US 20090205832 A1
A control line clearing apparatus has a separation sleeve that positions into a downhole element adjacent the element's control port to which a blocked control line connects. The sleeve separates fluid communication from the control port with the annulus between the sleeve and the downhole element, while still allowing effluents in the well tubing to pass through the interior of the sleeve. A feed line is then lowered into the sleeve, and an automatic coupling on the end of the feed line couples to a coupling member inside the sleeve. Once connected, solvent fed through the feed line communicates with the downhole elements control port via a cross-port in the sleeve. In this way, the solvent can act against the other side of the control line blockage.
1. A control line clearing apparatus, comprising:
a body deployable into a downhole element adjacent a control port, the body having an internal passage therethrough and having a port, the port having a first end communicating with the internal passage and a second end communicating outside the body;
a first connector disposed in the internal passage of the body and communicating with the first end of the port; and
a second connector connectable to a feed line and deployable into the internal passage of the body, the second connector coupleable with the first connector, whereby the feed line is communicable with the control port.
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8. A control line clearing apparatus, comprising:
a sleeve deployable into a downhole element adjacent a control port, the sleeve having an internal passage therethrough and having a port, the port having a first end communicating with the internal passage and a second end communicating outside the sleeve;
a first end of an automatic connector disposed in the internal passage of the sleeve and communicating with the first end of the port; and
a second end of an automatic connector connectable to a feed line and deployable into the internal passage of the sleeve, the second end coupleable with the first end, whereby the feed line is communicable with the control port.
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16. A downhole apparatus, comprising:
a nipple deployable downhole, the nipple having a first internal passage therethrough and having a control port communicating the control line with the first internal passage;
a sleeve deployable into the first internal passage adjacent the control port, the sleeve having a second internal passage therethrough and having a port, the port having a first end communicating with the second internal passage and a second end communicating outside the sleeve; and
a first automatic connector end disposed in the second internal passage of the sleeve and communicating with the first end of the port, the first automatic connector end connectable to a feed line deployable into the second internal passage of the sleeve, whereby the feed line is communicable with the control port.
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21. A control line clearing method, comprising:
deploying a sleeve into a first internal passage of a downhole element;
sealably separating fluid communication between a control port on the downhole element to which a control line is connected and the annulus between the sleeve and the first internal passage;
establishing fluid communication between a feed line disposed in a second internal passage of the sleeve and the control port of the downhole element; and
applying first fluid from the feed line to the control port of the downhole element.
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deploying a first connector on a distal end of the feed line into the second internal passage;
mating the first connector to a second connector disposed in the second internal passage, the second connector communicating with the outside of the sleeve adjacent the control port.
26. The method of
Various downhole devices use control lines for their operation. As shown in
Operators must make a number of time-consuming and labor-intensive measures to remedy a clogged or blocked control line 40. For example, operators may have to work over the well and deploy a new safety valve. To avoid the problem altogether, operators may alternatively run a subsurface controlled safety valve instead, but regulations may prevent use of such a valve in a given well. In addition, operators may use a velocity valve in well that does not require control from the surface via a control line. Such velocities valves, however, decrease the production and can be difficult to check once deployed.
To clear the control line 40, operators then deploy a separation sleeve 100 as shown in
As shown, a male member 110 of an automatic connector positioned on the pod 106 communicates with the cross-port 108 and extends upward into the passage 101. While the sleeve 100 is in position, any effluents of the well can circulate through the sleeve's internal passage 101 and pass the pod 106, as shown in the end section of
With the sleeve 100 in position, operators then deploy a capillary string 60 through the tubing 10 as shown in
Once connected, the capillary string 60 communicates with the sleeve's port 54 via the cross-port 108 in the pod 106. Operators then inject pressurized solvent through the capillary string 60. The solvent reaches the cross-port 108 and fills the sleeve's port 54 as shown in
To inject the solvent, a system for clearing the control line 40 can be used as schematically illustrated in
Operators use one or more well control panels 200 to apply solvent (e.g., diesel) or other fluid from a solvent reservoir, into the capillary feed line 60, to the control port 54, and into the control line 40 to act against any blockage or clogging. The pressurized solvent can be applied up to the point that the blockage is removed, or it can be passed through the feed line 60 all the way through the control line 40 once any blockage is broken to clear the line of remaining debris. To further work on the blockage, the well control panel 200 can apply pressure alternatingly between the control line 40 and the feed line 60 if the solvent proves slow in relieving the blockage. As opposed to solvent, the well control panel 200 could apply hydraulic fluid through the feed 60 to break the blockage. In addition, once the blockage is cleared, the well control panel 200 can cycle control fluid through the control line 40 and the feed line 60 to flush the control line of debris.
Once the blockage is cleared, operators can reverse the procedures used to install the sleeve 100 in the landing nipple 50. For example, operators disconnect the feed line 60 from the male connector 100 on the sleeve 100 and remove the line 40 from the tubing 10. Then, using wireline procedures, operators remove the sleeve 100 from the nipple 50 and tubing 10 so that the surface controlled safety valve can be redeployed into the nipple 50 using techniques known in the art.
As discussed above, the sleeve 100 can have locking contours 102 for engaging the nipple's lock profiles 52. In an alternative arrangement shown in
Although the present disclosure has been directed to clearing a control line of a safety valve, it will be appreciated that the disclosed apparatus can be used with any downhole component to which a control line connects, including, but not limited to, a remotely operated sliding sleeve, a pressure relief valve, or other downhole device. Although chevrons (e.g., 105 and 107) are described above, it will be appreciated that other devices to sealably engage the sleeve 100 in the nipple 50 can be used, such as elostomer O-rings, packing elements, or crimp seals. Components of the control line clearing apparatus disclosed herein are preferably composed of materials suitable for a well environment and are preferably constructed using accepted practices for the well environment.
The foregoing description of preferred and other embodiments is not intended to limit or restrict the scope or applicability of the inventive concepts conceived of by the Applicants. In exchange for disclosing the inventive concepts contained herein, the Applicants desire all patent rights afforded by the appended claims. Therefore, it is intended that the appended claims include all modifications and alterations to the full extent that they come within the scope of the following claims or the equivalents thereof.