US 3412805 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
NOV. 26, 1968 F, N q TAL 3,412,805
FLOW CONTROL VALVE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Aug. 14, 1964 Nov. 26, 1968 Filed Aug. 14, 1964 F. P. GRIBBIN ETAL 3,412,805
FLOW CONTROL VALVE 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 BY E M d. OE/VEV United States Patent O 3,412,805 FLOW CONTROL VALVE Franklin P. Gribbin, 312 Garnsey Ave., Bakersfield, Calif. 93303, and Harold A. Glover, Bakersfield, Calif.; said Glover assignor to said Gribbin. Filed Aug. 14, 1967, Ser. No. 660,489 7 Claims. (Cl. 166-184) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A versatile oil well tool having a flow valve provides for fluid flow into and out of a string of pipe, as well as the capacity to stop fluid flow, and permits either normal or reverse fluid circulation during various types of operations, such as inflating packers, cementing, gravel packing, and the like.
Background of the invention The present invention relates generally to the field of oil well tools, and more especially to a valve structure for insertion in a string of pipe and which may be opened and closed by rotation of the pipe from the surface.
In the course of completing an oil well, there are many different types of operations that may be carried on. For example, it is often necessary to place cement in the bore hole and around the casing in order to shut out water from the production zone. Sometimes, as a temporary measure, it is sufficient to inflate packers outside the casing as a means of shutting off water; but often the packers at this location are merely preliminary to cementing operations.
At times, it is necessary to clean or wash out the bore hole, and this may involve reversing the circulation over a part of the depth of the well, that is, having the upward or return circulation inside the tubing string and then introducing it into the casing and outside the tubing string for the remainder of its travel to the surface. Another operation often required before bringing in production is to pack gravel around a perforated pipe at the bottom of the well or in a production zone, the purpose being to prevent sand and other debris from being carried by the oil into the pipe where it can settle out and eventually plug the pipe and thereby cause loss of production.
These are but typical types of operations involved in completing an oil well, and any or all of them may be used or they may be used in diflerent combinations. In order to carry them out, it is necessary to have complete control over the fluid circulation. This involves not only being able to shut off circulation at a particular point in the well in order to hold pressure on the fluid below the point of shut-oil, but it involves being able to effect either normal or reverse circulation, as may be desired.
If each of these different operations requires a different tool, the series of operations becomes very time consuming and, therefore, costly since it would be necessary to run a series of different tools in the well, one for each different operation. Obviously, much time can be saved and costs greatly reduced by having a tool that is capable of performing in a manner to permit a variety of such operations to be carried on without changing the tool.
Thus, it becomes a general object of the present invention to provide a flow control valve which is designed to afford the operator great flexibility in well operations and to permit a variety ofdiiferent types of operations to be carried out without changing the valve.
Another object of the invention is to provide a flow control valve which is not only versatile in its functions but also is simple in construction and reliable in operation.
3,412,805 Patented Nov. 26, 1968 Summary of the invention These objects have been achieved in a valve embodying the present invention that comprises an outer body which is adapted to be connected to the string of pipe at one side of the valve, an inner sleeve rotatable inside the body and adapted to be connected to a string of pipe at the other side of the body, the body and sleeve each having a port. The ports can be moved into registration or out of registration by relative rotation of the sleeve and body. Means are provided holding the body and sleeve against axial movement, and fluid duct means are provided opening to the interior of the sleeve below the port and opening to the exterior of the string of pipe at a point below the port, whereby circulating fluid can be directed into and out of the string of pipe. Packing means are provided externally of the string of pipe below the port and above the lower end of the duct meansto block fluid flow externally of the pipe string between the port and the duct means. A second packing means may also be provided externally of the string below the lower end of the duct means in order to confine fluid at the point of exit from the string of pipe and build up fluid pressure for various purposes.
Dynamic seals are placed between the sleeve and body around the port therein and also between the sleeve and the duct means, permitting the sleeve to rotate without leakage of fluid at this point. A second pair of ports in the sleeve and duct may also be provided just below the sealing means at the upper end of the duct means, allowing fluid flow to be directed in or out of the pipe at this point also.
Description of the drawing FIGURE 1 is an elevation of a length of casing with expansible packers thereon in a section of bore hole;
FIGURE 2 is a vertical longitudinal section through the casing and pipe therein, as on line 2-2 of FIGURE 1, showing the flow control valve in longitudinal median section;
FIGURE 3 is a view similar to FIGURE 2 of a variational embodiment of the invention;
FIGURE 4 is a transverse section through the pipe and casing on line 44 of FIGURE 2 or 3;
FIGURE 5 is a transverse section through the flow control valve on line 55 of FIGURE 2 showing the ports in registration and open;
FIGURE 6 is a view similar to FIGURE 5 showing the valve closed with the ports out of registration; and
FIGURE 7 is a transverse section through the valve and the port collar in the surrounding casing, taken on line 77 of FIGURE 3.
Description of a preferred embodiment Referring now to the drawing, there is shown in FIG- URE l a bore hole 10 in which is positioned the string of casing 11 which carries one or more expansible packers 12 externally of the casing. These packers, as will become apparent, are expandable into contact with the wall of bore hole 10 in order to prevent circulation of fluid outside of the casing. Also contained in the string of casing 11 are port collars 14 which are located above and below packers 12 and more or less closely adjacent to them.
As shown in FIGURE 2, there is inside casing 11 a string of pipe or tubing indicated generally at 16. Included in this string of pipe is a flow control valve indicated generally at 18.
Valve 18 is comprised of an outer body member 20 which is hollow and which is adapted at its lower end for a threaded connection to tubular member 21 which may be considered as a part of the string of pipe but, as will be explained later, also functions as an extension of body 20. Inside body is a tubular valve sleeve 23 which is adapted at its upper end for threaded connection to the string of pipe above it.
At its lower end, sleeve 23 has an enlarged diameter section 24 which provides an upwardly facing shoulder engageable with a corresponding downwardly facing shoulder on body 20, thus permitting an upward pull to be transmitted from the sleeve to the body. The sleeve is held within body member 20 in assembled position by a lock ring 25, which is preferably threaded for connection to the body member. The opposing shoulders and the lock ring hold the body and sleeve of the valve against relative axial movement.
As shown in FIGURES 2 and 5, body 20 has a port 26 extending through a side wall and sleeve 23 has a similar port 27. When these two ports are in registration as shown in FIGURE 2, the interior of valve 18, and more specifically the interior of sleeve 23, is placed in communication through the aligned ports with the exterior of pipe 16. A second pair of ports 29 and 30 in the valve sleeve and body, respectively, are located below the first pair of ports and, likewise, when in registration, place the interior of sleeve 23 in communication through the aligned ports with the exterior of pipe 16. As will become apparent from later description, the first pair of ports 26 and 27 are in registration with each other at the same time that ports 29 and 30 are in mutual registration.
In order to bring the areas of cooperating ports into and out of registration, sleeve 23 is relatively rotatable in body 20. Rotation of the sleeve is effected by turning the string of pipe 16 above the valve, such turning of the pipe string being accomplished at the ground surface by means which are well known. Resistance to turning the body is afforded by packer 31 which is an expansible resilient member fastened exteriorly of the string of pipe in any suitable manner and which bears outwardly against the inner face of casing 11. The frictional engagement of the packer with the casing restrains the body from turning and allows sleeve 23 to be angularly moved with respect to the body.
In order to limit the angular movement of the sleeve and body relative to each other, stop 33 is mounted on the outside of the sleeve at a position where it extends into recess or slot 34 cut in the upper end of the valve body, as shown in FIGURES 2 and 4. The opposite ends of slot 34 provide a pair of opposing shoulders which are engaged by limit stop 33. Thus, when stop 33 is at one end of slot 34, as shown in FIGURES 2 and 4, the cooperating pairs of ports are in registration, and the interior of the sleeve is in communication with the exterior of the pipe string. By rotating the sleeve approximately one-half revolution clockwise, viewed from above, stop 33 is moved to the dotted line position in FIGURE 4, and the ports are then out of registration, thereby shutting ofi fluid flow between the interior and exterior of the pipe string. The ports in registration appear as shown in FIG- URE 5; and when the sleeve is rotated to the position last described, the ports appear as in FIGURE 6.
In order to prevent leakage of fluid from the interior of the pipe string under pressure, sealing means are provided at various locations. Such sealing means are generally dynamic seals which permit the angular movement of the sleeve as just described. One sealing means is that shown in FIGURE 2 at 36 and comprises a relatively wide sealing band which surrounds sleeve 23 at the location of port 27, port 27 opening through seal 36 so that the port is surrounded completely by the sealing means. In addition, other sealing means, such as O-rings 37, may be located above the port, both sealing means 36 and 37 being between the sleeve and the body around the sleeve.
Similar sealing means are provided around port 29 in the sleeve as indicated at 38. Again, the sealing means 38 may be supplemented by O-ring 39 or other suitable sealing means located in the enlarged diameter head 24 of the sleeve.
While either pairs of ports described above provide one path for fluid flow between the interior and the exterior of the pipe string under the control of valve 18, a second path for fluid flow between the interior and the exterior is provided by fluid duct means indicated generally at 40. This includes a hollow tubular member 41 which is open at its upper end to the interior of sleeve 23. Tube 41 is smaller in diameter than the interior of the sleeve and is annularly spaced from the sleeve except at its upper end where the end of the tube is provided with fluid sealing means 42. Typically, such sealing means comprises a metal ring mounted on the end of tube 41 carrying one or more sealing rings 43 which provide a dynamic fluid seal between the tube and the interior of the sleeve.
At its lower end, tube 41 is fastened to boss 44 on the inside of body extension 21. The boss contains an angular passage 45 which communicates with the end of tube 41 and opens at the side of the pipe string to the exterior thereof. It will be noted that passage 45 opens to the exterior of the pipe string below packer 31 so that packer 31 is in a position to block fluid flow between the lower end 45 of the duct means 40 and either of ports or 26 in the body above packer 31.
Usually, the tool is provided with a second packing means outside the pipe string 16, such packing means taking the form of a second resilient cup 48 mounted on the exterior of the pipe string. Like cup 31, fluid pressure on the inside of the cup forces it outwardly against the interior surface of the casing to block fluid flow past the cup. Cup 48 being located below duct means 40, it will be apparent that the passage 45 opens to the space between the two packers or sealing means 31 or 48 so that fluid under pressure issuing from duct means at passage maintains a fluid pressure between and upon both of the resilient packing cups.
As an example of one use of the present tool, there is shown in FIGURE 2 one of the inflatable packers 12 mounted on the outside of casing 11. Between the ends of the inflatable packer, casing 11 is provided with one or more ports 50 at each of which is a check valve indicated diagrammatically at 51, as this value may be of any suitable construction. This arrangement permits fluid under pressure to be pumped down the interior of pipe string 16 and with port 26 closed to be discharged through passage 45 into the space between packers 31 and 48. The fluid under pressure then passes through casing ports 50 to fill and expand packer 12 into contact with the sides of bore hole 10. The fluid under pressure is retained within the inflatable packer by check valves 51. It will be realized that for this purpose, pipe string 16 is lowered into the casing to position ports 50 between the two cups 31 and 48. Inflating packers on the casing in this manner is one of the uses to which the valve 18 can be put; and in order to carry out this operation, sleeve 23 is rotated to close the valve ports, particularly, the port 26.
Description of variational form There is shown in FIGURE 3 a variational embodiment of the present invention which is the same in all respects as the embodiment described in connection with FIGURE 2 except that ports 26 and 27 above the upper end of duct means 40 have been omitted. Also, the ports 29 and 30 have been duplicated in the sleeve and surrounding body, respectively; but the duplicate ports do not change the structure of the valve in any respect since they are all below sealing means 42 at the upper end of the central duct.
Uses of the tool At least some uses of the flow control valve of the present invention are in conjunction with port collars in the casing. While port collars are well known in the art, the construction of one type of collar has been illustrated in some detail in FIGURES 2 and 3 in order to provide a better understanding of the invention.
Briefly, a port collar 14 includes a short section 55 in the casing which is provided with one or more ports 56, as shown in FIGURE 3, particularly. Rotatably mounted inside the casing is a valve sleeve 27 which is also provided with ports 58 equal in number to ports 56 and which, by rotation of the sleeve 57, can be brought into registration with ports 56 as shown in FIGURE 3 or moved out of registration in order to close the ports tin the casing.
Rotation of sleeve 57 is effected by the present tool by means illustrated in FIGURE 7. The interior surface of sleeve 57 is provided with two longitudinally extending grooves or recesses 59, preferably at diametrically opposed positions. Also at diametrically opposed positions, body extension 21 of the valve is provided with a pair of spring-urged shoes 60 which have tapered upper and lower ends and are adapted to enter the grooves 59. Thus, when the shoes 60 are at the same level in the casing as slots 59, the shoes upon rotational movement of the pipe string enter the slots and move the sleeve angularly with respect to the casing in order to open and close ports 56. The shoes are disengaged from the slots by raising or lowering the pipe stem inside the casing.
How the present tool can be used for gravel packing in conjunction with the port collar is illustrated in FIGURE 3. Port collar 14 of that figure may be assumed to be the lowermost port collar shown in the string of pipe in FIGURE 1. The tool is located within the casing so that the passage 45 representing the outlet of duct means 40 is at or slightly above port 56 in the collar, this port having been previously opened by the tool in the manner just described. In this position, the packing cups 31 and 48 are located one above and one below the opening 56 in the port collar.
If circulation is now established from the ground surface, gravel carried thereby passes downwardly through pipe string 16 and duct means 40 to be discharged from the pipe string at passage 45. Although some of the gravel will be retained inside the casing above cup 48, in general, it is carried by circulation out of the casing through ports 56 into the open bore hole in which the gravel settles downwardly, it being carried down both by the force of gravity and by the circulation of fluid.
The bed of gravel being porous, fluid permeates the body of gravel around the casing and enters the string of pipe 16 at the open lower end (not shown), as is the usual practice and will be understood by those familiar with the art. Fuid then rises in tubing string 16 passing upwardly within body extension 21, as indicated by arrows 65. The fluid flows upwardly around inner tube 41 and leaves the interior of pipe string 16 through the open ports 30 to enter the annular space between pipe 16 and casing 11 through which the fluid then flows back to the surface of the ground.
It will be seen that for a gravel-packing operation, the valve 18 requires only the lower port 30 and the upper port 26 is omitted. This is because both ports are opened and closed simultaneously; but if means are provided for opening the upper and lower ports selectively, then, the tool would operate as described with the upper port 26 closed by sleeve valve 23.
Either embodiment of the tool may be used to inflate an expansible packer 12 by internally pressurizing the packer in the manner already described. When two packers 12 are spaced apart, cement can be placed between the packers using this tool by discharging the cement through the pipe string 16 and passage 45 and thence outwardly through an open port collar into the annular space in the well bore between the two packers.
It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various other uses of the tool may be made and also that the tool may be modified in its details in order to adapt it to specific uses without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. Accordingly, it is to be understood that the above description is considered to be illustrative of, rather than limitative upon, the invention as defined by the appended claims.
1. A flow control valve adapted for inclusion in a string of pipe in a bore hole, comprising:
an outer body adapted to connect with the string of pipe at one side of the valve and having a port in the wall;
an inner sleeve rotatable inside the body and adapted to connect with the string of pipe at the other side of the body, the sleeve having a port movable into and out of registration with the body port;
means holding the body and sleeve against relative axial movement;
fluid duct means opening to the interior of the sleeve below the port therein and to the exterior of the string of pipe below the port;
and packing means externally of the string of pipe below the port and above the lower end of the duct means to block fluid flow externally of the pipe string between the port and the duct means.
2. A flow control valve as claimed in claim 1 that also comprises a second packing means externally of the string of pipe below the lower end of the duct means.
3. A flow control valve as claimed in claim 1 that also includes:
dynamic fluid sealing means between the sleeve and body around the port therein; and
dynamic fluid sealing means between the sleeve and the duct means, whereby the sleeve can move angularly with respect to both the body and the duct means without leaking fluid past the sleeve.
4. A flow control valve as in claim 3 which also includes means limiting the relative angular movement of the body and sleeve.
5. A flow control valve as claimed in claim 1 in which both the body and the sleeve each have a second port movable into and out of mutual registration simultaneously with corresponding movement of the first-mentioned ports.
6. A flow control valve as claimed in claim 5 that also includes:
a second packing means externally of the string of pipe below the lower end of the duct means;
dynamic sealing means between the sleeve and the body and dynamic sealing means between the sleeve and the duct means whereby the sleeve and body can turn .angularly relative to each other without causing fluid leakage;
and stop means limiting said relative angular movement in one direction to a position in which ports in the body are in registration with ports in the sleeve.
7. A flow control valve as claimed in claim 5 in which the duct means opens to the sleeve interior at a point between the first-mcntioned port and second-mentioned port in the sleeve;
and which includes means between the ports blocking flow within the sleeve.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,796,937 6/1957 Haines et al 166147 2,847,073 8/1958 Arterbury et al. 166147 JAMES A. LEPPINK, Primary Examiner.