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Publication numberUS3308881 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMar 14, 1967
Filing dateNov 5, 1962
Priority dateNov 5, 1962
Also published asDE1989814U
Publication numberUS 3308881 A, US 3308881A, US-A-3308881, US3308881 A, US3308881A
InventorsChan Edward T, Postlewaite William R
Original AssigneeChevron Res
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Method and apparatus for offshore well completion
US 3308881 A
Abstract  available in
Images(6)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

March 14, 1967 E. T. CHAN ETAL' METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR OFFSHORE WELL COMPLETION 6 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Nov. 5,

INVENTORS EDWARD T. CHAN WILL/AM R. POSTLEWA/TE March 14, 1967 Filed Nov. 5, 1962 E. T. CHAN ETAL.

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR OFFSHORE WELL COMPLETION 6 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTORS EDWARD T. CHAN W/LL/AM P. POSTLEWA/TE March 14, 1967 E. T. CHAN ETAL 3,308,881

METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR OFFSHORE WELL COMPLETION Filed Nov. 5, 1962 6 Sheets-Sheet s o 220 I 22 1Q /62 288 22 74 w /56 l /54 200 23/ i n2 Hi I] 274 250 H "n 2610 h 0 1/4 280 282 I I. I 266 27a INVENTORS EDWARD r. CHAN,

WILL/AM R. POSTLEWA/TE METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR OFFSHORE WELL COMPLETION Filed NOV. 5, 1962 6 Sheets-Sheet 4 //4 242 i L 280 1 250 260 M5 42 zss INVENTORS EDWARD T. CHAN Fl W/LL/AM R. POSTLEWA/TE March 14, 1967 E. T. CHAN ETAL METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR OFFSHORE WELL COMPLETION 6 Sheets-Sheet 5 Filed Nov. 5, 1962 8 llllll 7 w M 8 .I u H ll m m m 6 MO 0 0 w m 2 o o F INVENQTORS EDWARD 7 C'HA/V W/LL [AM P. P05 TLEWA/TE March 14, W67 E. T. CHAN ETAL METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR OFFSHORE WELL COMPLETION 6 Sheets-Sheet 6 Filed Nov. 5 1962 INVENTORS EDWARD T CHAN WILL/AM R. POSTLEWA/TE United States Patent IWETHOD AND APPARATUS FOR OFFSHORE WELL COMPLETION Edward T. Chan, San Francisco, and William R. Postle- Waite, Menio Park, Calif., assignors to Chevron Research Company, a corporation of Delaware Filed Nov. 5, 1962, Ser. No. 235,432 13 Claims. (Cl. 166-.6)

This invention relates to a method and apparatus for working on a submerged well head by operations performed from a platform at the surface of the water, and more particularly to a method and means for positioning and securing apparatus at the opening of a submerged well bore to accomplish a sea bottom well completion and the installation of submarine well flow and control lines without the aid of divers and by remote operation from a vessel floating on the surface of the water.

These and other objects of this invention will be further apparent from the following description of preferred as well as alternative equipment and the methods involved in its operation.

Broadly, the invention comprehends apparatus which can be lowered to depths of 1000 feet or more along a single guide cable extending downwardly to a fixed base from a floating platform, to establish an oriented temporary secondary base on the fixed base which latter surrounds an already drilled and cased well bore. The equipment and procedure for drilling the well are not material to this invention, so long as they provide the usual upright casing and tubing connection secured to the fixed base, on which latter are mounted a plurality of upwardly extending posts or columns over one of which the secondary base may be lowered from the vessel and placed in a predetermined oriented position.

The temporary secondary base, desirably open at one side and hence sometimes designated herein as a horseshoe, subsequently provides removable means for receiving and guiding the operating means for its installation by remote manipulation from the floating platform or vessel. A method and means are provided whereby a submarine flow and control line bundle may be drawn to the well head and connected thereto, or whereby it may be first secured to the well head and then laid outwardly to shore or to a remote fluid gathering and control station. Controlled power for the several connecting and disconnecting functions is supplied remotely from the vessel, desirably through the medium of the conventional drill pipe string either by selective rotation of the latter or by the hydraulic fluid Which may be transmitted through it from suitable pumps on the vessel.

Further details of a preferred embodiment will be described in the following specification and shown in the attached drawings, which form a part of this specification.

As the search for offshore oil progresses into deeper Waters it becomes increasingly important that methods and apparatus be devised which will permit offshore wells to be drilled, completed and placed into production, with all the operations, connections and controls which are necessary if this work is to be done economically and safely, and which will not require the use of divers. It is also necessary that these wells should be capable of being inspected and maintained and the equipment removed and reconditioned at suitable intervals, so that it should be arranged to be brought to the surface and replaced with a minimum of hazard and cost. In addition, it is frequently desirable that nothing that would be a hazard to navigation or would 'be exposed to storm damage, etc., should be left at the surface of the water.

Among the objects of the invention are:

(1) To provide well head control apparatus for submerged wells in deep water which will be substantially ice comparable in cost, simplicity and certainty of operation to that used on shore.

(2) To provide readily retrievable apparatus for installing, completing and producing submerged wells, that is carried from well to well on a vessel or floating platform and does not remain on bottom.

(3) To provide a method and means for installing submarine flow and control lines for an offshore well which may be manipulated from the floating platform without the use of divers or auxiliary vessels.

In the drawings:

FIGURE 1 is. a vertical side elevational view, partially in section, showing a vessel as a floating platform positioned over a submerged well head to which the methods and apparatus are to be applied to complete the same.

FIGURE 2 is a plan view of a typical guide spider for aligning drill pipe actuated connecting means at the well head.

FIGURE 3 is a side elevational view of the guide spider and drill pipe of FIGURE 1.

FIGURES 4, 5, and 6 are plan views of other typical guide spiders.

FIGURE 7 is a detailed side elevational view of the horseshoe equipment at the submerged well head in assembled condition, with the submarine line bundle pulled into place.

FIGURE 8 is a detailed transverse sectional or plan view taken on line 88 of FIGURE 7.

FIGURE 9 is a detailed side elevational view of an alternative form of the equipment at the submerged well head showing a different arrangement for pulling in and securing a submarine flow and control line bundle, and with the well control head connected thereto.

FIGURE 10 is a transverse sectional or plan view taken on line 1010 of FIGURE 9.

FIGURE 11 is a fragmentary elevational view of the arrangement of FIGURES 9 and 10 before the line bundle is pulled into place.

FIGURE 12 is a detail vertical elevation view, partially in section, of a clamping arrangement for securing the multiple-passage well head control means to the submerged well head.

FIGURE 13 is a transverse or horizontal sectional view taken on line 13-13 of the clamp of FIGURE 12.

FIGURE 14 is a vertical sectional view taken on line 14-14 of FIGURE 13.

FIGURE 15 is a vertical sectional view of a clamping arrangement similar to that of FIGURE 12 for securing the multiple-passage submarine line bundle to the multiple-passage well head control means.

Referring to the drawings and particularly to FIGURE 1, there is illustrated an offshore floating platform or vessel 20 which has been anchored on the surface of a body of water 22 and has been guided to the site of the submerged well head 24 by means such as the normally submerged buoy 26 and a primary guide cable 28 which, for this purpose, is subsequently removed from the buoy 26 and connected to a winch on the floating platform, by which it can 'be pulled taut. Buoy 26 may be picked up by a drag and secured temporarily to the vessel out of the way of subsequent well completion operations. Guide cable 28 extends downwardly to the fixed base 30 and is secured to it by a relatively long steel guide post 32. Base 30 is securely cemented to the surface string of well casing 34, which terminates in the appropriate well head fitting 24 to which the Well head control equipment to be described below is to be connected. The procedure and apparatus used for drilling the well and setting casing 34 are not material to this invention, and it is considered that the fitting 24 is provided with the usual conventional hydraulically actuated shut-off and control means as well as flow passages for oil, gas and the reception of hydraulic fluid for controlling and producing the well.

A procedure for lowering the secondary base 40 to a predetermined oriented engagement with fixed base 30 and for connecting the bases together is set forth in detail in the copending application of William R. Postlewaite, one of the inventors herein, Serial No. 235,215, filed November 5, 1962, entitled A Method and Apparatus for Attaching and Detaching a Working Base to an Underwater Well base. Briefly, this procedure is as follows.

In addition to the long primary guide post '32 extending upwardly from base 30, two successively shorter primary posts 36 and 38 are provided, each spaced around the base from 32 and from each other and near its outer edge (FIG. The temporary secondary base or horseshoe 40, provided with appropriate sockets 42 for the releasable reception of a fork (not shown), at the lower end of drill pipe 44 is supported by hoist 46 on vessel 20. Secondary base 40 also has an outwardly projecting vertical guide sleeve 48, FIG. 8, at its closed end, which encircles primary guide cable 28 and, as it approaches fixed base 30, in its downward travel, is received over the long primary guide post 32. Thereafter, by partially and slowly rotating the entire secondary base 40 in a clockwise direction around post 32 by means of the drill pipe 44, and slowly lowering it, the next shorter primary guide post 36 will be engaged, which will orient the secondary base to be centered between primary posts 32, 26 and 38 in axial alignment with the well head fitting 24 (FIG. 11). Continued lowering of secondary base 40 will place it in oriented engagement with fixed base30'. Thereafter, by suitable hydraulic or pneumatic means, the fork carried by drill pipe 44 is released from sockets 42 in horseshoe 4t and is drawn up to vessel 20.

Secondary base 40 has three secondary guide posts 50, 52, and 54 extending upwardly from its upper surface and spaced substantially equidistantly from each other.

Each has a detachable coupling 56 at its upper end, to which respective secondary guide lines '58 are secured and pass upwardly to appropriate hoists as for example 64 and 68 in vessel 20 (FIG. 1). While the lowering operation just described for horseshoe 40 is being carried out, these lines are carried down by their respective secondary guide posts, and are used thereafter to orient the several transverse guide spiders carrying the operating means for placing and connecting the several pieces of control and production apparatus to be installed on the well head 24 and base 30.

Referring now to FIGS. 7 and 8, there is shown the secondary base 40 resting on fixed base 30, with the three secondary guide posts 58, 52 and 54 extending upwardly from its upper face, and the primary guide sleeve 48 engaged with the primary guide post 32. A first transverse guide member, which, in the subsequent description hereof will be called a guide spider, and generally designated 60 (FIGS. 2 and 3) is lowered along secondary guide lines 58 by drill pipe 44, the end of which is provided with a connecting means 62 to engage a rotatable socket wrench generally designated 65 journaled in a bearing 67 intermediate the ends of the spider and adapted to support the latter and also to rotate the wrench in either direction. Spider 60 has a vertical end sleeve 69 adapted to slide over secondary guide post 50 and a detachable U-bolt or similar means 70 on the opposite end, adapted to slide over secondary guide post 52. The lower end of wrench 64 has a flared sleeve 72 with a square hollow socket 74 to fit over and rotate a square headed vertical screw '76 journaled as shown inside secondary base 40 (FIG. 7). Intermediate the ends of screw 76 is a swinging dog 78 which is normally swung radially outwardly but may be turned by screw 76 to extend radially inwardly as shown by the dotted lines to project beneath the rim 80 of a circular ring 82 secured in base 30. In the latter position dog 78 may be tightened against the rim to hold secondary base 40 securely sent down on drill pipe 44 and secondary guide lines 58 to engage the other two screws 84 and 86, each carrying swinging dogs similar to 78 to engage the under side of rim at other locations, thereby firmly but removably securing the secondary base 40 at three points to the fixed base 30.

Referring to FIGURES 8 and 9, it will be noted that a vertical guide notch reaction member 88 is positioned on base 30 for a purpose which will be discussed later. Referring now to FIGURES 1 and 7, a submarine line terminal generally designated 90 is next sent down by drill pipe 44 to base 30 by an appropriate guide spider '60 and latching wrench, guided by secondary lines 58. Terminal 90 has a vertical sleeve 92 at one side with flaring upper and lower ends 94 and 96, respectively, the sleeve being adapted to be pivotally received over an upright mandrel 98 secured to fixed base 30 to form an abutment. Supported in the top of the sleeve 92 is a flanged, square-headed screw 100 with a latching slot 102. After the appropriate spider, which is similar to 60 already described, has placed the terminal 90 on its mandrel 98 and the wrench section 74 has tightened screw 100 to engage the mandrel body, the supporting wrench may be disengaged from the slot 102 and the guide spider and wrench socket may be carried back to the surface by the drill pipe 44.

Projecting transversely from sleeve 92 of terminal 90 is an elongated socket member 106 with an upward extension 108. Two substantially vertically disposed sheaves, 110 and 112, are mounted therein to receive an endless pull-in cable 114, the bight of which, before the terminal is lowered to base 30, is threaded around the sheaves and through the bore 1-16 of socket member 106 to extend transversely outwardly from the well base 30. Cable 114 is sufliciently long to extend across the bottom of the body of water 22 to the shore or to a suitable offshore gathering and control station or to a pipe-laying barge prises an oil flow line 124, a gas flow line 126, and an hydraulic control fluid line 128, the latter adapted to control certain operating functions of the well head equipment, as will be further apparent below.

The open end of socket member 106 is flared horizontally in each direction at and 132 (FIG. 8) and an axially converging vertical guide slot 136 is formed by and between the flared portions to receive a vertically upwardly directed portion 138 of the bundle. The guide slot 136 is formed to have a camming action on the portion 138 to engage this portion if it is displaced from the vertical and rotate it to the desired vertical position as the plug 120 is drawn into the socket member 106. Additionally, to insure that the line bundle 122 does not twist during its travel to the terminal across the bottom of water body 22, means such as righting float 140 may be secured to the top of the vertical portion 138 by a remotely detachable connection 142.

Intermediate the ends of socket member 106 is a locking screw 144 supported in a flared vertical sleeve 146, the screw adapted to be engaged by a suitable socket wrench '65 carried down by an appropriately arranged spider at the lower end of drill pipe 44, in a manner similar to spider 60 already described. After both runs of the pull-in cable 114 have been pulled to separate winches 148 and 150 in vessel 20 so that the submarine line is seated in the slot 136 at the end of the terminal, the locking screw 144 is tightened to secure the pull-in plug 1 20 in socket 106. Thereafter, one end of cable 114 may be unreeled from winch 148 or 150, and pulled through sheaves 110, 112, and 118 onto the other winch, leaving the submarine line secured to its terminal 90 in the position shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. Alternatively a single pull-in cable and winch may be used with the cable looped upon itself at the lower end which engages sheave 118 and with the looped end having a length greater than the depth of water at the well site. Thus, when the plug 120 is secured in socket member 106 the upper portion of the looped end of the cable will be accessible at the floating platform and one leg of the loop can be cut to permit the entire pull-in cable to be retrieved.

Referring still to FIGURES 7 and 8, a horizontal portion 152 of submarine line bundle 122 extends around the top of sleeve 146 and terminates in the lower half or sleeve 154 of a multiple passage coupling generally designated 156 to be in a predetermined location with regard to the vertical axis, as well as the upper end face, of well casing head 24-. The latter is provided with the lower half sleeve 158 of a similar multiple passage coupling 160, with equivalent passages for oil, gas and hydraulic control fluid, so that a single description will serve for both. Between these two couplings is placed the vertical well control head apparatus, which connects the well head 24 to the submarine line bundle 122. Thus, by means of the conventional hydraulically actuated valves in such well-known control equipment, the well may be controlled and operated remotely through hydraulic fluid pumped into or released from line 128. The construction of this control head forms no part of this invention, hence needs no description in this specification.

In FIG. 15, which is an enlarged detail assembly view of sleeve 154 and coupling 156, there is shown the oil flow line 124, gas flow line 126, and hydraulic fluid line 128 communicating, respectively, with concentric tubular means in sleeve 154 forming axial flow passage 164 and annular fluid passages 166 and 168. Near the upper end of sleeve 154 is a tapered circumferential groove or clamping recess 170. The upper half or sleeve 172 of coupling 156 carries the remotely actuated means for assembling it to the lower half. The means for clamping the portions of coupling 154 together are similar to the means used to secure the wellhead control apparatus 162 to the wellhead 24. FIGS. 12-14 illustrate details of this clamping device. In this example, the lower end of 172 is encircled by a housing 174 below which is a flared outer guide sleeve 176 adapted to receive and to surround lower sleeve member 154. At the upper end of guide sleeve 176, the housing 174 contains three segmental articulated shoes 178, 180, and 182 connected by pins 184. These may be expanded by suitably threaded nuts 186 and 188 on a rightand left-hand threaded shaft 190 journaled in housing 174, so that the inwardly directed tapered flanges 192 of shoes 178, 180 and 182 will clear the peripheral end of sleeve 154 when the upper portion 172 of coupling 156 is lowered into engagement with the complementary lower portion 154. Thereafter, to contract the shoes around the sleeves and engage complementary tapered flanges 170 and 192, FIG. 12, to clamp together the two parts of coupling 156, shaft 190 maybe rotated by means of worm gear 196 and worm 198 on the shaft of a vertical square-headed wrench member 200. Head 200 is adapted to be engaged by wrench 65 on drill pipe 44 in an appropriate guide spider as previously described, the wrench being sent down and rotated by drill pipe 44 from vessel 20. Desirably, an annular end face gasket 202 and annular packing means 204 and 206 are placed as shown to seal the several fluid passages 164, 166, and 16-8 when the two halves of coupling 156 are closed.

Referring now to FIG. 12, it will be noted that the lower half 158 of coupling 160 on well head 24 is essentially the same as that just described for the submarine line coupling 156. The upper half of this coupling, carried by well control head 162, is similarly provided withremotely actuated clamping and unclamping means, engageable by a suitable wrench 64 carried down by drill pipe 44 from vessel 20.

Referring back to FIG. 1, which shows the submarine line bundle 122 pulled in and secured to its terminal 90, the well control he'ad 162 is releasably connected by a latching tool joint 208 at is uppermost end to the drill pipe 44 and is guided into place over the well head 24 by an appropriate spider 210 guided by secondary guide lines 5 8 and posts 50 and 52 on secondary base or horseshoe 40. At this time, a reaction arm 212 extending transversely from upper housing 174 of coupling is engaged in the vertical guide notch in reaction post 88 on base 30, FIGS. 8 and 9 to orient the upper portion 172 of coupling 156 in substantially vertical alignment with the complementary lower portion 154 and to absorb the reaction torque imposed upon the coupling and control head during the clamping operation. Well head coupling 160 is first made up or connected to sleeve 158 on well head 24, after which the upper portion of submarine line coupling 156 is lowered into place, engaged and secured for reasons and bymeans and procedures which will now be described.

In order to provide for misalignments and to permit independent removal and replacement of submarine line bundle 122 without removing the well control head 162, the submarine line coupling means 156 is mounted on the well control head or Christmas tree 162 so as to be selectively vertically movable with respect thereto. Referring now to FIGS. 9 and 10, which best illustrate a preferred arrangement of this detail, but with a different submarine line arrangement than that just described, the upper end of control head 162 is provided with a transverse bracket 214 carrying a vertical bearing 216 for a wrench-actuated screw 218, threaded through a bracket 220 hinged at 222 by parallel motion links 224 and 226 to the top of coupling body 156. A motion limiting arm 228 is secured to the lower end 156 and projects toward a downwardly extending portion 229 of bracket 220 which extension it loosely surrounds by an annular collar 231 fixed to the end of arm 228 to limit the amount of relative radial motion between the lower end of the coupling and the bracket extension. An upwardly projecting rod 232 is rigidly fixed to and extends from the upper portion of coupling 156 toward the bracket 214, which latter has a collar 233 secured to its radial outer end through which the rod 232 passes. Sufficient clearance is left between the rod 232 and the collar 233 to permit some relative radial movement between the parts and centering springs 230 act to keep the parts flexibly in alignment. Thus a limited amount of lateral motion is permitted the coupling half 172 as it is brought into engagement with the complementary coupling portion 154. The upper end of screw 218 has a squared head 234 which is adapted to be engaged by a socket wrench 65 carried by the drill pipe in an appropriate guide spider similar to 60 already described above. A television camera and light assembly 236 shown typically in FIG. 1 is sent down With spider 210 at a suitable location to transmit visually to the vessel 20 the position of the upper guide sleeve 176 of coupler 156 as it is lowered into place by screw 218 so that it may be landed in the proper position on 154 where it will rest when this spider is withdrawn and another spider unit is sent down to actuate clamping wrench head 200. The light and television assembly 236 could obviously be used with appropriate brackets to supervise the actuation of any of the remote control means herein.

To accommodate the relative motion between coupler 156 and. well control head 162, 4-L swings 238, 240, and 242 are used to connect, respectively, the oil flow, gas flow and hydraulic control passages 164, 166, and 168 of these units. A counterbalance weight 244 is desirably provided on the assembly 162 opposite the coupler 156 so that the assembled unit will remain vertical, as it is 7 ow e'r ed by spider 210, to engage its respective couplers.

Referring now to FIGS. 9, 10, and particularly FIG; l1, there is illustrated an alternative arrangement for sezuring the secondary base 46 to base 30 and also for )ulling in and aligning the submarine line bundle. In his embodiment, there are a plurality of hydraulic moors 246 disposed within the body of the secondary base. these are interconnected by suitable piping so as to )perate simultaneously, and each is provided with a ilunger 248 which may be extended to be retained under 'im 84 of ring 82, the latter being secured to fixed base it). Two hydraulic sockets 250 and 252 in horseshoe 4t) ire connected to the piping system of the rams, each :ocket adapted to receive the end of drill pipe44 to be :ealed thereto and to receive and retain hydraulic fluid pumped down from vessel 20. When socket 250, for eximple, receives pressure fluid motors 246 are energized o extend plungers 248 to secure secondary base 40 to Jase 30. When socket 252 receives the pressure fluid, rams 246 retract the pins and release the horseshoe so that .t may be retrieved to vessel 20.

In this example, the fixed base 30 is provided with an abutment comprising a vertically slotted transverse guide member 254 and a post 256 carrying a threaded shaft 258 for an arm 260, so that the latter may be selectively rotated by a socket wrench 65 from vessel to be away from the slot in member 254, or to extend across it, or to ac lowered downwardly to clamp an object lying in the bore 262 of the guide member. These abutment means are necessarily properly oriented on base 30 with regard to the primary guide posts 32, 36 and 38 so that when the secondary base 40 is lowered to base 30 they will be in predetermined relation thereto. Desirably, but not necessarily, the guide member 254 and post 256 are carried on an integral side extension 264 of ring 82, which has a flat face 266 forming an abutment for a purpose which will be discussed below.

On the closed side of secondary base 40 is a vertical support 268 for a vertical sheave 270 around which passes an endless pull-in cable 114, which extends downwardly from Winches 148 and 150 in vessel 20 and is carried down by the secondary base 40 when it is lowered into place on base 30. Alternatively a single looped cable as described heretofore may be used. The bight of cable 114 is secured to an elongated slider 272 (FIG. 11) which isv detachably connected by a shear pin to and is guided by a sleeve 274 fixedly secured to support 268 to project transversely across the base 30 and to drop into the open slot of guide member 254 as the secondary base is lowered and settles into its oriented position on base 30. Thereafter, shaft 258 is rotated remotely from vessel 20 to turn arm 260 across the slot of 254, so that subsequent operations will not dislodge the pull-in cable. The outer end of the slider 272 is connected to a single cable 276 which extends transversely across the bottom of the body of water 22 to shore or to a gathering and control station (not shown). Thus when cable 276 is pulled to the shore, or to a pipe laying barge or gathering platform, preparatory to pulling a pipeline bundle to the wellhead, the slider 272 is pulled axially from its detachable connection with sleeve 274 and out of the slot of guide member 254 and is pulled to the shore or gathering station carrying the end of pull-in line 114 with it. To pull in a submarine line bundle 278 to the well, the cable 276 and slider 272 are removed at the shore or gathering station and replaced by a guide plug 280 secured to the end of the bundle, and containing a small transverse sheave similar to sheave 118, FIG. 7 to receive the bight of endless cable 114.

Thereafteiy winches 148 and 150 on vessel 20 (FIG. 1) pull the two ends of cable 114 simultaneously until the plug 280 seats in guide member 254 and beneath arm 260 and the submarine line bundle is pulled in to the position shown in FIGS. 9 and 10. Shaft 258 is remotely rotated by an appropriate guide spider and wrench on drill pipe 44 to move the arm 260 downwardly to secure 8 the plug in the bore 262 of the guide member 254 and hence, to the base 30, after which one end of cable 114' may be unreeled from winch 148 or 150 and pulled out of the plug onto the other winch.

In this arrangement, the end of submarine line bundle 278 is mounted on a flat sled 282 having a flat front face 284 to seat against the abutment formed by vertical face 266 on the side extension 264 on base 30. This will serve to bring the submarine line bundle lower coupling half 154 to the desired horizontal and vertical alignment below the upper mating half 156 on well control head 162. To prevent the possibility of upsetting or overturning sled 282 during its travel to base 38, a righting cable 286 may be detachably connected to an upright leg 288 and suspended from a separate vessel as the line travels toward the well site.

To remove and replace either arrangement of the submarine line bundle, presuming that the secondary base previously has been removed While the well is in produc tion, it is first necessary to send down secondary base 40 by the procedure and means already outlined above at the beginning of this specification to establish the guide lines between the surface platform and the submerged well bore. Then it is possible to disconnect remotely the line coupling 156 and to lift the upper half of the coupling relatively to the still secured well control head 162 so that the pipe line may be released and pulled clear of the wellhead apparatus. If the submarine line arrangement of FIGS. 7 and 8 is involved, the locking screw 144 is retracted to release plug 120 and the pipe line bundle 122 is pulled back to clear the plug 120 from the terminal 90. Latch screw 100 is then retracted to release terminal from mandrel 98, after which the terminal 90 is raised to the floating platform. There a new pull-in line 114 is threaded over the sheaves of terminal 90 and extended to the shore or gathering station to be attached to the end of a new pipe line bundle. Terminal 90 is then lowered to the submerged wellhead and secured to the mandrel 98 in the manner described heretofore, and the equipment can be operated to pull the new pipe line into engagement with the wellhead and attach it to the wellhead control apparatus. V

, Similarly, to replace the pipe line bundle in the arrangement of FIGS. l0-l2 the threaded shaft 258 is retracted to release the arm 260 from locking engagement with plug 280 which is then pulled clear of guide member 254. The secondary base 40 is again raised to the floating platform and a pull-in cable 114, slider 272 and cable 276 are oonnected to it as described heretofore with the cable 276 extending to the shore or other station. The secondary base is then lowered and secured to the fixed base 30 in the previously described oriented position, after which the equipment can be operated to pull a new pipe line to the wellhead as previously described.

Although several arrangements of transverse guid spiders are shown in FIGS. 2 to 6, inclusive, it is contemplated that other forms could be employed. Some such forms are described and claimed in the copending' application of William R. Postlewaite, entitled Method and Apparatus for Working on Submerged Wells filed November 5, 1962 as Serial No. 235,433, now Patent No. 3,225,826, granted December 28, 1965. e

In conclusion, it is considered that the foregoing examples clearly illustrate and describe the essential features of the method and apparatus of this invention. a It is apparent that numerous changes and modifications could be made without departing therefrom, and all those that are included within the scope of the appended claims are intended to be embraced thereby.

We claim:

1. Apparatus for completing a well drilled in an offshore location from a floating platform, said well having a well head surrounded by a based fixed to the bottom of the body of water and a primary pilot cable extending upwardly from said base to said floating platform, said apparatus comprising a second base adapted to be lowered from said platform along said pilot cable to said fixed base, primary alignment means on said fixed base to align said second base in a predetermined position thereon, means for selectively securing said second base to said fixed base and detaching it therefrom, well head control equipment, means carried by said platform for lowering said well head control equipment into engagement with said well head, clamping means for securing said well head control equipment to said well head, operating means for said clamping means, a plurality of secondary guide cables extending from said second base to said platform, a first spider, a wrench carried by said spider, said spider being slidable along said secondary guide cables, means for lowering and guiding said spider from said platform along said secondary guide cables to place said wrench in engagement with said operating means for said clamping means, and means for operating said wrench from said platform to thereby operate said clamping means.

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 comprising a flow line, a coupling on said well head control equipment for coupling said flow line thereto, means for flexibly mounting said coupling on said well head control equipment for limited axial and lateral motion of said coupling relative to said well head control equipment, pull cable means extending downwardly from said platform to said base and thence laterally to said flow line, means on said base for mounting said pull cable means for longitudinal movement toward and away from said base, means on said platform for operating said pull cable means to pull said flow line to said coupling, flow line aligning means on said base, a flow line abutting means on said base, complementary aligning means on said flow line to coact with said aligning means and said abutment on said base to align said flow line with said coupling as said flow line is pulled to said abutment, second clamping means for connecting said coupling to said flow line, operating means for said second clamping means, a second spider, a wrench carried by said second spider, means for lowering said second spider from said platform along said secondary guide cable and into engagement with said operating means for said second clamping means and means for operating said wrench from said platform to thereby operate said second clamping means to secure said coupling to said flow line.

3. Apparatus in accordance with claim 2 comprising means pivotally mounting said flow line aligning means on said fixed base, means for disposing said pull cable means through said flow line aligning means, means for disposing said coupling means on said well head substantially vertically above the pivot mounting of said flow line aligning means, a complementary coupling means on said flow line and positioned to be substantially vertically below said coupling means on said well head when said flow line is pulled to said abutment, and means operable from said platform for lowering said coupling means on said well head into engagement with said complementary coupling means on said flow line after said flow line has been pulled into engagement with said abutment.

4-, The method of completing a well having a well head positioned on a base at the bottom of a body of water, comprising the steps of positioning a floating platform on the surface of said body of water above the submerged said base, lowering and guiding a submarine line terminal from said platform to said base orienting said terminal on said base in a predetermined alignment with said well head, securing said terminal to said base in said predetermined alignment, engaging one end of a submarine flow line with said terminal, said line extending along the bottom of said body of water to a gathering station, lowering and guiding a well head control means to said well head, orienting said well head control means on said well head base in a predetermined alignment with said terminal, securing said well head control means to said well head in said predetermined alignment, and connecting said well head control means to the said end of said submarine line in fluid communicating relationship, all of said steps being carried out from said platform.

5. The method of completing a well having hydraulically actuated well head components positioned on a base at the bottom of a body of Water, comprising the steps of positioning a floating platform on the surface of said body of water above said base, lowering and guiding from said platform to said well head a multiple passage well head control means, positioning said well head control means on said well head in predetermined alignment therewith, said well head control means having a multiple-passage coupling mounted at one side thereof and in fluid communication with respective complementary passages in said well head control means, securing said Well head control means to said well head with respective said passages in said well head control means in fluid communication with respective complementary passages in said well head, and connecting one end of a submarine flow line bundle with said coupling in fluid communicating relationship, said flow line bundle having separate fluid passages therein complementary to the said fluid passages in said coupling extending said flow line bundle along the bottom of said body of water to a gathering and control station, all of said steps being carried out from said platform, and transmitting hydraulic control fluid from said control station through said flow line bundle to said well head to actuate said well head components.

6. A multiple passage connector for a well head or the like, comprising a lower cylindrical body, a cylindrical first sleeve extending upwardly therefrom, a circumferential groove surrounding the upper end of said sleeve,

a first and a second concentric tube in said lower body coaxial with said sleeve and spaced radially apart throughout a portion of their lengths to form annuli between said first and said second tubes and between said second tube and said sleeve, a first conduit communicating with innermost said first tube, a second conduit communicating with the annulus between said first and second tubes and a third conduit communicating with the annulus between said second tube and said sleeve, an upper cylindrical body having a downwardly projecting second sleeve with an end face disposed adjacent the end of said first sleeve a sealing ring between the end faces of said sleeves, a circumferential groove around said second sleeve adjacent to said end face, a cylindrical member projecting downwardly from said upper body concentrically with said first sleeve, said last-named member having an axially extending annular second groove in its end face to engage the radially outer face of said second tube and the radially inner face of said first tube of the said concentric tubes in said lower body in interdigitating relation thereto, sealing means between the opposed faces of said second groove and said tubes, a first fluid pas sage in said upper body communicating with the interior of said first tube, a second fluid passage in said upper body communicating with the said annulus between said first 'tube and said second tube, a third fluid passage in said upper body communicating with the annulus between said second tube and said first sleeve, respectively conduits connected to said upper body in fluid communication with complementary said first, said second and said third fluid passage, a housing on said upper cylindrical body, a guide sleeve projecting downwardly from said housing to receive the first-named cylindrical sleeve of said lower body in telescoping relationship, and means in said body for clamping the end of said first sleeve and said sec- 0nd sleeve against said sealing ring in fluid-tight relationship.

7. Apparatus for connecting an end of a pipeline to a submerged base comprising a platform positioned in a body of water above a submerged base, a pulling means extending from said platform downwardly to said base,

means mounting the lower end portion of said pulling means on said base for longitudinal movement of said pulling means relative to said base, means on said platform for pulling the lower end of said pulling means toward said base, a pipe line, means for detachably connecting the lower end of said pulling meansrto an end of said pipeline, securing means for said end of said pipeline on said base, said pulling means being disposed to pull said end of said pipeline into engagement with said securing means.

8. Apparatus for connecting an end of a submarine pipeline to an offshore well having a submerged well opening comprising a submerged base afiixed adjacent to a submerged well opening, a platform on the surface of a body of water above said well opening, a pulling means extending downwardly from said platform to said base and thence laterally outwardly from said base, means mounting the lower end portion of said pulling means on said base for longitudinal movement of said pulling means relative to said base, a submerged pipeline, means for detachably connecting the lower end of said pulling means to an end of said submerged pipeline disposed laterally from said base, securing means on said base for securing said end of said pipeline thereto, and means on said platform for pulling said pulling means toward said platform to pull the said end of said pipeline into engagement with said securing means.

9. Apparatus for completing an offshore well having a submerged well opening comprising a wellhead aflixed to said well opening, a submerged base affixed adjacent said wellhead, a platform at the surface of a body of water above said base, a pipeline terminal, means for lowering and guiding said pipeline terminal from said platform to said base, means for aligning said pipeline terminal on said base in a predetermined position in relation to said wellhead, means for detachably securing said pipeline terminal to said base in said predetermined position by remote operation from said platform of the said securing means, a submarine pipeline having one end thereof spaced apart from said pipeline terminal, means for pulling said one end of said submarine pipeline into engagement with the secured said pipeline terminal by remote operation from said platform, wellhead control means, means for lowering and guiding said wellhead control means from said platform into engagement with said wellhead, means for detachably securing said wellhead control means to said wellhead by remote operation from said platform, coupling means for detachably connecting said wellhead control means to the engaged said one end of said pipeline and in fluid communicating relationship therewith, and means for operating said coupling means by remote operation from said platform.

10. The method of connecting an end of a submarine pipeline to a submerged wellhead comprising the steps of positioning a floating platform on the surface of a body of water above a submerged wellhead, extending a pulling means downwardly from said platform while retaining the upper end portion of said pulling means on said platform, mounting the lower end portion of said pulling means at said wellhead to permit longitudinal movement of said pulling means relative to said wellhead while restraining the lower end portion of said pulling means to movement toward and away from said wellhead, connecting the lower end of said pulling means to the end of a submarine pipeline spaced away from said wellhead, pulling the said upper end portion of said pulling means by means on said platform to pull the said end of said pipeline into engagement with a securing means at said wellhead, and operating said securing means from said platform to secure said end of said pipeline at said wellhead.

11. Apparatus for completing a well drilled in an offshore'location from a floating platform, said well having a submerged well head arrangement comprising a well head on'a fixedbase, a plurality of fixed guide means on said base in predetermined alignment with said head, and a primary pilot cable extending upwardly from one of said guide means to said floating platform, said apparatus comprising a second base means adapted to be lowered from said platform along said'pilot cable to engage certain of said guide means to be oriented with respect thereto, means for removably securing said second base means to said fixed base, a second cable means extending downwardly from said platform to said well head arrangement and thence to a location remote from said well head, means for mounting said second cable means on said well head arrangement for longitudinal movement of said cable means toward and away from said well head, an end of a submarine pipeline in said location, means for detachably connecting the lower portion of said second cable means to said end of said pipeline, means on said platform for pulling said second cable means longitudinally toward said platform to thereby pull said pipeline toward and into engagement with said Well head arrangement, means on said well head arrangement for securing said end of said pipeline thereto, and means for detaching said second cable means from said end of said pipeline.

12. Apparatus according to claim 11 including well into engagement with said well head arrangement, and

means operable from said floating platform for connecting said first and said second pipe coupling means in fluid communicating relationship after said end of said pipeline has been secured in said well head arrangement.

13. Apparatus in accordance with claim 12 wherein said submarine pipeline comprises a plurality of separate pipelines secured together in a multipassage pipeline having respective passages for the transmission of oil, of gas, and of hydraulic actuating fluid, separate fluid passages in said well head control equipment respectively for the transmission of oil, of gas, and of hydraulic actuating fluid, complementary respective separate passages in said first pipe coupling means and in fluid communication with the said respective separate fluid passages in said well head control equipment, complementary respective separate fluid passages in said second pipe coupling means and in fluid communication with respective separate passages in said multipassage pipe line, and means for connecting said first and said second pipe coupling means together in fluid communicating relationship to connect the respective fluid passages of said well head control equipment with the corresponding like passages in said pipeline.

References Cited by the Examiner UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,766,829 10/1956 Watts et al. 166-75 2,847,072 8/1958 Lebourg 166-46 2,990,851 7/1961 Jackson et 211.

3,012,610 12/1961 Bauer et a1. 166-665 3,032,106 5/1962 Focht et a1. 166-46 3,052,299 9/1962 Geer et a1. 166-665 3,080,921 3/1963 Lacy 166-665 3,086,590 4/1963 Jackson et al. 166-665 3,099,316 7/1963 Johnson -5 X CHARLES E. OCONNELL, Primary Examiner. R. 4E. FAVREAU, Assistant Examiner.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification166/340, 166/352, 166/343, 166/344, 175/7, 166/339
International ClassificationE21B43/00, E21B43/013
Cooperative ClassificationE21B43/0135
European ClassificationE21B43/013B