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Publication numberUS2614803 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 21, 1952
Filing dateJul 18, 1950
Priority dateJul 18, 1950
Publication numberUS 2614803 A, US 2614803A, US-A-2614803, US2614803 A, US2614803A
InventorsJr Walter Wiggins
Original AssigneeJr Walter Wiggins
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Submarine drilling and pumping apparatus
US 2614803 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 21, 1952 w. WIGGINS, JR

SUBMARINE DRILLING AND PUMPING APPARATUS Filed July 18, 1950 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 Fig. 2

Waller Wiggins, JI.


BY um yaw 8m vention;

Patented Oct. 21, 1952 SUBMARINE DRILLING D PUMPING APPARATUS Walter Wiggins, Jr., Washington, D. c. Application July 18, 1950, Serial No. 174,539

8 Claims.

This invention relates to new and useful improvementsand structural refinements in apparatus for drilling undersea oil wells and pumping oil therefrom to the sea surfacathe principal object of the invention being to provide an apparatus of this nature which is capable of performing the well drilling and pumping operations with ease, simplicity, expedience and emciency greater than has heretofore been achieved by conventional apparatus employed for similar purposes. l j

An important feature of the invention resides in the provision of apparatus which is completely contrblled from the surface and which is intend ed to be lowered to the sea bed,'there being provided means for penetrating oil bearing submarine strata and for pumping oil therefrom into the apparatus and, subsequently, to the surface.

Some of the advantages of the invention reside in its simplicity of construction, in its eiiicient and "expeditious operation as aforesaid, and in its adaptability for use in" waters of various depths.

With the above more important objects and features in view, and such other objects and features as may become apparentas this specification proceeds, the invention consists essentially of the arrangement and construction of parts as illustrated in the accompanying draw ings, in which:

Figure 1 is a side elevational view ofthe in- Figure 2 is a top plan view of the tion thereof;

Figure 3 is a horizontal sectional view, taken substantially in the planeof the line 3-3 in Figure l; I

"Figure 4 is a vertical sectional view of the upper portion of the invention; t

Figure 5 is a vertical sectional view of the lower portion of the invention;

Figure 6 is a fragmentary vertical sectional view of a boring tool provided in the lower end of the well ointused in the invention; and

Figure '7 is a diagrammatic plan view of the distributing valve used therein.

Like characters of reference are employed to designate like parts in the specification and throughout the several views.

upper por- Referring now to the accompanying drawings in, detail, the invention consists of a submarine drilling and pumping apparatus which is designated generally by the reference character 10 and embodies in its construction a vertically elongated body or housing I2 which is adapted to be submerged in water and is provided at the lower end thereof with support means consisting of a plurality of arcuatelegs l4 terminating'at their free ends in substantially spherical extremitiesor feet 18 which are adapted to rest solidly on the undersea bottom 18 when the device is submerged. The entire apparatus, particularly the legs l I and feet I6, is sufficiently heavy so as to rest solidly on the sea bed without being substantially influenced by buoyancy and undersea currents.

The upper end portion of the housing I2 is enlarged so as to provide a substantially spherical head 20 which, in turn, is formed with a plurality of reinforcing ribs 22 towhich are attached a plurality of derrick cables whereby the entire apparatus may be lowered to the sea, bed and raised, as desired.

A transverse partition 26 is provided intermediate the ends of the housing l2, and it lSjtO benoted that a substantially tubular well point 28 is slidable vertically through a cylindrical bearing guide 30 provided at the lower end of the housing, the well point 28 being projectable,

downwardly beyond the supporting legs l4 and feet Hi, so as to penetrate submarine strata'under the sea bed 18, as is best shown in Figures 1 and5. m

To facilitate this penetration, the lower end portion of the well point 28 may be tapered as indicated at 32, and it is to be noted that the upper end portion of the well-point which is ,disposed in the housing I2 assumes the form of an annular piston 34 which is reciprocable in ,an

annular well point actuating cylinder or chamber 36 afforded between a pair ofspaced, concentric inner and outer sleeves 38, 40 which extend from the lower end of the housing I2 to the partition 26, as is best shown in Figure 5.

In other words, the inner surface of the well a port 42 at the upper end of the cylinders 36,- the piston 34 and the"associated well point 28 may be driven downwardly, and similarly, by

delivering compressed airthrough a port '44 at the lower end of the cylinder 36, the piston 34 and the associated wellpoint Z'B may be driven upwardly. The compressed air delivery ports 42, 44 are connected by suitable tubes 46, 48, respectively, to a conventional distributing valve providedin the hollow head 20 off'the housing [2, as showninFigure 4. I

A pump piston52 is reciprocable in the lower end portion of the hollow well point 28 and is secured to the lower end of a piston rod 54 which passes upwardly through the well point and through the inner sleeve 38, being provided at its upper end with a further, actuating piston 56 which is reciprocable in a pump actuating cylinder 58 mounted in the housing I2 above the partition 26. A compressed air port 60 is provided at the upper end of the cylinder 58 for delivering air under pressure to the top of the piston 56, whereby the latter, together with the piston rod 54 and the pump piston 52 may be driven downwardly in the well point 28. larly, a compressed air port 62 is provided at the lower end of the cylinder 58, whereby the pump rod and pistons may be driven upwardly, as, will be clearly understood. The compressed air ports 60, 62 are connected by suitable tubes 64, 60, "respectively, to the aforementioned compressed air I 68 having conventional check valves 59 therein and a check valve 53 is provided in the piston 52,

so that when the well point is driven into the submarine strata and the piston is reciprocated therein, oil will be extracted from its submarine deposits and passedupwardly through the well point 20 and through the sleeve 38 into what may be called a transfer chamber I (.see Figure provided below the cylinder 58 and immediately above the partition, 26.

A pair of oil delivery lines I2 extend from the transfer chamber I0 to a suitably driven pump 14 located in the head 20, which pump, in turn, has an outlet pipe I6 connected to a flexible oil outlet hose I8 extendingto the surface of the water. In this manner, the pump I4 will assist the delivery of extracted oil to the surface and will substantially relieve the back pressure on the pump piston 52, so that the action of the latter in extracting the oil from submarine strata will be unimpaired by the additional load of delivering the extracted oil to the surface. The pump I4 may be actuated in any conventional manner, such as for example, pneumatically, receiving a supply of compressed air through a tube 80 connected to the distributing valve unit 50..

The air distributing valve unit 52 is connected by a supply pipe 82 to a compressed air tank 84 within the head 20 and the tank, in turn, receives its supply of compressed air through a flexible hose 86 extending upwardly from the apparatus to the surface. In addition, it is to be noted that an air pressure relief hose 88 extends from the head 20 to the surface, the purpose of which will be hereinafter described.

p A suitable inspection window 90 may beprovided on the head 20 of the housing I2 and it is, of course, to be understood that the housing is entirely water-tight. In order to prevent any possible leakage of water into the housing through the bearing guide 30, that is, between the inner surface of the bearing guide and the outer surface of the well point 26, the lower end portion of the housing is provided with an annular groove 92 which encircles the well point 28 and communicates through a passage 94 with a lubricant chamber 96, also disposed in the lower end portion of,

the housing. A compressed air line QB EXtBIldS from the distributing valve 50 to the chamber 96 and constantlyurges the lubricant in the chamber man thefgroove 92, thus providing what may be called a lubricant seal around the well point 28 Simiand preventing any possibility of leakage of water into the housing.

The tapered lower end portion 32 of the well point 28 accommodates a reciprocable boring tool I00 which may be projected downwardly from the lower end of the well point and which is provided at the upper end thereof with a piston I02 slidable in a cylinder I04. The piston I02 is urged upwardly by acompressio'n spring I06 in the lower end of the cylinder I04, thus urging the tool I00 to its retracted position. However, a compressed air tube I08 communicates with the upper end of the cylinder I04 whereby the piston I02 and the associated tool I00 may be driven downwardly or outwardly from the well point 28. The compressed air tube I08 extends freely through a longitudinally extending bore H0 provided in the aforementioned piston rod 54 and pistons 52, 56, and after passing axially through the cylinder 58, the tube I08 enters the head 20 and is connected to the distributing valve 50.

As has been already stated, the distributing actuate the pump I4, and (5) constantlydeliver air under pressure into the lubricant chamber 98.

This maybe accomplished in any suitable manner such as will be apparent to those skilled in the art. and patentability is not being predicated on the specific structure of the valve as'disclosed in this application. However, for illustrative purposes it may be explained that the valve 50, as diagrammatically shown in Figure 7, may in effect consist of a plurality of individual valves II2, H3, H4, H5, H6, III and H8 whichhave connected thereto the respective tubes 80, I08, 46, 48, 66, 64 and 9B and are actuated selectively and individually by associated solenoids indicated at I20. These solenoids receiveelectric current through conductors I 22 which, after being grouped into a cable I24, extend from the apparatus to a suitable remote control switch panel at the surface. i

The cylinders 58 and 36 are double acting, and when compressed air is delivered in one:end of the cylinders, the air atthe opposite side of the piston is discharged through suitable. outlet openings I20 provided in the appropriate valve units of the distributing valve 50 into the head 20, from which, in turn, such air may escape through the relief hose 88 to the surface. In this manner, the interior of the head 20 isv maintained at atmospheric pressure and there is no need for discharging the used compressed air into water. Having thus described the construction of the invention, the operation thereof will now be explained. I I

With the boring tool I00 retracted in the well point 28 and the latter, itself, retracted into the housing I2, the entireapparatus is lowered to the sea bed I8 by means of the derrick cables 24, until it rests solidly with the feet I6 of the legs I4 engaging the sea bed, as shown in Figures 1 and 5. Thereupon the valve unit50 is remotely actuated so as to deliver compressed air into the cylinder 36, thus forcing the well point 28 downwardly and penetrating the submarine strata with oil bearing deposits. While the well .point 28 is forced downwardly, air under pressure is delivered intermittently into the cylinder H14, thus reciprocating the boring tool I00 and assisting in the downward travel of the well point.

After the well point is fully extended in a downward direction, the piston 52 is caused to reciprocate in the lower end portion of the Well point 28, thus extracting oil from submarine deposits and delivering the same upwardly into the transfer chamber and thence to the pump 14 which, in turn, delivers the extracted oil through the hose 18 to the surface.

It is believed that the advantagesand use of the invention will be clearly understood from the foregoing disclosure and, accordingly, further description thereof at this point is deemed unnecessary.

While in the foregoing there has been shown and described the preferred embodiment of this invention it is to be understood that minor changes in the details of construction and arrangement of parts may be resorted to without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as claimed.

Having described the invention, what is claimed as new is:

1. A submarine well drilling and pumping apparatus, comprising a body adapted to be submerged in water and provided with support means to rest on a sea bed, a hoisting cable and an oil outlet hose connected to said body, a hollow well point slidable vertically in said body and projectable downwardly beyond said support means whereby to penetrate submarine strata, power actuated means for sliding said well point, the lower end portion of said well point being provided with oil inlet openings, and power actuated means for delivering fluid under pressure from the interior of said well point through said hose.

2. The device as defined in claim 1, wherein said last mentioned means include a pump piston reciprocable in the lower end portion of said well point, and power actuated means in said body for reciprocating said piston.

3. In a submarine well drilling and pumping apparatus, the combination of a vertically elongated body adapted to be submerged in water and provided at its lower end with support means adapted to rest on a sea bed, an annular well point actuatingfiylinder provided in the lower end portion of said body, a hollow well point projectable downwardly from said body beyondsaid support means whereby to penetrate submarine strata, an annular piston provided at the upper end of said well point and reciprocable in said well point actuating cylinder, means for delivering fluid under pressure selectively above and below said piston whereby said well point may transfer chamber, the lower end portion of the well point being provided with oil inlet openings communicating with said passage, a pump piston reciprocable in said passage whereby oil from submarine strata may be delivered to said chamber, a piston rod connected to said pump piston and extending upwardly through said passage and through said annular cylinder, a pump actuating cylinder provided in said body above said annular cylinder, a piston provided at the upper end of said piston rod and reciprocable in said pump cylinder and means for delivering fluid under pressure selectively above and below said last mentioned piston whereby said piston rod may be reciprocated.

4. The device as defined in claim 3, together with an oil outlet hose connected to said body, a booster oil pump provided in the body and having an outlet in communication with said hose. and a connection between said transfer chamber and an inlet of said pump, whereby oil may be delivered from said body to the water surface.

5. The device as defined in claim 3, wherein said means for delivering fluid under pressure to be reciprocated, an oil transfer chamber provided in said body, said well point affording an oil passage communicating at its upper end with said said well point actuating and pump acting cylinders include a compressed air tank provided in said body and connected to the stated cylinders, and a compressed air hose connected to said body and communicating with said tank.

6. The device as defined in claim 3 together with a reciprocable boring tool provided at the lower end of said well point, and means for reciprocating said tool.

7. The device as defined in claim 3, together with a boring tool actuating cylinder provided in the lower end portion of said well point, a boring tool reciprocable in said last-mentioned cylinder and projectable from the lower end of the well point, resilient means for sliding said tool to a retracted position, and conduit extending axially through said piston rod and communicating at its lower end with said tool actuating cylinder, whereby fluid under pressure may be delivered into the latter to project said tool against the action of said resilient means.

8. The device as defined in claim 3, together with an annular sealing chamber provided in said body around said well point, semi-fluid sealing agent provided in said last-mentioned chamber, and means for exerting pressure on said agent to sustain the same in sealing engagement with said well point.


REFERENCES CITED The following references are of record in the file of this patent:

UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 3 3,521 Powers Mar. 10, 1835 545,451 Bolton June 23. 1891

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US313521 *Mar 24, 1883Mar 10, 1885 Well-pump
US545451 *Jan 23, 1895Sep 3, 1895 Swing-actuating mechanism
Referenced by
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US3111692 *Dec 14, 1960Nov 26, 1963Shell Oil CoFloating production platform
US3163222 *Apr 24, 1961Dec 29, 1964Shell Oil CoWellhead apparatus
US3163224 *Apr 20, 1962Dec 29, 1964Shell Oil CoUnderwater well drilling apparatus
US3219118 *Jan 12, 1962Nov 23, 1965Hydril CoSubmarine well head tool servicing apparatus
US3277653 *Nov 26, 1963Oct 11, 1966Christopher J FosterOffshore platforms and method of installing same
US3339632 *Jan 21, 1964Sep 5, 1967Hydril CoUnderwater connector
US3353594 *Oct 14, 1963Nov 21, 1967Hydril CoUnderwater control system
US3366173 *Sep 29, 1965Jan 30, 1968Mobil Oil CorpSubsea production system
US3401746 *Dec 10, 1965Sep 17, 1968Mobil Oil CorpSubsea production satellite system
US3491842 *May 6, 1968Jan 27, 1970Inst Francais Du PetroleApparatus for underwater drilling and coring loose sediments
US3509910 *Oct 16, 1968May 5, 1970Acf Ind IncSubmergible wellhead valve and control system
US3516491 *Jun 28, 1967Jun 23, 1970Hydril CoUnderwater control system
US4161988 *Dec 5, 1977Jul 24, 1979Hart Ronald DPortable earth core sampling machine
US4249376 *Jun 13, 1978Feb 10, 1981Weckerly Darl EPump jacks
US4848471 *Aug 4, 1987Jul 18, 1989Den Norske Stats OljeselskapMethod and apparatus for transporting unprocessed well streams
U.S. Classification175/6, 173/76, 166/358, 166/368, 175/103, 175/8, 173/31, 166/68.5, 173/DIG.100
International ClassificationE21B33/037, E21B7/136
Cooperative ClassificationE21B33/037, E21B7/136, Y10S173/01
European ClassificationE21B33/037, E21B7/136