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Publication numberUS3313347 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateApr 11, 1967
Filing dateJun 23, 1965
Priority dateJan 9, 1963
Publication numberUS 3313347 A, US 3313347A, US-A-3313347, US3313347 A, US3313347A
InventorsCrain Robert L
Original AssigneeGray Tool Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Well completion procedures and apparatus
US 3313347 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

im M, w67

Original Filed Jan. 9, 1963 R. L.. CRAIN WELL COMPLETION PROCEDURES AND `APPARATUS 5 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR ROBE RT L. CRA! N TTORNEYS '-1 fr 2%? R. l.. GRAIN WELL COMPLETION PROCEDURES AND APPARATUS 021211121 Filed Jan. 9, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet 2 ROBERT L. ssamm Md@ figg/@WMM ld AAA/AAAAAAx.. i 2 l 2 0 w 2 .i 9 wli u 2 4 I 2 I m 2 y 2 2 1 V P J K Amin n, ws?

R. L. GRAIN WELL COMPLETION PROCEDURES AND APPARATUS Uriginal Filed Jan. 9, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet J |/52 f/ 26o 250 55j |52 J 152 p 222 l d 7 l l f wo a? :Tb

I 276 loo i3@ 27 H 252 l H H fm; l H

INVENTOR 24@ s 1r 42u` Tv 26o Ro ER L CR N m7@ ATTORNEYS Apfri ii, i967 R. i.. GRAIN 3,33'83f? WELL COMPLETION PROCEDURES AND APPARATUS Original Filed Jan. 9, 3.963V 5 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR 260 ROBERT L. GRAIN ATTORNEYS plrl M, W67 R. L.. GRAIN WELL COMPLETION PROCEDURES ND APPARATUS original Filed Jan.' 9, 1963 5 Sheets-Sheet 5 STAGE 95 1Nv151\1TOR ROBERT l.. CRM N ATTORNEYS United States Patent C) 3,313,347 WELL CGMPLETEN PRCEDURES AND APPARATUS Robert Ii. Crain, Houston, Tex., assigner to Gray Tool Company, Houston, Tex., a corporation of Texas @riginal application Jan. 9, i963, Ser. No., 250,262. Di-

vided and this application .lune 23, i965, Ser. No.

Claims. (Cl. 16S-.5)

Prior art One commonly used procedure for landing a string of casing in a well head includes the steps of placing a hanger structure on the section of casing by which the casing string is to be suspended and then lowering the casing and/or the hanger into the well head by means of an additional section or string of casing which is attached at its upper end to the derrick draw works. The hanger may be threadediy connected both to the upper end of the casing section and to the lower end of the lowering string. Alternatively it may be connected to the casing section intermediate the ends thereof by slips or jaws which are carried in the inner `bore of the hanger. In either case the upwardly and outwardly tapered portion of the hanger is seated in the inner bowl of its casing head by vertically adjusting the casing string and/or the hanger. Where the hanger is of the slip type vertical manipulation of the casing within the hangers sets the slips into tight engagement with the casing section thereby locking the casing section to the hanger. After the casing string has been thus suspended the lowering pipe is removed as by cutting it above the hanger or rotating it to disengage the threaded connection between it and the hanger.

The hanger is often locked in the casing head by means of various latch arrangements which usually comprise laterally disposed bolts in the casing head which are movable into sockets in the hanger. Provision is also made for effecting tight seals between the casing string and the hanger and between the hanger and its casing head in order that mechanical control of the well may be maintained.

When these procedures are carried out under water, ladditional complications are introduced as .a result of the relatively great distance between the drilling rig and the Well head and a result of the inaccessibility of the well head to workmen. It is thus very diicult to manipulate well head equipment accurately from the sunface and in particular it is diicult to align the equipment with the well head and to lower the same into position. One known manner of dealing with this problem is to surround the well head with a xed guide base which has a plurality of upstanding vuide members fixed thereto at spaced locations. Guide lines are secured to the tops of the guide members and extend vertically to the drilling rig at the surface. A guide assembly is slidable on the guide lines and com-prises a plurality of vertical hollow posts through which the guide lines pass. An equipment bracket adapted to laterally index blowout preventers or other equipment with respect to the axis of the Well is slidable on the hollow posts along the length thereof.

In operation of this arrange-ment the guide assembly is lowered along the guide lines from the surface so as to telescope the lower ends of the guide posts over the upstanding guide members. After the guide assembly has come to rest on the guide members, the equipment bracket to which the desired equipment has been releasably secured is lowered by means of cables or the like extending to the surface along the guide posts so as to accurately engage the top of the well head.

It is the primary object of the invention to provide a guide system for installing equipment on and removing it from a remote well head which accurately controls the vertical travel of the equipment when in close proximity to the well head thereby preventing damage to the equipment and well head.

It is another object to provide a guide system of the above type in which upstanding guide members adjacent a well head receive a frame for supporting the load of equip-ment being installed on or removed from the well head and in which the frame or the upstanding members are provided with means for adjusting the vertical position of the equipment.

`It is still another object of the invention to provide procedures for hanging strings of casing or tubing and for installing and removing control and other equipment on remote well heads using apparatus embodying the above-mentioned features whereby wells may be constructed and completed in a minimum of time while maintaining maximum mechanical control of the well.

These and other objects and advantages will become `apparent from reading the following brief and detailed descriptions taken with the draw-ings in which:

lFIGURE l is a fragmentary elevational View, partially in section, of a hydraulic guide system embodying the principles of the present invention and showing the frame carrying mem-ber about to engage an upstanding post;

FIGURE 2 is a view of the apparatus of FIGURE l with the elements in engagement;

FIGURES 3 and 4 are views similar to FIGURES l and 2 of a modication of the hydraulic guide system Of those figures; and

FIGURES 5-10 are elevational views illustrating some of the stages in the construction and completion of a submerged Well using the equipment illustrated in FIG- UR-ES l and 2.

The feature of the invention which pertains to the guiding of equipment into engagement with a well head contemplates a plurality of spaced upstanding xed guide members xed to a support platform around a well head and a plurality of hollow guide posts adapted to telescope over the guide members as best seen in FIGURES 1-4. Each of the telescoping guide posts comprises an inner vertical tube and an outer tube concentric therewith. The inner tube is open at both ends and is slidable along a vertical guide cable which extends from the upper end of the associated upstanding guide member to the surface.

The lower end of the `inner tube is provided with an axial recess which, conveniently, is tapered upwardly and inwardly to receive a complementary tapered portion on the guide member.

In accordance with the invention a piston and cylinder arrangement is provided between each fixed guide member and its associated telescoping post. In one embodiment the lower end of the inner tube of the post axially through and is secured to a piston which is provided with the above-mentioned axial recess and which is slidable in the outer tube. The inner tube is movable with the piston and passes through a suitable seal at the top of the outer tube. IIn operation of this embodiment the support platform is lowered by means of the cables attached to the upstanding guide members to the bottom and anchored there adjacent the well so that the guide members are spaced concentrically around the well. The telescoping Guide posts, with the equipment to be installed on the well secured to a frame carried by the posts, are lowered along the cables until the pistons engage the tops of the guide members. Pressure in the annulus between the inner and outer tubes of the posts is then controllably released to permit the/outer tube to move downwardly over the piston and guide member. The equipment attached to the frame is thereby slowly and accurately lowered into engagement with the well head. To remove equipment from the well head pressure is supplied to the annulus to raise the outer tube over the piston. The posts, frame and equipment may then be raised to the surface in the usual manner.

In another embodiment of the guide system the piston and cylinder arrangement comprises part of the upstanding guide members. In this embodiment each guide member comprises a xed vertical piston having a guide rod secured axially to its upper surface and a vertical cylinder slidable on the piston. The upper end of the cylinder is provided with a seal through which the guide rod passes. The exterior of the upper end of the cylinder is tapered to cooperate with the recessed lower end of a movable telescoping guide post which is merely an elongated member having an axial bore through which the guide cables pass. In operation of this embodiment the telescoping posts, guided by the cables as before, are lowered into engagement with the tops of the cylinder portion of the guide members and then the pressure within the cylinders is controllably released. As before, the operation is reversed in order to remove equipment from the well head.

The use of the equipment and the procedures contemplated by the invention together with various procedures i known in the art provide for the effective construction and completion of submerged wells. The more important features of the invention, which have already been briefly described, together with additional features are further described in the detailed description which follows.

Referring now to FIGURES 1 and 2 shown therein an embodiment of a hydraulic guide apparatus for accurately controlling the movement of well head equipment when in close proximity to the well head. The apparatus comprises basically two subassernblies: a guide base 13() which is fixed and a telescoping section 132 which carries the equipment and which is movable with respect to the first.

As shown, the fixed guide base 130 includes a generally triangular, flat support plate 134 (see also FIGURES -9) having a central aperture therethrough in which is secured a sleeve member 136 which may be a short length of large diameter casing. Three vertical radially extending reinforcing plates 137 are secured as by welding to the sleeve 136 and to the lower surface of the support plate 134. An upstanding, cylindrical guide post 138 is fixed to the support plate 134 near each apex thereof. As shown, each guide post 133 includes a hollow cylindrical portion 140 having external stop members 142 at the base thereof which are tapered downwardly and outwardly. The top of the cylinder is closed with a threaded plug 144 which is tapered upwardly and inwardly at its upper end 148. An upstanding pin is threaded axially into the top of the plug 144 and is secured to a guide cable 152 which extends to the surface of the water when the guide base 130 is in its operative position.

The movable, telescoping section 132 includes three cylinders 154 each of which has a flared lower end 156 adapted to seat on the stop members 142. Within each cyiinder 154 is a piston 153 having an axial bore therethrough which is contoured at its lower end to seat on the tapered upper end 14S of the associated guide post 138. A tubular piston rod through which the guide cable 152 passes is secured to the upper end of the piston 158 and extends upwardly through a cap 162 which closes the upper end of the cylinder 154. Downward movement of piston 15S Within the cylinder 154 is limited by an annular stop 164. Suitable seals 166 are provided between the piston and cylinder and between the piston rod and cap. The cylinder 154 is provided with a fitting 16S which is suitably tapped for receiving a hydraulic pressure line 171) (FIGURE 6).

In order to support equipment which is to be carried by the guide system three horizontal crossheads 172 are associated with the cylinders 154. As seen in FIGURE 8 a wide annular groove is formed near the top of each cylinder 154 between the cap 162 and a fiange 174. A split sleeve 176 having its halves secured together by a vertical pin 178 resides in the groove and is secured to one end of a crosshead 172 by a pin arrangement indicated at 139. The other end of the crosshead is pinned to one of the other cylinders 154 in a like manner. Intermediate its ends each crosshead 172 is provided with a pin arrangement 134 which cooperates with a complementary structure secured to the equipment 138 which is thereby supported by the crossheads 172. A set of lower crossheads 191) similar to the crossheads 1712 is secured to the cylinders 154 by pin arrangements 192 and to the equipment by pin arrangements 186. The split sleeve portions of these lower crossheads are vertically ladjustable on the cylinders 154.

lf necessary or desired, an auxiliary guide section 202 may be provided in the form of relatively hollow posts 201 the bores of which are tapered at their lower ends 204 to mate with the caps 162 of the cylinders 154. The upper ends 266 of the posts are tapered upwardly and inwardly so as to receive another similar post if desired. Each set of posts 202 is provided with crossheads 20S which, like the crossheads 190, are vertically adjustable.

Referring to FIGURES 3 and 4 there is shown a modified hydraulic guide system in which the piston is incorporated into the fixed guide base 130 rather than into the telescoping section 132 as in the previously described embodiment. As shown the triangular support plate 134, the sleeve 136, and the reinforcing plates 137 are identical with those already described. Fixed to the plate 134 near each apex is an upstanding cylinder 210 having its upper end closed with a fixed piston 212 and having downwardly and outwardly tapered stops 214 at its lower end. A hydraulic pressure line 216 passes through the wall of the fixed cylinder 218 and connects with an eccentric vertical passage 218 in the piston 212.

Vertically slidable over the piston 212 and fixed cylinder 210 is a movable cylinder 220 which has an outwardly flared lower end 222 adapted to seat on the stops 214. A fixed, axial piston rod 224 is secured at its lower end to the top of the piston and extends upwardly through the movable cylinder 226 where it terminates in a knob 226 which serves as a stop to limit upward movement of the cylinder 220. A guide cable 152 is secured to the knob 226 and extends upwardly to the surface. The upper end 228 of the cylinder 220 is tapered inwardly and upwardly to form a seat for theequipment-carrying portion of the guide system. Leakage into or out of the chamber defined by the piston 212 and the cylinder 22: is prevented by seals 230 in the periphery of the piston and a seal 232 in the top of the cylinder 221i.

The equipment-supporting portion of the guide system of FIGURES 3 and 4 consists basically of three hollow -posts which carry crossheads and which are adapted to seat on the upper end of the cylinders 229, As shown, each [post is constructed of an inner and an outer concentric tube, 234 and 236 respectively. The upper end of the inner tube 234 passes through an upwardly and inwardly tapered cap 233 which is secured to the outer tube 236 and which provides a seat for additional supporting structure (not shown) identical to parts 202, 2li-, 206 and 2&8 in FIGURES 1 and 2. The lower end of the inner tube 23d is connected to a plug 249 which has a bore 242 of suicient diametel to receive the piston rod 224.

Each outer tube 236 is connected to equipment-supporting crossheads 172 and 19t) in the same manner as the cylinder A.. The actual connections ybetween the tube 236 and the crosshead sleeves are illustrated schematically in FIGURES 9 and 10.

Specz'yc example of use and operation of the apparatus FIGURES 5-10 illustrate the use and operation of the above-described equipment in the construction and completion of a submerged oil well. In the particular procedure illustrated the well is drilled through a large diameter conductor pipe 246, for example a -inch OD. pipe, which is driven into a submerged bottom 24S from a floating or fixed platform at the surface. First, the guide :base 130 of FIGURES 1 and 2 with its guide lines 152 attached is supported at about platform level which is illustrated at 25) in the drawings. The first section of conductor casing 246 with a conventional drive shoe (not shown) secured to its lower end is then lowered through the sleeve 136 of the guide `base 139 and additional sections of conductor casing are joined in sequence, as by welding, to complete the conductor pipe 246. lVnen the shoe reaches the bottom 24S and the casing 246 is supported, the guide base 13o is lowered to the bottom by means of the guide cables 152. As seen in FIGURE 16, the upper end of the last section of conductor casing 246 is provided with a head 252 defining a downwardly facing exterior shoulder 254 land coarse interior threads 256 for forming a releasable connection. Immediately below the head 252 the casing 245 is provided with vertically and radially extending centering guides 258. The casing 246 is then driven into the bottom 248 in a conventional manner until the :shoulder 254 rests on top of the sleeve 136 and the support plate 134, the guides 25S having engaged the -bore of the sleeve 136 during the last few feet of travel. As the casing 246 is driven, additional sections of casing are added by means of releasab-le couplings. After the casing 246 has been driven, the hole for the first string of casing to Ibe suspended is drilled in conventional manner from the `surface through the releasably connected sections and through the casing 46, Ithe former serving as the ymud riser 247 (FIGURE 8).

When the hole has 'been completed, the lower end of the mud riser 247 is unscrewed from the threads 256 in the head 252 and is withdrawn to the surface. The lower end of a string of casing 260, for example a 16- inch O.D. casing, is then attached to the crossheads 19d of the `guide structure 132 at the surface, and the guide structure 132 is lowered Iby suitable lowering cables along the guide cables 152 to guide the lower end of the casing 260 into the conductor casing 246. The telescoping guide structure 132 is then released from the casing 26d and raised to the surface.

As the casing 269 is run, a casing head 1G@ for the next string of casing is threaded onto the upper end of the last section of the casing 260. The upper end of the casing head 139 is releasably connected to the lower end of a drill pipe 263 by means of a remotely operated coupling 27u. The casing head 1G11' and the casing 260 are then lowered by means of the drill pipe 263 until the head 16d rests ion the head 252, as seen in FIGURE 11. The lower portion of the casing ead 160 is provided with circumferentially spaced, radial utes 266 which communicate with the annulus between casings 246 and 260. The upper portion of the casing head has an external circumferential groove 268 (FIGURES 6 and 10) therein for engagement Iwith a clamping element 269 in the coupling 27S. Intermediate its ends the head 100 is provided with an inner, downwardly sloping seat 9S for receiving the hanger for the next string lof casing.

The remotely controlled coupling 276i and other remotely controlled couplings 292 and 362 to be referred to vlater are preferably of the general type disclosed in copending application Ser. No. 128,174, Watts et al., filed July 31, 1961. It will be appreciated, however, that other types of couplings may lbe used if desired. It will be understood also that the various items of control equiprnent and other well completion equipment referred to herein may ibe interconnected by means of couplings of the type disclosed in Patent No. 2,766,829 rather than by means of the flange and bolt connections illustrated schematically in FIGURES 5-8.

When the casing he-ad lili) has been landed on the [head 252, circulation rnay lbe established down through the casing 26) and up the annulus Ibetween it and the outer conductor casing 246. The casing 260 is then cemented in place by pumping cement down casing 260 until the return-s come out through the utes 266.

The coupling 270 is then released by operating its control lines 276 from the surface and is withdrawn by the drill pipe 263. Blowout preventers are then assembled at the surface and are connected to the telescoping guide section 132 for lowering to the casing head 10). As seen in FIGURE 6, three `blowout preventers 278, 280 and 232 are connected to the top of the coupling 270. The lower yblow-out preventer 278 may be of tihe fblind ram type and the other two may be of the Hydril type, but any combination of blowout preventers and/ or master drilling valves may be used, as known in the art and referred to herein. The upper preventer 282 and the coupling 276 lare connected to the crossheads 172 and 196, respectively, of the telescoping guide section 132. The drill pipe 263 is releasably secured to the top of the upper preventer 282 `by means of a conventional extension nipple 28d and a threaded adapter 286, and the entire assembly `is lowered by `means of the drill pipe 263 along the guide cables 152 toa point at which the guide cylinders 154 engage the tops of the xed guide posts 138. FIGURE l2 shows the assembly just lbefore the cylinders 154 engage the posts 138.

The pistons 158 which are in the position shown in FIGURE l then assume the load of the blowout preventers 27S, and 282 and the last few feet of travel is controlled from the surface by gradually releasing hydraulic fluid from the cylinders 154 through the lines 170. This operation transfers the preventer load from the drilling platform or barge to the foundation on the submerged bottom, eliminating the effect on the preventers of wave action and giving positive and accurate control at this critical moment. When it has been determined that coupling 270 is in contact, the controls for the same are actuated at the surface to join the preventer assembly to the casing head 100.

When the preventer assembly has been connected, the drill pipe 263, adaptor 286 and nipple 234 are disconnected and withdrawn. The mud riser 247 with another blowout preventer (not shown), for example, of the Regan type, at its lower end are lowered and connected to the upper blowout preventer 282. Conveniently, the preventer at the lower end of the mud riser is connected at the water surface to the crossheads 208 of an auxiliary 7 guide section such as is shown in FIGURE 2, so that the guide cables 152 assure proper alignment of the mud riser assembly with the upper blowout preventer 282. When connection has been effected drilling for the next string of casing is performed through the mud riser assembly and the blowout preventers 282, 230 and 27S.

After a hole has been drilled using the drill pipe 263 and conventional procedures, the drill pipe 263 is withdrawn, and next string of casing 288 is run in and landed. This is accomplished, broadly, with the use of a landing casing (not shown) and a hanger assembly 14 (FIGURE 10), the latter being fully described in copending application Ser. No. 250,262, led lan. 9, 1963. The hanger assembly 14 is connected to the upper end of the last section of the casing 288 and to the lower end of the landing casing at the water surface. Then the landing casing is lowered through the mud riser 247 until an exterior shoulder on the hanger assembly 14 engages the internal seat 98 in the casing head 100. After circulating and cementing operations have been completed, the hanger assembly 14, which carries a plurality of locking balls 60 on its periphery, is locked in place by forcing the balls 60 radially outwardly into a groove in the wall of the head 100. The locking mechanism is described in detail in the aforementioned application Ser. No. 250,262.

With the particular casing program being described it is desirable to retain the pressure in the next-installed string of casing and the tubing within a single head of a high pressure rating. To accomplish this the blowout preventers 278, 280 and 282 and the Regan blowout preventer (not shown) should be removed and replaced with another set and at the same time attach the required head. The Regan preventer is retrieved by disconnecting it from the upper preventer 282 and stripping it along with the auxiliary guide structure over the drill pipe 263 by means of the mud riser. The coupling 270 is then released and the blowout preventer assembly which is connected to the telescoping guide section 132 is raised a short distance by applying hydraulic pressure to the cylinders 154 through the lines 170 from a suitable controlled source at the surface. The drill pipe, which is still connected to the upper preventer 282, is then raised by the draw works to assume the load and bring the preventer assembly and the telescoping guide section 132 to the surface.

FIGURE 7 illustrates the next stage in the construction of the well. As seen therein and in FIGURE 10 a casing and tubing head 290, constructed as an integral unit and having an external circumferential groove 291 at its lower end has been connected to the upper end of the coupling 270. Another remotely controlled coupling 292 connects the upper end of the head 290 to the lower end of another blowout preventer assembly. The latter 'mcludes two Hydril type blowout preventers 294 and 296 and a Cameron blowout preventer 298, the upper section of which contains dual rams for two strings of tubing. The upper preventer 294 has been connected to the lower end of the drill pipe 263 by means of another remotely controlled coupling 302, and the entire preventer assembly has been secured to the telescoping guide section 132 by means of the crossheads 172 and 190. The drill pipe 263 is then lowered carrying with it the preventer assembly and the guide section 132 which slides along the guide cables 152. FIGURE 13 shows guide section 7 about to engage the posts 138. As before, when the pistons 158 in the cylinders 154 engage the upstanding posts 138 the load is transferred to the latter and the remainder of the travel is hydraulically controlled. When the preventer assembly is properly seated, operation of the lower coupling 270 completes the connection. The upper coupling 302 is released and is withdrawn to the surface by the drill pipe 263.

The coupling 302 is then removed from the drill pipe 263 and, as shown in FIGURE 8, is attached to the lower 8 end of the mud riser 247. The crossheads 208 of the auxiliary guide section 202 are secured to the coupling 302 and the assembly is lowered to the upper preventer 294 where connection is made by remote operation of the coupling 302. Drilling is continued through the mud riser 247 and through the equipment installed on the casing 260 until sufficient depth has been reached to run the next string of casing 304.

The casing 304, for example 7-inch O.D. casing, is run in the same manner as was the casing 288, that is, with a tool and a hanger 14 (FIGURE l0). Again, centralizers and a long guide tube are used to protect the hanger subassembly from damage while it is being lowered into position and to keep the hanger subassembly centered while it is entering the seating and sealing section of the head 290. The cementing of the casing 304 is carried out with its hanger subassembly 14' resting on a seat 98 within the head 290, the returns passing through the flutes at the base of the hanger subassembly. The head is also provided with an inner annular recess above the seat for receiving locking balls 60 which are analogous to the balls 60 in the head 100. The same procedure is followed for setting and sealing the hanger subassembly as used when setting and sealing the casing 288.

When all of the conventional testing and bottom hole work has been completed, the tubing is run. Hydraulically set packers are used and the tubing is run simultaneously. A pack-off assembly may be placed at the top of the mud riser for partial protection if desired. As seen in FIGURE 8, a tubing hanger subassembly 30S adapted to suspend the strings of tubing 306 on two internal seats and having an outer parent seat is used. The hanger 308 may be generally of the type disclosed in Patent Nos. 3,052,301 and 3,001,803 modified to the extent of having locking balls 60, an actuating ring analogous to the ring 54 and an outer rotatable sleeve 34, 36. The upper end of the rotatable sleeve is provided with axial teeth 310 for engagement with complementary teeth on a rotatable tool assembly (not shown).

After the hanger 308 has been placed on the tubing 306, two strings of landing tubing 312 are threaded into the top of the hanger 308 and the assembly `is lowered through the mud riser 247 and blowout preventer assembly as seen in FIGURE 8 until the parent seat on the hanger 308 engages the complementary seat 98" (FIG- URE 10) in the tubing head 290. Preferably, tubing control valves, such as Otis valves, are included in the tubing for control after the preventers have been removed. The landing tubing 312 is then unserewed from the hanger 308 and withdrawn. The hanger 308 is then locked in place by lowering a tool subassembly (not shown) through the mud riser by means of the drill pipe 263 and rotating the same. The tool subassembly has downwardly extending teeth thereon which mesh with the teeth 310 so that rotation of the drill pipe and tool assembly effect rotation of the sleeve of the latter and thereby force the locking balls into an annular recess in the head 290. The tool is then withdrawn to the surface.

After the tubing 306 has been set the mud riser is released from the top of the blowout preventer assembly and withdrawn. The drill pipe 263 is then lowered and connected to the top of the preventer assembly. The coupling 292 at the lower end of the preventer assembly is released and the cylinders 154 of the telescopic guide section 132 are pressurized to raise the preventer assembly from the casing head 100. The load is then transferred to the drill pipe 263 which is hoisted to the surface carrying with it the preventer assembly, the guide section 132 and the auxiliary guide section.

Next a Christmas tree 314 with the coupling 292 as the lowermost element is assembled at the surface and the telescoping guide system 132 attached as seen in FIG- URE 10. The Christmas tree assembly 314 is then lowered along the guide cables 152 by means of the two strings of landing tubing 312. As before, the load is transmitted to the fixed guide posts 138 when the pistons 158 engage the same and the last few feet of travel is hydraulically controlled from the surface. Preferably, the Christmas tree 314 is so arranged on the crossheads 172 and 190 that a swiveling action may take place between the guide system and the tree. This freedom to rotate will allow the tree to align itself with the hangers when the upper section of the tree engages the parent hanger. When the final contact position is reached the coupling 292 is tightened to complete the connection. The tubing control valves may then be retrieved with a wire line from the surface passing through one `of the strings of landing tubing 312. A conventional packing operation is then performed using the landing tubing 312 to service the well. After the well has been cleaned the valves 320 on the Christmas tree are closed and the Well arranged for production in conventional manner. The returns from the casing 304 are controlled through a side outlet 316 and production from the tubing 306 is controlled through outlets 318 in the Christmas tree.

It will be understood that the above-described procedures illustrate the principal steps contemplated for constructing a well using the hanger and tool assembly 10 and the hydraulic guide system 130, 132 of the present invention, but that different and additional steps may be employed as conditions and objectives change. While preferred embodiments of the present invention have been described, further modifications may be made Without departing from the scope of the invention. Therefore, it is to be understood that the details set forth or shown in the drawings are to be interpreted in an illustrative, and not in a limiting sense, except as they appear in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for supporting and controlling the vertical movement of equipment to be engaged with or disengaged from a submerged Well structure comprising: an upstanding post; a cylinder having an open lower end which is slidable over said post and a closed upper end; a piston slidable in said cylinder and defining with said cylinder a closed chamber above said piston, said piston having a lower surface which is engageable with the upper end of said post when said cylinder is slipped over the said post; pressurized fluid conduit means communicating with said chamber for controlling the pressure therein where-by when said piston is in engagement with said post, vertical movement of said cylinder relative to said post may be obtanied by controlling the pressure in said chamber; and means on said cylinder for releasably attaching the equipment to the exterior of said cylinder.

2. Apparatus as in claim 1 wherein the top of said upstanding post is tapered upwarly and inwardly and wherein the lower surface of said piston is provided with a cavity which is complementary to the tapered end of the post.

3. Apparatus as in claim 1 wherein said piston has an axial passageway therethrough and wherein a conduit sealed to said piston and communicating with said passageway extends through said chamber and through said closed upper end of said cylinder for the passage of guide cables attached to the top of said post during use of the apparatus.

4. Apparatus for supporting and controlling the vertical movement of equipment to -be engaged with or disengaged from a submerged Well structure comprising: a first upstanding post terminating at its upper end in a piston; a cylinder slidable over said first post and piston and having a closed upper end so as to define a chamber above said piston; pressurized fluid conduit means communicating with said chamber for controlling the pressure therein; a second post movable independently of said cylinder in a vertical direction and engageable end-to-end with the upper end of said cylinder; means for guiding said second post downwardly from a remote location into said i@ end-to-end engagement with said cylinder; and means on said second post for releasably attaching the equipment to said second post.

5. Apparatus as in claim 4 wherein the exterior of the upper end of said cylinder is tapered upwardly and inwardly and wherein the lower end of said second post is recessed to receive said upper end.

6. Apparatus as in claim 4 wherein said guiding means includes a rod extending axially upwardly from said piston and passing through said chamber and through the upper end of said cylinder and wherein said second post has an axial bore extending therethrough to receive said rod.

7. Apparatus for supporting and controlling the vertical movement of equipment to be engaged with or disengaged from a submerged structure comprising: a generally fiat, horizontal support member residing at a submerged bottom; a plurality of first upstanding posts secured at their lower ends to said support members; a guide line extending from the uppermost extremity of each post to the water surface; a second generally vertical post slidable on each of said guide lines and engageable with one of said first posts; means on said second posts for releasably attaching equipment thereto; a vertically positioned piston and cylinder arrangement associated with each pair of said first and second posts for adjusting the vertical position of said second posts with respect to said first posts; and pressurized fluid conduit means communicating with each cylinder for controlling the pressure therein.

8. The method of constructing a well in a submerged bottom comprising: passing one end of a conductor casing through a radially extending guide; lowering said one end of said conductor casing and said guide to the submerged bottom; embedding said one end of said conductor casing in the submerged bottom; lowering well control equipment into engagement with said guide; supporting said equipment on said guide and above said conductor casing; maintaining the support of said equipment on said guide and simultaneously lowering said equipment so as to be supported by said conductor casing; establishing a leakproof connection between said equipment and said conductor casing; and drilling a well through said equipment and said conductor casing.

9. Apparatus for guiding and supporting equipment at a submerged location and for accurately adjusting the vertical position of the equipment between `relatively narrow limits under control from a remote location, said apparatus comprising a fixed support member supported from the submerged bottom and disposed at said submerged location; vertically elongated fixed guide means extending vertically upwardly from said submerged location; a rigid vertical tubular member surrounding said vertically elongated guide means, said tubular member being vertically movable relative to said guide means, connecting means carried on the outside of said tubular member for releasably connecting equipment thereto; and remotely-controlled vertical drive means disposed between and cooperating with said tubular member and said support for transferring the weight of said tubular member to said support and for subsequently adjusting the vertical position of said tubular member and any equipment carried thereby relative to said support member.

10. Apparatus for supporting and controlling the vertical movement of equipment to be engaged with or disengaged from a well structure which is located at a submerged location comprising: a fixed support member supported from the submerged bottom and disposed at the submerged location adjacent the well structure; a guide line extending from the submerged location upwardly to the water surface; vertically movable equipment-carrying structure having a vertical passage through which said guide line extends so as to align said equipment-carrying structure with said xed support member; means on said References Cited bythe Examiner equipment-carrying structure for releasably attaching UNITED STATES PATENTS equipment thereto; a vertically positioned piston and 1265 494 4/1918 Packard 175 10 cylinder arrangement associated with said xed support 1363586 12/1920 Hansen 175 10 member and with said equipment-carrying structure for 5 0055612 10/1961 Kofahl 175 7 transferring the Weight Of the latter t0 Said Support mem- 3,143,171 8/1964 Otterman et aL 166 66w5 ber when said equipment-carrying structure is in proxi- 3,172,340 3/1965 Bkmkle 175 7 mity with said support member and for adjusting the vertical position of said equipment-carrying structure with FOREIGN PATENTS respect to said support member upon relative movement 10 834,277 5/1960 Great Britainbetween said piston and cylinder; and pressurized fluid a l conduit means communicating with said cylinder for con- CHARLES E' O CONNELL Pr'mary Examine trolling,7 the pressure therein. J. A. LEPPINK, Assistant Examiner.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3504740 *Aug 28, 1967Apr 7, 1970Mobil Oil CorpSubsea satellite foundation unit and method for installing a satellite body within said foundation unit
US3517737 *May 23, 1968Jun 30, 1970Shell Oil CoMarine riser pull-down device
US3603385 *Feb 4, 1969Sep 7, 1971Offshore Systems IncMethod and apparatus for removably coupling a blowout preventer stack to an underwater wellhead casing
US3791442 *Sep 28, 1971Feb 12, 1974Regan Forge & Eng CoCoupling means for a riser string run from a floating vessel to a subsea well
US4095649 *Jan 13, 1977Jun 20, 1978Societe Nationale Elf Aquitaine (Production)Reentry system for subsea well apparatus
US4099560 *Mar 15, 1976Jul 11, 1978Chevron Research CompanyOpen bottom float tension riser
US4541755 *Jun 10, 1983Sep 17, 1985Societe Nationale Elf Aquitaine (Production) Tour AquitaineDevice and process for lowering and connecting the four guide lines to guide posts of an underwater station
WO1987001156A1 *Jul 24, 1986Feb 26, 1987Cbv Ind MecanicaEquipment for installation of modules on fixed underwater bases, specially for undersea petroleum wells
U.S. Classification166/360, 175/10, 248/354.1
International ClassificationE21B33/03, E21B33/035, E21B41/00, E21B41/10, E21B7/12
Cooperative ClassificationE21B33/035, E21B7/122, E21B41/10
European ClassificationE21B33/035, E21B41/10, E21B7/12K
Legal Events
Sep 27, 1982ASAssignment
Effective date: 19820926