seal and a friction grip between the end sections (60, 62) and the well casing (38).
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Claims(44)
What is claimed is:
1. A method for preventing sand production into a well casing having a perforated interval positioned within a wellbore, the method comprising the steps of:
installing the well casing within the wellbore;
disposing a sand control screen having expandable end sections within the well casing across the perforated interval; and
setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections, thereby creating a friction grip between the end sections and the well casing.
2. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises expanding the end sections with an expander tool having two expander members, each of the expander members expanding one of the end sections by traveling longitudinally therethrough.
3. The method as recited in claim 2 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises simultaneously expanding the end sections.
4. The method as recited in claim 2 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises sequentially expanding the end sections.
5. The method as recited in claim 2 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises hydraulically operating the expander tool.
6. The method as recited in claim 5 wherein the step of hydraulically operating the expander tool further comprises providing fluid pressure to the expander tool from the surface via a tubing string.
7. The method as recited in claim 5 wherein the step of hydraulically operating the expander tool further comprises providing fluid pressure to the expander tool from a downhole fluid source.
8. The method as recited in claim 2 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises electrically operating the expander tool.
9. The method as recited in claim 2 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises moving the expander members toward one another to expand the end sections.
10. The method as recited in claim 2 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises moving the expander members away from one another to expand the end sections.
11. The method as recited in claim 2 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises contacting a frustaconical surface of the expander members with an inner radial surface of the end sections.
12. The method as recited in claim 1 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises creating a fluid seal between the well casing and the end sections.
13. A method for preventing sand production into a well casing having a perforated interval positioned within a wellbore, the method comprising the steps of:
installing the well casing within the wellbore;
disposing a sand control screen having expandable end sections within the well casing across the perforated interval; and
setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections with an expander tool having two expander members, each of the expander members expanding one of the end sections by contacting a frustaconical surface of the expander members with an inner radial surface of the end sections and traveling longitudinally therethrough, thereby creating a fluid seal and a friction grip between the end sections and the well casing.
14. The method as recited in claim 13 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises simultaneously expanding the end sections.
15. The method as recited in claim 13 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises sequentially expanding the end sections.
16. The method as recited in claim 13 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises hydraulically operating the expander tool.
17. The method as recited in claim 16 wherein the step of hydraulically operating the expander tool further comprises providing fluid pressure to the expander tool from the surface via a tubing string.
18. The method as recited in claim 16 wherein the step of hydraulically operating the expander tool further comprises providing fluid pressure to the expander tool from a downhole fluid source.
19. The method as recited in claim 13 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises electrically operating the expander tool.
20. The method as recited in claim 13 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises moving the expander members toward one another to expand the end sections.
21. The method as recited in claim 13 wherein the step of setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections further comprises moving the expander members away from one another to expand the end sections.
22. A well completion system for preventing sand production into a well casing having a perforated interval, the well casing positioned within a wellbore, the system comprising:
a sand control screen having expandable end sections, the sand control screen positioned within the well casing across the perforated interval;
a pair of attachment members one positioned exteriorly about each of the end sections; and
an expander tool operably disposed within the sand control screen and adapted to radially expand the end sections such that the attachment members are places in contact with the well casing, thereby creating a friction grip between the end sections and the well casing.
23. The system as recited in claim 22 wherein the expander tool simultaneously expands the end sections.
24. The system as recited in claim 22 wherein the expander tool sequentially expands the end sections.
25. The system as recited in claim 22 wherein the expander tool is hydraulically operated.
26. The system as recited in claim 25 wherein the expander tool is hydraulically operated by fluid pressure provided from the surface via a tubing string.
27. The system as recited in claim 25 wherein the expander tool is hydraulically operated by providing fluid pressure from a downhole fluid source.
28. The system as recited in claim 22 wherein the expander tool is electrically operated.
29. The system as recited in claim 22 wherein the expander tool further comprises two expander members, each of the expander members expanding one of the end sections by traveling longitudinally therethrough.
30. The system as recited in claim 29 wherein the expander members move toward one another to expand the end sections.
31. The system as recited in claim 29 wherein the expander members move away from one another to expand the end sections.
32. The system as recited in claim 29 wherein the expander members each have a frustaconical surface that contacts an inner radial surface of the end sections to expand the end sections.
33. The system as recited in claim 22 wherein the attachment members create a fluid seal with the well casing when the attachment members are placed in contact with the well casing.
34. A well completion system for preventing sand production into a well casing having a perforated interval, the well casing positioned within a wellbore, the system comprising:
a sand control screen having expandable end sections, the sand control screen positioned within the well casing across the perforated interval;
a pair of attachment members one positioned exteriorly about each of the end sections; and
an expander tool operably disposed within the sand control screen having two expander members, each of the expander members adapted to radially expand one of the end sections by traveling longitudinally therethrough such that the attachment members are placed in contact with the well casing, thereby creating a friction grip between the end sections and the well casing.
35. The system as recited in claim 34 wherein the expander tool simultaneously expands the end sections.
36. The system as recited in claim 34 wherein the expander tool sequentially expands the end sections.
37. The system as recited in claim 34 wherein the expander tool is hydraulically operated.
38. The system as recited in claim 37 wherein the expander tool is hydraulically operated by fluid pressure provided from the surface via a tubing string.
39. The system as recited in claim 37 wherein the expander tool is hydraulically operated by providing fluid pressure from a downhole fluid source.
40. The system as recited in claim 34 wherein the expander tool is electrically operated.
41. The system as recited in claim 34 wherein the expander members move toward one another to expand the end sections.
42. The system as recited in claim 34 wherein the expander members move away from one another to expand the end sections.
43. The system as recited in claim 34 wherein the expander members each have a frustaconical surface that contacts an inner radial surface of the end sections to expand the end sections.
44. The system as recited in claim 34 wherein the attachment members create a fluid seal with the well casing when the attachment members are placed in contact with the well casing.
Description
    TECHNICAL FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    This invention relates, in general, to completing a well that traverses a hydrocarbon bearing subterranean formation and, in particular, to a system and method for preventing sand production into a well casing having a perforated interval by radially expanding the end sections of a sand control screen to provide a fluid seal and a friction grip between the sand control screen and the well casing.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0002]
    Without limiting the scope of the present invention, its background will be described with reference to producing fluid from a subterranean formation, as an example.
  • [0003]
    After drilling each of the sections of a subterranean wellbore, individual lengths of relatively large diameter metal tubulars are typically secured together to form a casing string that is positioned within each section of the wellbore. This casing string is used to increase the integrity of the wellbore by preventing the wall of the hole from caving in. In addition, the casing string prevents movement of fluids from one formation to another formation. Conventionally, each section of the casing string is cemented within the wellbore before the next section of the wellbore is drilled. Accordingly, each subsequent section of the wellbore must have a diameter that is less than the previous section.
  • [0004]
    For example, a first section of the wellbore may receive a conductor casing string having a 20-inch diameter. The next several sections of the wellbore may receive intermediate casing strings having 16-inch, 13⅜-inch and 9⅝-inch diameters, respectively. The final sections of the wellbore may receive production casing strings having 7-inch and 4-inch diameters, respectively. Each of the casing strings may be hung from a casing head near the surface. Alternatively, some of the casing strings may be in the form of liner strings that extend from near the setting depth of previous section of casing. In this case, the liner string will be suspended from the previous section of casing on a liner hanger.
  • [0005]
    Once this well construction process is finished, the completion process may begin. The completion process comprises numerous steps including creating hydraulic openings or perforations through the production casing string, the cement and a short distance into the desired formation or formations so that production fluids may enter the interior of the wellbore. In addition, the completion process may involve formation stimulation to enhance production, installation of sand control devices to prevent sand production and the like. The completion process also includes installing a production tubing string within the well casing. Unlike the casing string that forms a part of the wellbore itself, the production tubing string is used to produce the well by providing the conduit for formation fluids to travel from the formation depth to the surface.
  • [0006]
    Typically, the production tubing string extends from the surface to the formation traversed by the well and includes a production packer. The purpose of the packer is to support the production tubing and other completion equipment, such as a sand control screen that may be placed adjacent to the producing formation, and to seal the annulus between the outside of the production tubing and the inside of the well casing to block movement of fluids through the annulus past the packer location. Accordingly, once the production tubing string, including the production packer and sand control screen are in place, all production from the formation that enters the production tubing must pass through the sand control screen.
  • [0007]
    It has been found, however, that in certain deep or high-angled wellbores in which relatively small diameter production casing is used, it may be desirable to complete the well without extending the production tubing string all the way to the producing formation. While the diameter of the production tubing that is installed within a well is determined based upon a number of factors, the maximum diameter of the production tubing is limited by the various restrictions within the well including the production casing and any tools within the production casing. Use of relatively small diameter production tubing over long distances may cause a pressure drop in the formation fluids traveling therethrough that is unnecessarily large which in turn causes the rate of production from the formation to be unnecessarily constrained. Accordingly, if the production tubing string does not extend into the last section of the production casing and formation fluids are produced directly into and travel within the last section of the production casing, the pressure drop in the formation fluids may be reduced.
  • [0008]
    It has been found, however, that in such deep or high-angled wellbores wherein the production tubing string is not extended all the way to the producing formation, sand control may remain a problem. Specifically, the unfiltered formation fluids that are being produced directly into and traveling within the production casing may contain abrasive particulate matter.
  • [0009]
    A need has therefore arisen for a system and method for preventing sand production into a wellbore even when the production tubing string is not extended all the way to the producing formation. Accordingly, a need has arisen for such a system and method that provide for placement of a sand control screen within a wellbore that do not require the sand control screen to be coupled within the production tubing string.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0010]
    The present invention disclosed herein comprises a system and method for preventing the production of sand into a wellbore even when the production tubing string is not extended all the way to the producing formation. The system and method provide for the placement of a sand control screen within a wellbore that do not require the sand control screen to be coupled within the production tubing string. Instead, the sand control screen of the present invention is placed directly within the production casing across the perforated interval such that when the end sections of the sand control screen of the present invention are expanded, a fluid seal and a friction grip are created between the sand control screen and the well casing.
  • [0011]
    The well completion system of the present invention comprises a sand control screen that has expandable end sections. Each of the expandable end sections has an attachment member positioned on its exterior surface. The sand control screen may be run downhole into the well casing on a jointed tubing string, a coiled tubing string, an electric line or other similar device. The sand control screen is positioned within the well casing across the perforated interval. Thereafter, an expander tool that is operably disposed within the sand control screen may be used to expand the end sections of the sand control screen. For example, the expander tool may have two expander members such that each of the expander members is adapted to radially expand one of the end sections of the sand control screen by traveling longitudinally therethrough. Upon expansion of the end sections, the attachment members are placed in intimate contact with the interior surface of the well casing, thereby creating a fluid seal and a friction grip between the end sections of the sand control screen and the well casing.
  • [0012]
    In one embodiment of the system for preventing sand production into a well casing having a perforated interval, the expansion of the two end sections of the sand control screen may take place simultaneously. In another embodiment, the expansion of the two end sections of the sand control screen may take place sequentially.
  • [0013]
    In one embodiment of the system of the present invention, the expander tool may be hydraulically operated. For example, fluid pressure may be provided from the surface via a tubing string or a downhole pump may be used to provide fluid pressure from a downhole fluid source. In another embodiment, the expander tool may be electrically operated using, for example, an electric motor to drive a rotating shaft.
  • [0014]
    In one embodiment of the system of the present invention, the pair of expander members of the expander tool may move toward one another to expand the end sections. In another embodiment, the pair of expander members of the expander tool may move away from one another to expand the end sections. In yet another embodiment, an expander tool having a single expander member may be used to expand both end sections. In any of these embodiments, each expander member may have a frustaconical surface that contacts an inner radial surface of the end sections to facilitate the expansion of the end sections.
  • [0015]
    Broadly stated, the method of the present invention involves installing the well casing within the wellbore, disposing a sand control screen having expandable end sections within the well casing across the perforated interval and setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections, thereby creating a friction grip between the end sections and the well casing.
  • [0016]
    More specifically, the method of the present invention involves installing the well casing within the wellbore, disposing a sand control screen having expandable end sections within the well casing across the perforated interval and setting the sand control screen by radially expanding the end sections with an expander tool having two expander members, each of the expander members expanding one of the end sections by contacting a frustaconical surface of the expander members with an inner radial surface of the end sections and traveling longitudinally therethrough, thereby creating a fluid seal and a friction grip between the end sections and the well casing.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0017]
    For a more complete understanding of the features and advantages of the present invention, reference is now made to the detailed description of the invention along with the accompanying figures in which corresponding numerals in the different figures refer to corresponding parts and in which:
  • [0018]
    [0018]FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of an offshore oil and gas platform installing a sand control screen having expandable end sections according to the present invention;
  • [0019]
    [0019]FIG. 2 is a half sectional view of a sand control screen having expandable end sections according to the present invention positioned within a casing string prior to installation within the casing string;
  • [0020]
    [0020]FIG. 3 is a half sectional view of a sand control screen having expandable end sections according to the present invention positioned within a casing string after installation within the casing string;
  • [0021]
    [0021]FIG. 4 is a half sectional view of a sand control screen having expandable end sections according to the present invention positioned within a casing string after installation within the casing string and after the installation of a tubing string;
  • [0022]
    [0022]FIG. 5 is a half sectional view of a sand control screen having expandable end sections according to the present invention positioned within a casing string prior to installation within the casing string;
  • [0023]
    [0023]FIG. 6 is a half sectional view of a sand control screen having expandable end sections according to the present invention positioned within a casing string after installation within the casing string; and
  • [0024]
    [0024]FIG. 7 is a half sectional view of a sand control screen having expandable end sections according to the present invention positioned within a casing string after installation within the casing string and after the installation of a tubing string.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0025]
    While the making and using of various embodiments of the present invention are discussed in detail below, it should be appreciated that the present invention provides many applicable inventive concepts which can be embodied in a wide variety of specific contexts. The specific embodiments discussed herein are merely illustrative of specific ways to make and use the invention, and do not delimit the scope of the present invention.
  • [0026]
    Referring initially to FIG. 1, a sand control screen having expandable end sections according to the present invention is being installed from an offshore oil and gas platform that is schematically illustrated and generally designated 10. A semi-submersible platform 12 is centered over a submerged oil and gas formation 14 located below sea floor 16. A subsea conduit 18 extends from deck 20 of platform 12 to wellhead installation 22 including subsea blowout preventers 24. Platform 12 has a hoisting apparatus 26 and a derrick 28 for raising and lowering pipe strings.
  • [0027]
    Wellbore 32 extends through the various earth strata including formation 14. A casing string 34 is cemented within wellbore 32 by cement 36. Casing string 34 includes a production casing liner 38 at its lower end. Placed within production casing 38 is a sand control screen 40 having expandable ends that is positioned across perforations 42. As explained in greater detail below, to install sand control screen 40 within production casing string 38 the end sections of sand control screen 40 are plastically deformed using expander tool 44 by, for example, pumping fluid down through a coiled tubing string 52 that is in fluid communication with expander tool 44. Once sand control screen 40 has been set and coiled tubing string 52 along with expander tool 44 has been retrieved to the surface, a relatively large diameter production tubing string (not pictured) may be installed within casing string 34 to a point above production casing 38.
  • [0028]
    Referring now to FIG. 2, therein is depicted more detailed view of a sand control screen of the present invention that is designated 40. Production casing 38 has been installed within wellbore 32. Specifically, production casing 38 has been hung off casing string 34 at liner hanger 50 and has been cemented within wellbore 32. In addition, perforations 42 have been made in a section of production casing 38 using a known technique such as firing a shaped charge perforating gun.
  • [0029]
    As illustrated, in deep well applications, the size of production casing 38 may be relative small, such as 4 inches in diameter. In such cases, it may be desirable to complete the well without extending the production tubing string all the way to formation 14 as long sections of relatively small diameter production tubing cause an unnecessarily large pressure drop during the production of formation fluids which in turn causes the rate of production from formation 14 to be unnecessarily constrained.
  • [0030]
    To achieve the required sand control in such cases, sand control screen 40 is positioned within production casing 38. Sand control screen 40 is initially supported by a coiled tubing string 52 that extends from the surface. In the illustrated embodiment, sand control screen 40 includes a base pipe 54 that has a plurality of openings 56 which allow the flow of production fluids therethrough. Wrapped around base pipe 54 is a screen wire 58 that forms a plurality of turns having gaps therebetween through which formation fluids flow. The number of turns and the gap between the turns are determined based upon the characteristics of formation 14. Ribs may be provided between base pipe 54 and screen wire 58.
  • [0031]
    It should be understood by those skilled in the art that while FIG. 2 has depicted a wire wrapped sand control screen, other types of filter media could alternatively be used in conjunction with the sand control screen of the present invention, including, but not limited to, a fluid-porous, particulate restricting, sintered metal material such as a plurality of layers of a wire mesh that are sintered together to form a porous sintered wire mesh screen designed to allow fluid flow therethrough but prevent the flow of particulate materials of a predetermined size from passing therethrough.
  • [0032]
    One unique feature of sand control screen 40 of the present invention is the radially expandable end sections 60, 62. Radially expandable end section 60 includes a cylindrical ramp section 64 and a radially reduced section 66. Likewise, radially expandable end section 62 includes a cylindrical ramp section 68 and a radially reduced section 70. Disposed exteriorly of radially reduced section 66 is an attachment member 72. Similarly, disposed exteriorly of radially reduced section 70 is an attachment member 74.
  • [0033]
    Attachment members 72, 74 are capable of providing both anchoring capabilities and sealing capabilities. Attachment members 72, 74 may be constructed from a polymeric material such as rubber or other nonmetallic materials or may be constructed from a metal such as lead or other suitable material that can expand radially when radially reduced sections 66, 70 are expanded and that can provide a suitable fluid seal and gripping force against the interior of production casing 38. Attached members 72, 74 may additionally have slips, metal rings or other anchoring devices to improve the gripping force between sand control screen 40 and production casing 38. Also, even though FIG. 2 has depicted single attached members 72, 74 on each end section 60, 62, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that other numbers of attachment members could alternatively be used without departing from the principles of the present invention.
  • [0034]
    Disposed within sand control screen 40 is expander tool 44. In the illustrated embodiment, expander tool 44 has a support member 76 that is coupled to the lower end of coiled tubing string 52. Initially, support member 76 is also coupled to the upper end of sand control screen 40 by shear pins (not pictured) or other suitable devices that hold support member 76 within sand control screen 40 but allows the release of support member 76 as required. Accordingly, sand control screen 40 may be lowered into wellbore 32 and into alignment with perforations 42 on coiled tubing string 52.
  • [0035]
    In the illustrated embodiment, expander tool 44 has a pair of oppositely disposed expander members 78, 80. Each of the expander members 78, 80 has a tapered cone section 82, 84 having a frustaconical outer surface. Expander tool 44 also includes a piston section 86. Piston section 86 is in fluid communication with coiled tubing string 52 via support member 76.
  • [0036]
    In operation, once sand control screen 40 is positioned within production casing 38 across perforations 42, as depicted in FIG. 2, expander tool 44 may be operated to expand the diameter of end sections 60, 62 of sand control screen 40. Specifically, expander member 78 is longitudinally moved through end section 60 and expander member 80 is longitudinally moved through end section 62, as best seen in FIG. 3. In the illustrated embodiment, this is achieved by pumping a fluid down coiled tubing string 52 and into piston section 86 to urge expander member 78 and expander member 80 away from one another. As shown, the fluid pressure urges expander member 78 upwardly such that the frustaconical surface of tapered cone section 82 of expander member 78 contacts the interior wall of cylindrical ramp section 64. Likewise, the fluid pressure urges expander member 80 downwardly such that the frustaconical surface of tapered cone section 84 of expander member 80 contacts the interior wall of cylindrical ramp section 68.
  • [0037]
    As the fluid pressure increases, tapered cone sections 82, 84, respectively apply a radially outward force to cylindrical ramp sections 64, 68. When this force is sufficient to plastically deform cylindrical ramp sections 64, 68, expander members 78, 80 begin to travel longitudinally within cylindrical ramp sections 64, 68 in opposite directions from one another. As the movement of expander members 78, 80 progresses, cylindrical ramp sections 64, 68 and radially reduced sections 66, 70 are substantially uniformly expanded from their original diameters to a diameter similar to the diameter of expander members 78, 80. As this expansion occurs, attachment members 72, 74 expand into intimate contact with the interior surface of production casing 38. Once attachment members 72, 74 are expanded, a fluid seal and a friction grip are created between sand control screen 40 and production casing 38.
  • [0038]
    It should be noted by those skilled in the art that the force necessary to plastically deform end sections 60, 62 of sand control screen 40 is dependent upon a variety of factors including the ramp angle of tapered cone sections 82, 84, the amount of the desired expansion of end sections 60, 62, the material of end sections 60, 62 and the like. Since only a short segment of end sections 60, 62 are being expanded at any one time, however, the fluid pumped through coiled tubing string 52 provides sufficient force to expander tool 44 to expand end sections 60, 62. This force may be controlled by adjusting the flow rate and pressure at which the fluid is delivered through coiled tubing string 52.
  • [0039]
    Also, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that even though FIG. 2 has described expanding end sections 60, 62 of sand control screen 40 simultaneously, the end sections of a sand control screen of the present invention could alternatively be expanded sequentially. For example, upward movement of expander member 78 could be disallowed until the downward stroke of expander member 80 has been accomplished, or vice versa. Likewise, the ramp angle of tapered cone section 82 could be altered relative to the ramp angle of tapered cone section 84 such that the force generated by the fluid pressure preferentially urges upward movement of expander member 78 relative to downward movement of expander member 80, or vice versa.
  • [0040]
    Further, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that the use of direction terms such as above, below, upper, lower, upward, downward and the like are used in relation to the illustrated embodiments as they are depicted in the figures, the upward direction being toward the top of the corresponding figure and the downward being toward the bottom of the corresponding figure. Accordingly, it should be noted that the sand control screen of the present invention and the systems and methods for setting the sand control screen of the present invention are not limited to the vertical orientation as they are equally well suited for use in inclined, deviated and horizontal wellbores.
  • [0041]
    Once the expansion of end sections 60, 62 of sand control screen 40 is complete, expansion tool 44 may be retrieved to the surface with coiled tubing string 52. Specifically, if support member 76 is coupled to sand control screen 40 using shear pins, upward jarring on coiled tubing string 52 may be used to break the shear pins and release expansion tool 44 from sand control screen 40 to allow retrieval. Once expansion tool 44 and coiled tubing string 52 have been retrieved, a production tubing string 88 including production packer 90 may be installed within casing 34 down to a point above the top of production casing 38, as best seen in FIG. 4.
  • [0042]
    Referring now to FIG. 5, therein is depicted a sand control screen of the present invention that is designated 140. Production casing 138 has been installed within wellbore 132. Specifically, production casing 138 is a slotted liner which has been hung off casing string 134 at liner hanger 150. Casing string 134 has been cemented within wellbore 132 with cement 136 but no cement has been placed around slotted liner 138. In addition slotted liner 138 includes a packer 148 that is used to seal the annulus between slotted liner 138 and wellbore 132.
  • [0043]
    As illustrated, in deep well applications, the size of slotted liner 138 may be relative small such that it may be desirable to complete the well without extending the production tubing string all the way to formation 114. Accordingly, to achieve the required sand control, sand control screen 140 is positioned within slotted liner 138. Sand control screen 140 is initially supported by an electric line 152 that extends from the surface. In the illustrated embodiment, sand control screen 140 includes a base pipe 154 that has a plurality of openings 156 which allow the flow of production fluids therethrough with a screen wire 158 wrapped therearound.
  • [0044]
    One unique feature of sand control screen 140 of the present invention is the radially expandable end sections 160, 162. Radially expandable end section 160 includes a cylindrical ramp section 164 and a radially reduced section 166. Likewise, radially expandable end section 162 includes a cylindrical ramp section 168 and a radially reduced section 170. Disposed exteriorly of radially reduced section 166 is an attachment member 172. Similarly, disposed exteriorly of radially reduced section 170 is an attachment member 174.
  • [0045]
    Disposed within sand control screen 140 is expander tool 144. In the illustrated embodiment, expander tool 144 has a support member 176 that is coupled to the lower end of electric line 152. Initially, support member 176 is also coupled to the upper end of sand control screen 140 by shear pins (not pictured) or other suitable devices that hold support member 176 within sand control screen 140 but allows the release of support member 176 as required. Accordingly, sand control screen 140 may be lowered into wellbore 132 and into alignment with opening 142 of slotted liner 138 on electric line 152.
  • [0046]
    In the illustrated embodiment, expander tool 144 has a pair of oppositely disposed expander members 178, 180. Each of the expander members 178, 180 has a tapered cone section 182, 184 having a frustaconical outer surface. Expander tool 144 also includes a piston section 186.
  • [0047]
    In operation, once sand control screen 140 is positioned across openings 142 of slotted liner 138, as depicted in FIG. 5, expander tool 144 may be operated to expand the diameter of end sections 160, 162 of sand control screen 140. Specifically, expander member 178 is longitudinally moved through end section 160 and expander member 180 is longitudinally moved through end section 162, as best seen in FIG. 6. In the illustrated embodiment, this may be achieved by operating a downhole power unit disposed within support member 176. Electricity for the downhole power unit is provided via electric line 152. The downhole power unit may be used to rotate a threaded member within piston section 186 which urges expander member 178 and expander member 180 toward one another. Alternatively, the downhole power unit may be used to pump fluid from a downhole hydraulic fluid source disposed with support member 176 into piston section 186 to urges expander member 178 and expander member 180 toward one another. In either case, expander member 176 is downwardly urged such that the frustaconical surface of tapered cone section 182 of expander member 176 contacts the interior wall of cylindrical ramp section 164. Likewise, expander member 180 is upwardly urged such that the frustaconical surface of tapered cone section 184 of expander member 180 contacts the interior wall of cylindrical ramp section 168.
  • [0048]
    Tapered cone sections 182, 184, respectively apply a radially outward force to cylindrical ramp sections 164, 168. When this force is sufficient to plastically deform cylindrical ramp sections 164, 168, expander members 178, 180 begin to travel longitudinally within cylindrical ramp sections 164, 168 in opposite directions toward one another. As the movement of expander members 178, 180 progresses, cylindrical ramp sections 164, 168 and radially reduced sections 166, 170 are substantially uniformly expanded from their original diameters to a diameter similar to the diameter of expander members 178, 180. As this expansion occurs, attachment elements 172, 174 expand into intimate contact with slotted liner 138. Once attachment elements 172, 174 are expanded, a fluid seal and a friction grip are created between sand control screen 140 and slotted liner 138.
  • [0049]
    Once the expansion of end sections 160, 162 of sand control screen 140 is complete, expansion tool 144 may be retrieved to the surface with electric line 152. Specifically, if support member 176 is coupled to sand control screen 140 using shear pins, upward jarring on electric line 152 may be used to break the shear pins and release expansion tool 144 from sand control screen 140 to allow retrieval. Once expansion tool 144 and electric line 152 have been retrieved, a production tubing string 188 including production packer 190 may be installed within casing 134 down to a point above the top of slotted liner 138, as best seen in FIG. 7.
  • [0050]
    While this invention has been described with reference to illustrative embodiments, this description is not intended to be construed in a limiting sense. Various modifications and combinations of the illustrative embodiments as well as other embodiments of the invention, will be apparent to persons skilled in the art upon reference to the description. It is, therefore, intended that the appended claims encompass any such modifications or embodiments.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification166/380, 166/205, 166/236, 166/207
International ClassificationE21B43/08, E21B43/10
Cooperative ClassificationE21B43/103, E21B43/08, E21B43/105, E21B43/108
European ClassificationE21B43/10F, E21B43/08, E21B43/10F1, E21B43/10F3
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Apr 1, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: HALLIBURTON ENERGY SERVICES, INC., TEXAS
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:JONES, GARY W.;REEL/FRAME:012776/0260
Effective date: 20020325