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Publication numberUS3347567 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 17, 1967
Filing dateNov 29, 1963
Priority dateNov 29, 1963
Publication numberUS 3347567 A, US 3347567A, US-A-3347567, US3347567 A, US3347567A
InventorsWatkins Bruce J
Original AssigneeRegan Forge & Eng Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Double tapered guidance apparatus
US 3347567 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Oct. 17, 1967 Filed Nov. 29, 1963 B. J. WATKINS DOUBLE TAPERED GUIDANCE APPARATUS INVENTOR.

WM W

United States Patent 3,347,567 DOUBLE TAPERED GUIDANCE APPARATUS Bruce J. Watkins, Palos Verdes Estates, Califi, assignor to Regan Forge & Engineering Co., San Pedro, Calif., a corporation of California Filed Nov. 29, 1963, Ser. No. 326,738 7 Claims. (Cl. 2285-24) This invention relates in general to a method and apparatus for interconnecting a pair of conductors or conduits in a subsea environment remotely of a floating vessel or platform from which at least one of the conductors of conduits is run. More particularly, the invention in its preferred form relates to a method and apparatus for guiding and aligning a subsea well landing tool or bonnet onto a subsea conductor pipe head or the like where the landing tool is suspended from a conductor run from the .vessel or platform and may approach the conductor pipe head in a tilted or vertically misaligned manner.

In subsea oil well drilling, completion, re-entry and production operations, it is necessary repeatedly to engage, connect and seal two conductors or conduits together at a location beneath the sea remote from the floating platform or vessel from which the operations are conducted. In many such operations, it is necessary to connect both large and small diameter concentric tubular members simultaneously. Such connections are frequently required when landing a production or drilling bonnet on a well head where the well head includes a casing or tubing hanger suspended in and extending upwardly of the well head casing cemented into the well. Particularly in subsea oil well drilling, the connections of casings beneath the sea requires fluid-tight seals to maintain well pressures, retain well and hydrolic fluids and keep high pressure sea water out of the well and casings. The preservation and protection of sealing means between the casings on coupling and uncoupling beneath the sea beyond the working depth of divers is of prime consideration. Also, it is believed that whether such multidiameter coupling members are assembled on board a rolling or pitching floating vessel or beneath the sea remote from the vessel, an improved means of guiding and aligning the couplings together prior to their complete connection is required.

It is the principal object of this invention, therefore, to disclose and provide a method and apparatus for use with casing couplings, landing tools or drilling of production bonnets for prealigning multi-diameter concentric casings and tubings prior to their complete connection to align internal sealing means and cooperating sealing surfaces prior to the sealing abutment thereto on complete connection of the couplings or the like.

It is another object of this invention to disclose and provide a landing tool or coupling particularly adapted for use in landing marine conductor pipes or casings run from a floating vessel onto a stationary subsea conductor pipe head including two concentrically mounted vertically spaced casing heads.

It is a further object of this invention to disclose and provide a method and apparatus for use in connecting a movable coupling member onto a stationary, remotely located casing member to effect an axial prealignrnent of said members prior to their complete coupling together.

It is still another object of this invention to disclose and provide a method and apparatus for remotely engaging, aligning and connecting a pair of easing means, each including both large and small concentric diameter mem bers, together in a simple, easily accomplished manner without the need for additional, auxiliary guides or prealignment means other than the coupling portions of the casing means themselves.

3,347,567 Patented Oct. 17, 1967 Generaly stated, the method of the present invention comprises the provision of at least two vertically spaced, concentric abutment surfaces on a first male coupling member, as on a stationary subsea oil well head. A pair of axially spaced, concentric and generally annular guidance surfaces are provided within a second female coupling member, as on an oil well drilling bonnet or well head landing tool. The second coupling is then moved into engagement with the first coupling, as by running a drilling bonnet on the lower end of a marine conductor to a well head. On'engagement of the first and second coupling members, prior to a complete connection where internal sealing means are operative, the couplings are prealigned by at least a double or dual surface engagement between axially spaced abutment surfaces of the first coupling member and the two axially spaced, concentric generally annular guidance surfaces within the second coupling member. In accordance with the present method, such double axially spaced abutment or aligning engagement occurs concurrently to axially prealign said coupling members prior to their complete assembly or connection. On such prealignrnent, in which any sealing means between mating coupling surfaces are also aligned, the coupling members are thereafter moved axially relative to each other and stopped at a completely connected position by a pair of abutment or stop means intermediate of the aforementioned guidance surfaces.

A further understanding of the method and apparatus of the present invention may be obtained by a consideration of the following detailed description of an exemplary embodiment of the double tapered guidance apparatus employing the method of the present invention. Reference will be made to the accompanying sheet of drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a vertical section view of an exemplary well head latch mechanism and associated landing tool apparatus employing the method and apparatus of the present invention shown partly engaging but misaligned over a well head;

FIG. 2 is a vertical section view of the apparatus of FIG. 1 with the landing tool apparatus pivoted into generally aligned relation to and over the well head prior to complete connection;

FIG. 3 is a vertical section View of the apparatus of FIGS. 1 and 2 shown in axially prealigned relation prior to complete connection to the well head; and

FIG. 4 is a vertical section view of the apparatus of FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 completely connected to the Well head.

Referring to the drawings, an exemplary embodiment of the double tapered guidance apparatus, in accordance with the present invention, is shown and will now be explained in detail. A marine conductor 10, having a flange 11, is shown bolted to a marine conductor adapter flange 12 by bolts 13. Adapter flange 12 is shown bolted by bolts 14 to an exemplary form of well head latch indicated generally at 15. The exemplary well head latch indicated generally at 15 includes a lower body portion 16 and an upper body portion 17. A plurality of vertically positioned preferably hydraulically operated latch mechanisms 18 are mounted on the upper body portion 17, each such mechanism being adapted to selectively operate a camming block 19 against a dog 20 through a push rod 21 as shown in FIG. 1.

Sealing means 22 are provided within the bore 23 of upper body portion 17 with a retaining ring 24 provided between the sealing means 22 and adapted flange 12. Additional sealing means 25 are provided between the seal retaining ring 24 and the adapted flange 25 as shown in FIG. 1.

An exemplary double tapered landing tool in accord ance with the present invention is indicated generally at 30 and, in the exemplary embodiment, comprises a cylindrical bonnet. or coupling member 31.

A conductor pipe 40, may be cemented into a well, as the conductor pipe 17 in my co-pending application Ser. No. 326,917 filed Nov. 29, 1963 entitled Subsea Well Control Tube Methods and Apparatus. A second, smaller diameter casing extends concentrically and upwardly of the casing 40. In the exemplary embodiment a casing head or hanger 41 is mounted concentrically within the conductor 40 to suspend the casing or tubing 42 down within conductor 40 to the well. The casing head or hanger 41 shown is of the flow through type with a passage at 43 provided'between the casing and conductor walls which communicates with the well.

It should be understood that the description of apparatus thus far is exemplary only of one of many instances wherein it is desired to land a marine conductor on a stationary subsea conductor pipe head from a remote floating vessel or platform where the conductor pipe head includes a first conductor pipe, as conductor pipe 40, with a second conductor pipeor casing, as casing 41, concentric to and extending upwardly above the first conductor In accordance with the present invention, the landing tool, indicated generally at 30, is provided with a first and second conical guidance surface to engage, align and guide the landing tool and associated well head latch and conductor pipe apparatus down onto the exemplary conductor pipe including the conductors or casings 40 and 41. The landing tool in the exemplary embodiment includesv a generally cylindrical body portion 31 which is provided with a two-stage inner bore including bore portion 32 adapted to slidably fit over the large diameter exterior surface 44 of conductor pipe 40 and a smaller bore portion .33 adapted to slidably fit over the reduced diameter or head portion 45 of the conductor pipe 40. An annular landing means or surface 34 is providedon the interior of the generally cylindrical body portion between bore portions 32 and 33 and isadapted to seat upon the circular landing ledge 35 provided on the conductorpipe 40 between portions 44 and 45.

The lower bore portion 26 of the well head latch, indicated generally at 15, is adapted to slide over and fit upon the larger diameter area 46 of the inner conductor or casing 41 and the smaller bore portion 23 of the well head latch is adapted to slide upon and. fit about the smaller diameter area 47 of the upper or head portion of the casing or inner conductor 41. Also, an annular landing means or surface 27 is provided in the interior of. the well head latch indicated generally at 15 between the bore portions 23 and 26 to land upon the circular landing ledge or stop 48 on the inner conductor or casing 41 between thelarge diameter area 46 and the small diameter area 47. Therefore, to completely land the conductor and its associated well head latch, indicated generally at 15, on the well head, including the conductor pipe 40 and inner conductor or casing 41, in the exemplary embodiment, the landing means or surfaces 27 and .34 must rest upon the ledge or stop surfaces 48 and 35 respectively, as shown in FIG. 3.

A first guidance surface 50 is provided on the lower end of the body portion31. Surface 50 extends downwardly and outwardly of the body portion 31 to provide a downwardly facing concave guidancesurface to suc cessively receive and guide the two conductor casings or concentric casings 40 and 41. A second tapered guidance surface 51 is provided at the upper end of body portion 31. Surface 51 extends upwardly and inwardly of the body portion 31 providing an inner downwardly facing concave guidance surface spaced vertically from and above the first guidance surface 50.: In the exemplary embodiment surface 51 is provided by a threaded collar 52 mounted to the body 31 but may be made integral therewith as surface 50 is shown.

In accordance with the present invention, the first and second guidance surfaces 50 and 51 associated, with the body portion of the landing tool, or female coupling member as indicated generally at 30,. are vertically spaced from each other the same distance that the second or.

50 may engage and guide the cylindrical abutment surface 60 on the upper end of the inner casing or conductor pipe 41 and direct it within the bore portion 32 of the body 31. On further downward landing movement of the landing tool or female coupling member onto the male coupling members 40, 41, the first abutment surface 60 may engage and be directed by the second or upper guidance surface 51 as shown in FIG. 1. On pivoting of the coupling member on the casing head, the second or lower cylindrical abutment surface 61 on the outer conductor pipe 40 may be pivoted into the lower or outer guidance surface 50 on further assembly movement thereof into an axially prealigned position as shown in FIG. 2.

In the exemplary embodiment described, the contact between the coupling or landing tool and the casing heads prior to pivoting of the coupling to the position of FIG. 2 occurs between the abutment surface 60 surface 51. It is also possible in landing the coupling or tool on the casing heads that such contact may occur between the abutment surface61 and guidance surface 50 prior to the pivoting movement of the coupling to the aligned position of FIG. 2. In either instance, however,

there is an initial contact between either the abutment 60 I and surface 51 or between abutment 61 and surfac 50 and a subsequent pivoting movement of the coupling to bring surfaces 50 and 51 into contact with abutments 61 and 60, respectively, concurrently, if but for only a very short duration. Because of the relatively loose fit between the coupling member and casing heads in the double guidance contact position of FIG. 2, the coupling may be easily moved into the loose fitting, generally axially aligned position to the casing heads 40 and 41,.as shown in FIG. 3.

It shouldbe noted thatthe fit of each of the bore portions 23, 26, 33 and 32 over and about the casing head outer surface portions 47, 46, 45 and 44, respectively, are snug fits on complete assembly of the coupling member or landing tool, indicated generally at 30,0n the casing head portions 40 and 41, at the axial prealignment.

position of FIG. 4. The fit between bore surfaces 26,33 and 32 and casing head outer surface portions 47, 46 and 45 shown in FIG. 3, are loose fits allowing an easy prealignment or preassembly of the apparatus parts at a remote subsea location whenoperating from a floating and possibly rolling or pitching vessel. The axial alignment of the apparatus in. accordance with the present invention is thereby effected prior to the mating of any close tolerance sealing surfaces.

The. provision of the two vertically spaced guidance surfaces 50 and 51 thus allows the engagement and axial alignment of the two vertically spaced cylindrical abutment surfaces 60 and 61, causing the landing tool 30 and associated well head latch and conductor pipe of the exemplary embodiment to become vertically aligned over and guidance 22 and'particularly the seal means 49 on the interior of the exemplary landing tool body 31.

Having thus described an exemplary embodiment of the double tapered guidance method and apparatus in accordance with the present invention, what I wish to claim as new and secure by Letters Patent is defined and limited only by the following claims.

I claim:

1. Apparatus for use in pre-aligning a well head latch means mounted at the lower end of a conductor pipe lowered from a floating vessel to a subsea well head remote from said vessel prior to the complete landing of said latch means on said well head, said apparatus comprising:

a first casing at a subsea well head including a first upwardly facing annular abutment surface at an upper end thereof;

second casing at said well head mounted concentrically within and extending upwardly of said first casing including a second upwardly facing annular abutment surface at an upper end thereof, said first and second casings being mounted against relative axial movement therebetween,

a multi-diameter bore body provided in a well head latch means including a first internal bore portion to receive said first casing and a second upper inner bore portion to receive said second casing when said latch means body is completely landed upon said well head casings;

a first internal guidance surface means on a lower end of said first internal bore portion for guiding said first and second casings into said first internal bore portion by abutment therewith of said casing abutment surfaces;

a second internal guidance surface means between said first and second bore portions for guiding said second casing into said second bore by abutment therewith of said second abutment surface;

said first and second internal guidance surface means being vertically spaced apart within said body a distance substantially equal to the vertical spacing of said first and second casing abutment surfaces prior to assembly thereof whereby said first and second guidance surfaces abut said first and second abutment surfaces respectively and concurrently to pre-align said latch means body to said first and second casings prior to complete landing of said latch means body on said well head casings; and

means for landin said latch means body on said well head casing.

2. An apparatus for use in guiding a well head latch means mounted at the lower end of a conductor pipe run from a floating vessel onto a subsea well head characterized by a pre-alignment of the latch means to the well head through a double surface engagement between axially spaced concentric abutment and guidance surfaces prior to the complete landing of the latch means on the well head, said apparatus comprising:

a first casing at a subsea well head with an upwardly facing annular abutment surface at an upper end thereof;

second casing and mounting means for mounting said second casing concentrically within said first casing to extend vertically upwardly thereof, said first and second casings being mounted against relative axial movement therebetween and said second casing having an upwardly facing annular abutment surface at an upper end thereof vertically spaced from and concentric to said first casing abutment surface;

a multi-diameter bore body of a well head latch means for landing on said first and second casings including an upper body portion to receive said second casing and a lower body portion to receive said first casing,

at least one annular landing surface within said body and at least one circular landing ledge on said second casings to completely land said body on said casings with said first and second casings received within said lower and upper body portions respectively;

5 first internal guidance surface means on a lower end of said lower body portion for guiding said first and second casings into said lower body portion;

said guidance surface means including a downwardly facing concave surface depending from said lower body portion; and

a second internal guidance surface means between said lower and upper body portions for guiding said second casing into said upper body portion,

whereby said latch means body is guided onto and vertically pre-aligned to said first and second concentric casings prior to complete landing of said latch means on said casings.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein:

said first and second internal guidance surface means are concentric to each other and are vertically spaced apart a distance substantially equal to the vertical spacing of said abutment surfaces on said first and second casings whereby a concurrent double surface engagement is effected between said first and second casing abutment surfaces and said first and second guidance surfaces respectively to pre-align said latch means about said casings prior to the complete landing of said latch means on said casings.

4. A double tapered guidance apparatus for use in landing a marine conductor pipe on a stationary subsea well conductor pipe head from a remote floating vessel comprising:

inner and outer concentric casing means on a subsea well conductor pipe head providing a pair of axially spaced concentric annular abutment surfaces, said inner and outer casing means being mounted against relative axial movement therebetween; and

a landing tool on a lower end of a marine conductor pipe to land about said casing means including a pair of axially spaced concentric tapered guidance surfaces to abut said abutment surfaces and guide said tool onto said casing means,

said tool guidance surfaces being axially spaced apart a distance substantially equal to the axial spacing of said abutment surfaces so that said pair of guidance surfaces concurrently abut said pair of abutment surfaces, respectively, to axially pre-align said tool to said casing means by a dual surface engagement prior to complete landing of said tool upon said casing means; and

means for landing said tool on said casing means.

5. A double tapered guidance apparatus for use in landing a marine conductor pipe on a stationary subsea well conductor pipe head from a remote floating vessel in combination with a well conductor pipe head including inner and outer concentric conductor pipe means mounted against axial movement therebetween and providing a pair of axially spaced concentric annular abutment surfaces, said apparatus comprising:

a generally cylindrical body portion including an inner bore to receive concentric conductor pipe means on a subsea well conductor pipe head;

a first tapered guidance surface on a lower end of said body portion providing a downwardly facing concave guidance surface to successively abut a pair of axially spaced concentric annular abutment surfaces;

a second tapered guidance surface at an upper inner end of said body portion providing an inner downwardly directed concave guidance surface opening to said inner bore to abut an upper abutment surface of said pair of said abutment surfaces;

wherein said first and second guidance surfaces are axially spaced on said body portion a distance substantially equal to the axial spacing of said abutment surfaces so that said first and second guidance surfaces concurrently abut said pair of abutment surfaces, respectively, to axially align said body portion to said conductor pipe means; and

means for landing said body portion on said conductor pipe means.

6. A double tapered guidance apparatus for use in landing a marine conductor pipe on a stationary subsea well conductor pipe head from a remote floating vessel.

comprising:

first coupling means on a subsea well conductor pipe second coupling means on a lower end of a marine conductor pipe to be landed on the well head from a remote floating vessel including a pair of axially spaced concentric tapered guidance surfaces to abut said pair of abutment surfaces;

said guidance surfaces being axially spaced substantially the same distance apart as the distance said inner casing member extends upwardly of said outer casing member so that said guidance surfaces abut said abutment surfaces concurrently prior to complete landing of said second coupling means on said first coupling means; and

means for landing said second coupling means on said first coupling means.

7. Apparatus for use in pre-aligning a well head latch means mounted at the lower end of a conductor pipe lowered from a floating vessel to a subsea well head remote from said vessel prior to the complete landing of said latch means on said well head, said apparatus comprisa first casing at a subsea well head including a first upwardly facing annular abutment surface at an upper end thereof;

a second casing at said well head mounted concentrically within and extending upwardly of said first casing including a second upwardly facing annular abutment surface at an upper end thereof, said first and second casings being provided with larger and smaller diameter casing portions separated by an annular landing ledge;

a multi-diameter bore body provided in a well head latch means including a first internal bore portion to receive said first casing and a second upper inner bore portion parts separated by a tapered annular.

landing surface; a first internal guidance surface means on a lower end of said first internal bore portion for guiding said first and second casings into said first internal bore portion by abutment therewith of said casing abutment surfaces; and

a second internal guidance surface means between said first and second bore portions for guiding said second easing into said second bore by abutment therewith of said second abutment surface;

said first and second internal guidance surface means being vertically spaced apart within said body a dis tance generally equal to the vertical spacing of said first and second casing abutment surfaces whereby said first and second guidance surfaces abut said first and second abutment surfaces respectively to prealign said latch means body to said first and second casings prior to complete landing of said latch means body on said Well head casings, said landing ledges abutting said landing surfaces and said larger and smaller diameter casing portions mating to said larger and smaller bore portion partson complete landing of said latch means body on said casings.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 895,750 8/1908 Harms et al. 285-133 1,070,885 8/1913 Gentile 285-29 1,256,778 2/1918 Dick 285-106 2,604,338 7/1952 Kelly 285-29 2,906,500 9/1959 Knapp 166-46 2,962,096 11/1960 Knox 285-18 2,965,174 12/1960 Haeber 166-46 3,023,012 2/1962 Wilde 175-7 3,028,915 4/1962 Jennings 166-46 3,032,125 5/1962 Hiser 175-7 3,079,179 2/ 1963 Niemoth 285-133 3,142,337 7/ 1964 Poormau.

FOREIGN PATENTS 934,216 8/ 1963 Great Britain.

CARL W TOMLIN, Primary Examiner. R. GIANGIORGI, D. W. AROLA, Assistant Examiners.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification285/24, 166/341, 285/85, 285/112, 285/124.1
International ClassificationE21B33/038, E21B33/03
Cooperative ClassificationE21B33/038
European ClassificationE21B33/038
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 15, 1982ASAssignment
Owner name: HUGHES TOOL COMPANY
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:REGAN OFFSHORE INTERNATIONAL,INC.;REEL/FRAME:003957/0735
Effective date: 19820211