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Publication numberUS3252529 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 24, 1966
Filing dateJan 9, 1963
Priority dateJan 9, 1963
Also published asDE1974607U
Publication numberUS 3252529 A, US 3252529A, US-A-3252529, US3252529 A, US3252529A
InventorsWilliam Fischer
Original AssigneeChevron Res
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for inserting tools in underwater wells
US 3252529 A
Images(3)
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 24, 1966 w. FISCHER 3,252,529

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INSERTING TOOLS IN UNDERWATER WELLS Filed Jan. 9, 1963 3 Sheets-Sheet 1 I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I l 5 I I a a a E a g INVENTOR W/LL/AM FISCHER SYM- ATTRNEYS;

y 1966 w. FISCHER 3,252,529

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INSERTING TOOLS IN UNDERWATER WELLS Filed Jan. 9, 1963 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 24 INVENTOR WILL/AM FISCHER avisi flmL ATT RN EY W. FISCHER May 24, 1966 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INSERTING TOOLS IN UNDERWATER WELLS 3 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Jan. 9, 1965 FIG. 8

INVENTOR WILL/AM FISCHER I -240 ATT 5 RNEYS F'IG.7

United States Patent 3,252,529 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR INSERTING TOOLS IN UNDERWATER WELLS William Fischer, Fullerton, Califi, assignor to Chevron Research Company, a corporation of Delaware Filed Jan. 9, 1963, Ser. No. 250,365 Claims. '(Cl. 1757) This invention relates to a method and apparatus for drilling a well in the sea bottom from a platform located at the surface of the water, and more particularly, this invention relates to detachable guide arms for holding a pipe string and for cooperating with operably connected guide lines to guide the pipe string and any well tool attached thereto from a floating vessel to a predetermined location on the sea bottom.

In recent years, much drilling work has been done in offshore locations: in the Gulf of Mexico, off the California coast, and in other locations. The depth of the water above the bottom is no longer the controlling factor on the feasibility of drilling. Drilling from floating platforms has been accomplished in very deep water. However, when drilling a well, it is necessary to remove the drill string from the well from time to time. This presents a problem of reinserting the drill string into the well when it is returned to the water.

One solution heretofore suggested for guiding the drill string back to a Well includes the use of guide lines and guide arms. As is well known in the art, guide lines are flexible elements extending in parallel relationship from s an undersea well location to a drilling vessel or platform located on the surface of the water. Guide arms are the apparatus which is slidably mounted on the guide elements and which maintains the drill string in spaced-apart relationship with the flexible guide lines. The guide arms are fixedly connected to a collar and the collar is adapted to slidably receive the drill string near the drill bit. The guide arms travel into the water with the drill bit and drill string 'by sliding along the guide lines to guide the drill bit and drill string to the well for insertion therein.

Prior art guide arms have been connected to the drill string by means of a fixed diameter collar. The guide arms and the collar have been of unitary construction. An example of prior art guide arms and the manner in which they are connected to a drill string is disclosed in US. Patent 3,025,916, issued March 20, 1962. Since the connecting collar of the guide arms of prior art configuration is of a fixed diameter, it is limited to use with pipe of only one diameter. That is, the fixed collar of the prior art devices opera-bly holds only one size of pipe. If it was desired to run a pipe string of different diameter into the water, a different set of guide arms having an appropriate size collar was required to operably hold the pipe. Thus, a special set of guide arms has heretofore been required for each size of pipe.

In many instances, it has been found desirable to remove the guide arms from the immediate vicinity of the well location after they have served their function of guiding the drill string to the well. The practice heretofore has been to remove the guide arms by connecting return lines to the guide arms. The guide arms are pulled up to the surface by slipping the guide arms along the guide lines while the guide arm collar was sliding up the drilling string. This has proved unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. For example, it is often necessary to have equipment of a larger diameter than the pipe string attached to the pipe string thus making it difficult or impossible to slide the guide arm collar past this equipment. It is also often desirable to have the guide arm collar fixedly hold the drill string. This is not compatible with having the guide arm collar slidably removable up the drill string.

Patented May 24, 1966 It is a particular object of this invention to provide apparatus for guiding a string of pipe to a well located under water, which apparatus is useful with a variety of sizes of pipes and which holds the drill pipe securely during passage through the water and then is adapted to release the drill pipe after the pipe enters the well thereby allowing the apparatus to be easily and readily removed from the drill string and the well location without the use of divers.

In a broad aspect this invention provides methods and apparatus for releasably securing a drill string or a similar string of pipe and guiding said drill string along at least a pair of flexible guide lines to a predetermined underwater location. At least a pair of separable guide arm members are adapted to be slidably movable along the guide lines. Means are provided on each guide arm member cooperating to releasably grip a pipe. The cooperating means operate to grip a wide variety of different diameter pipes. An actuating means for releasing the guide arm members from the pipe is operably positioned on the guide arm members. An operating means for operating said actuating means is provided to cause the guide arm members to be released from the drill pipe after the lower end of the drill pipe has been inserted into the well. A guide arm retrieving means is provided to re move the guide arm members from the well site after they have been released from the drill pipe.

Further objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent from the following detailed description read in view of the accompanying drawings which are made a part of the present specification and in which:

FIG. 1 is an elevation view, with a portion presented in enlarged scale for clarity of presentation, illustrating an embodiment of apparatus assembled in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 2 is an elevation view partially in section illustrating the apparatus of the present invention after the actuating means has been operated to separate the guide arm members.

FIG. 3 is an elevation view and illustrates a preferred embodiment of apparatus assembled in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 4 is a sectional view taken at line 44 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged elevation view of a portion of the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 3 showing features of the preferred embodiment of apparatus in greater detail.

FIG. 6 is a sectional view taken at line 66 of FIG. 5.

FIG. 7 is an elevation view with parts broken away for clarity of presentation and illustrates an alternated embodiment of apparatus in accordance with the present invention.

FIG. 8 is a sectional view with parts broken away for clarity of presentation taken at line 88 of FIG. 7.

FIG. 9 is a sectional view taken at line 99 of FIG. 7.

Referring now to the drawings and to FIG. 1 in particular, a well 10 has been started in a subsea formation 75. A casing pipe 42 has been positioned in borehole 10 and has been cemented in place as indicated by numeral 11. A guide line anchoring means 12 is fixedly mounted with respect to casing pipe 42. The guide line anchoring means 12 has means 13 and 14 for pivotally connecting a pair of spaced-apart guide lines 64 and 65. As illustrated in' FIG. 1 the casing pipe 42 and the guide line anchoring means are of unitary construction; however, it is obvious that other modes of fixedly locating the guide line anchoring means with respect to the casing and the well are available. An upwardly flared funnel member 15 is aflixed to the upper end of casing 42 to assist in directing the drill string and any well tools attached thereto into the interior of casing 42.

A well tool, such as for example drill bit 54, is operably connected by collar 51 to the lower end of a string of pipe 52. The drill bit 54 is lowered from a drilling vessel- 20 on the end of the drill string 52 and is guided to the casing 42 in well along guide lines 64 and 65. The drill string is run through the water and then into the hole by means of adding pipe sections to the drill string on the drilling vessel 20 and then lowering the entire drill string 52 to the end of the newly added section by suitable means such as derrick 46 and traveling block 50.

The guide lines 64 and 65 are preferably flexible and they extend from the guide line anchoring means 12 to an operable connection in the drilling vessel 20. The drilling vessel 20 is positioned in the water in approximate vertical relationship with borehole 10. Anchor lines 44 and 45 serve to maintain the drilling vessel 20 in this position. The flexible guide lines 64 and 65 cooperate with the guide arm members, represented generally by the numerals 60 and 61, to guide the relatively flexible drill stringinto the opening of casing 42.

The guide arm members 60 and 61 have means indicated generally by numerals 22 and 24, cooperating to releasably grip the drill string 52. The relatively rigid guide arm members 60 and 61 maintain the drill string in a predetermined position between the guide lines. The well tool on the end of the drill string 52 is thus guided into the casing 42 by the guide arms sliding along the guide lines. The cooperating means for releasably gripping the dri'll string are disconnectably connected around the drill pipe on the drilling vessel to securely hold the drill pipe. An actuator means for releasing the cooperating means from the drill pipe is operably mounted on the guide arms. An operating means for operating the actuating means is adapted to cause the guide arm members to be released from the drill string after the well tool enters the casing.

Refering now to FIG. 2 in conjunction with FIG. 1 the guide arms 61 and 60 of the present invention are shown after the well tool has been inserted into the borehole 10 by a drill string 52. As is evident, the cooperating means indicated generally by numerals 22 and 24, of the guide arm members 60 and 61 have released their grip on the drill string 52 and have allowed the guide arms to separate and fall free of the drill string 52. The guide arm members 60 and 61 are connected to a line '70 by lines 71 and 73 for removal from the well site. Line 70 extends to the drilling vessel 20 and the guide arm members 60 and 61 may be returned to the vessel 20 by pulling in the line 70. In this manner, the guide arm members can be returned to the drilling vessel without danger of hanging up on the drill string. It is obvious that, if desired, each of the guide arm members can be separately connected with the vessel by an individual line. In this manner, each guide arm member can be returned to the drilling vessel independent of the other guide arm member.

Referring now to FIG. 3 and to FIG. 4 which is section 44 of FIG. 3, the means for disconnectably connecting the guide arms to the pipe and the actuating means for disconnecting the guide arms from the pipe is more clearly shown. A length of pipe 52 is releasably held by suitable means such as a pair of V-shaped plates 83 and 84. The V-plates 83 and 84 are fixedly mounted on the tubular members 91 and 92 respectively. For example, V-plate '83 is fixedly mounted on tubular member 91. Brace members 93 and 94 add rigidity to the connection between V-plate 83 and tubular member 91. In a similar manner, V-plate 84 is fixedly mounted on tubular member 92 and is braced by brace members 95.

The tubular members 91 and 92 are adapted to slidably receive the guide arm members 61 and 60 respectively. For example, tubular member 91 slidably receives guide arm member 61. Guide arm member 61 is extendable axially of the tubular member 91 in a telescoping manner. A locking means is provided to fixedly hold the two members in a desired position. For example, a series of holes 98 and 198 are drilled at selected intervals in the vention.

guide arm members 61 and 60. The holes in each guide arm member are adapted to be positioned concentric with a hole in each of the tubular members 91 and 92 of the guide arm apparatus and to receive bolts 99 and 199 passed through the holes in the tubular members 91 and 92. In this manner, the effective Width of the guide arm members 61 and 60 of the present invention is easily adjustable and thus the apparatus is adaptable for use with a variety of widths of the spaced-apart guide lines and different diameter pipe.

It is an important feature of this invention to provide apparatus for guiding a pipe string, including a well tool attached thereto along a guide means, which apparatus is adaptable for use with pipe ranging in size from relatively small production tubing to relatively large casing. The diameters of the pipe which may be run with a single embodiment of apparatus of the present invention can range greatly in size. For example, pipe from about 4 inches in diameter to about 16 or more inches in diameter can easily be handled with a single embodiment of apparatus assembled in accordance with the present in- As will be more fully described below the cooperating means which are operably connected to the guide arm members are adapted to secu-repipe of a great range in size. The guide arm members are adjustable and readily adaptable for use with a variety of pipe sizes within the same flexible guide lines; further the guide arm members are readily adaptable for use with a Wide variety of pipe sizes within a variety of spacedapart flexible guide line combinations.

The guide arm members 61 and 60 are disconnectably connected by cooperating means 22 and 24 on a pipe 52. Each guide arm member is a separate entity. This is cle'raly illustrated in phantom in FIG. 3 where the guide a-rm member 60 and 61 and cooperating means 22 and 24 are shown after they have been disconnected from the pipe. The phantom illustration of FIG. 3 shows the guide arm members 60 and 61 as they would appear after their retrieval by means of line had begun. Separate guide arm members have a distinct advantage over conventional unitary guide arms when attaching the guide arm members to a pipe section. The separate guide arm members of the present invention are more easily handled on the drilling vessel. Further, the guide arm members are quickly and readily positioned on the pipe.

A preferred embodiment of means cooperating to dis connectably connect guide arm member 61 and guide arm I member 60 around a pipe will now be described. The

fixedly mounted V-plate of each guide arm member is positioned against a pipe 52. The V-plates 83 and 84 are positioned in opposing relationship against the exterior surface of the pipe 52. Flexible elements, such as chains 89 and 1 89, are used' to releasably secure the V-plates in position against the pipe.

The guide arm members 61 and 6%) of the present in- Y vention are disconnectably connected to a pipe string by cooperating means operably connected to the guide arm members 60 and 61. The separable guide arm members 60 and 61 are positioned at opposing positions on the pipe 52 and the flexible elements 89 and 189 extended around the pipe 52 and disconnectably connected to the guide arm members to retain the pipe between the guide arm mem'bers. One means for disconnectably connecting the flexible elements 89 and 189 around the pipe 52 includes a shaft 86 which is pivotally mounted on tubular member 92. The shaft 86 has ends 25 and 26 adapted for engaging and holding a link of the chains 89 and 189 when the shaft is positioned in the position illustrated in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4.

Both ends 25 and 26 of shaft 86 are formed in a similar manner and with reference to FIG. 5 and FIG. 6 one end of shaft 86 is shown and it will be described in detail. The ends 25 and 26 of the shaft 86 are bent down and oriented to give the chains 89 and 189 a rotational lever arm. An arm member 87 is fixedly mounted on shaft 86. The arm member 87 is secured in an upright position by a latch 88. When the arm member 87 is secured in this position, the ends 25 and 26 of the shaft 86 will engage a link of the chains 89 and 189. A shoulder 191 is provided on each of the ends 25 and 26 of the shaft 86 to maintain the chains on the ends of the shaft in a position so that the center line of chain pull 77 is offset from the center line 78 of the shaft 86 to provide a rotational lever arm for the chains. That is, the shoulder insures that the point of contact of the chains and the shaft 86 will be oif the longitudinal centerline of the shaft 86. When the chains are connected to the ends of the shaft in this manner and placed in tension, they will remain hooked so long as the shaft is not rotated. Therefore, so long as arm member 87 is held in position by latch 88 the chains will remain engaged on the ends of the shaft. When the latch 88 is raised to free the arm member 87 as illustrated in phantom in FIG. 5 the shaft 86 will be rotated in \bearing 192 by the chains to a release position, as also shown in phantom in FIG. 5. The chains will be released from the ends 25 and 26 of the shaft 86 and the guide arm members 60 and 61 allowed to separate from the drill pipe.

Referring again to FIG. 3 and FIG. 4, the other ends of the chains 89 and 189 are pulled tight around the pipe and connected in a means to maintain them under tension. For example an adjustable locking means 105 and 205 which means are slidably mounted on track members 106 and 206 are provided for operably connecting the flexible chains 89 and 189 to the guide arm member 61. Suitable notches 122 and 123 are provided in each of the locking means 105 and 205 to receive and secure a link of each of the chains. The track members 106 and 206 are fixedly mounted on tubular member 91 and V-plate 83. Shafts 107 and 207 are mounted to each locking means 105 and 205 respectively and extend through fixedly mounted face plates 116 and 117. The shafts have threaded portions engaging nuts 110 and 111. As the nuts 110 and 111 are tightened or loosened the slidalbly mounted locking means 105 and 205 move along the track members 106 and 206. In this manner, a small adjustment is available to tighten or loosen the chains. Springs 114 and 115 are positioned between the nuts 110' and 111 and the face plates 117 and 116 to maintain the chains 89 and 189 under tension.

After the guide arms are disconnectably connected on the pipe as described above, additional sections of pipe are added to the pipe string and the well tool is lowered into the water and guided by means of the guide arms and guide lines to a predetermined underwater position,

which might be, for example, a pipe 103 of a larger diameter than the drill pipe 52. In accordance with this invention, an actuator means for disconnecting the disconnectably connected guide arms is provided. The actuating means is operated by an operating means at the subsea location. The actuating means acts to cause the guide arms to separate from each other and from the drill pipe.

With reference to FIGS. 3, 4, 5 and 6, and as described above, an extending arm member 87 is fixedly mounted on shaft 86 for rotation therewith. The arm member 87 is captured by latch member 88 when the ends 25 and 26 of the pivotally mounted shaft 86 are in operable position to engage the links of the chains 89 and 189. The latched arm member 87 releasably holds the shaft in this position in spite of the tendency of shaft 86 to rotate because of the force applied by the chains 89 and 189 on the shaft 86. Latch 88 is fixedly connected to a bar 102 for movement therewith. The bar 102 is connected by appropriate linkage 130 to lever member 100. Lever member 100 is pivotally mounted on the tubular member 92. Thus, an upward force applied to the lever member 100 is transmitted to the bar 102 and causes the latch member 88 to move up and release the extending arm member 87. The force applied by the chains 6 89 and 189 to the shaft 86 through the rotation lever arm causes the shaft to rotate to the position shown in phantom in FIG. 5 and the chains 89 and 189 fall off the ends of the shaft.

An extendable striking bar 120 is slidably mounted with the lever member 180. A bolt 121 having an operably connected nut and extending from the striking bar 120 and through the groove 124 in the lever member allows limited reciprocal movement between the striking bar and the lever member 100 when the nut is loose. The striking bar 120 can be held in a desired position with respect to lever member 100 by tightening a nut on the end of the bolt 121. Therefore, regardless of the diameter of the pipe which is being run, the striking bar can be extended'to a near contacting position with the pipe and maintained in this position by tightening the nut on bolt 121. In this manner, the lever arm 100 and the extended striking bar 120 will not fail to contact the pipe 103 at the bottom of the well and thus release the latch 88 even if the drill pipe 52 and the pipe 103 at the well are not in co-axial relationship.

The actuating means as described above causes release of the chains when it is activated by an operating means. One suitable form of a remote operating means is the pipe 103 into which the drill pipe 52 is being run. As illustrated in phantom in FIG. 3, the larger pipe 103 strikes lever member 108 or the striking bar 120 and causes an upward movement of bar 102 which trips latch 88 to release the extending arm member 87. Shaft 86 is then rotated to free the chains 89 and 189. The line 70 is pulled and the guide lines flex and the two guide arm members 60 then fall free of the pipe to a position illustrated in phantom in FIG. 3.

It is desirable that the guide arms are provided with downwardly oriented guide line engaging means. The downwardly oriented guide line engaging means are adaptable to slide freely along the flexible guide lines both when the guide arm members are in a relatively horizontal position while affixed to thedrilling pipe and also when the guide arm members are in 21 depending position after being released from the drill pipe. A suitable form of depending guide line engaging means is illustrated in FIG. 3 and FIG. 4. Downwardly oriented U-shaped channels 80 and 82 are fixedly mounted on the guide arm members 61 and 60. The open end of the U-shaped channels are closed around the guide lines by suitable means such as bolts 81 and 85.

An alternative embodiment of apparatus assembled in accordance with the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 7, FIG. 8 and FIG. 9. The alternative embodiment of apparatus includes at least a pair of separable guide arm members and 151 and means for disconnectably connecting a pipe between said guide arm members. With particular reference to FIG. 7, a pipe is releasably held by' a pair of separatble guide arm members 150 and 151 by suitable means, such as V- plates 153 and 154 and an encircling flexible means, such as a chain 158. The flexible means 158 is maintained in tension around the V-plates by suitable means, such as a spring linkage means 157. The spring linkage is operably connected through a brace 156 of a guide arm 150. Brace members 159 and 160 support V-plate 153 and brace members 164, 165, 193 and 194 support V-plate 154.

With reference to FIG. 8 and FIG. 9 along with FIG. 7, the other ends of the flexible element 158, which obviously may be a cable although a chain is preferred, are

engaged on the downwardly oriented ends 161 and 162' of ashaft 163. The shaft 163 is pivotally mounted through brace members 164 and 165. The brace members are fixedly mounted on tubular member 166, which slidably receives a guide arm 151. The length of the guide arms 151 and 150 is adjustable by means of appropriately spaced holes 168 cooperating with bolt 170 and a pin 171 to lock the guide arms in a desirable position with respect to the tubular members.

The flexible element 158 is engaged and retained on ment therewith. The bar 174 is connected by appropriate linkage to an extendable striking bar 175. The striking bar 175 has a telescoping member 176 which is extendable so as to be engaged by a variety of sizes of casing.

The striking bar 175 is mounted in parallel relationship with the guide arm and for limited motion with respect to the tubular member 166. For example, a pair of lugs 178 and 179 are fixedly mounted on the tubular member 166. A pair of lugs 180 and 181 are fixedly mounted on the striking bar 175. The respective lugs are then pivotally mounted together by appropriate means such as bolts 183 and 184. Thus, when the extendable striking bar 175 contacts a pipe such as casing 169 or 177, the striking bar is forced upward lifting the latch 173. The force exerted by the spring linkage means 157 through the rotational lever arm provided by the downwardly oriented ends of the shaft 163 causes the shaft 163 to rotate and allow the links of the flexible element to slide off the ends 161 and 162 of the shaft 163. The guide arms then separate and they may be returned separately to the surface.

Although the use of at least a pair of guide means for cooperating with the guide arms to guide the pipe string to a well is preferred, it is obvious that the method and apparatus of the present invention is not limited to use with two or more guide means. It is apparent that a single guide means can be used for cooperation with the apparatus of the present invention in guiding a pipe string between a drilling vessel and an underwater well site. For example, as shown in FIG. 7, it is in accordance with the present invention to remove guide arm from the apparatus and to utilize only guide arm 151. A V-plate member 153, a flexible element 158, the spring linkage means 157 cooperate with the apparatus on guide arm member 151 to operably disconnectably connect th e pipe string 155 to the guide arm means 151. The guide arm means 151 is disconnected from the pipe string as described heretofore. The cooperating V-plate 153 is connected by suitable means, such as illustrated by eye-bolts 222 and 223 and line 224 shown in phantom in FIG. 7, for return to the surface with the single guide arm 151. The single guide arm cooperates with the single guide means to guide the pipe string to the predetermined location. It is obvious that the guide means, whether a single line or two or more lines, can be formed of cables,

or pipe, or other suitable means without departing from the spirit of the invention.

Under certain conditions, it is desirable to operate the actuating means from the drilling vessel to cause the guide arm members to release the string of pipe. A suitable means for operating the actuating means from the surface is provided by an eye-bolt 196 which is fixedly mounted on the latch 173. An end of a rope or cable 197 is connected to the eye-bolt 196 and the other end retained in the drilling vessel. When it is desired to free the guide arms from the pipe the rope 197 is pulled to lift the latch 173 and to cause the guide arms to separate as described above.

It is apparent that modifications other than those described herein may be made .to the apparatus of this invention without departing from the inventive concept. It is intended that the invention embrace all equivalents within the scope of the appended claims.

I claim: 1. A method of guiding a string of pipe from a drilling vessel in a body of water to an underwater location comprising operably connecting guide means between a drilling vessel and a subsea location, disconnectably connecting 8 guide arm means around the lower end of a pipe string, lowering'said pipe string into the water and guiding said pipe string along said guide means to said underwater location. disconnecting said guide arm means from around said pipe string underwater, separating said guide arm means from contact with said pipe string and returning said guide arm means to the drilling vessel free of said pipe string.

2. Apparatus for use in guiding a pipe string including any well tool attached thereto from a drilling vessel to a sea bottom location, said drilling vessel and said sea bottom location being operably connected by at least a pair of flexible guide lines, said apparatus comprising at least a pair of separable guide arm members, said guide arm members being separable from each other,- a guide line engaging means for slidably engaging a guide line operably mounted on one end of each of said guide arm members, and cooperating pipe connecting means for operably disconnectably connecting said guide arm members on a pipe string on the other end of each of said guide arm members.

3. Apparatus as in claim 2 where a guide arm retrieving means is connected to said guide arm members.

4. Apparatus as in claim 3' where the guide line engaging means are freely slidable and swingable on said guide lines both when said guide arm members are disconnectably connected to the'pipe string and are extending in substantially a horizontal plane and when said guide arm members are disconnected from the pipe string and from each other and are hanging from said guide arm retrieving means.

5. Apparatus for guiding a string of pipe from a drilling vessel to a submerged well comprising at least a pair of relatively rigid guide arms, respective guide line engaging means for slidably engaging a guide line on one end of each of said guide arms, a pair of members, said members respectively mounted with said guide arms and axially telescopically extendable from the other end of said guide arms, locking means for fixing the extended I positon of each guide arm and the member mounted therewith and cooperating means for operably securing a pipe connected to each of said members.

6. Apparatus for use in oflshore well drilling comprising a pair of separate guide arm members, guide line engaging means mounted on one end of each of said guide arm members, a pair of tubular members, each of said tubular members slidably receiving the ,other end of one of said guide arm members, locking means operably connected to said tubular members for fixedly maintaining said guide arm members at a desired positon with respect to said tubular members, and means on said tubular members cooperating to releasably .grip a pipe.

7. Apparatus for. guiding a string of pipe between a drilling vessel and a submerged well, said drilling vessel and said submerged well connected by at least -a pair of flexible guide lines comprising at least a pair of guide arms, guide line engaging means on one end of each of said guide arms, means for cooperating to operably grip a string of pipe connected on the other end of each of said guide arms, and means for telescopically adjusting the length of said guide arms.

8. Apparatus for guiding a string of pipe from a drilling vessel to a subsea location, said drilling vessel and said subsea location operably connected by at least a pairof flexible guide lines comprising a first guide arm member, guide line engaging means on one end of said first guide arm member for slidably engaging a flexible guide line, a drill pipe contacting plate on the other end of said first guide arm member, flexible means, means'for operably connecting said flexible means to said first guide arm member, a second guide arm member, guide line engaging means on one end of said second guide arm mem her for slidably engaging a flexible guide line, a drill pipe contacting plate on the other end of said second guide arm member, and means on said second guide arm memher for releasably securing the ends of said flexible means.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 where the said second guide arm member includes an actuating means operable to cause said flexible means to be released.

10. Apparatus for guiding a drilling string including a well tool attached thereto from a drilling vessel to an open borehole in the sea floor, said drilling vessel and said borehole being operably connected by at least a pair of flexible guide lines, said apparatus comprising a first guide arm member, guide line engaging means operably connected to one end of said first guide arm member for slidably engaging one of said guide lines, a V-plate member fixedly mounted on the other end of said first guide arm member, a flexible element, resilient means on said first guide arm member operably connected to said flexible element, a second guide arm member, guide line engaging means operably connected to one end of said second guide arm member for slidably engaging the other of said guide lines, a V-plate member fixedly mounted on said second guide arm member, and means on said second guide arm member for disconnectably connecting the ends of said flexible element.

11. The apparatus of claim 10 including an actuating means operably mounted on said second guide arm membet for disconnecting the ends of said flexible element from said second guide arm member.

12. A method of guiding a member from a drilling vessel in a body of Water to an underwater location comprising operably connecting guide means between a drilling vessel and a subsea location, clampingly disconnectably connecting guide arm means to a member, lowering said member into the water and guiding said member along said guide means to said underwater location, disconnecting said guide arm means from said member, separating said guide arm means from contact with said member and returning said guide arm means to said vessel free of said member.

13. Apparatus for use in oflshore well drilling comprising at least a pair of separate guide arms, guide line engaging means for slidably engaging a guide line mounted on one end of each of said guide arms, cooperating connecting means for clampingly disconnectably connecting said separate guide arms around a pipe connected to the other ends of each of said guide arms, and actuating means for disconnecting said cooperating connecting means.

14. A method of inserting a pipe string, including any well tool attached thereto, into a submerged well from a drilling vessel located ina body of water in approximate vertical relationship to the well comprising operably connecting guide means between a well and a drilling vessel, disconnectably connecting at least a pair of separable guide arms in operable position around a lower portion of a pipe string, lowering said pipe string into the water, guiding said pipe string along said guide means to said well, inserting the lower end of said pipe string into said well, automatically disconnecting said guide arms from said pipe string and separating said guide arms from each other.

15. A method of inserting a pipe string, including any well tool attached thereto, into a submerged well from a drilling vessel located in a body of Water in approximate vertical relationship to the well comprising operably connecting guide means between a well and a drill ing vessel, disconnectably connecting at least a pair of separable guide arms in operable position around a lower portion of a pipe string, adjusting the length of the guide arms for connection between the guide means and the pipe string, lowering said pipe string into the water, guiding said pipe string along said guide means to said well, inserting the lower end of said pipe string into said well, disconnecting said guide arms from said pipe string and separating said guide arms from each other.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,610,372 12/1926 Hansen -7 X 2,184,051 12/1939 Moise 166-85 2,923,531 2/ 1960 Bauer et a1. 166-66.5 2,929,610 3/1960 Stratton 166-665 X 3,010,214 11/1961 Postlewaite 166-665 X 3,012,610 12/1961 Bauer et al. 175-7 X 3,025,916 3/1962 Frick 175-7 3,096,999 7/1963 Ahlstone et al 175-7 X 3,099,316 7/1963 Johnson 166-46 3,159,218 12/1964 Wilde 166-46 JACOB L. NACKENOFF, Primary Examiner.

CHARLES E. OCONNELL, Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3369599 *Nov 15, 1965Feb 20, 1968Mobil Oil CorpSubsea deep drilling apparatus and method
US3592263 *Jun 25, 1969Jul 13, 1971Acf Ind IncLow profile protective enclosure for wellhead apparatus
US4149603 *Sep 6, 1977Apr 17, 1979Arnold James FRiserless mud return system
US4470468 *Jul 6, 1983Sep 11, 1984Raymond International Builders, Inc.Offshore drilling of large diameter holes in rock formations
US4480944 *Jul 6, 1983Nov 6, 1984Raymond International Builders, Inc.Offshore drilling of large diameter holes in rock formations
US5560436 *Apr 25, 1995Oct 1, 1996Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. - PetrobrasSingle drilling guide base for subsea oil wells
Classifications
U.S. Classification175/7, 192/110.00S
International ClassificationE21B7/12, E21B7/128
Cooperative ClassificationE21B7/128
European ClassificationE21B7/128