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Publication numberUS2647585 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateAug 4, 1953
Filing dateFeb 12, 1949
Priority dateFeb 12, 1949
Publication numberUS 2647585 A, US 2647585A, US-A-2647585, US2647585 A, US2647585A
InventorsRoberts George H
Original AssigneeViola Violet Roberts
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Heater for oil and other wells
US 2647585 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

3 Sheets-Sheetl .II! R. n D11 H 0 W W 0 W 0 m mm I M .l I V w w o 0 o e 7. v IIIItI il I O r 0 /0 O O\\\ fi u 1 M4 1 I o o W 0 Aug. 4, 1953 G. H. ROBERTS HEATER FOR OIL AND OTHER WELLS Filed Feb. 12, 1949 Aug 4, 1953 G. H. ROBERTS HEATER FOR OIL AND OTHER WELLS 5 Sheets-Sheet- 2 Filed Feb. 12, 1949 7 35 E Z J 3 W J 7/467, 4/44! inhaflfiaQ r e L HfiINMWW W I I I Fldiilifllfl. W m m m m E m 5 I Wu E v 4 r x .& w 5 .v w w w w; +MWQZMQ 0| I 7 5/ I r O o k h 6 W 6 MD 11 l M n 6+ a J M w Aug. 4, 1953 Filed Feb. 12, 1949 G. H. ROBERTS HEATER FOR OIL AND OTHER WELLS 3 Sheets-Sheet- 3 INVENTOR.

Gggr efiiaoberts.

Patented Aug. 4, 1953 UNITED HEATER FORJ'OIL AND OTHER WELISS George Roberts, Los Angeles,...Ca.lif.,'.assign0r, 'by decree ofdi'stribution, to'iViolaJ'violet'iltoberts .Application February 12, 1949, SerialNol'76L093 .1 .This, invention relates -to :.a heater for use in ideeprandashallow wells to'reduceoil and other deposits. in the. earth to'iluidcondition so that they. canrbe gpu-mped ormade to; fiow'to thesurface of the well. Toathis end my invention providessimpleeand efiective means which when lowered; into a well: can be controlled in opera- ,tion entirely from above, thewelland canbe made (to reduce theoiLor. other. deposit in the formation which i thewell. is locatedto free flowing condition. Another object is to provide apparatus for. the above. purpose which most effectively revd.1.1ces- .said. deposit/to fluid condition ata mini- .mum-Ofexpenseto operate and which is adapted .to. recoverosubstantiallyall .of the oil or other "deposit which is held in the formation adjacent .to thewell.

In theffollowingspecificationl have shown and described myiimproved-apparatus when applied for .use oil .well. and supplied with an energizing medium. It will however be understood that the. apparatusimay be ,modifiedin construction, that other deposits than .oil may be treated in the well,.and. that other activating medium instead of superheated steam may be employed as a motivating medium withinpther spirit of thev invention.

"In the acconripanying .Tdrawings forming, part of this specification,fFig. 1 is aside elevation partly'in vertical section .ofea typical oil .well,

.showing' the well lined with the usual casing and myimproved heaterset inthe well and connected with thesurface installation .by which energizing fluid is. provided .andcontrolled. for. operating-the heaterandpacker inthe Well; Fig. zisa-vertical 1 central; section. .at. increased scale of .the lower ,being .understood that portions .of the heater shown, in. Figs. ,2,;3...and-. i constitute the entire "heater structure; Fig. .5. is .a .plan taken inthe plane inolicatedhythelinei5-5 of. Fig. 4, eShOW- ing the. upper.-.end of. the. heater.assemloly;-,Eig..-6 wiser-section takenon. the.line-. 6-:6 of Fig. L4;..Fig. .7'is.a.-;section takenonthe line 'iloof Fig.6;

FigJBisa side elevation partly broken awayrand in. section .oithe packer which may. be. employed with my improved ,apparatus; Fig. 9-is aside.

elevation of .the pressure release valve which contr'ols the operation-10f the packer, vran-d Fig.

.110 a lower end view .of the ;valve shown in Ef'Eig..;.9.

;.:In:.the.;drawines, Airepresents; aiwellr inwwhich '2 any improved heater is wshown -:applied in use, -.said"well-;bei;ng: lined with: the:- usual casing. to, v saidrcasingeloeingaset- :by: its/lowerend in-.the-.;oil :or =-othenresidual "deposit bearing earth: formation iniwhich it .isp-desired to apply my-improved' heater. Assuming that the teasing is. set in oil hearing formation, thev' lower end portion thereof :is provided with :an inner perforated I. liner l l of reduced wdiameter-i-whichis connected tothevcasing l-ll'by the-.uSuaI-adapterJ Z. Thenpperend of. the casingv above :or close-to. the-surface of the well is solosed by the usualcasing-head l3.

My .improved heater B' is :provided-w=ith a self contained pneumatic {packer PD which i has an elastic cylindrical jacket r l4 -:-and an inner 1. relatively. th-irr cylindrical tube t5 on which the; ends of the jacket .areatightly secured. The -jacket,;:is roomposed of resilient 2 material 1 :sothat when it vis inflated -it engages the; inner surface of the casing in-the well and-seals the heater ctherein. :Eachwof'the oppositet-endszoi the resilient-jacket resembles -'a-.sleeve l6 which-is extended-lengthwisecover the-tube Land is 'held 1 tightly on each end thereofxbyaan. outwardly threaded collar) H, said icol'lar. :beingithrea'dedly engaged andyclamped tightly hy a? pressure :sealring: i l3- and bondedqby .vulcanizingwnthe eends i of the .tube. r'lhis rend structure is substantially similar on bothends .of'athe ipacker. One end portion ofthepacker structure is closed tightly-by a coupling head ,20 .whichengages theeadjacentend of the tube t5, r and the opposite. end portion of the .packer structure-istzclosedsby acoupling head .25 which *in -a2-substantia1ly similar manner engages the :lower-end .of the tube l5. In this. manner .an vinflating chamber'formed within the packer. .Theupper end of thecoupling head 29 is. formed .witha. threaded nipp1e23 .on-which a lock ring-.224 .threadedly engages and holds the seal ring i1 i8 ttightito prevent turning. .In-like manner .the aloweriendiof the slower coupling :head 2 i .(Fig. .33) is provided with athreadednipplelfi oniwhich 1a downwardly extended lock sleeve 26 .threadedly engagesand holds theilower seal ring Might-to prevent: turning.

The construction of the gpneumatic packer is .shownin Fig. 8,.when, removed. from the coupling 1 heads. .When desired-the routercylindrical :surface :ofnthe body; portion .of the packer .rnay V be {provided with annulanv channels 21 to -assist in '-i-ormin'g.-.a .tig-ht leakproofl .connection when ,the lpacken is inflated aandsexpanded into tight is en ;;.gagement with thewirmer surface. of. the linerper- ;tion I loot casing-illo -vat the desired-'verticalgposiwtiflnifin the-Well.

The lock sleeve 26, which is mounted by the nipple 25 on the lower end of the coupling head 2!, extends downwardly and is secured to the annular head member 28 of heater B. The heater has a cylindrical jacket 29 joined by a slip joint 30 and welding at its upper end to the coupling head 28 and depends therefrom in the well. Its lower end is attached by a slip joint 3| and welding to a valved head 32, which in turn supports a perforated screen 33.

The heater and packer are thus united into a self contained unit which is adapted to be applied at any desired elevation in the well so as to block off and isolate that portion of the well which contains oil or other residual deposit and to apply heat thereto. Assuming that superheated steam at any desired pressure and temperature (for illustration 300 pounds to the square inch pressure and 300 degrees F.), is employed as an energizing medium, it is conducted downwardly into the heater by ducts 34, 35 and 36 (Fig. 4). A release check valve 31 is provided in head member 32 and is adapted to conduct steam at predetermined pressure and temperature from the chamber within heater B through the port passages 33'! into the oil or other residual deposit bearing structure so as to reduce said deposit in the well into free flowing condition, whereby it can be readily pumped upwardly through the fiow line 38 out of the well. The flow line 38 is extended upwardly through the heater B, whereby it is maintained in heated condition by live steam in the chamber within the heater. The fiow line tubing is connected to the ingress and egress ends of the reciprocable pump C above the heater. The pump C, of ordinary construction is actuated by the reciprocable sucker rod 39, which is extended upwardly above the well through the egress flow line tubing 38 and is driven by any suitable means (not shown). The live steam heating tube section 36 (Fig. 2) and the intake lower portion of the flow line 38 are assisted in being maintained in fixed position in the heater by the bafile plates 40. The live steam duct 34 (Fig. 1), leading from boiler E which contains a superheater (not shown) is assisted in being controlled by the hand operable valve 4|.

A suitable surface installation for activating the combined heater and packer is provided, which comprises the boiler E and its steam condenser F and superheater, and a system of valved steam lines connected to the casing head !3 as shown in Fig. 1. As the heater B, packer D and pump C are operated simultaneously, heated oil or other residual fluid deposit obtained from the structure in which the well is located, after being reduced to free flowing condition is drawn into the well by the negative force or vacuum tendency which is created by the heater and the pump, and is then removed from the well through the flow line 38. During this action live steam from the boiler and its superheater is conducted downwardly into the heater by the input steam line sections 34, 35 and 36, which are connected together in series. As pressure increases in the heater the release valve 3'! automatically permits the steam to circulate through the structure in which the heater is applied, thus liquifying the residual deposit in the structure and surrounding the heater. The suction and vacuum tendency created by the heat and the pump tends to draw the resulting fluid from the earth structure into the heater, from which it is pumped to the surface above the Well and released through the outlet portion 38 from the flow line 38.

Circulating steam passing through the heater is adapted to be returned to the condenser F through the steam exhaust line which is composed of duct sections 45, M and 4'! (Fig. 4) the latter section being extended above the casing head l3 and connected to the condenser F through branch 41'. Live steam supply duct 18 from the boiler is connected to the heater steam exhaust duct 41 and is controlled .by valves 49 and 50. Duct 48 is also connected to the live steam supply line 34 through branch 5| which is controlled by valve ii. The main supply line 48 is additionally controlled through the operation of valves 49 and 50.

A live steam control line is tapped into the supply duct 48 by the valved connection which in turn is extended downwardly through the casing head i3 and packer head 26 by the control cylinder 56 (Figs. 4 and 9), which contains a reciprocable piston 57. This piston is adapted to function by steam pressure against the tension of spring 58, and supports a longitudinally extended actuating push rod 59.

A control valve housing G is provided in the inner chamber of the packer to which the opposite ends of the steam exhaust line sections 55 and 46 are connected (Figs. 4 and 9). This valve housing contains a flap valve Ell which functions automatically and in normal position intercepts the ducts through sections 45 and 46 but is adapted to open automatically under steam exhaust pressure upwardly when the packer is released from engagement with the casing in the well.

The lower end of the control cylinder. 56 is threadedl engaged in the upper portion of the valve housing G with its piston rod depending therein and normally urged into superior position by spring 58. Cylinder 6! depends from the lower portion of the valve housing G in alignment with the upper cylinder 56 and contains a reciprocable piston valve 62, which is adapted to open and close valve ports 63 and thus connect the duct 46 with the inflating chamber 22 of the packer through the port passage 64 in the tubular casing l5. The piston valve 62 has a stem 65 extended upwardly and sliding through the lower end of cylinder 55 in line to be thrust downwardly by the depression of the piston 53? to effect the opening of valve ports 63. A helical spring 66 in the cylinder 6| normally urges the valve 62 upwardly into closed position when the actuating piston 5'! assumes superior position. The spring is regulated in tension by the adjustable hollow nut 61.

Operation My improved heater and packer assembly is adapted for use in wells for recovering oil, gas, sulphur and other residual deposits in the earth structure and particularly, although not exclusively, when it has been found dimcult to extract solid or semisolid deposits in natural formations in the earth. As an illustration of one type of operation of my invention I have described its application to an oil well but it should be understood that it is equally applicable for use for removing other liquifiable deposits from the structure in the earth. In applying my improved apparatus for use in recovering heavy or thick oil in an oil well and in the surrounding formation in which the Well has been sunk, my imeproved assembled: hatchery-cheater and pump:.-are elowerejd "into the :well ctogether with the steam ssupply i lines :and flow tubingzthe l-latter 'rpar-ts being. joined and assembled: .bymthreadedly con-- :nected lengths (not shownhasithe" heater, packer I, and pump are lowered into thewell. "JIhe' heater .is preferably submerged r inv thefiuid in the well =opposite the oil sands-and'oilb'earing formation.

The heatew packer land-pump are applied'in use while the steam" lines-and fioW tubingare locked -securely and" tightly in the-casing head l3 in" any well a known -manner -such as" by packing gland nutsll (Fig.1).

Infiating the packer withsteam pressure-causes '-the ---packer -'to engage "the casing and --hold the o heater-at thedesiredelevation in the-well.

To accomplish this result first'close *valves 'ltl, 52

"andll. Second, openvalve 49-torelease-steam exhaust pressure from: the boiler into-thesteam "line l'lso-as'to'infiate packer to the=desired-pressure'as indicatedby pressure-gauge "l2 which. is

assembled in the'steanrline't I 3y closing valve "'lll steam pressure is delivered to" the check; line valve assembly G in the inner packer pressure chamber through the steam exhaust line'd'l. and a is releasedintolthe inner pressure "chamber by depressing spring actuated valve 62 through ports 3 and into; packerchamberi22 through port fi l in the inner packer jacket l5.

When the packer has'beeninfiated to hold heaterin position in the casing, close valvesr49 and, 593, thenopenvalve 'lfieineexhaust line 41. When pressure.hasbeenreleased through ex 1 haust line dl depressed valved l reseats itself thus =-closing ports-63 and retaining pressure. in. packer chamber- 22 until released for removal' operation spring actuated valve 62 returns to its normal seated position closing ports 63 and retaining pressure in the packer until released for removal from the well. Exhaust steam returning to the condenser from the heater through line 41 forces flap valve 69 upward, thus permitting free flow of steam upwardly through line 41.

To permit exhaust steam to return tothe condenser, valves 49 and 52 are closed. Valves 50, All and it remain open to circulate steam from the boiler through the heater and exhaust steam from the heater to the condenser. Flap valve 56 then opens automatically to permit upward flow of exhaust steam to the condenser through steam line 4?. In the event condensate accumulates in the heater which tends to impair its efiiciency, same may be removed from the heater by closing valves 49, 52 and '10. Valves 4| and 50 are then opened and increased steam pressure from the boiler is then applied to the heater to depress spring check valve 31 which opens ports 37! to permit accumulated condensate to discharge from the heater chamber by the increased steam pressure through ports 31' into the well.

To release the packer for removal of the heater from the well, first close all valves. Then open valveuiz inathersteam iline 53:1and-;,open"valve t:;torrelease:livexsteamifrom: the:=b0iler ..into: said ssteam line. i-Pressure-ain thersteamzzline-l53 depresses spring actuatedpiston:5'Lzwhich ini'turn .-.-.depresseswalvexf62, ozvhich .opensrports 63,:releas- :7 ins". pressure .;.in the inner cpressure :chambepand packercchambertfiithrough valve Bzinto; the ex- ;haust line-:41. .When: the;:packer :isvdeflatedclose valves :Lifilhand r52 :aand i' thewheater: may ".then be rremovddfrom the; well.

i l I Advantages apparatus.

'l?he;l-1eater@and-packenunit is equally appliz-eable:in-oil,,sulphuraandgother wells, for liquifying residual deposits throughout-,a comparative large area and rendering the same free to flow so thatztheymay-bewpumped or made to flow out of .the well.

'When thenheater. operates the heat therefrom zextendsnfarther.and farther into the formation 'fillditSll'lCG. there, issubstantially no external heat ;.-radiation,;= the; only =l0ss0f heat arisesfrom heat .thtllllSrCOHtfiiIlBd lin ,theqoilor other residual -:;.deposita-.that;isrremoved from; the well. Also as 1 the heat-expands farther and farther into the arates from the water, sand and basic sediments.

There can be a cracking action of oil if heat at SllfilClBllt temperature by superheated steam or other fluid i applied in the well by my improved heater.

The heat that is directed into the formation by my improvement developes expansion at suificient pressure which causes the oil or other liquified deposit to seek the line of least resistance, namely, the well hole, where it is raised to the surface above the well. Simultaneously, vacuum tendency is created in the earth formation which tends to draw the oil or other liquified deposit from a larger and larger radius as the heat expands farther and farther into the formation.

The greater the heat temperature and pressure that is applied to the heater and in the formation by the use of superheated steam, the faster the activating fluid Will expand into the formation and a greater pressure and vacuum tendency will be created, bringing about a greater production of oil or other liquified deposit.

By reason of the release of the oil and other deposits from the formation, wells which are now considered as depleted, even though as little as 20% of the oil saturation has been recovered, will be reactivated by the use of my improvement, and a recovery of from approximately to from the sands and deposit bearing structure is possible.

It is anticipated that wells can be made to flow through the increased pressure and vacuum tendency created by my improvement and that the pumping equipment might be dispensed with.

My improved heater will liquify and extract wax, parafiine and oil from bituminous sand and shales.

My improved heater will also permit the production of oil and other products from wells all the year around, even during cold wheather, especially in case of wells which usually have to be shut down when the temperature, due to winter conditions is low.

At the casinghead, sufiiciently high pressure can be maintained so that gas will impregnate oil formation in a well and surrounding structure, thereby raising its gravity. Consequently, it is possible not only to control the flow but also in a measure to increase and control gravity of the oil, or at least raise such gravity, within reasonable limits, to the desired degree.

In accordance with the patent statutes, I have described the principles of operation of my invention together with the construction thereof which I now consider to represent the best embodiment thereof, but I desire to have it understood that the construction shown is only illustrative, that the parts of my invention may be assembled in a different manner, and that the invention can be carried into practice by other means and applied to uses other than those above set forth within the spirit thereof and within the scope of the following claims.

I claim:

1. In an apparatus for liquefying a residual deposit in a producing formation and recovering liquid therefrom, a well hole having a casing set in said formation, an expandable packer unit in proximity to said deposit, a controlled source of heated pressure fluid passing downwardly through the packer and connected to said heater to apply heated fluid to said heater whereby the deposit is liquefied in proximity to said heater, a valve housing in said packer, a conduit extending from said valve housing to the surface of the well, an exhaust conduit extending from said valve housing downward to said heater, a first check control valve in said housing which opens automatically under fluid pressure from below, but which closes said downwardly extending exhaust conduit when pressure is applied to said first mentioned conduit from the surface, a passage communicating between said valve housing and the interior of the packer, a second check control valve in said passage which opens when pressure is applied through said first mentioned conduit to permit heated pressure fluid to flow into said packer and expand the same into engagement with said casing and thereby support the heater in said casing, but closes when pressure is released in said first mentioned conduit, and means for removing liquid from the well as it is reduced by said heater from said deposit.

2. The structure of claim 1 werein said second check control valve is provided with a stem extending upwardly out of said valve housing, an extension on said valve housing which encloses the upper end of said stem and which serves as a third fluid pressure conduit, so that pressure in said conduit may act upon said stem and open said second check control valve independently of the aforesaid valve-operating means.


References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Number Name Date 193,838 West Aug. '7, 1877 760,304 Butler May 17, 1904 1,012,777 Wigle Dec. 26, 1911 1,439,560 Lee Dec. 19, 1922 1,457,479 Wolcott June 5, 1923

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US193838 *Jul 20, 1877Aug 7, 1877 Improvement in processes for steaming oil-wells
US760304 *Oct 24, 1903May 17, 1904Frank S GilbertHeater for oil-wells.
US1012777 *Jan 31, 1911Dec 26, 1911Wilson B WigleHeating apparatus for oil-wells.
US1439560 *Jun 18, 1921Dec 19, 1922Lee Robert EMethod for cleaning and treating oil and gas wells
US1457479 *Jan 12, 1920Jun 5, 1923Wolcott Edson RMethod of increasing the yield of oil wells
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2908331 *Apr 18, 1958Oct 13, 1959Brown Albert LHeater for oil wells
US2998069 *Mar 27, 1958Aug 29, 1961Stephens Raymond MOil well heater
US3163745 *Feb 29, 1960Dec 29, 1964Socony Mobil Oil Co IncHeating of an earth formation penetrated by a well borehole
US3228471 *Jun 11, 1958Jan 11, 1966Texaco IncMethod for producing hydrocarbons in an in situ combustion operation
US3369395 *Nov 3, 1964Feb 20, 1968Cities Service Oil CoFormation pressure tester
US3393744 *Oct 22, 1965Jul 23, 1968Razorback Oil Tool Co IncInflatable packer
US3493050 *Jan 30, 1967Feb 3, 1970Kelley KorkMethod and apparatus for removing water and the like from gas wells
US4446917 *Mar 12, 1979May 8, 1984Todd John CMethod and apparatus for producing viscous or waxy crude oils
US7832482 *Oct 10, 2006Nov 16, 2010Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.Producing resources using steam injection
U.S. Classification166/61, 166/187, 166/62, 277/331
International ClassificationE21B36/00
Cooperative ClassificationE21B36/00
European ClassificationE21B36/00