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Publication numberUS3236301 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 22, 1966
Filing dateJul 10, 1961
Priority dateJul 10, 1961
Publication numberUS 3236301 A, US 3236301A, US-A-3236301, US3236301 A, US3236301A
InventorsJohnstone Robert D, Wakefield Jr Charles E
Original AssigneeRichfield Oil Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Drilling and production apparatus and method
US 3236301 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

1966 R. D. JOHNSTONE ETAL 3,236,301

DRILLING AND PRODUCTION APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed July 10, 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 F 50 m ml 54 36 sec 560 58 ROBERT D. JOHNSTONE CHARLES E.WAKEFI ELD,J R.

INVENTORS.

BYMWM MM, p m ATTORNEY.

1956 R. D. JOHNSTONE ETAL 3,236,301

DRILLING AND PRODUCTION APPARATUS AND METHOD 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed July 10. 1961 ROBERT D. J NSTONE CHARLES E. KEF|ELD,JR.

INVENTORS.

BY ATTORNEY.

1966 R. u. JOHNSTONE ETAL 3,235,301

DRILLING AND PRODUCTION APPARATUS AND METHOD 4 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed July 10. 1961 Jail Ill-Ila.

FIG.6.

ROBERT D. JOHNSTONE CHARLES E. WAKEFIELD,JR.

INVENTORS.

BY KQoww/(gwaii ATTORNEY.

1956 R. D. JOHNSTONE ETAL 3,236,301

DRILLING AND PRODUCTION APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed July 10, 1961 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 ROBERT D. JOHN STONE CHARLES E.WAKEF|ELD,JR.

INVENTORS ATTORNEY.

United States Patent Office 3,236,301 Patented Feb. 22, 1966 3,236 391 DRlLLING AND rnonucrroN APPARATUS AND METHGD Robert D. Johnstone and Charles E. Wakefield, Era,

Bakersfield, Califl, assignors to Richfield Oil Corporation, Los Angeles, Calif., a corporation of Delaware Filed July 10, 1961, Ser. No. 122,918 7 Claims. (Cl. 166-.5)

The present invention relates to the drilling and production of petroleum from a formation underlying a body of water and more particularly relates to apparatus for drilling and subsequently producing petroleum from a formation underlying a relatively deep body of water.

When drilling into and producing from a formation containing oil and gas under high pressure, blowout prevention equipment is conventionally used in the drilling operation; and a flanged well head assembly with a Christmas tree thereon is normally utilized to control the production of oil and gas from the well during its period of natural flow. In offshore operations, the drilling and production apparatus including the drilling head and the blowout prevention equipment has normally been installed on a marine platform located on the surface of the water over the Well bore. Marine production equipment using a platform constitutes an obstacle to navigation and appearance and is limited to relatively shallow water usage. The prior art production apparatus assembly includes, generally a casing which is normally cemented into the well, a casing spool, a tubing head, a casing head, and the various Christmas tree components including, a master valve, one Or more wing valves, and such flow constricting devices as may be required in a particular well.

Recently the drilling and production apparatus has been mounted on the ocean floor in relatively shallow water accessible to divers. Conventional equipment used in such shallow water operations, is, however, unsuitable for the production of oil wells in deeper water due to the need for extensive diving operations needed to assemble and locate the various well head components. Such shallow water equipment requiring the use of divers would be extremely difiicult to install in deeper water since diver work time is greatly reduced at greater depths. Fluid controlled well head equipment, such as the conventional blowout prevention equipment, necessarily involves the use of fluid hose connections to the well head equipment, e.g., the blowout preventer, which hoses frequently are in need of repair or must be replaced which must normally be done when the well head is located on the ocean floor, through the use of divers. Where the well head equipment is located in deeper water the replacement or repair of these hoses presents a significant problem due to the reduction in diver work time at greater depths.

It is therefore an object of our present invention to provide a novel form of well head equipment for producing petroleum from wells underlying relatively deep bodies of water.

It is also an object of our present invention to provide a combination drilling and production head which can be installed remotely at an underwater formation from the surface of the body of water.

It is a further object of our present invention to provide a drilling head for drilling a well bore into a formation underlying a body of water whereby the drilling head and control lines can be replaced without utilizing a diver.

Other objects and a more complete understanding of our present invention may be realized by reference to the following specification and claims, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevational view partially in section, showing the manner in which the drilling of the well bore is started and the drilling base is lowered to the formation;

FIG. 2 is an elevational view partially in section, showing an assembled surface casing, production head, blowout prevention equipment and a casing riser, positioned in the well bore at the drilling base;

FIG. 3 shows in elevational partial section, the water string landed in the drilling apparatus of FIG. 2;

FIG. 4 is an elevational view in partial section showing the manner in which the tubing string is hung within the well head equipment;

FIG. 5 is an elevational view in partial section showing the manner in which the well head is sealed off preparatory to removal of the riser pipe and blowout prevention equipment;

FIG. 6 is an elevational view in partial section showing a production barge and the well head during production after the casing riser and blowout prevention equipment has been removed from the well head;

FIG. 7 is an elevational view partially in section showing a modified production arrangement.

With reference to the drawings, generally, the well head of our present invention is shown in FIGS. 2 through 5, with a sequential showing of how our well head may be installed at the ocean floor. Briefly described, our invention provides an apparatus which can be remotely installed on the ocean floor and portions thereof raised to the drilling vessel for repairs, replacements or other purposes by the provision of a modified blowout preventer housing 38 having a shoulder 44 formed thereon which houses a removable control block 48 through which the blowout prevention control hoses 50 are attached to the blowout preventer, thus enabling the control block 48 with the control hoses 50 to be raised to the drilling vessel (not shown), with the help of a guide arm 58 and sleeve 56 slidably attached to the casing riser 36. The completion of the well and installation of the production equipment may be accomplished remotely through underwater production apparatus for example, the specially designed drilling and production mandrel 32, the production aspect of which is more fully defined and described in a copending application, Serial No. 100,411, filed April 3, 1961, for Submarine Drilling and Production Head and Method of Installing Same, in the name of Charles E. Wakefield, Jr.

Referring now, more particularly to the drawings, FIG. 1 shows a concrete drilling base 10 lowered from a floating vessel (not shown) on lowering cables 12 to the formation 14 beneath the body of water 16. The drilling base 10 has a conductor pipe 18 extending there through. Drill pipe 20 has a drill bit 22 and a drilling collar 24 attached to the lower end thereof. The base 10 with pipe 18 may be installed at the formation by first extending the lower end of the drill pipe through the landing base and pipe 18 while the landing base is suspended over the formation so that the drill string may be operated therethrough from the floating vessel to cut the well bore 26 in the formation. The drill base 10 may then be lowered to the formation with the pipe extending into the well bore 26. A hole opener 28 is used to enlarge the well bore 26 for conductor pipe 18.

After the well bore has been deepened sufficiently to receive the surface casing 30, the surface casing 30 is connected to the well mandrel 32 by any suitable means, e.g., a threaded coupling joint 34, and the casing riser 36 and blowout prevention equipment 38 connected to the Well mandrel 32 and the assemblage lowered from the floating vessel as shown in FIG. 2, into the drilling base at the formation 14 on the riser pipe 36 over the drill pipe which may be left in the well bore tecmporarily to provide guidance between the floating vessel and the drilling base for the well head assemblage. The well mandrel 32 is similar to the production mandrel more fully described in the aforementioned copending application Serial No. 100,411, used to connect the blowout preventer 38 to mandrel 32. This safety joint is preferably a straight pull safety joint for releasing the well mandrel 32 from the safety joint 40 and may employ a latch operated by a cable (not shown)-for example, the right hand torque releasing safety joint found on page 4557 of the 195859 Composite Catalog of Oil Field and Pipeline Equipment, published by World Oil. A similar safety joint 42 may be provided at the connection between the blowout preventer 38 and the casing riser 36 so that the casing riser can be remotely released above the blowout preventer.

The blowout preventer housing 38 has a shoulder portion 44 formed thereon. This housing has a manifold section 46 with passageways 45 extending internally therethrough and through the shoulder portion 44 as shown in FIG. 2. The passageways preferably extend at one end 47 to the conventional blowout preventer actuating mechanisms which are within the blowout preventer housing 38 to there effect control fluid comunication between the hoses 50 and the blowout preventer. The other end 49 of the passageways 45 form receptacles 51 to receive control hose terminals 53 which may have sealing rings thereon (not shown). The control block 48 houses the control hose terminals 53 which protrude from the lower side thereof to connect with the passageways or receptacles 51 in the manifold section 46. The control block 48 has passageways through which the control hose terminals pass and receive the fluid control hoses 50 from the floating vessel. Of course, the connections between the block 48 and the manifold section 46 may be effected by receptacles in the block and terminals protruding from the manifold section 46;

The control block 48 is removable from the manifold section 46 and has a hoisting member 52 attached thereto and extending to the floating vessel for raising and lowering the control block 48 onto the manifold section 46 of the blowout preventer shoulder portion 44. The hoisting member 52 preferably is a rigid steel member such as a rod or a tubular member. Spacer disc 54 is provided to evenly distribute the control hoses about the hoisting member 52 and prevent entanglements and damage to the hoses. An orientation sleeve 56 having an orientation lug 56a therein is sli-dably disposed in orientation cam 36a on the casing riser 36 and rigidly attached to the hoisting member 52 by a rod or tubular member 58 to aid in guiding the control block 48 as it is lowered and raised to and from the blowout preventer manifold section 46.

A casing outlet 60 and a tubing outlet 62, more fully shown in the above-mentioned copending application, are connected respectively to the casing flow line 64 and the tubing flow line 66. Fluid operated valves 68 and 70 control flow between the tubing and easing outlets and the tubing and easing flow lines respectively, and are controlled through fluid control house 72 which extends to the floating vessel. The tubing and casing valves 68 and 70 are normally closed. A plate or landing flange 74 fastened to the well mandrel serves as a well mandrel land-ing base and supports the production head within the drilling base until the surface casing and production head are cemented together into the formation.

After the surface pipe, production pipe, blowout preventer, and casing riser are concentrically assembled and lowered to the ocean bottom, drilling tools are operated through the assemblage to deepen the well sufficiently to receive a water string,

As shown in FIG. 3, the water string is next lowered into the well bore through the riser pipe and the well mandrel on the drilling string with an appropriate release tool (not shown) onto a suitable casing hanger, e.g., a shoulder provided in the lower end of the well head 32, or a modified Burns fluted holddown liner hanger attached to the long end of the well head 32 which hanger would have the surface casing 30 coupled thereto. The water string 76 is supported on the hanger, e.g., shoulder 80, by a water string landing mandrel 78 coupled to the upper end of the water string 76, which mandrel has a shoulder 79 which seats on shoulder 80 of the hanger.

The tubing 82 with a tubing plug 84 is then lowered into the well through the water string and hung within the well head on a tubing hanger 86 as more fully described in our above-mentioned copending application. Packer cups 88 and 90 seal around the tubing above and below the tubing outlet 62 to restrict the tubing flow through the tubing outlet and tubing flow line 66, as shown in FIG. 4. A well head plug 92 is fastened into the upper end of the well head 32, as shown in FIG. 5, to serve as a secondary seal behind the packer cup 88 and as a safety device against the possibility of blowing the tubing out of the hole.

After the drilling operation is completed and the well brought into production, the casing riser and blowout prevention equipment may be raised to the floating vessel by releasing the safety joint 40 as previously described leaving the well mandrel in flow operating position as shown in FIG. 6. The flow lines and flow control lines 64, 66, and 72, may be run from the well head to a production barge 94. As shown in FIG. 7, a production tank 96 may be submerged and production therefrom pumped to a tanker loading buoy 98 or directly to a tanker (not shown) through tanker loading lines 100. In operations near the shore, flow lines 64 and 66 may be run along the ocean floor 14 to a production control facility on shore. In such case one of the lowering lines 12 may be used to locate the well with a buoy.

Thus with the present apparatus a drilling and production mandrel may be lowered together as a unit and in effect the drilling mandrel serves as a production head since the drilling tools may be operated therethrough. Thus the blowout preventers referred to herein may be latched to a well head which may be either a drilling head, a production head, or a combination drilling and production head. During the drilling operation the blowout preventers which are normally open and only closed when there is an unbalanced pressure condition in the well, may be remotely controlled from the drilling vessel through fluid control lines 50 which may be repaired or replaced by raising the control block 48 to the drilling vessel by retracting the hoisting cable 52 and the blowout preventer control hoses either repaired or replaced as required. Thus it is not necessary to send a diver down to the well head to repair the fluid control hoses at the blowout preventer connections where they most often fail.

The type of blowout prevention equipment, which is conventional equipment, contemplated for use in the present invention employs 3 gates, which are: (1) complete shutoff gate; (2) a gate for shutting off only around the drill pipe; and (3) a hydril or bag type blowout preventer on top of the above-mentioned blowout preventer. After the drilling is accomplished to the desired depth, the well may be completed and brought into production by lowering the production string through the casing riser and blowout preventer into the well mandrel and mounting the production string within the well mandrel as is set forth in the aforementioned copending application drawn to a production head per se and the method for installing such production head.

Although the present invention has been described in its preferred form with a certain degree of particularity, it should be understood that this disclosure has been made only by way of example and that numerous changes in the details of the method and in the combination and arrangements of parts may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as herein claimed.

We claim:

1. An underwater drilling and production head apparatus for controlling well pressure and the flow of fluids from a well drilled from a floating vessel into a formation underlying a body of water through fluid control hoses, and wherein a landing base having an aperture therein, and a well head are positioned at the well opening, comprising in combination:

(a) casing riser (b) blowout preventer operatively connected to said riser, said blowout preventer having a housing and fluid operated control means,

(c) connecting means operatively connecting said well head to said blowout preventer, said connecting means having means therein for remotely disconnecting said blowout preventer,

(d) disconnectable means associated with said blowout preventer housing for coupling said control hoses to said housing, and

(e) guide means cooperating with said riser for connecting said central hoses to said blowout preventer housing.

2. An underwater drilling and production head apparatus for controlling well pressure and the fiow of fluids from a well drilled from a floating vessel into a formation underlying a body of water through fluid control hoses, and wherein a landing base having an aperture therein, and a well head are positioned at the well opening, comprising in combination:

(a) a casing riser (b) a blowout preventer operatively connected to said riser, said blowout preventer having a shouldered housing and fluid operated control means, said shouldered portion of said housing having control fluid passageways therein,

(c) a safety joint operatively connecting said well head to said blowout preventer, said joint having means therein for remotely disconnecting said joint,

(d) a removable control block so arranged and constructed as to receive the terminals of said control hoses, and

(e) guide means associated with said control block and cooperating with said riser for remotely connecting said fluid control hoses to said blowout preventer through said passageways.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said control block has a hoisting member attached thereto for raising said block to said drilling vessel.

4. An underwater drilling and production head apparatus for controlling well pressure and the flow of fluids from a well drilled from a floating vessel into a formation underlying a body of water through fluid control hoses, and wherein a landing base having an aperture therein, and a well head are positioned at the well opening, comprising in combination:

(a) a casing riser (b) a blowout preventer operatively connected to said riser, said blowout preventer having a shouldered housing and fluid operated control means, said shouldered portion of said housing having control fluid passageways therein,

(c) a safety joint operatively connecting said well head to said blowout preventer, said joint having means therein for remotely disconnecting said joint,

Cir

(d) a removable control block so arranged and constructed as to receive the terminals of said control hoses, said control block having a hoisting member attached thereto for raising said block to said drilling vessel,

(e) means associated with said control block for remotely connecting said fluid control hoses to said blowout preventer through said passageways,

(f) a tubular guide member slideably disposed over said casing riser, and

(g) means for connecting said tubular guide member to said control block hoisting member.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 including orientation means for remotely guiding said control block from said vessel onto said shouldered portion proximate said well opening to effect fluid connection between said control hoses and said passageways.

6. The apparatus of claim 4 including an orientation cam associated with said casing riser and an orientation lug in said tubular guide member adapted to engage said cam as said control block is lowered from said vessel to said shouldered portion proximate said Well opening to remotely effect fluid connection between said control hoses and said passageways.

'7. An underwater drilling and production head apparatus for controlling Well pressure and the flow of fluids from a well drilled from a floating vessel into a formation underlying a body of water through fluid control hoses, and wherein a landing base having an aperture therein, and a well head are positioned at the Well opening, comprising in combination:

(a) a casing riser b) a blowout preventer operatively connected to said riser, said blowout preventer having a shouldered housing and fluid operated control means, said shouldered portion of said housing having control fluid passageways therein, said passageways forming terminal receptacles,

(c) a removable control block having control hose terminals extending therefrom and adapted to sealingly engage said receptacles thereby establishing a fluid communication between said control hoses and said blowout preventer control means, and

(d) guide means cooperating with said riser for raising and lowering said block between said vessel and said blowout preventer.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,903,066 9/1959 Brown 166-120 X 2,923,531 2/1960 Bauer et al. l7 2,950,761 8/1960 Brown et al. 166123 2,981,347 4/1961 Bauer et al l757 2,990,851 7/1961 Jackson et al.

3,021,909 2/1962 Postlewaite 16646 3,032,106 5/1962 Focht et al. 166-46 3,032,125 5/1962 Hiser et al. l757 3,052,299 9/1962 Geer et al. 166-665 3,064,735 11/1962 Bauer et al. 166-665 3,071,188 1/1963 Raulins 16666.5 3,086,590 4/1963 Jackson et al. l757 X 3,090,437 5/1963 Geer 166-665 3,142,337 7/1964 Poorman et al 166-665 3,145,775 8/1964 McCarty 16646 CHARLES E. OCONNELL, Primary Examiner. R. E. FAVREAU, Assistant Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3322193 *Mar 9, 1965May 30, 1967Armco Steel CorpUnderwater well installations
US3324943 *Jul 13, 1964Jun 13, 1967Texaco IncOff-shore drilling
US3339632 *Jan 21, 1964Sep 5, 1967Hydril CoUnderwater connector
US3353595 *May 22, 1964Nov 21, 1967Cameron Iron Works IncUnderwater well completions
US3688840 *Feb 16, 1971Sep 5, 1972Cameron Iron Works IncMethod and apparatus for use in drilling a well
US4568220 *Mar 7, 1984Feb 4, 1986Hickey John JCapping and/or controlling undersea oil or gas well blowout
US7975771 *Dec 6, 2007Jul 12, 2011Vetco Gray Inc.Method for running casing while drilling system
US8616287 *Jun 24, 2009Dec 31, 2013Eni S.P.A.Apparatus for improving well safety and recovery and installation process thereof
US20080135289 *Dec 6, 2007Jun 12, 2008Vetco Gray Inc.Method for Running Casing While Drilling System
US20110155387 *Jun 24, 2009Jun 30, 2011Eni S.P.A.Apparatus for improving well safety and recovery and installation process thereof
Classifications
U.S. Classification166/338, 166/358, 166/359, 166/97.1, 166/363, 166/352
International ClassificationE21B33/03, E21B33/035, E21B7/12
Cooperative ClassificationE21B33/035, E21B7/12
European ClassificationE21B7/12, E21B33/035