US 3151681 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Oct. 6, 1964 c. B. COCHRAN 3,151,681
SLEEVE VALVE FOR WELL PIPES 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Aug. 8, 1960 ATTORNEY Oct. 6, 1964 c. B. COCHRAN SLEEVE VALVE FOR WELL PIPES Filed Aug. 8. 1960 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 A 77 OP/VE Y United States Patent 3,151,681 SLEEVE VALVE FGR WELL PIPES Chudleigh B. Cochran, Houston, Tex, assignor to Cicero C. Brown, Houston, Tex. Filed Ang. 8, 196% Ser. No. 43,146 6 Claims. (Cl. 166-224) This invention relates to a sleeve valve or" the type commonly employed for controlling fluid flow between a well bore and the interior of a well pipe extending into the well bore.
In many installations in oil and gas wells, particularly where the well bore intersects a plurality of spaced-apart oil and gas-containing formations, .a string of pipe is often set in the well through the several formations with packers sealing off the well bore between successive formations, and equipped with a series of sleeve valves set opposite the respective formations between the intervening packers. These sleeve valves normally comprise a ported tubular body co-axial with the pipe string and fitted internally with a sleeve-type valve having ports through the wall thereof, the valves being movable between positions moving the valve ports into and out of communication with the body ports by appropriate longitudirral movement in the bore of the valve body. Ordinarily these sleeve valves will be set in the closed position for all valves except the one opposite a formation which is to be put into production. Subsequently, as the initially produced formation is depleted, the open valve will be closed by running an appropriate tool into the well. Thereafter another valve in the string opposite another producing formation will be opened. This latter operation is accomplished ordinarily by running a wir line tool inside the sleeve valve, the tool being designed to engage the sleeve valve and to force the latter, usually in the downward direction, to the open position by impacts transmitted through the wire line tool.
It is found in opening sleeve vflves in this manner that where the pressure exteriorly of the valve is substantially greater than the pressure inside the pipe string, as is often the case, when the sleeve valve is moved to the open position, the well fluids will flow through the valve and body ports into the bore of the pipe at very high velocity, with the resu t that the valve-opening tool will often be blown back up the pipe, tangling the wire line and causing a great deal of difhculty in clearing the pipe bore.
This condition may be obviated by providing a pressure-equahzing passage of relative small area through the wall of the sleeve valve which is arranged to move into registration with the body ports in advance of the main sleeve valve ports in order to permit the high pres sure on the exterior of the valve to bleed into the bore of the pipe string at a suficiently slow rate to prevent the blow-back on the wire line string with its attendant consequences.
In conventional sleeve valve constructions, even in cases where such pressure equalizing passages are employed, it has not been possible, in accordance with those conventional constructions, to stop the movement of the sleeve valve at a point where only the equalizing passages will be in registration with the body ports. It is found ordinarily that the movement of the sleeve valve cannot be controlled sufficiently under the impacts of the valve-moving tool to prevent the valve from sliding to the fully open position in a single movement. Some prior designs have. sought to provide intermediate latching 3,151,531 Patented Get. 6, 1E5! P ce grooves with snap rings of a conventional design, in an effort to control the stoppage of the sleeve valve in the pressure-equalizing position, but in practice, these have been found inefiectual to accomplish this and the problem of stopping the movement of the sleeve at the proper place has not heretofore been satisfactorily solved.
Accordingly, it is a primary object of the present invention to provide an improved form of valve of the general character described, which incorporates an improved arrangement by which positive positioning of the valve member in the pressure-equalizing position will be eiiectively accomplished and which, after the pressure has been equalized, may be moved to the fully open position without danger of blow-back or destructive action on the valve opening tool spring.
A more specific obiect is to provide a sleeve valve for incorporation in a well pipe string which includes a balltype latch which is responsive to pressure from the an terior of the valve to eifect a positive lock of the sleeve valve in the pressure-equalizing or bleed position.
()ther and more specific objects and advantages of this invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawing which illustrates a usean embodiment in accordance with this invention.
in the drawing:
FIG. 1 is a longitudinal quarter-sectional view of a sleeve valve installed in a pipe string, and showing the valve member in the valve-closing position;
FIG. 2 is a View similar to PEG. 1, showing the valve member in the bleed or pressure-equalizing position;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to H68. 1 and 2, showing the valve member in the fully open position;
FIG. 4 is a detail, on enlarged scale, showing the improved latch mechanism in the position occupied when the valve is in the fully closed position; and
P18. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4, showing the latch elements in the position occupied when securing the valve member in the pressure-equalizing position.
As illustrated, the valve comprises a generally tubular body, designated generally by the numeral 1 comprising a tubular cage nipple 11 having a plurality of angularly spaced radial ports 12 through the wall thereof, an upper body nipple 13, a lower body nipple 14, and a bottom connection 15 in the form of a swage nipple, the several nipples being secured coaxially to form an elongate body of substantially uniform external diameter. Body nipple 13 and swage nipple 15, at their upper and lower ends, respectively, are reduced in external diameter to provide the threaded pins 16 and 17, respectively, by which the body may be threadedly connected into a pipe string S to form a part thereof. Upper and lower body nipples l3 and 14 and cage nipple 11 have internal bores 18, 19 and 2%, respectively, which are substantially uniform in diameter to form a flush bore through a major portion of body 18.
Cage nipple 11 is counterbored from its upper end to form the bore 21 and define the internal upwardly facing annular shoulder 22 and is also counterbored from its lower end to form the bore 23 defining the downwardly facing internal shoulder 24, shoulders 22 and 24 being located, respectively, above and below body ports 12. Counterbores 21 and 23 are internally threaded at their outer ends to provide the internally threaded sockets 25 and 26, respectively. Upper body nipple 13 is reduced in external diameter at its lower end to provide the pin 27, which is externally threaded for reception in socket '25, while the upper end of lower body nipple 14 is reduced in external diameter to form the pin 28, which is externally threaded for reception in socket 26. The length of the respective pins 27 and 28 is less than the length of the related counterbores 21 and 23, so that the inserted ends of the pins 27 and 28 will be longitudinally spaced from the respective shoulders 22 and 24. An annular seal packing 29 is disposed between the inner end of pin 27 and shoulder 22 and will be compressed therebetween by the insertion of upper body nipple 13 into counterbore 21 when the body elements are assembled. A tubular piston 30 is slidably mounted in'counterbore 23 and an annular seal packing 31 is disposed between the upper end :of piston 30 and shoulder 24. The lower end 32 of piston 30 is spaced from the upper end 33 of pin 28 to receive between these end surfaces a plurality (only one shown) of angularly spaced balls 34 adapted to function as latch elements, as will be subsequently described. End surface 32 of piston 39 is inclined downwardly and outwardly, while upperend surface 33 is inclined upwardly and outwardly; These relatively inclined end surfaces are adapted to function as cams, which, in response to movement of piston 39 toward pin 28 will be operative to urge balls 34 radially inwardly from between the end 'surfaces toward the bore of the valve body. It will be understood that for this purpose only one of the end surfaces 32 or 33 may be inclined, as illustrated.
A sleeve valve 35 is slidably. mounted in the bore of body and is provided near its upper end portion with a plurality of angularly spaced radial ports 36 of relatively large area comprising the main ports through the wall of the valve member. Upper body nipple 13 is provided with an inwardly extending annular shoulder 37, while lower body nipple 14 is provided with an inwardly extending annular shoulder 38 spaced apart a distance greater than the length of sleeve valve 35 to provide stops limiting theextent of the longitudinal movement of sleeve valve 35 in the bore of body 10. Sufiicient space is thus provided between shoulders 37 and 38 to permit sleeve valve 35 to move from an upper position, at which main ports 36 will be above seal packing 29 and thereby out of communication with body ports 12, this being the closed position of the valve (FIG. 1), and a lower position at which main valve ports 36 will be positioned between seals 29 and 31 and in registration with body ports 12, this being the fully open position of the valve (FIG. 3).
A pressure'equalization or bleed passage 40 extends radially through the wall of sleeve valve 35 at a point below 'main ports 36 and is positioned relative thereto so that whenthe sleeve valve is in its fully closed position (FIG. 1), bleed passage 40-will be above seal packing 29" and thereby. also out of communicationiwith body ports 12. The position ofbleed passage 40 relative to main. ports 36 is such that when the sleeve valve is moved downwardly toward the open positiornbleed passage 40' will move, below seal packing 29in advance of the main ports -36and willbe in communication with body ports 12 before main ports '36 move into communication the latter (FIG. 2). A wiper ring 41 is seated in the exterior of sleeve valve 35 near'its upper extremity in wip- 4 position to the other. The form and manner in which the snap ring and grooves co-operate to secure the valve in these respective positions is conventional and well understood by those skilled in the art.
The exterior of sleeve valve 35 is provided with an annular latching groove 46 located at a point a short distance above snap ring 43. Groove 46 is positioned at a point along valve 35 at which it will be directly opposite latch balls 34 when downward movement of sleeve valve 35 has positioned bleed passage just below seal packing 29 at the point shown in FIG. 2. In this position the latch balls may enter latch groove 46 under downward pressure exerted on the balls by the lower end of piston 30 in response to pressure entering body ports 12 from the exterior of the valve, as will be more fully described 1 hereinafter. An annular packing 47, such as an O-ring, is disposed in the inner periphery of piston 30'at its upper end to seal between piston 30 and the exterior'of valve 35, and a similar packing 48 is positioned about the exterior of piston 30 near its lower end to sealbetween the pisotn and the wall of counterbore 23. A similar packing 49 is also provided in the wall of bore 20 at a point between shoulder 22 and body ports 12. Additional seal packings 49a and 4911 are provided between the ends of pins 27 and 28, respectively, and the surrounding surfaces of counterbores 21 and 23, respectively.
Valve 35 is provided at its lower end with an internal upwardly facing shoulder 51) and at its upper end with an internal downwardly facing shoulder Sila, for purposes to be described hereinafter.
Operation of the device is as follows: With the valve installed in the pipe string S and initially in the closed (uppermost) position shown in FIG. 1, it will be assumed that it is desired to open the valve under conditions in the well at which the fluid pressure in the well is greatly in excess of the pressure inside the pipe string. creates the condition noted previously which, if the valve is moved to the fully opened position, will result in the high velocity inrush of well fluid commonly causing blowback and damage to, the string of tools employed to open the valve. A string of wire line tools, indicated by the letter T, ofgenerally conventional form, will be run therdownward'movement of the valve is difficult and' ingengagement with the wall of bore 18 of the upper body nipple to exclude sand and other detritus from be- 7 tween these surfaces. A similar wiperring .42 is disposed about the lower extremity of valve 35 between the latter and the wall of bore 19 of lower b ody nipple '14for the same'purpose. Releasable latch means, such as a resilient snapjring 43 of conventional design, is seated in the peripheryof the --lower end .of valve .35 just above Wiper ring 42 and is. adapted vto be received upper and lower 'snap ring grooves 44 and 45, respectively, provided in the wall of .bore 19 of thelower body nipple. 'These grooves I 44 andl45 co-operatewith snap ring143 to latch valve 35 in its upper closed position'and'in its lower; fullyopened position, respectively, when the valve-is moved from one through the bore of the pipe string into the bore of valve 35. These conventional tool strings normally are equipped with heads carrying dogs D (FIG. 2) which are adapted to engage shoulder 50 in the lower end of the The initial impacts thus imparted to the sleeve valve will serve in the usual manner to compress snap ring 43 and force it downwardly out of upper snap ring groove 44',
.thereby releasing the sleeve valve for further movement downwardly in the bore of the valve body. With conventional sleeve valve constructions, control of the furordinarily. upon initial release of the sleeve valve, it will tend to slide rapidly to the fully open position producing the undesirable consequences mentioned previously.
In the. present case, as the sleeve valve moves down- Wardly following release of the snap ring from the upper snap ring groove and in response to additional impacts by the wire line tool, bleed passage 40 will move to the excess'external pressure, this excess or dilferentialfpressure will act across piston .30 and urge it dpwnwardly,' squeezing balls 34 between the relatively inclined surfaces 32and .33 whereby the latter wilLco-act with balls 34. to
force asegment of the balls inwardly into groove'46,
This' thereby efiectively and positively locking sleeve valve 35 in the bleed or pressure-equalizing position. This positive lock will be maintained so long as the external pressure exceeds the pressure inside the bore of the valve. By thus positioning bleed passage 40 opposite body ports 12, the high pressure on the exterior of the body may bleed into the bore of the valve at a relatively slow or restricted rate controlled by the relatively small area of passage 40, until the pressures inside the valve and exteriorly thereof have become equalized. Under these conditions, the slow rate of entry of the external pressure cannot produce the blow-back on the wire line tools and the difliculties previously mentioned will be obviated.
As soon as the pressure is equalized, as described, then the downward pressure of piston 30 on balls 34 will no longer be significant and additional impacts transmitted through the string of tools T on the sleeve valve will drive the latter downwardly until snap ring 43 is received in snap ring groove 45, at which point valve ports 36 will be in registration with body ports 12 and the valve will be in its fully opened position, as shown in FIG. 3. Upon equalization of the pressure between the interior and exterior of the valve, the downward movement of the sleeve and valve under the additional impacts of the tool will force balls 34 outwardly of groove 46 into the space between the surfaces 32 and 33, producing retractive movement of piston 30. Packing 31, being of conventional compressible composition, will be compressed by this restrictive movement sufliciently to allow the balls to re-enter the space between the camming surfaces. By means of the structure heretofore described, it will be seen that there is provided an improved sleeve valve for use in well strings which may be safely opened under high differential pressures and which is relatively simple to construct and operate.
It will be understood, of course, that if it is desired to move the valve from its fully open position to its closed position, wire line tools of an appropriate form will be run into the valve and operated to engage beneath shoulder 50a to move the valve member upwardly from its fully opened position to its closed position.
It will be understood that bleed passage 40 may be of any suitable dimension which will assure eliective restriction of the inflow of pressure fluid. A conventional size for this passage which will be effective to control pressure differentials of the order of 5,000 pounds per square inch, or more, will be about one-eighth inch in diameter. In some cases, more than one of the bleed passages 40 may be employed, but in such cases the total area of all the bleed passages will preferably correspond to that of the single one-eighth inch opening.
It will be understood that various changes and modifications may be made in the details of the illustrative embodiment within the scope of the appended claims, without departing from the spirit of this invention.
What I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is:
l. A sleeve valve for well pipe strings, comprising, a tubular body coaxially connectible in a well pipe string to form a part thereof, port means through the wall of the body, a sleeve valve slidably disposed in the bore of the body, means on the sleeve valve cooperable with an actuator means insertible through the pipe string to move the sleeve valve longitudinally of said body, upper and lower annular seal means positioned to seal between the body and the sleeve valve at points on opposite sides of said port means, main port means of relatively large area through the Wall of the sleeve valve movable with the sleeve valve from a valve-closing position outside said seal means to a valve-opening position between said seal means, a pressure-equalizing passage means through the wall of the sleeve valve longitudinally spaced from said main port means by a distance permitting it to enter the space between said seal means in advance of said main port means, said pressure-equalizing passage means being of substantially restricted area as compared with said main port means, cooperable latch elements carried by said body and said sleeve valve operable to releasably latch said sleeve valve to said body in each of said valve-closing and valve-opening positions, and an additional latch means including cooperable additional latch elements carried by the sleeve valve and the body, and piston means slidably mounted in the bore of the body and actuatable by a differential in fluid pressure between the exterior and interior of the valve to effect engagement of said additional latch elements whereby to positively lock the sleeve valve to the body, said additional latch means being so located on the body and the sleeve valve as to be engaged when said equalizing passage means is positioned between said seal means, said additional latch means being releasable upon equalization of said fluid pressure.
2. A sleeve valve according to claim 1 wherein said additional latch elements include an annular latching groove in the exterior of the sleeve valve, and latch members carried by the body and radially projectible inwardly thereof in response to downward pressure thereon by said piston means.
3. A sleeve valve according to claim 2 wherein said latch members are ball-shaped.
4. A sleeve valve according to claim 1 wherein said additional latch means includes an internal abutment in the bore of the body spaced from the lower end of said piston member, ball-shaped latch members positioned between the opposed surfaces of the abutment and the lower end of the piston member, said opposed surfaces defining cams urging the ball-shaped members inwardly of said body in response to axial compression between the piston member and said abutment, and an annular ballreceiving latch groove in the exterior of said sleeve valve at a point thereon which will be opposite the ball-shaped latch members when said equalizing passage means is between said annular seal means.
5. A sleeve valve for well pipe strings, comprising, a tubular body coaxially connectible in a well pipe string to form a part thereof, port means through the wall of the body, a sleeve valve slidably disposed in the bore of the body, means on the sleeve valve cooperable with an actuator means insertible through the pipe string to move the sleeve valve longitudinally of said body, upper and lower annular seal means positioned to seal between the body and the sleeve valve at points on opposite sides of said port means, main port means of relatively large area through the wall of the sleeve valve movable with the sleeve valve from a valve-closing position outside said seal means to a valve-opening position between said seal means, a pressure-equalizing passage through the wall of the sleeve valve longitudinally spaced from said main port means by a distance permitting it to enter the space between said seal means in advance of said main port means, said pressure-equalizing passage being of substantially restricted area as compared with said main port means, cooperable latch elements carried by said body and said sleeve valve operable to releasably latch said sleeve valve to said body in each of said valve-closing and valve-opening positions, and an additional latch means including cooperable additional latch elements carried by the sleeve valve and the body and relatively positioned thereon to become engaged by movement of the sleeve valve to the position placing said equalizing passage between said seal means, said additional latch means including means actuatable by a differential in fluid pressure between the exterior and interior of the valve to hold said additional latch means in engagement and to release the same upon equalization of said fluid pressure.
6. A sleeve valve according .to claim 5 wherein said additional latch means comprises a tubular piston member mounted in the bore of the body below said lower seal means for limited longitudinal sliding movement therein, said piston member having its upper end abutting said lower seal means, an abutment spaced from the lowerend of the piston member, ball latch means between the opposed surfaces of the abutment and the lower endLOf the pistonmember; said opposed surfaces defining camsiurging the'ball means inwardly of said body in response to axial compression between the piston member and said abutment, and an annular latch groove in the exterior of said sleeve valve at a point positionable opposite the ball latches when said equalizing passage is between said annular seal means.
- 7 References-Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS Barnes Jan. 12, 1943- Middleton et a1 Nov. 15, 1955 Garrett et a1. Sept. 3, 1957 Green et a1. Sept, 17, 1957 Sehwegman July 8, 1958 Garrett et a1. Feb. 9, 1960 Grimmer "Aug. 28, 1962