US 3035642 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 22, 1962 J. s. PAGE 3,035,642
APPARATUS FOR CONTROLLING THE FLOW OF PRODUCTION FLUID FROM A WELL Filed Aug. 9, 1957 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 g ant J74 J84 J7 4 Jae 6 O \KQK I e May 22, 1962 J. s. PAGE 3,
APPARATUS FOR CONTROLLING THE FLOW OF PRODUCTION FLUID FROM A WELL 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR.
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L/,. fi. .-4 9 J a 3 a :7; M 1|. A I 1 a v. 1 O a y! L l2 A L .w q a a a fig a x United States Patent Ofl-"ice 3,035,642 Patented May 22, 1962 3 035,642 APPARATUS FOR CONTROLLING THE FLOW OF PRODUCTION FLUID FROM A WELL John S. Page, Long Beach, Calif., assignor to Page Oil Tools, Inc., Long Beach, Calif., a corporation of California Filed Aug. 9, 1957, Ser. No. 677,257 4 Claims. (Cl. 166224) The present invention relates to the production of oil and/or gas wells from multiple production zones or strata or from a highly productive single zone, and more particularly to an improved apparatus for accomplishing multiple zone or high volume single zone production in a novel manner.
Various apparatus have heretofore been employed for producing oil wells from multiple zones or from single deep intervals or highly productive zones, including such well-known devices as cross-over packers, plural tubings, and the like, but such prior devices are not well suited for use in certain of the high volume producing wells of the Near East. In that section of the world, wells are encountered wherein producing intervals may result in a high volume of production, ranging up to on the order of about 5500 barrels of tank oil per day through 3 /2" tubing and up to on the order of 11,000 barrels tank oil per day through 7" casing. Of course, this volume of tank oil production is derived from a much greater flow rate of gas and oil at the well head, usually on the order of at least twice the flow rate of gas and oil at the wellhead as compared with the oil production rate.
Accodingly, it is highly desirable that wells of such character be continuously produced from such highly productive strata, both through the production tubing from at least one zone and through the casing annulus from the same or another zone.
An object of the present invention, therefore, is to provide an improved and novel apparatus for producing a high volume well through tubing and through casing, simultaneously. As hereinafter employed, it should be understood that reference to multiple zones is for convenience only, and that the apparatus to be described is also applicable to production from a deep interval or a highly productive zone.
In the course of such production of oil wells simultaneously through tubing and through casing, it may become necessary or desirable to selectively shut oif the flow of production fluid through the tubing or casing or both, either manually or automatically.
Therefore, a further object of the invention is to provide an improved and novel apparatus for selectively controlling the production of fluid from a well through tubing and through casing, that is through the annulus between the tubing and well casing.
Another object is to provide an improved apparatus for producing a well from multiple zones, through tubing from one zone and through casing from another zone, wherein production tubing is run into a well, the annulus between the tubing and the casing being packed off between the multiple zones of production, the tubing having a flow control valve therein for controlling the flow of production fluid through the tubing, and the tubing also having a flow control valve exteriorly thereof for controlling the flow of fluid through the annulus between the tubing and the casing.
Another object is to provide apparatus as aforesaid wherein either of the flow control valves may be operated automatically to shut 01f the flow of fluid therethrough upon an unusual occurrence at the well head, or wherein said valves may be manually operated to control such flow. Alternatively, however, both valves may be responsive to the same occurrence or same manual operation, so that both valves may be controlled simultaneously.
Still another object is to provide an apparatus as aforementioned wherein said tubing flow control valve and said casing flow control valve are of the fluid pressure operated type, and including means for subjecting the operating means of the valves to pressure derived from production fluid passing through the Well head equipment, to maintain said valves open, enabling the passage of production fluid therethrough, but said valves being adapted to close when they are not subjected to the pressure of the production fluid as aforesaid. In its broad aspect, however, the invention contemplates valve means which are operated responsive to fluid pressure derived from a source other than the production fluid.
A further object is to provide apparatus as aforesaid wherein the valves do not significantly interfere with the flow of production fluid through the tubing or through the annulus.
In accomplishing the invention, production tubing is run into a Well which, for example, has been cased and perforated in two zones or intervals, or in a deep interval. A permanent completion packer of any desired type is set between the perforated zones or is set so as to divide the deep interval into, in efiect, separate zones, so that the lower zone produces through the tubing, while the upper zone produces through the annulus, that is, the space between the tubing and the casing. A dual Christmas tree is preferably employed so that tubing production fluid passes through one flow line and annulus production fluid passes through another flow line. The packer may be of the so-called hook-wall type which is adapted to partially support the tubing string, and a hydraulic tubing anchor is preferably employed for assisting the packer in supporting the tubing, the tubing anchor being located on the order of about 200 feet below the well head. Preferably, just above the tubing anchor is what, in accordance with this invention, may be conveniently referred to as an annulus valve for controlling the flow of the casing production fluid from the upper zone; and, preferably, interposed in the tubing string is a tubing flow control valve for controlling the flow of fluid through the tubing from the lower perforated or producing zone. A fluid pressure operated tubing hold down device is also preferably employed for preventing jacking up of the tubing string when both of the valves are closed, thus shutting in the well, so that the tubing is subjected to full Well pressure at the valves tending to elevate the tubing.
A further object is to provide a well flow control system as aforesaid, wherein one or more actuating fluid lines extend down into the well and are connected to the fluid pressure responsive valve operating means of the tubing and annulus valves, such fluid line or lines being interconnected at the wellhead with a source of fluid under pressure for actuating the valves to one position, and the valves being responsive to the flow of production fluid, in the absence of the actuating fluid pressure aforesaid, for shifting the valves to another position, whereby the flow of fluid through the tubing and through the annulus is alternately precluded and permitted. As previously mentioned, production fluid pressure at the wellhead is preferably employed as the valve actuating fluid, and accordingly the actuating fluid lines, when a pair are employed, are preferably connected to flow lines which separately convey production fluid from the tubing and the casing. However, if only a single actuating fluid line is employed, it may have branch con nections to the respective flow lines and to the respective valves.
In accordance with the invention, suitable means may be provided for controlling the operation of the valves by the actuating fluid. Such control means preferably Comprises at least one manually operated valve, but may advantageously include any or all of the various control instiumentalities disclosed in my copending patent application, Serial No. 669,043, filed July 1, 1957, to the end that, under certain circumstances, the flow of the well either through tubing or through the annulus may be manually or automatically shut off upon reduction or excessive rise in production pressure through the fiow lines, as is more particularly pointed out in that application.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be hereinafter described or will become apparent to those skilled in the art, and the novel features thereof will be defined in the appended claims.
in the accompanying drawings, to which reference may be made for a better understanding of the invention, an illustrative embodiment of an apparatus made in accordance with the invention is shown, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a view partly in elevation and partly broken away and shown in section, of wellhead equipment at the head of a cased well having a tubing string disposed therein, the tubing string being provided with a tubing fiow control valve in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 2 is a downward extension of FIG. 1, showing an annulus valve in accordance with the invention;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged vertical sectional view showing, in full lines, the tubing valve as open, and showing, in broken lines, the tubing valve in a closed position;
FIG. 4 is an enlarged vertical sectional view showing the annulus valve in an open position;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary detail view in section showing the valve of FIG. 4 in a closed condition; and
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary view in section, as taken on the line 66 of FIG. 4.
Like reference characters in the several views of the drawings and in the following description designate corresponding parts.
In accordance with the invention hereof there is generally shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, well apparatus for producing a well from multiple production zones. The well apparatus includes a casing 1, at the upper end of which is a dual Christmas tree including a casing head assembly 2 having a pair of flow lines 3 and 4 extending therefrom. Disposed upon the assembly 2, is a landing flange 5 of annular form, adapted for sealing engagement with a landing sub 6 which is secured to the upper extremity of a string production tubing 7 eX- tending down into the well.
Preferably a flow valve 8 is disposed on the casing head assembly 2, and above the flow valve 8 is a well head assembly 9 from which project flow lines 10 and 11, whereby fluid flowing from the tubing passes upwardly through valve 8 and thence through either or both of the lines 10, 11, which are provided, as customary, with flow valves 12 and 13, respectively.
It will be noted that an annular space 14 is defined between the tubing 7 and easing 1, and that the engagement of the landing flange 5 with the sub 6 separates tubing flow from the annulus 14. Fluid passing upwardly through the annulus 14, however, is free to pass through either or both of the flow lines 3- and 4 through flow valves 15 and 16, respectively.
The method hereof contemplates installing a valve assembly 17 in the tubing string for controlling the flow of fluid upwardly through the tubing, and installing a second valve assembly 18 on the tubing for controlling the flow of fluid upwardly through the annulus 14. A suitable packer 19 of the permanent completion or hookwall type is interposed in the casing between an upper producing or perforated zone 20 and a lower producing or perforated zone 21. The tubing is preferably provided with a lower end assembly 22 of any desired type for the admission of production fluid from the zone 21 into the tubing, while production fluid from the zone 20 flows upwardly through the annulus 14.
Each of the valves 17 and 18 is fluid pressure actuated to an open position, in accordance with the method hereof, as will hereinafter more particularly be described, and for this purpose, accordingly, a conduit 17a estab lishes fluid communication between flow line 11 and a passage 17b extending through the landing flange 5, while a conduit 18a establishes fluid communication between flow line 3 and a passage 18b in the landing flange 5. These passages 17b and 18b are respectively connected with tubings 17c and 180 which lead to the valves 17 and 18, respectively. Preferably, the tub ings 17c and 180 are provided with a number of convolutions about the tubing as at 17d and 18d respectively, whereby the landing flange 5 may be removed from the assembly 2, the convolutions allowing free movement of the flange 5.
The conduits 17a and 18a are provided with valves 172 and 182 which are of conventional form for controlling the flow of valve operating fluid to the valves 17 and 18 by venting lines 17a and 18a to atmosphere, preferably while preventing further, flow through lines 17a and 18a from flow lines 10 and 11, or if preferred such control of the valve actuating fluid may be accomplished as in my above-identified copending application.
In any case, however, with the apparatus thus far described disposed in the well, production fluid from zone 20 above packer 19 passes through the annulus 14, valve 18, flow lines 3 and 4-, and the annulus fluid pressure is imposed on fluid in conduit 18a and tubing 18c so as to maintain valve 18 open, while production fluid from zone 21 flows through the production tubing 7 and flow lines 10 and 11, and tubing pressure is imposed on fluid in conduit 17a and tubing 17c so as to maintain valve 17 open. When either of the valves 17e or 18a is positioned, however, so as to relieve the valves 17 and 18 of production fluid pressure through the tubings 17c and 18c, continued flow of production fluid through the annulus 14 or tubing 17 will close the respective valves 17 and 18.
In the practice of the invention, inasmuch as the tubing 7 is not suspended at the well head in the just described arrangement, an hydraulic tubing anchor A may be employed, one such device which is admirably suited for this purpose being the subject of my prior Patent No. 2,532,418, dated December 5, 1950. This tubing anchor, in combination with the permanent completion packer 19 will support the tubing 7. In some installations, however, further tubing holding means may be desired, such as a hold down H which may be interposed in the tubing 7 between the valves 17 and 18. An hydraulically actuated tubing holddown is disclosed in my prior Patents No. 2,603,292, dated July 15, 1952, or No. 2,658,459, dated November 10, 1953, which is well suited to this purpose. Such a holddown will prevent the tubing from being jacked up in the well by well pressure when both valves 17 and 18 are closed ofl.
Referring to FIG. 3, particularly, the valve 17 is shown in detail, although it will be understood that other specific valve assemblies are applicable, such as for instance the valves shown in my copending applications, Serial No. 669,177, filed July 1, 1957, and Serial No. 678,874, filed August 19, 1957. The valve 17 includes upper and lower coupling members 24 and 25 adapted to be connected to the tubing 7. Between the coupling members is a two part housing including an upper section 26 and a lower section 27 joined at 28. The section 27 constitutes an actuator cylinder having a fluid pressure operated sleeve 29 shiftable axially therein and having an end flange 30 constituting a piston. The housing section 27 has an inwardly directed flange 31 opposed to the flange 30 and defining a pressure chamber 3-2 therebetween. Tubing communicates with the piston chamber 32. The actuator sleeve 29 projects upwardly beyond the flange 31 and has secured thereon, as by a collar 33, one end of a valve operating link 34. The link 34 is connected at its other end to a pivotal valve gate 35 which is pivotally connected to an annular valve seat 36 carried by the upper housing section 26. It will be noted that fluid under pressure in chamber 32 will retain the valve in the position shown in full lines in FIG. 3. However, upon a predetermined reduction in such pressure, the flow of production fluid upwardly through the tubing 7 and the valve assembly 17, will act upon the pressure responsive lower end face 29' of actuator sleeve 29, thus shifting the sleeve 29 upwardly to close the valve, as shown in broken lines in FIG. 3. Inasmuch as the link 34, when the valve is in the closed position, extends across the lower face of the valve gate 35, the actuator sleeve 29 is preferably radially slotted as at 29 to accommodate the link 34. Suitable sealing means, as shown, are also preferably employed to prevent leakage of the valve assembly 17.
Referring now to FIGS. 4 and 6, the annulus valve 18 is shown as including an elongated tube or mandrel 37 having couplings 38 and 39 at its upper and lower ends for assembly of the mandrel in the tubing string. Mounted on the mandrel beneath the coupling 38 is a retainer ring 40. The ring 40 retains a number of circumferentially spaced webs 41 seated at their bottom ends in a channel formed in the upper extremity of a radial enlargement 42 on the mandrel 37 in spaced relation to the ring. The webs 41 are welded at their outer edges to a packer sleeve 43 which is adapted to carry a packer rubber 44, the rubber 44 engaging the casing wall about its periphery. At its lower extremity, the rubber 44 is circumferentially grooved as at 45 and has a lip 46 engaged with the casing wall as the result of fluid pressure in the annulus. Slidably mounted on the enlargement 42 of the mandrel 37 is a valve sleeve 47 having an inwardly extended flange 48 defining with the enlargement 42 a pressure chamber 49 therebetween. The tubing 180 communicates with the chamber 49 through a passage 50 in the enlargement 42 so that as long as the valve 18:; at the well head is open the chamber 49 will be subjected to annulus flow pressure which will hold the valve sleeve 47 in the position shown in FIG. 4; but upon a drop in such pressure, or in the event of some other occurrence as previously referred to, the pressure in the chamber will also be reduced, and flow of fluid through the annulus 14 will act on a pressure responsive face 51 of the valve sleeve 47, thus causing the sleeve to move to a position closing the annulus valve against further passage of fluid thereby. As shown in FIG. 5, the upper extremity of the sleeve 47 is engageable with the lower end of the rubber 44, so that upon upward movement of the sleeve 47 it will engage the rubber, and pressure in the annulus will expand the rubber into engagement with the sleeve 42, as well as with the casing 1, thus effecting an eflicient seal.
In both of the valves 17 and 18 suitable packing rings 52 are employed for retaining fluid under pressure in the respective pressure chambers 32 and 49. In addition, suitable seals 53 are utilized to prevent leakage of production fluid from the housing of valve 17 into the annulus between the joints of the valve assembly.
It will be observed that the shiftable elements 29 and 47 of the respective valve assemblies 17 and 18 are constructed so that in the case of each sleeve 29 and 47 there is a fluid pressure responsive area which is subjected to well pressure tending to bias the valve in a closed direction, and this area is substantially equal to an opposed area which is responsive to pressure in the respective chambers 32 and 49. Therefore, valve actuating pressure, that is, pressure for operating the respective sleeves 39 and 47 in a direction to close the respective valves 17 and 18, exists when the pressure in the respective chambers 32 and 49 is less than well production fluid pressure in the tubing or in the casing, as the case may be.
It will now be apparent that a novel well producing apparatus has been provided whereby multiple zones or intervals or a deep or prolific producing interval of an oil and/or gas producing well may be simultaneously produced. This apparatus is particularly well-suited to the performance of the method hereof. However, while the invention has been herein specifically shown and described, changes and alterations may be resorted to, without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined in the appended claims.
1. A tubing casing annulus valve for use in oil wells comprising: an elongated body; a packer sleeve surrounding said body; means supporting said packer sleeve on said body with said sleeve disposed in annularly spaced relation to the body; an annular packer rubber disposed about said sleeve and having an end projecting beyond an end of said sleeve; a valve sleeve slidably supported on said body; sealing means between said valve sleeve and said body; said valve sleeve being slidable on said body to a position at which an end thereof is in sealing engagement with the end of said rubber packer to thereby prevent the flow of fluid between said body and said sleeve.
2. A valve as defined in claim 1 in which the means for supporting said packer sleeve on said body comprises a plurality of angularly spaced webs having tapered ends; said body having a tapered seat for said ends; and means including a member connected to said body and said Webs for holding said ends in said seat.
3. A valve as defined in claim 1 wherein said valve sleeve is of a diameter to sealingly enter said projecting end of said packer rubber.
4. A valve as defined in claim 3 wherein the projecting end of said packer rubber is provided with an annular flexible lip extending axially therefrom to engage said valve sleeve.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,839,402 MacFadden I an. 5, 1932 2,282,987 Bennett May 12, 1942 2,649,916 Brown Aug. 25, 1953 2,665,759 Childers Jan. 12, 1954 2,681,705 Tappmeyer June 22, 1954 2,717,041 Brown Sept. 6, 1955 2,760,578 Tausch Aug. 28, 1956 2,766,831 Otis Oct. 16, 1056 2,780,290 Natho Feb. 5, 1917 2,798,561 True July 9, 1957 2,812,820 Nelson Nov. 12, 1957 FOREIGN PATENTS 774,783 Great Britain May 15, 1957 774,785 Great Britain May 15, 1957