US 2840166 A
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June 24, 19 58 ECKEL E AL 2,840Q166 APPARATUS FOR CLOSING WILD WELLS THROUGH A PRESSURE CH AMBER Filed July 5. 1955 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 FIG."I
John E. Eckel Jahn S. Hutchison Inventors June 24, 1958 Ec L ET AL 2,840,166
APPARATUS FOR CLOSING WILD WELLS THROUGH A PRESSURE CHAMBER Filed July 5. 1955 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG.'3
John E. Eckel John S. Hutchison Inventors Byf c g z m/ Z 4Afforney June 24, '1958 J. E. ECKEL ET AL 2,840,166
APPARATUS FOR CLOSING WILD WELLS THROUGH A PRESSURE CHAMBER Filed July 5. 1955 3 Sheets-Sheet 3 FIG-5 FIG."7
John E. Eckel John S. Hutchison B 7 LZ Attorney Inventors 2,840,166 Patented June 24, 1958 d 8 S mwa e signors to Esso Research and Engineering Company, acorporation of Delaware v Application July 5, 1955, semi No. 520,025
6 Claims. cries-55) This invention relates to an improved apparatus for controlling a wild petroleum well from which fluids are escaping under pressure. The apparatus is particularly adapted for closing offwild wells that have been drilled in a lake or gulf and on whichsurface valves, blowout preventers or other surface control devices are notprescut or are damaged and inoperative.
With any high pressure producing oil well there is always the danger that the well will get out'jof'control and that the well cannot be closed ofiwith the existing equipment. For example when a well is being drilled or repaired the pressure control equipment may become damaged .or broken olf, ,so that the pressure of the well can no longer be confined, resulting in'a wild well from which .gas and oil will rapidlyescape andfproduce a fire hazard, endanger surrounding property and human life, and cause enormous waste of a valuable naturalresource. Wells that have blown out as a, result of easing failure caused by excessive corrosion present a serious problem since in such cases there will usuallybe nothing left but the bare casing and therefore no structure such as flanges will be availableto use as an anchoring means in attempting to cap the well. Wild wells of this nature present a particularly serious problem in marine installations since corrosion is particularly bad at the waterline and thecasing may have failed at the water level;
I It is an object of the present invention to provideian apparatus for closing oif a wild welljby cutting through the strings of casing below the top of the well and inserting means for sealing the producing string of easing.
In accordance with the present invention a pressure chamber is fastened and sealed to the outermost casing of the well. Openings are cut through each of the concentric casings, with the exception of the innermost casing, from within the pressure chamber, the pressure cham her is extended through the openings into sealing contact with the outer wall of the innermost casing, an opening is then cut into the innermost casing from within the extended pressure chamber and sealing means are inserted into the innermost casing to stop the fluid flow.
The nature of the invention and its objects will be more fully understood when reference is made to the accompanying drawings in which:
Figure 1 is an elevational view in section showing the concentric casing strings with the pressure chamber or saddle, valve and drill tool attached, showing the manner in which openings are cut through the outer casings to the innermost casing;
Figure 2 is a transverse sectional view taken on line II-II of Figure l showing the packer sleeve set in place against the inner casing;
Figure 3 is a transverse view similar to Figure 2 showing the manner in which an opening is cut into the innermost casing;
Figure 4 is a transverse sectional view showing the inner casing seal set in place;
Figure 5 is a perspective view of .the expansible seal before expansion; v V
Figure 6 is a similar view of the seal after expansion; and a g p I Figures 7 and 8 are perspective views of the reinforcing leaf springs, before and .afterjexpansion, respectively.
In practicing this invention the first step is to attach a .pressures'addle to -the outermost string of casing to provide .a pressure chamber through which the subsequent .operationscanbe undertaken. r 7
Referring to Figure 1, a portion .of a well is shown in sectional elevation, therwell having three concentric strings of easing 10,11 and 12 which extend out of a lake bed 13 to a region somewhere above the level 23 of the lake. In the first stage of the procedure for closing ofi the wild well a saddle 14 is taken beneath the lake surface by divers andwelded or bolted and sealed in place on the outer casing 10. In the embodiment shown the two halves of the saddle are fastened together by bolts 15. A ring seal 16 prevents leakage into the saddle opening. A valve 17 is then attached to the saddleby means of the flanges shown in the figures. A lubricator drill tool 18 is then attached to the outer flange of'the valve, the valve '17 is opened, a drill and reamerbit 20 is extended by the drill tool 18 through the valve into the pressure chamber provided by the saddle, and holes 21 and 22 are cut through the two outer casings 10 and 11. The drill -is"then retracted into the drill tool, the valve 17 is closed and the drill tool is removed from thevalve.
The drill tool 18 is commercially available and is' of the nature shown on page '1918 or page 3436 of the 1954 55 edition of the Composite Catalogof Oil Field and Pipeline Equipment (Gulf Publishing Company).
The drill and reamer bit is removed from the drill tool 18 and a setting stem 28 shown in Figure 2 is attached to the 'drill' tool. A packer sleeve 24 is fixed to the outer end of the setting stem and the tool 18 is again attached to theIvalve '17; the valve is opened and the drill tool is used topush the sleeve 24 through the pressure chamber and the openings 21 and 22 so that the seals25 on the leading edge of the packing sleeve will be forced into sealing engagement with the outside of the innermost string of casing 12. Sealing engagement between the packing sleeve and the innermost string of easing may also be obtained by resistance welding, provided the setting tool used for inserting the packing sleeve is properly equipped to perform such contact welding.
The packing sleeve is provided with annular seals to seal the annulus between the Wall of the packing sleeve and the pressure saddle 16. Retainer slips 26 on the exterior of the sleeve lock the sleeve in place. After the sleeve has been locked in position, the setting stem 28 is released by moving the projection 29 on the stern out of engagement with the J-slot 27 in the wall of the packing sleeve. The setting stem is then retracted into the drill tool and valve 17 is closed.
An intermediate step of operation may also be used. In this step the packing sleeve is not seated against the innermost casing until sufiicient cement has been pumped through it to fill the annular space between casing strings 11 and 12.
After valve 17 has been closed, the drill tool 18 is removed from the valve and the setting stem 28 is replaced by a drill and reamer 31 of sutficiently small diameter to pass through the packing sleeve 24 as shown in Figure 3; The drill tool 18 is again attached to the valve 17, the valve is opened and the drill tool extends the drill and reamer through the sleeve 24 to cut an opening 32 into the innermost casing 12. The drill and reamer are the drill tool is removed from the valve.
An expansible sealing deviceis then attached to the drill tool, the drill tool is again attached to the valve, the valve is opened and the expansible seal is thrust. through thepackingsleeve into the, bore of the, inner casing 12. "The seal is so designed that when it str'ik'es-thC opposite interior wall ,oflhe casing-it expands'hndflseals the boi'e of' the casin Thedetails oftheexpansible seal are shown in Figures ,Y
4 to 8'inclusive- .The' sealing device includes a cylindrical case ,34 which slidablyreceives a plunger 37. I Supported at the outer endiof thejcylindricalfcasej within" the slot are a pair of leaf. springs 39 which are molded into a body of expansible material 38 such as rubber or the like. The leaf springs are pivotally fastened to'each' other at each end with the pins 36. The case 34is inserted through the sleeve 24 until the rounded nose portion 40 engages the far wall of the innermost casing 12. Then, when the plunger 37 is thrust through the cylindrical caseby the plunger, the leaf, springs are bowed outwardly and the expansible material 38 is likewise forced outwardly so that the entire circular cross section of the casing bore is sealed off. For simplicity of illustration the nose40 has been omitted from Figures and 6. e
The cylindrical case is provided at its outer end with an inner annular groove into which latches 43 on the plungerjare forced when the plunger has been forced through the casing. Thus the expanded seal is locked into place after the desired sealing has been effected. The cylindrical case;34 -is'also provided with locking slips 45 that engage thef inner wall of the packing sleeve 24 and thus preventoutward movement 'ofthe cylindrical casing once it has been set in place. After the expansible seal has been forced into its sealing position, the setting stem is released from the pressure tool 'by means of the release device 46, the pressure tool is retracted through the valve, the valve is closed and the pressure tool is removed from the valve, leaving .the well closed in.
It is to be understoodithat this invention is not to be limited to'the specific disclosures presented herewith and that modifications thereof are possible and are contemplated which will not depart from the spirit and .scope of the'invention as defined in the following claims. a
What, is claimed is: 1. An assembly for closing ofifiuid flow through the innermost of a plurality of concentric strings of casing which comprises a sleeve member extending through 4 a t aligned openings in the walls of said casing strings into sealing engagement with the periphery of an opening in the wall of the innermost jjof said casings, a cylindrical case fitting within said sleeve and extending within said innermost casing, expansible sealing means supported on the inner end of said case and means for expanding said sealing ,means within said innermost casing.
2. A ss em bly asdefined by claim 1 whereinsaid expandifi'g'f'ineafisf"comprises a'cylindrical plunger fitting slidably within said cylindrical case whereby to force said sealing means out of said case on motion of said plunger through said case. A i
3. Assembly as defined by claim l'iricluding leaf spring supports within said sealing means to impart rigidity thereto.
4. In an assembly for closingofi fluid flow through the producing string of a plurality of concentric casing strings in a well including a pressure chamber attachable to the outermost casing, string, chtting meansoperative from within said pressure chamber to 'cutholes through each of said casing strings and valve means attached to said pressure chamber to provide access to said holes; the improvement which comprises a sleeve extending from said pressure chamber through the holes in said casing s'tringsand into the producing string, means to seal said sleeve annularly relative to each casing string, an expansible sealing means insertable through said pressure chamber and said sleeve into said producing string, and interengaging means between said sealing means and said sleeve to lock said sealing means in position.
5. An apparatus asdefined in claim 4 in which the expansible sealing means comprises a cylindrical case, a body of expansible material at one end of said case, leaf spring members molded within said expansible material and .pivotally supported at each end to said cylindrical case, anda plunger movable within said case to thrust against said expansible material.
-6. An apparatus as defined in claim 5 in which the expansible material is rubber.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,648,107 Brogdon et a1. Nov. 8, 1927 1,863,890 Wigle June 21, 1932 1,879,160 Fowzer Sept. 27, 1932 2,000,381 Dufiy May 7, 1935