US 2447546 A
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Aug. 24, 1948. l.. SPENCER 2,447,545
AUTOMATIC SHUTOFF APPARATUS FOR OIL WELLS Filed March so, A194,2 2 sheets-sheet 1 INVENTOR fes 25 ,es W7 T-A e 16 6 mmwm.
f u Q Aug, 24, 1948.
L. SPENCER AUTOMATIC SHUTOFF APPARATUS FOR OIL WELLS Filed March 30, 1942 2 sheets-sheet `2 NVENTOR @Ivg Patented Aug. 24, 1948 AUTOMATIC SI-UTOFF APPARATUS FOR OIL WELLS Lloyd Spencer, Los Angeles; Calif.,A assigner to Lane-Wells Company, Los Angeles, Calif., a corporation of Delaware Application March 30, 1942l Serial No. 43"`6,733
My invention relatesl to automatic shut-ori` ai)` para-tus for oil wells; that is, to apparatus adapted to be placed within- -the upper portion of a tubing string for the purpose ci closing the tub--v ing string in Ithe event the surface connections to the well should be broken. Among' theobjects of my invention ar-e:
First, to provide an automaticl shut-off appan ratus for oil wells which may be lowered to po si-tion or removed without shutting onc production, that is, the well may continue to produ-ce under control while the apparatus is lowered into position and therebyv avoid the' difiiculties sometimes involved in re-establishing production after the' production has been shut off or killed;'
Second, to provide an automatic' shut-oit ap-f" paratus which permits a predetermined normal rate of flow from the well but closes when" such predetermined rate of'ow is exceeded Third, to provide a' shut-off apparatus which, incorporates a novel valve arrangement' that' -simultane'ou'sly seals the annular' clearance space b-etween the apparatus and the well tubing in' addition lto the control' passage through the .apparatus;
Four-th, to provide a shut-oli apparatus which'l incorporates a novel locking means. for securing the apparatus in a welltubirrg'by engagement' with an internal channel formed by a collar which connects sections of the well tubing 1 Fifth, to rprovide an automatic shut-off appa'- ratus which, aft-er opera-tion, maybe readily re'- opened and reset for further operations or r`e` moval; and
Sixth, to provide an automatic shut-ofapp'a-j ratus which is capable of remaining exposedl toi the flow of well fluids for long periods' ottimel without attention and with the assurance that. it will function should the need arise.
With the above and other Objects in vie`v`v as may appear hereinafter, reference is directed tov the accompanying drawings, in which: A
Figure 1 is an elevational view of my' apparatus as it appears when loweredto positionbutbefore removal of thesetting tool;
Figure 2 is` an enlarged fragmentary longitudinal sectional view through 2 2 of Figurev 1 show-z ing the upper portion of the apparatus in thej position assumed whilev being: lowered into theI well borev and indicating by elevation the'setting.V tool in position; y
Figure 3 is an enlarged fragmentary longitu-dif nal sec-tional view with the lower` portion' ot the'- apparatus taken through `Iii-'3 of- Figure 1-` ands showing the parts in their normal position after the setting tool has been removed;
lFigure 4 is a longitudinal sectional view similar to Figure 3 showing .the parts in the positions l'assumed when the apparatus has operated and the valve closed;
Figure 5 is a fragmentary longitudinal sectional view similar to Figure 2 showing, partially by section and partially by elevation, the retrieving tool iny engagement with the apparatus;
Figures 6 and 7 are transverse sectional views taken Athrough 6--5 and 'l--1, respectively, of Figure 3';
Figures 8 and 9 are transverse sectional views taken through 8-8 and 9 9, respectively, of Figure 2; and
Figure 10 is a transverse sectional view taken through lil-I il of Figure 5.
My automatic shut-off apparatus includes a tubular shell I capable of passing .through a well tubing designated T. The upper por-tion of the shell l'v is provided with several retainer bars 2 whichY have outwardly directed lugs 3 adapted to extend' radially through slo-ts t provided' in the walls -of the shell I'. The retainer bars are a-lso provided withk upwardly extending tongues 5' having inwardly beveled por-tions 5 at theirl upper ends, so 4that they -curve inwardly from the inner walls ofthe shell I to form cam faces engageable by a retrieving tool as described hereinafter for the purpose of moving the lugs 3 inwardly. The retainer bars 2 are connected by reins 'l which extend downwardly within the shell t to a band which may float within the shelll l or be secured thereto as desired. The lugs `3 extend outwardly through their slots L! and are adaptednto ride against the in-terior of' the tubing T and spring outwardly by reason of the reins lv into annular internal channels Ti formed by the collars T2 which connect sections of the tubing string together. The lower sides of 'theflugs 3 are beveled so that the appara-tus may move downwardly in the tubing, but will` not permit upward movement of thek apparatus. The reins "l urge .the lugs 3 outwardly with sufficient force that Ithe apparatus" will not drop down the well bore byits clown weight, but-must be urged downwardlyby additional weight, particularly past the internal channels T1.
The lower end of the shell l` is internally threaded to receive the externally threaded upper end of a coupling 9; The lower end of the coupling forms an abutment and an attachment for a packing sleeve Ill which extends axially therel from; Reiruorcing elements H, which are in..y
tegral with the coupling 9, extend downwardly greater than the shell I and is preferably equal to the thickness of the lower end of the couplingL 9. The packing sleeve is provided with a bore..
I2 which communicates with the bore of the coupling 9 to form a flow passage for iluid. The lower end of the bore I2 is preferably iiared, or tapered to form a valve seat I3. The packing sleeve I is adapted to be closed by a valve rnember I4 having an upwardly converging conical valve face I5. The valve seat I3 and valve mem-' ber I4 comprise the elements of a main valve for control or shut-0E of iluid flow through the device. The valve member I4 is sufIiciently larger than the bore and valve seat of the packing sleeve so that when forced upwardly therein the packing sleeve is expanded outwardly into sealing contact with the surrounding tubing, 'as shown in Figure 4, so that the valve member not only closes the bore I2 but also effects a seal between the packing sleeve and tubing.
The valve member I4 is provided with a stem I6 which extends upwardly through the packing sleeve I0 and into a supporting structure comprising a guide sleeve I1 centered in the coupling 9 and preferably formed integrally therewith by radiating webs I8 which define therebetween passages IS. The sleeve I1 continues above the upper end of the coupling 9 and is provided with equally spaced key ball holes 2l! which receive key balls 2I. rI'he stem I5 extends upwardly beyond the sleeve I1 and is provided opposite the key balls 2| with an annular keyway or channel 22.
s The key balls are adapted to t into the keyway 22 and bear against the lower shoulder of said keyway to comprise a latching means to prevent upward movement of the stem IB and its valve member I4. Surrounding the upper portion of the stem I 6 and normally resting upon the upper edges of the webs I8 is a keeper ring or latch control sleeve 23. The keeper ring normally covers the key ball holes 2i) and prevents outward movement of the key balls from their latched position invkey way 22. The lower portion of the keeper ring, however, is counterbored, as indicated by 24, to slightly larger diameter than the sleeve I1 so that upon upward movement of the keeper ring 23, in response to iiuid flow as hereinafter more fully described the counterbored portion 24 permits suicient outward movement of the key balls 2| within the hole 20 to clear the key way recess 22 and thereby release the stem I6. However, the outward movement of the balls 2I permitted by the keeper ring is insuiiicient to release them from their key holes 20.
Surrounding the keeper ring 23 is a liner 25 fitting the shell Iv and secured `thereto by screwthreaded pins 2B. These pins may serve also as stops for limiting upward movement of the keeper ring 23 so that the key balls cannotl fall out of the key ball holes.
The upper end of the stem I is providedwith an enlarged head 21 which forms the housing for a small 'fall check valve 28 which is employed as a pressure equalizer valve as hereinafter described in connection with the operation of the device. The upper end of the head 21'is and extends downwardly over the spring 3 I. lowerend of the skirt is so arranged in relation -to the keyway 22 that when the spring 3l is comprovided with a conical recess 29 which exposes the upper end of the check valve. The check valve controls a passage 30 extending downwardly through the stem I6 and valve member I4. The check valve prevents upward ilow of fluid through this passage, .but is engageable through the recess 29 to open the passage for the purpose of equalizing the pressure in the tubing above and below the packing sleeve.
. Between the hea-d 21 and the upper end of the sleeve I1 there is interposed a coil spring 3| which tends to raise the valve stem and valve member. A skirt 32 is secured to the head 21 The pressed by downward force applied on the stem vI6 the lower end of the skirt 32 engages the The mandrel is provided at its lower end with flow of fluid through the shell. A shear pin 45 cess 29 of the head 21 and engage the pressure extends through the spacer 44 and into the shell I. A stem 46 extends downwardly from the mandrei 4I and is provided at its lower end with a conical head 41 adapted to t in the conical reequalizer check valve 28 to hold it open. Suitable bleeder slots 48 are provided in the head 41.
Reference is now directed particularly to Figures 5 and l0: The retrieving tool comprises a body 5I suitably attached to a cable (not shown) and incorporating a weight bar of suflicient mass to provide the necessary downward force, or the body member may be secured to the lower end of a tubing or sucker rod string capable of f1tting Within the tubing string T. The lower end of the body 5I receives a tubular housing 52.
adapted to slip within the shell I and engage the tongues 5 of the retainer bars 2, the lower end of the housing bearing against the beveled portions 6 `to urge the tongues inwardly and thereb;7 withdraw the lugs 3 from the channel T1. The housing 52 is provided with slots 53 through which extend dogs 54 adapted to engage annular Wicker grooves 55 formed withinthe upper end of the shell I. The dogs 54 are connected by spring reins 55 to a collar 51 positioned within the housing 52 below the body 5I. Attached to the body 5I and extending downwardly through the housing 52 is an extension rod 58 which forros at its upper portion a shoulder 59 arranged to retain loosely the collar 51. The lower end of the extension rod 58 receives the stem 46 and head 41 of the setting tool; the stem and lead being interchangeable between the setting tool and receiving tool.
Operation of my apparatus is as follows: The shell I is attached to the setting tool by the shear pin 45. When thus assembled the head 41 engages the head 21, holding the equalizer check valve 28 open and also holding the valve member I4 clear of the packing sleeve IB. The apparatus is then lowered on the cable 43 to the position in the tubing string below the collar in which it is desired to lock the tool, The cable is then anemie drawnl upwardly carrying the apparatus upward therewith until the lugs 3 snap into the. channel T1 formed by the collar T2. The device is thus locked in the tubing and further upward tension on the cable shears the pin 45. The setting tool is then removed andthe apparatus appears supportedv in the tubing in the position shown in Figure-3, in which the key balls 2l hold the valve member lllopen. f
A predetermined annular clearancevspace or passage A is formed between the outer surface of keeper ring Z3 and theY inner surface of the liner 25. The area of this spaceis so predetermined that as long as the well flows at its` normal rate no appreciable pressure differentialwill develop between the upper and-lower ends of the keeper ring.. Thus the keeper ring normally stays inthe lower position shown in Figure 3` and the valve remains locked in its open position under normal. flow conditions. Should the velocity increase materially, as might be the case should the surface connection to the well be broken and the Well allowed. to run wild,.the pressure dinerential between the extremities of the keeper ring due to the pressure drop through the narrow annular flow passage between the keeper ring and the tubing becomes. suiiicient to cause the keeper ring to rise and release the key balls 2l from the annular keyway or recess 22 of the stem into the counterbored portion 24 of the keeper ring. The. spring 3l thereupon urges the valve member. upwardly into initial contact with the valve seat I-3 of the packing sleeve lll. As this space is closed a material pressure differential builds up between the upper and lower sides of the valve M which jams the valve upwardly asshown in Figure.4, expanding the packing sleeve and thereby completely sealing the bore l 2 as well as causing the sleeve to seal against the surrounding tubing.
When it is desired to reset the valve the setting tool, with or without the spacersll, is again lowered until the head 4l engages the head 21 in a manner to open the by-pass -or pressure equalizer check valve 28. This permits the pressure above and below the valve member I4 to equalize, assuming. of course that the upper end of the well tubing is under control and has preferably packed against fluid pressure, so that there will be no tendency for fluid to iiow past the valve until it is released. By pushing downwardly on the head 2l the spring 3l is compressed, moving the keyway 22 again in position opposite the key holes. Continued downward pressure causes the. skirt 32 toengage the upper end of the keeper ring, forcing it downwardly and thereby urging the key balls from the position shown in Figure 4 intothe position shown in Figure 2. The setting toolv is again removed and the stem moves upwardly within the limits of the keyway to the positiven shown in Figure 3, returning the parts to position for repeated operation.
If it is desired to remove the shut-orf apparatus the retrieving tool is lowered until the lower end. of the housing 52 engages the tongues 5 of the retainer bars to withdraw the lugs 3, at which time vthe dogs 54 are in position for engagement with the wickers 55 and the head 41 has engaged the head 21 and urged the valve member I4 to an open position so that fluid mayV iiow through the shell I as the apparatus is removed.
It should benoted that the eifective clearance through the apparatus is the clearance between the packing sleeve I and the tubing, as well as the annular clearance between the `keeper ring 23 .and therinner surface of the adjacent liner 2S, butin spite of the bypassing of some iiuid between theV packing sleeve l!) and the tubing string, the desired pressure diierential is readily developed through therestriction formed by the keeper ring should. the flow become excessive.
Various changes and alternate arrangements may be made within the scope of the appended claims, in which it is my intention to .claim all novelty inherent in the invention.
1. A shut-off apparatus comprising: a supporting structure; a sealing element depending from said supporting structure defining a passageway' adapted to be closed and having walls expansible into sealing engagement with a surrounding tubing; a valve member positioned below said sealing member and movable upwardly to seal said passageway and expand said sealing element into sealing engagement with said tubing;l a stem for said valve member extending into saidv supporting structure; means for locking said stem relative to said supporting structure to hold said valve member open; and a slidable keeper for maintaining said locking means in locked condition, said keeper defining with said supporting structure a now passage of reduced area whereby, upon iiow of fluids above a predetermined velocity, a pressure differential is created tending to move said keeper to free said locking means.
2. In a shut-oil device adapted to be employed in a. tubing string having sections joined by co1- lars which dene internal annular channels, apparatus comprising: a supporting sleeve; lugs mounted within said sleeve and movable outwardly through openings in the walls of said sleeve into such an intern-a1 channel; a yieldable tubular packing element depending from said supporting sleeve; a movable valve member associatedy with said sleeve and adapted to be moved from an open position to close the bore of said packing element and spread the packing element into sealing engagement with the surrounding tubing; a retrieving tool, including means for attachment to said sleeve, means for retracting said lugs, and means for opening said valve member. l
3. A shut-off apparatus comprising: an expansible, tubular packing element slidable through a tubing string and having a bore forming at one end a Valve seat; a valve member movably supporte-d adjacent said packing element, said valve member being adapted to be moved into said valve seat to seal said bore, and expand said packing element into sealing engagement with a surrounding tubing; a supporting structure for said packing element and valve member; latch meansA associated with said supporting structure for holding said movable valve member clear of said valve seat under normal fluid flow, and operative in response to excessive uid flow through said apparatus to release said valve member for movement into said valve seat.
4. A shut-off apparatus comprising: an expansible, tubular packing element slidable through a tubing string and having a bore forming at'. its lower end a valve seat; a valve member movably supported below said packing element, said valve member being adapted to be moved upwardly into said valve seat to seal said bore and expand said packing element into sealing engagement with a surrounding tubing; a supporting structure for said packing' element and valve member; means associated with said supporting strueture for A,hol-ding said movable valve member down, clear of said valve seat, under normal uid iiow, and operative in response to excessive uid liow through said apparatus to release said valve member for-movement into said valve seat.
i 5. An automatic shut-oli device comprising: a tubular iiow passage; a valve head; a unitary valve stem coaxially extending from said head; a valve seat for said valve head formed in an -adjacent end of said tubular. iiowpassage; a
guide coaxially positioned within said passage for. movably supporting said valve stem and head; a latch associated with said guide and valve stem and having a first position locking said valve stem in said guide in a. position in which said head is in an open position with respect to said valve seat and a second position freeing said stem for axial movement in said guide suiiicient to permit closure of said valve head upon said valve seat; an axially movable sleeve member surrounding said valve stem and defining in part the said flow passage through the device, said` sleeve being associated with said latch and axially movable in response to forces resulting from fluid flow through said passage from a normal position in which the latch is retained thereby in its said rst position, to an actuating position to effect movement of said latch from said rst position to said second position when said :duid flow exceeds a predetermined value.
,6. A shut-od device adapted to be movable through and secured within a tubing comprising: an expansible valve sleeve having a flow passage therethrough; a valve member associated with said valve sleeve and adapted to move between an open andA a closed position with respect to said valve sleeve and said flow passage and in the closed position to expand said valve sleeve into sealing engagement with a surrounding tubing; and means operative initially during fluid flow through said now passage at less than a predetermined rate to maintain said valve member in the open position, and operative in response to fluid flow exceeding said pre-determined rate to release said valve member for movement into said closed position.
"1. A shut-olf device adapted to be movable through and secured within a tubing and comprising; an expansible valve sleeve; a valve member associated with said valve sleeve and adapted to move between an open and a closed position, with respect to said valve sleeve and in the closed position to expand said valve sleeve into sealing engagement with surrounding tubing; means for urging said valve member toward the closed position; and means operative initially during fluid flow through the tubing at less than a predetermined rate to restrain said valve member in the open position and operative in response to fluid flow exceeding said pre-determined rate in the tubing to release said valve member for movement into the said closed position.
8. A shut-oi device adapted to be movable through and secured Within a tubing and comprising: an expansible valve sleeve; a valve member associated with said valve sleeve and adapted to move between an open and a closed position with respect to said valve sleeve and in the closed position to expand said valve sleeve into sealing engagement with a surrounding tubing; a latch means having a rst position locking said valve member in the open position and a second position in which said valve member is free for movement to the closed position, and means operative initially during flow through the. tubing at less than a predetermined rate to maintain said latch 1n said first position and operativein response to fluid now exceeding said pre-determined rate in the tubing for releasing said latch means for movement from said rst position to said second position. i
9. A shut-oli device adapted to be movable through and secured within a 'tubing and comprising: an expansible valve sleeve; a valve member associated with said valve sleeve and adapted to move between an open and a closed position with respect to said valve sleeve and in the closed position to expand said valve sleeve into sealing engagement with a surrounding'tubing; a latch means having a rst position locking said valve member in the open position and a second position in which said valve member is free for movement to the closed position, and means operative initially during uid flow through the tubing at less than a predetermined rate to maintain said latch in said first position and operative in response to fluid flow exceeding said pre-determined rate in-the tubing for releasing said latch means for movement from said flrst position to said second position, and means for urging said valve member into the closed position.
10. A shut-oi apparatus comprising; a supportmg structure; a hollow sealing element dependmg from said supporting structure defining a passageway adapted to be closed and having walls expansible into sealing engagement with a surrounding tubing; a valve member positioned below said sealing member and movable upwardly to seal said passageway and expand said sealing element into sealing engagement with said tubing; a stem for said valve member extending into said supporting structure; means for locking said stem relative to said supporting structure to hold said valve member open; and an element ci" said locking means actuated bythe flow of uid above a predetermined velocity relative to said supporting structure to unloclr said locking means and release said valve member for upward movement. A
l1. A shut-off device adapted to be movable through and secured Within a tubing comprising: a tubular shell; an expansible valve sleeve secured to one end of said shell, said shell and valve sleeve forming a iiow passage, said' valve sleeve having a valve seat adjacent one end thereof; a valve member associated with said valve sleeve and adapted to move axially between an open position away from said valve seat and a closed position upon said valve seat; a valve stem extending from said valve member; a tubular guide within said iiow passage for axially movably supporting said stem and said valve member; a latch means associated with said guide and said valve stem and arranged to occupy a rst position locking said valve stem in said guide against axial motion with said valve member in an open positionY away from said valve seat, said latching means being movable to a second position releasing said valve stem for movement in said guide and thereby permitting movement of said valve member to a closed position seating on said valve seat; a control ring surrounding said guide and valve 4stem within said iiow passage and -supported'on said guide for axial sliding movement thereon, said control ring forming a restriction in said flow passage and being positioned, during duid now through said flow passage at less than a predetermined rate, to retain saidV latch in said rst position and being movable axially in response to fluid flow 1n said flow passage exceeding said pre-determined rate and adapted to effect, by such movement, the movement of said latch means from said rst position to said second position.
12. A well shut-off apparatus for controlling ow of fluid through a tubing comprising; a supporting structure adapted to be anchored in a tubing string; Valve means including a valve member and valve seat for said valve member carried by said supporting structure and arranged for controlling flow of iluid through said tubing when said supporting structure is anchored therein; a stem extending from said valve member; a guide for said stem carried by said supporting structure; key and keyway means incorporated in said guide and stem for holding, by means of said stem, said valve member in lan open position away from said seat; a keeper for said key normally holding saidv key in said key- Way, said keeper defining with said supporting structure a flow passage of reduced area and said keeper being movable in response to a pressure differential created by the flow of uid above a predetermined velocity through said passage of reduced area to eiect release of said key from said keyway, thereby freeing said valve member for movement to a closed position on said valve seat.
13. A well shut-olf apparatus comprising: a supporting structure adapted to be anchored in a tubing string; valve means including a valve member and valve seat for said valve member and adapted to control flow of nuid through said tubing when said supporting structure is anchored therein; a stem extending from said valve member; a guide for said stem carried by said supporting structure; key and keyway means incorporated in said guide and stem for holding, by means of said stem, said valve member in an open position on said valve seat; a keeper for holding said key in said keyway to maintain said valve member in said open position, said keeper also forming a constriction in the flow passage through said tubing `and operable by a pressure dierential created by the flow of uid above a pre-determined velocity through said constriction to release said key from said keyway, thereby permitting said valve member to close on said seat; and a spring positioned between said supporting structure and valve member land adapted to urge said valve member when thus released toward a closed position on said seat.
14. A well shut-off apparatus comprising: a sleeve member; a valve associated with said sleeve, said sleeve member and valve member being adapted to be moved down and positioned in a tubing string to close the tubing string against now of fluid upwardly therethrough; a latch means in said sleeve for holding said valve open to permit flow of fluid through said tubing string; a keeper means in s-aid sleeve for actuation of said latch means, said keeper means forming together with said sleeve a constriction through which fluid flowing through said tubing must pass and whereby a pressure differential may be created on opposite sides of said constriction upon flow of fluid therethrough, said keeper means being movable in response to said pressure differential when the now of fluid through said constriction is excessive, to release said latch, thereby to free said valve member for movement to a closed position.
REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:
UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 1,715,504 Johnston June 4, 1929 1,788,368 Brown Jan. 13, 1931 2,122,080 Wisdom June 28, 1938 2,127,849 Stone Aug. 23, 1938 2,138,719 Wright Nov. 29, 1938 2,188,713 Gora Jan. 30, 1940 2,196,525 Otis Apr. 9, 1940 2,217,986 Knox Oct. 15, 1940 2,288,605 Boynton July 7, 1942 2,297,044 Barker et al Sept. 29, 1942 2,352,612 Boynton July 4, 1944 2,378,374 Roe June 19, 1945 FOREIGN PATENTS Number Country Date 107,434 Great Britain 1917 37,648 Norway 1923 Certificate of Correction Patent N o. 2,447 ,546. August 24, 1948.
LLYD SPENCER It is hereby oertied that errors appear in the printed specification of the above numbered patent requiring correction as follows:
Column 2, line 47, for the Words its down7 read its own; column 3, line 72, for fall reed ball;
and that the said Letters Patent should be reed with these corrections therein that the seme may conform to the record of the oase in the Patent Office.
Signed and sealed this 28th day of December, A. D. 1948.
[IML] THOMAS F. MURPHY,
Assistant ommz'sszoner of Patents.