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Publication numberUS3414061 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 3, 1968
Filing dateMar 6, 1967
Priority dateMar 6, 1967
Publication numberUS 3414061 A, US 3414061A, US-A-3414061, US3414061 A, US3414061A
InventorsNutter Benjamin P
Original AssigneeSchlumberger Technology Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Full-opening well tool
US 3414061 A
Abstract  available in
Images(8)
Previous page
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Dec. 3, 1968 P. NUTTER FULL-OPENING WELL TOOL 8 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed March 6, 1967 9/70/7707 Waffer INVENTOR.

Dec. 3, 1968 B. P. NUTTER FULL-OPENING WELL TOOL 8 Sheets-Sheet 2 F v, e. 5 HM m w A Po fl Filed March 6, 1967 Dec. 3, 1968 Filed March 6, 1967 B. P. NUTTER 3,414,061

FULL-OPENING WELL TOOL 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR.

Dec. 3, 1968 B. P. NUTTER FULL-OPENING WELL TOOL 8 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed March 6 JNVEN'TOR.

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AIIO/Fg Dec. 3, 1968 Filed March 6 8 Sheets-Sheet 7 .V W. #w T 0N Q mm w 9 0,} m j Y W 0/ B 6 a 34 0/ Z a x: Z w

Dec. 3, 1968 B. P. NUTTER 3,414,061

FULL OPENING WELL TOOL Filed March 6, 1957 a shets-sheet'e fi f0 F 1-7 a -vw H' y JJ l' 145 1 5 4; flew/am? 44/ lfer INVENTORY ZKdOM Q.

JTTORN United States Patent 3,414,061 FULL-OPENING WELL TOOL Benjamin P. Nutter, Houston, Tex., assignor to Schlumberger Technology Corporation, Houston, Tex., a corporation of Texas Filed Mar. 6, 1967, Ser. No. 620,841 24 Claims. (Cl. 166-226) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE This disclosure pertains to full-bore well tools and particularly describes a tool having a so-called ball valve controlling communication therethrough. To actuate the ball valve, an actuating member connected thereto is associated with suitable biasing means normally engaged in compression between first and second opposed shoulders on the actuating member and tool housing to hold the valve in one position. When the tool mandrel is moved to operate the ball valve, the actuating member is moved in such a manner that the biasing means are disengaged from between the first and second shoulders and then brought into engagement with third and fourth shoulders so arranged that further movement of the mandrel will develop an increased biasing force suflicient to move the valve to its other position. Means are also disclosed for releasably securing the valve in its other position while the mandrel is moved to the further positions. Means are also described whereby testing devices can be releasably secured in the tool and selectively released upon opening of the ball valve.

Accordingly, as will subsequently become apparent, the present invention relates to well tools; and, more particularly, pertains to well tools capable of reliably performing testing or treating operations as well as being selectively operable to provide an unrestricted central passage therethrough.

It is customary to dependently couple a number of different full-bore tools from a tubing string for performing such operations as testing a formation under flowing or static conditions, squeeze cementing, acidizing or fluidfracturing. Such a string of full-bore tools usually includes a full-bore packer for packing-off the well bore to remove the hydrostatic pressure of the well control fluid from the formations below where the packer is set. In a number of these operations, it is preferred that the lower end of the tubing string be initially closed above the packer to prevent fluids in the well bore from entering the tubing string as the tools are being positioned. Thus, by keeping the tubing string dry, it will be unnecessary to remove fluids from the tubing by swabbing or gas displacement before testing or completion operations can be started. Moreover, by selectively closing the lower end of the tubing string, treating fluids can be placed in the tubing string and selectively discharged below the packer without being contaminated by fluids in the well as the tools are being shifted from one position to another.

In addition to selectively controlling fluid communication, it is particularly desirable to have a tool so versatile that it can also be opened to leave an unrestricted axial passage large enough to pass various completion tools as well as high flow rates of cement or fracturing fluids. Although various tools having a full-opening passage have been used heretofore, such tools normally employ either a removable center section or else a flapper or ball valve that must be opened against the full differential pressure across the tool. In addition to being more complex, tools with removable center sections require special retrieving equipment and these center sections must be replaced to reclose the central passage. On the other hand, although those tools using pivoted flapper valves are less complex and can be reclosed when desired, it is not uncommon that these valves are damaged when opened against differential pressures.

Ball valves are generally preferred over flapper valves since a flapper valve can not be fully seated should debris or the like become lodged on the valve seat while the flapper is open. A ball valve is not subject to this hazard, however, since the ball member is always seated and is merely rotated on its seat between its open and closed positions.

Heretofore, ball valves have not been too reliable because of the difliculties in opening and closing them without damaging either the ball member or its pivots. For example, it will be recognized that to open a ball valve, suflicient force must be applied to the ball member to rotate it against the frictional forces between it and its seat that are imposed by pressure differentials across the valve. Space limitations in a well tool necessarily reduce the size of the pivots for a ball member so that a substantial pressure differential across the ball member can require so much force to rotate the ball member to its open position that the pivots might fail. On the other hand, even though the tool is so arranged that the pressure differential across the valve will be reduced or equalized as it opens, a spring or the like still must be employed to provide a rotational force. Even though such springs are much weaker than they would have to be to rotate the ball member against a pressure differential, they still impose a positive force tending to open the ball member even while the valve is closed. Thus, unless additional precautions are taken, a shock on the tool as it moves through a well bore may well open the ball member prematurely. To counteract this latter problem, additional springs are usually employed to hold the ball member closed until the valve is to be opened. Such measures, however, only result in longer tools and require careful selection of the springs to maintain a proper balance.

It is also necessary at times to secure a ball member in its open position. Typically this requires that the mandrel of the tool be immobilized to hold the ball valve open. Thus, unless special arrangements are made to allow for the immobility of the mandrel, the mandrel can not be moved to perform other operations so long as the ball member is locked open.

Accordingly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved well too] having a ball valve that is easily moved between its open and closed positions but will reliably remain in either of these positions without risk of being unknowingly moved should the tool be subjected to a severe shock.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a new and improved well tool with means for releasably latching the ball valve in one of its positions so that the mandrel can be moved to other positions without disturbing the ball valve.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide new and improved releasable barrier means for such well tools that can be released whenever the ball valve is open.

These and other objects of the present invention are obtained by telescopically arranging an inner tubular member or mandrel within an outer tubular housing for movement therein between an extending position and successively telescoped positions. First valve means are provided for selectively opening and closing fluid communication between the tubular members and a rotatable cylindrical or spheroidal valve member with a flow passage therethrough is pivotally mounted to the mandrel and seated on an annular valve seat mounted on the lower end of the mandrel. Spring means are appropriately arranged to hold the valve member in one of its positions until the mandrel is moved from one of its positions to another one of its positions. Then, as the mandrel is moved to still another of its positions, the spring means will impose a suflicient rotational force on the valve member that it will rotate to its second position.

As a further aspect of the present invention, the mandrel may be divided into separable portions that are releasably latched together. Once the mandrel is moved to one of its aforementioned positions, the mandrel 1s manipulated to release the lower mandrel portion from the upper portion. Then, the latch means can be employed to secure the lower mandrel portion and valve member in position and free the upper mandrel portion for further movement without affecting the valve memher.

To provide a releasable barrier in the well tool, the present invention further includes several embodiments of devices that, when needed, may either be loosely seated below the ball member or be seated and releasably held in position there.

The novel features of the present invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The operation, together with further objects and advantages thereof, may best be understood by way of illustration and example of certain embodiments when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 shows a typical string of well tools in a well bore including a tool employing the principles of the present invention;

FIGS. 2A2D are successive elevational views, partially in cross-section, of one embodiment of a well tool arranged in accordance with the present invention;

FIGS. 3 and 4 are cross-sectional views taken along the lines 33 and 4-4 respectively in FIG. 2A;

FIGS. SA-SF are somewhat schematic views of the well tool shown in FIGS. 2A2D and depict its successive operating positions;

FIG. 6 is an elevational view of a portion of another embodiment of a well tool with the selectively operable latch means of the present invention;

FIGS. 7 and 8 are cross-sectional views taken along the lines 7 and 8 respectively in FIG. 6;

FIG. 9 is an elevational view of measuring apparatus adapted for being releasably secured in either of the tools depicted in FIGS. 2A2D or in FIG. 6; and

FIGS. 10 and 11 respectively show alternate embodiments of selectively releasable measuring apparatus similar to that shown in FIG. 9.

Turning now to FIG. 1, a number of full-bore well tools 23 are shown tandemly connected to one another and dependently coupled from the lower end of a string of pipe, such as a tubing string 24, suspended in a cased well bore 25. At the lower end of these tools, a conventional full-bore packer 23 is arranged for selectively packing-ofl the casing 25. A typical hydraulic holddown 22 is coupled to the mandrel 26 of the packer 23 and arranged to engage the casing 25 to secure the mandrel against the upward movement whenever the packer is set and fluid pressure within the tubing string 24 exceeds the hydrostatic pressure of the well control fluids in the well annulus. A typical bypass valve 21, coupled by a tubing sub 27 above the holddown 22, is suitably arranged to be opened and facilitate shifting of the tools 2023 within the fluid-filled casing 25 by diverting a substantial portion of the fluids through the central bore of the retracted packer 23. Connected at the upper end of the tools 2123 is a tool 20 incorporating the principles of the present invention. Although the tools 2123 may be those shown on page 3057 of the 19606l Composite Catalog of Field Equipment and Service, it will be understood, of course, that other tools of a similar nature could also be used in conjunction with the tool 20.

Turning now to FIGS. 2A2D, successive elevational views, with each being partially in cross-section, are

shown of the tool 20. The tool 20 includes a tubular mandrel 28 telescopically disposed within a tubular housing 29 and arranged for selective longitudinal movement therein between an extended position as shown in FIGS. 2A2D, one or more intermediate positions, and a fully telescoped position as subsequently described with reference to FIGS. 5A-5F. A threaded collar 30 (FIG. 2A) on the upper end of the mandrel 28 is arranged for coupling to the tubing string 24 (FIG. 1), with the central bore 31 (FIGS. 2A2D) of the mandrel having substantially the same internal diameter as that of the tubing string. Similarly, threads 32 (FIG. 2D) are arranged on the lower end of the housing 29 for coupling the tool 10 to the other well tools therebelow.

In general, the tool 20 includes first and second valve means 33 and 34 (FIG. 2C) arranged in accordance with the invention that are each selectively opened and closed by shifting the mandrel 28 between its various longitudinal positions with respect to the housing 29. For establishing these longitudinal positions, selectively operable position-establishing means 35 (FIG. 2A) are provided. These position-establishing means 35 are preferably arranged as described in a copending application Serial No. 620,943 filed by the present inventor on the same day as the present application. When the position-establishing means 35 are employed, means, such as clutches 36 and 37, are also provided to permit selective application of torque from the mandrel 28 through the housing 29 to the other tools 2123 when the mandrel is in certain ones of its positions.

Turning now to FIG. 2A, the uppermost portion of the tool 20 is shown. As seen there, the clutch 36 is arranged to co-rotatively secure the mandrel 28 to the housing 29 when the mandrel is in its lowermost or fully telescoped position. Similarly, the clutch 37 co-rotatively secures the mandrel 28 and housing 29 when the mandrel is in its uppermost or fully extended position relative to the housing. The clutch 36 is comprised of an annular member 38 that is co-rotatively secured over the collar 30 on the upper end of the mandrel 28 and has one or more depending lugs 39 thereon adapted for reception in a corresponding number of upwardly facing longitudinal slots 40 in the upper end of the housing 29 whenever the mandrel is in its lowermost position relative thereto. A threaded ring 41 threadedly secured to the collar 30 above the member 38 retains the annular member in position as well as facilitates its removal for disengaging the lugs 39 from the slots 40 after the tool 20 is removed from the well bore 25 The clutch 37 includes an annular member 42 that is slidably mounted in the uppermost end of the housing 29 below an inwardly directed housing shoulder 43 and corotatively secured thereto by external longitudinal grooves adapted to receive complementary longitudinal splines 44 (FIG. 3) projecting inwardly from the internal wall of the housing. Inwardly projecting screws 45 are arranged in the housing 29 for reception in longitudinal slots 46 in the annular member 42 to limit the downward longitudinal travel of the annular member. External longitudinal splines 47 (FIGS. 2A and 3) on the mandrel 28 and immediately above an external shoulder 48 thereon are adapted for reception in complementary longitudinal spline grooves 49 (FIG. 3) in the internal wall of the annular member 42.

A spring 50 between the housing shoulder 43 and the upper end of the annular member 42 normally urges the annular member downwardly against the lower stop 48 but permits it to retrogress should the mandrel splines 47 not be in registry with their complementary grooves 49 as the mandrel 28 is being moved upwardly. It will be understood, of course, that even though the mandrel splines 47 may not be initially in alignment with the spline grooves 49, rotation of the mandrel 28 in either direction will quickly bring the splines into orientation with their grooves and the spring 50 will then urge the annular clutch member 42 downwardly over the splines.

Accordingly, it will be appreciated that so long as the mandrel 28 is in its extended position (as seen in FIGS. 2A-2D) with respect to the housing 29, the mandrel is co-rotatively secured thereto by the clutch 37. Downward movement of the mandrel 28 toward its intermediate positions will, however, shift the mandrel splines 47 out of the spline grooves 49 and allow the mandrel to be rotated relative to the housing 29 until the mandrel reaches its fully telescoped or lowermost position. The mandrel 28 will again be co-rotatively secured by the clutch 36 to the housing 29, however, once the mandrel is moved to its lowermost position and the lugs 39 enter the slots 40.

As described in the aforementioned copending application, the position-establishing means 35 shown in FIG. 2A below the clutch 37 are comprised of radially expansible gripping means such as two segmented split-nuts 51 and 52 placed at longitudinally spaced positions in a housing recess or the annular clearance space 53 between the mandrel 28 and the housing 29. As best seen in FIG. 4, longitudinal splines 54 on each of the segments of the nuts 51 and 52 are complementarily interlocked in grooves 55 in the internal wall of the housing 29 to co-rotatively secure the split-nuts to the housing. As seen in FIG. 2A, inwardly directed housing shoulders 56 and 57 above and below the nut, respectively, limit the longitudinal travel of the lower split-nut 52. The upper split-nut 51 is held against longitudinal movement by an annular spacer 58 above the nut that is engaged with the housing 29 and an inwardly directed shoulder 59 below the nut.

Oppositely directed buttress threads 60 and 61 are appropriately spaced at longitudinal intervals around the mandrel 28 and respectively arranged for selective engagement with complementary threads in the nuts 51 and 52 in certain longitudinal positions of the mandrel. The upper mandrel threads 60 are faced upwardly and are preferably so-called left-hand threads arranged to threadedly engage the downwardly facing threads in the upper split-nut 51. With this arrangement, downward longitudinal movement of the mandrel 28 will allow the upper mandrel threads 60 to be ratcheted freely into the upper split-nut 51 but prevent upward longitudinal movement of the mandrel until it is rotated in a clockwise or right-hand direction to unthread the upper mandrel threads from the upper split-nut. Similarly, the lower mandrel threads 61 are faced downwardly and are so-called righthand threads. To accommodate the lower mandrel threads 61, the threads in the lower split-nut 52 are faced upwardly. Thus, release of the mandrel threads 61 from the lower split-nut 52 for downward movement of the mandrel 28 can be accomplished only by rotating the mandrel in a clockwise direction to unthread these members. It will be appreciated, of course, that by facing the mandrel threads 61 and those in the lower split-nut 52 in opposite direction, upward movement of the mandrel 28 will cause the lower mandrel threads to freely ratchet through the lower split-nut.

For reasons that will subsequently become more apparent, the lower mandrel threads :61 are normally engaged with the lower split-nut 52 and the upper threads 60 are normally disengaged from the upper split-nut 51 and spaced a particular distance thereabove. Thus, with the lower mandrel threads 61 engaged with the lower split-nut 52 as shown in FIG. 2A, the mandrel 28 is free to travel longitudinally with respect to the housing 29 only so far as is permitted by the distance between the spaced housing shoulders 56 and 57 respectively above and below the lower split-nut. Similarly, as will also subsequently become apparent, whenever the upper mandrel threads 60 are threadedly engaged with the upper split-nut 51, the mandrel 28 will be secured in its lowermost telescoped position and cannot be returned to its intermediate or extended positions since the upper splitnut is held by the spacer 58 and the co-engagement of the lugs 39 and slots 40 prevent further rotation of the mandrel with respect to the housing 29. It will be recalled that the lugs 39 cannot be disengaged from the slots 40 until the tool 20 is returned to the surface and the threaded collar 30 is removed to permit disengagement of the clutch 36.

Turning now to FIG. 2B, the intermediate portion of the tool 20 is shown in which are located pressure-biasing means 62 and, for the enhancement of the positionestablishing means 35, movement-retarding means 63. Biasing means 62 are preferably provided to maintain a downward force on the housing 29 to assist in keeping the packer 23 seated while the mandrel 28 is being moved as well as to apply an upward force on the mandrel to keep the clutch 37 engaged whenever the mandrel is in its fully extended position with respect to the housing. The pressure-biasing means 62 are comprised of an enlarged-diameter shoulder 64 on the mandrel 28 that is fluidly sealed by O-rings 65 within a reduced-diameter portion 66 of the housing 29 above an external housing port 67 and an annular slidable piston member 68 that is around the mandrel above its enlarged-diameter shoulder 64 and below another external housing port 69. O-rings 70 and 71, respectively, inside and outside of the slidable piston 68 fluidly seal the piston to the mandrel 28 and housing 29 so as to provide a fluid-tight annular space 72 between the piston and the enlarged-diameter mandrel shoulder 64, which space is normally at atmospheric pressure. A spring 73 between an inwardly directed housing shoulder 74 and the upper end of the piston 68 normally urges the piston downwardly against a shoulder 75 defined by the upper end of the reduceddiameter housing portion 66.

It will be recognized that well control fluids will enter the ports 69 and 67 above the piston 68 and below the enlarged-diameter mandrel portion 64 as the tool 20 is being used. Inasmuch as the annular space 72 is normally at atmospheric pressure, the hydrostatic pressure of the well control fluids will therefore tend to lift the mandrel 28 by a force equal to the ditference between the hydrostatic and atmospheric pressures multiplied by the annular cross-sectional area of the enlarged-diameter mandrel shoulder 64 itself. The cross-secti onal area of the mandrel 28 itself will, of course, be subjected to both upwardly and downwardly acting pressure forces. Similarly, the piston 68 will be urged downwardly against the housing shoulder 75 by a force equal to the difference between the hydrostatic and atmospheric pressures multiplied by the annular cross-sectional area bounded by O-rings 65 and 70.

Thus, it will be appreciated that since the mandrel 28 is urged upwardly by this unbalanced pressure force, a force at least greater than this upwardly directed pressure force must be applied to the mandrel in order to move it downwadly relative to the housing 29. Similarly, it will be appreciated that the downwardly acting pressure force on the piston 68 is effective through the housing shoulder 75 to impose a corresponding downwardly directed force thereon which will be transmitted through the housing to the mandrel 26 of the packer 23 (FIG. 1) to assist in keeping the packer seated.

Although the piston 68 could be made an integral portion of the housing 29, it is preferred to make it a separate member as shown in FIG. 2B and to provide a small lateral port 76 in the housing immediately above the normal position of the external O-ring 71. In this manner, should well control fluids leak into the enclosed annular space 72, as the tool 20 is being removed from the well bore 25, any excessive pressure in the enclosed space 72 will be vented through the port 76 whenever this trapped pressure is suflicient to lift the piston 68 against the restraint of the spring 73 a suflicient distance to move the O-ring 71 above the port 76. This arrangement also insures that the mandrel 28 can be returned upwardly should fluids leak into the space 72 after the mandrel is lowered. Otherwise, the piston 68 could just as well be made an integral portion of the housing 29.

The movement-retarding means 63 are comprised of a sleeve 77 loosely disposed between longitudinally spaced, enlarged-diameter portions 78 and 79 of the mandrel 28, with only a limited annular clearance 80 be ing left between the mandreland sleeve and a very minute annular clearance 81 being left between the sleeve and the inner wall of the housing 29. A compression spring 82 between the sleeve 77 and the lower enlargeddiarneter mandrel portion 79 normally urges the sleeve upwardly against the upper enlarged-diameter mandrel portion 78. An O'ring 83 (FIG. 2C) around the internal wall of an inwardly facing shoulder 84 in the housing 29 fluidly seals the mandrel 28 and housing relative to one another and defines a fluid-tight space 85 therebetween below the sleeve 77. An annular piston 86 (FIG. 2B) having internal and external O-rings 87 and 88 is provided just below the housing port 67 to fluidly seal the housing 29 relative to the mandrel 28 and define a second fluid-tight space 89 therebetween above the sleeve 77. In this manner, the separate fluid-tight spaces 85 and 89 are able to communicate with one another only by way of the annular clearance spaces 80 and 81 inside of and around the sleeve 77 respectively. A suitable hydraulic fluid, such as an oil or the like, fills the fluidtight spaces 85 and 89.

It Will be appreciated that the hydrostatic pressure of the well control fluids will be effective through the port 67 against the piston 86 to maintain the oil in the spaces 85 and 89 at the same pressure. Accordingly, the speed of longitudinal movement of the mandrel 28 with respect to the housing 29 will be governed by the rate at which the oil can be displaced from one to the other of the fluidtight spaces 85 and 89. Downward movement of the mandrel 28 with respect to the housing 29 will, of course, maintain the lower face 90 of the upper enlarged-diameter mandrel portion 78 tightly engaged against the adjacent upper face 91 of the sleeve '77. By appropriately machining the abutting surfaces 90 and 91 of the shoulder 78 and sleeve 77, a metal-to-metal seat is effected to close the internal annular space 80 and make the minute external annular clearance space 81 the only flow path by which oil can be transferred from the lower space 85 to the upper space 89 as the mandrel 28 is moved downwardly. In this manner, the time required to move the mandrel 28 downwardly with respect to the housing 29 will be directly related to the dimensions of the external annular clearance space 81 and the viscosity of the oil in the fluid-tight spaces 85 and 89. If it is desired, the lower space 85 may be slightly enlarged, as at 92, so that whenever the mandrel 28 has moved downwardly at this controlled rate a predetermined distance with respect to the housing 29, it can continue moving further downwardly with added relative freedom.

To permit fairly rapid upward movement of the mandrel 28 with respect to the housing 29, the internal clearance space 80 between the sleeve 77 and mandrel is made somewhat larger than the external clearance space 81. It will be understood, of course, that the spring 82 is not sufficiently strong to keep the sleeve end 91 abutted against its mating surface 90 on the shoulder 78 whenever the mandrel 28 is being moved upwardly. Thus, whenever the mandrel 28 is pulled upwardly with respect to the housing 29, the sleeve 77 will shift slightly downwardly and move the seating surfaces 90 and 91 apart so as to allow oil from the upper space 89 to pass relatively free between these surfaces, through the larger annular clearance 80, and on into the lower fluid-tight space 85.

Turning now to FIGS. 2C and 2D, the lowermost portion of the tool is shown in which are located the first and second valve means 33 and 34 (FIG. 2C) of the present invention. The internal diameter of this portion of the housing 29 is preferably increased to provide an enlarged bore, as at 93, below the enclosed space and above an upwardly directed housing shoulder 94 (FIG. 2D) near the lower end of the housing.

The first valve means 33 (FIG. 2C) are preferably arranged as a telescoping sleeve valve adapted to control fluid communication between the enlarged housing bore 93 and the internal bore 31 of the mandrel 28 so long as the second valve means 34 therebelow are closed. These first valve means 33 include a coaxially arranged tubular member 95 that is dependently secured within the housing 29 and extended downwardly into the enlarged housing bore 93. Lateral ports 96 in the mandrel 28 are adapted to be moved into registry with corresponding lateral ports 97 in the coaxially arranged tubular member 95 whenever the mandrel is moved into one of its intermediate longitudinal positions with respect to the housing 29. O-rings 98 and 99 respectively above and below the mandrel ports fluidly seal the mandrel 28 relative to the tubular member 95 to block flow through the ports 96 and 97 whenever they are not in registration in the other positions of the mandrel.

The second valve means 34 of the present invention includes a spherical valve member 100 having an axial passageway 101 therethrough along one of its central axes that is sized to correspond at least approximately to the internal mandrel bore 31. The ball member 100 is operatively disposed between a pair of opposed, longitudinally spaced, annular seats 102 and 103 having complementary spherical seating surfaces. One of the valve seats 102 is coaxially mounted in a complementary counterbore in the lowermost end of the mandrel 28 between a pair of depending longitudinal lugs 104 (only one seen) extending downwardly from the lower end of the mandrel 28 on opposite sides of the seat. The ball member 100 is pivotally supported between the free ends of these depending lugs 104 about another of its central axes by appropriately located transverse pivots 105 (only one seen) that are so positioned that the ball member will remain seated on the seat 102 as the ball moves between its open and closed positions. The axis of these pivots 105 is, of course, perpendicular to the central axis of the passageway 101 so that as the ball member 100 is pivoted, the passageway will move into an out of registration with the valve seat 102. It will be appreciated, of course, that so long as it has a curved portion complementary to the valve seat 102 the valve member 100 could also be a cylinder or a hemisphere that is pivoted about its central axis.

The other valve seat 103 is coaxially mounted in an upwardly facing, complementary counterbore 106 formed in the upper end of an elongated tubular member 107 that is loosely disposed immediately below the ball member 100 in the enlarged housing bore 93 and fluidly sealed therein by an O-ring 108 around its upper end. The valve seat 103 is preferably supported by its receptive counterbore 106 by a spring 109 and fluidly sealed therein by an O-ring 110.

A pair of upwardly extending lugs 111 and 112 (only one lug of each pair seen) are arranged on the upper end of the tubular member 107 opposite sides of the valve seat 103 to straddle the ball member 100, with each of these lugs being laterally displaced from the central axis and extended upwardly alongside the opposite side of the depending lugs 104. Each associated set of lugs 104, 111 and 112 are so arranged that their opposed longitudinal edges, as at 113 and 114, are in juxtaposition with one another. To transmit an eccentric turning force to the ball member 100, inwardly projecting transverse pins 115 (only one seen) on the free ends of the lower lugs 111 are dis-posed parallel to the axis of the pivots 105 but longitudinally spaced therebelow and slightly offset to one side. The free ends of these pins 115 are each confined within fairly short, inclined grooves 116 (only one seen) formed in the adjacent external surfaces of the ball member 100. It will be noted that the pivots 105 normally support the ball member 100 off of the lower seat 103 so as to leave an annular clearance, as at 117, therebetween so long as the ball member is in its closed position as seen in FIG. 2C.

Accordingly, it will be appreciated that whenever the ball member 100 is moved toward the tubular member 107 and valve seat'103, the ball will be pivoted by the pins 115 and slots 116 about its pivots 105 in a clockwise direction as seen in the drawings. It will be realized, of course, that the cooperative engagement of the juxtaposed edges 113 and 114 of the lugs 104, 111 and 112 will prevent the mandrel 28 and tubular member 107 from rotating relative to one another and limit their relative motion to rectilinear travel. The inclined grooves 116 must, of course, be of sufiicient length to accommodate the transverse pins 115 whenever the ball member 100 has rotated midway between its fully-closed and its fully-open positions.

To actuate the valve means 34, biasing means are provided such as a compression spring 118 (FIG. 2D) that is disposed around the tubular member 107 between spaced, annular abutment members 119 and 120 slidably disposed thereon and supported by an external shoulder 121 on the lower end of the tubular member 107. An inwardly directed housing shoulder 122 is suitably located to normally engage the upper face of the upper abutment 119 whenever the tool is in the position shown in FIGS. 2A-2D. So long as the tool 20' is in the depicted position, the spring 118 will be acting between the shoulders 121 and 122 to urge the tubular member 107 downwardly and, as a result, bias the valve member 100 in its closed position.

It will be noted that in this position of the tool 20, the lower face of the lower abutment 120 is spaced above the housing shoulder 94 a distance equal to the longitudinal spacing of the ports 96 and 97. Similarly, this same longitudinal spacing is maintained between the upper face of the upper abutment 119 and the lower face 123 of an enlarged-diameter portion or shoulder 124 at the upper end of the tubular member 107. The shoulder 124 is, of course, suitably sized to pass freely through the annular housing shoulder 122. Moreover, for reasons that will subsequently become apparent, these longitudinal spacings are greater than and, preferably, about double the maximum longitudinal spacing between the upper face of the housing shoulder 57 and the lower face of the lower split-nut 52 (FIG. 2A) when this split-nut is engaged with the lower portion of the mandrel threads 61.

Accordingly, it will be appreciated that when the mandrel 28 is in its extended position with respect to the housing 29 as shown in FIGS. 2A-2D, both valve means 33 and 34 are closed. However, by moving the mandrel 28 downwardly with respect to the housing 29 the above-mentioned longitudinal distance to one of its intermediate positions (to be subsequently described in greater detail), the first valve means 33 will be opened to provide fluid communication from the enlarged housing bore 93, through the clearance at 117 around the ball member 100 and through the ports 96 and 97, and on into the central bore 31 of the mandrel 28. The ball member 100 is still in a closed position in this intermediate position of the mandrel 28. Similarly, as will be subsequently described with greater detail, further downward movement of the mandrel 28 (again this same longitudinal distance) will reclose the first valve means 33 and open the second valve means 34 as the mandrel reaches its lowermost, telescoped position. In this latter position, a full-opening passage is provided through the tool 20 since the passageway 101 in the ball member 100 will now have been rotated into alignment with the central mandrel bore 31.

Turning now to FIGS. SA-SF, the tool 20 is schematically represented to illustrate each of its various positions during the course of a typical operating sequence. To facilitate the explanation of the invention, the biasing means 62 and movement-retarding means 63 are not shown in FIGS. SA-S-F. It will be understood, nevertheless, that downward travel of the mandrel 28 will be regulated by the movement-retarding means 63 until the top of the sleeve 77 has entered the enlarged space 92- (FIG. 2B). Similarly, it should be kept in mind that the biasing means 62 will be effective to provide an upwardly directed force on the mandrel 28 and to apply an equal, but downwardly directed, force on the housing 29 during the entire operation of the tool 20.

In FIG. 5A, the tool 20 is shown with the mandrel 28 being in its uppermost extended position with respect to the housing 29 as already described with reference to FIGS. 2A-2D. The first and second valve means 33 and 34 are closed to block fluid communication through the mandrel bore 31 as the tools 20-23 are moved into position in the cased well bore 25 (FIG. 1). It will also be noted from FIG. 5A that although the upper clutch member 38 is disengaged, the lower clutch member 42 is engaged to permit rotation to be applied from the tubing string 24, through the tool 20, and on to the other tools 21-23 therebelow. Accordingly, with the tool secured in the position depicted in FIG. 5A, the tools 20-23 can be brought into position at any desired depth in the cased well bore 25.

Once the tools 20-23 have reached a desired position in the well bore 25, they are momentarily halted and the tubing string 24 is manipulated as required to set the packer 23 so that their respective position-establishing tools may utilize different movements for their operation, it is preferred to arrange the bypass valve 21 and packer 23 so that their respective position-etsablishing means, such a J-slot systems (not shown), in each tool will work in cooperation to close the bypass valve as the packer is being set. Accordingly, with the tools 21 and 23 having cooperative J-slot systems arranged in this manner, the tubing string 24 is picked up slightly and torqued in a clockwise direction to unjay the bypass valve and packer. Then, by slacking-off at least part of the weight of the tubing string 24, the packer 23 will be set and the bypass valve 21 closed. It will be recalled that the mandrel 28 cannot move downwardly relative to the housing 29 until the upward force provided on the mandrel by the biasing means 62 is overcome.

Once the packer 23 is set, it will be appreciated that it is capable of supporting the full weight of the tools 20- 22 and tubing string 24 thereabove. The housing 29 of the tool 20 will, of course, now be fixed relative to the easing 25 until the packer 23 is unseated. It. will be recalled, moreover, that the biasing means 62 will also be effective to maintain a substantial downward force through the housing 29 to aid in holding the packer 23 seated. Thus, the mandrel 28 of the tool 20 will now be capable of being moved relative to the now-stationary housing 29 by corresponding motions of the tubing string 24 to bring the tool into its various operating positions.

-Accordingly, as shown in FIG. 5B, application of weight to the mandrel 28 for setting the packer 23 will carry the mandrel a short distance downwardly (as shown by arrow 125) until the lower split-nut 52 engages the upwardly facing shoulder 57. This downward movement will, however, be retarded by the movement-retarding means 63 and furthermore will require sufiicient weight on the mandrel 28 to at least overcome the upwardly directed force on the mandrel provided by the biasing means 62. It will be noted from FIG. 5B, however, that this initial downward travel of the mandrel 28 is not sufiicient to open either the valve means 33 or 34 and that the only significant change in the tool 20 will be to disengage the lower clutch member 42. Thus, downward motion and rotation of the tubing string 24 in these first two operating positions of the tool 20 will be effective only to set the packer 23 and close the bypass valve 21 without introducing any risk whatsoever that either of the valve means 33 and 34 might be opened prematurely by overmovement of the mandrel 28.

It will also be appreciated from FIG. 5B that further downward travel of the mandrel 28 relative to the housing 29 is not possible so long as the lower nut 52 is abutted on the housing shoulder 57. On the other hand, upward travel of the mandrel 28 is unimpeded should, for example, it be necessary to re-engage the lower clutch member 42 to apply rotation from the tubing string 24 through the housing 29 to the tools 2123. Accordingly, to continue further downward travel of the mandrel 28, it is necessary to first unthread the lower mandrel threads 61 at least partway through the lower nut 52. It will be realized, of course, that unthreading rotation of the mandrel 28 would ordinarily tend to move the mandrel on downwardly and leave the lower split-nut 52 shouldered on its associated lower housing shoulder 57.

Then, as best seen in FIG. 5C, rotation of the mandrel 28 in the appropriate direction (as shown by arrow 126) in cooperation with the movement-retarding means 63 will instead cause the lower split-nut 52 to climb the mandrel threads 61 and leave the mandrel in substantially the same longitudinal position as before. The nut 52 cannot, of course, rotate by virtue of the splines 54 (FIG. 4) but it will nevertheless climb the threads 61 as the mandrel 28 rotates relative to the split-nut.

Once the split-nut 52 reaches the upper limit of its travel as determined by the housing shoulder 56, further rotation of the mandrel 28 will be ineffective and the lower split-nut will only alternately expand and contract within the recess 53 until the rotation is halted. It will be understood, of course, that the time delay provided by the movement-retarding means 63 is such that the lower nut 52 can climb the mandrel thread 61 to its next intended position thereon before significant downward travel of the mandrel 28 can occur.

Once the lower nut 52 has engaged the upper shoulder 56, the mandrel 28 will again be capable of traveling further downwardly to re-engage the split-nut on its associated lower shoulder 57. The rate of this downward travel will, of course, still be governed by the movementretarding means 63. Thus, as best seen in FIG. 5D, once a sutficient length of time has elapsed, downward force (as shown by arrow 127) on the mandrel 28 in excess of the opposing upward force of the biasing means 62 will serve to carry the mandrel downwardly until the lower split-nut 52 again engages the lower housing shoulder 57. At this point, by appropriately spacing the ports 96 and 97 in relation to the vertical height of the nut 52 and the spacing between the opposed shoulders 56 and 57, the ports of the first valve means 33 will be in registry whenever the lower nut 52 is shouldered on the lower shoulder 57 and is at its desired second position as, for example, at the top of the mandrel threads 61.

Once the ports 96 and 97 are open, fluid communication will be established between the Well bore below the seated packer 23 and, by way of the intervening tools 21 and 22, into the mandrel bore 31 and tubing string 24 thereabove. The ball valve means 34 will, however, remain closed. Thus, fluids may either be introduced from the tubing string 24, through the ports 96 and 97 and the clearance 117, and on into the well bore 25 below the packer 23 or received therefrom depending upon the nature of the completion or treating operation. Opening of the ports 96 and 97 will also equalize any pressure differential that would otherwise be acting across the ball member 100 so long as it was closed. It will be appreciated, moreover, that the ports 96 and 97 may be reclosed and reopened as many times as desired merely be picking up and returning the tool 20 to the position shown in FIG. 5A.

To open the second valve means 34, it is, of course, necessary to move the mandrel 28 further downwardly than permitted by the engagement of the lower split-nut 52 (as now positioned on the threads 61) with its associated lower shoulder 57 (FIG. 5D). Accordingly, as best seen in FIG. 5B, the mandrel is again rotated (as shown by arrow 128), which rotation causes the lower split-nut 52 to climb still further up the mandrel threads 61 until it is completely disengaged therefrom. The movement-retarding means 63 will again serve to prevent corresponding downward travel of the mandrel 28 until at least sufficient time has elapsed for the lower nut 52 to disengage itself from the mandrel threads 61.

Once the lower mandrel threads 61 are freed from the lower split-nut 52, the mandrel 28 is then free to travel on downwardly as permitted by the movement-retarding means 63. Once the upper end of the sleeve 77 clears the enlarged-diameter housing portion 92, the mandrel 28 will then move rapidly downwardly (as shown by arrow 129) into the position depicted in FIG. 5F. This sudden movement will provide a substantial jar that is easily detected at the surface. As seen in FIG. 5F, movement of the mandrel 28 into this position will simultaneously co-engage the upper mandrel threads 60 with the upper splitnut 51, move the mandrel ports 96 below the sleeve ports 97, and pivot the ball member 100 (as shown by arrow 130) into a position where its passageway 101 is coaxially aligned with the mandrel bore 31. Then, if necessary, the tubing string 24 is rotated one or two rotations to insure engagement of the upper clutch member 38. This will also provide a positive indication at the surface that the ball member 100 is open and the mandrel 28 and housing 29 are co-rotatively secured.

It will be appreciated that to pivot the ball member 100 into its open position, the ball member must move downwardly relative to the tubular member 107 with sufiicient force that the camming action of the transverse pins in the slots 116 will rotate the ball member about its pivots 105. This upward force is, of course, provided by the spring 118 which, as best seen in FIGS. S D-5F, is progressively compressed until it develops a resisting force that is sufficient to rotate the ball member 100 against the frictional forces imposed by the upper valve seat 102. It will be recalled that opening of the ports 96 and 97 equalized any pressure differential acting across the ball member 100 before it was opened. Moreover, it will be realized that the spring 118 cannot develop an upwardly acting force until the lower abutment has engaged the housing shoulder 94 and the shoulder 123 has engaged the upper abutment 119 as seen in FIGS. 5D and 5E. Then, as the mandrel 28 is moved further downwardly as seen in FIG. 5F, the spring 118 is progressively compressed to develop a correspondingly increasing upwardly directed bias through the upper abutment 119 to the shoulder 123 of the tubular member 107. It is of particular significance that so long as the lower abutment 120 has not engaged the housing shoul der 94 and the shoulder 123 has not engaged the upper abutment 119 (FIGS. 5A5C), the spring 118 is acting between the shoulders 121 and 122 to urge the tubular member 107 downwardly. This downward force on the tubular member 107 will be effective through the transverse pins 115 to hold the ball member 100 in its closed position as shown in FIG. 2C. This action of the spring 118 is one of its two functions. It will be appreciated also that the shoulders 121 and 122 serve to isolate or space the opposite ends of the spring 118 from the shoulders 94 and 123.

Accordingly, as the downward force 129 on the mandrel increases, downward movement of the tubular member 107 will now be restrained by the force of the spring 118 as the shoulder 123 tends to move the abutment 119 below the housing shoulder 122. In some instances, the resulting force of the spring 118 will be sufficient to pivot the ball member 100 before the tubular member 107 moves downwardly far enough to shift the a'butment 119 below the shoulder 122. However, to emphasize the second function of the spring 118 in supplying the rotational bias to the ball member 100, the abutment 119 is shown slightly below the housing shoulder 122 in FIG. F. It will also be recognized that as the ball member 100 rotates, it will move slightly downwardly into seating engagement with the lower seat 103. Thus, once the ball member 100- is rotated, the seats 102 and 103 will be tightly seated around the opposite ends of the passage 101 to prevent entrance of fluids in the mandrel bore 31 into the enlarged space 93. It will also be noted that since the ports 96 and 97 are no longer in registration, solids or fluids in the mandrel bore 31 are similarly blocked from entering the enlarged space 93. Reclosing of the ports 96 and 97 will not, however, permit any pressure differential to be developed across the ball member 100'.

Once the tool 20 is in the position shown in FIG. 5F, the mandrel 28 will be prevented from traveling upwardly by the co-engagement of the upper mandrel threads 60 in the upper split-nut 51. Release of the threads 60 from the nut 51 could, of course, be accomplished by rotation of the mandrel 2-8 were it not for the engagement of the upper clutch member 38 which now prevents further rotation of the mandrel relative to the housing 29. Thus, once the mandrel 28 reaches its lowermost telescoped position shown in FIG. 5F, the tool 20 is locked in this position with the ball valve means 34 open and the sleeve valve means 33 closed. This will provide a substantially continuous and uninterrupted passage from the tubing string 24 for introduction of various well tools (not shown), completion fluids such as cement or fracturing fluids requiring high flow rates, and for other reasons that may be encountered during the course of typical remedial or well-completion operations. The tools 20-23 must be retrieved to the surface in order to return the mandrel 28 to its original position. To do this, the upper clutch member 38 is quickly released by removing the threaded collar 41 and shifting the annular member upwardly to disengage the lugs 39 from the slots 40.

The annular spacer 58 is, of course, employed to pre- 'vent the mandrel 28 from being picked upwardly once the ball valve means 34 is opened and the upper mandrel threads 60 have become engaged with the upper split-nut 51 as shown in FIG. 5F. It will be appreciated, therefore, that by omitting this spacer 58, the mandrel 28 could be moved upwardly a suflicient distance to disengage the lugs 39 from their receptive slots 40. This movement would, however, be insutficient to allow either the ball member 100 to be rotated back into its closed position or for the ports 96 and 97 to realign as shown in FIG. 5E so long as the mandrel 28 was not rotated. Yet, once the lugs 39 were free of their slots 40, the mandrel 28 could be rotated sufiiciently to disengage the upper split-nut 51 from the mandrel threads 60 and permit the valve means 33 and 34 to be alternately opened and closed as many times as desired between the positions shown in FIGS. 5E and SF. Moreover, with the spacer 58 omitted, once the mandrel 28 is rotated sufliciently to disengage the upper split-nut 51 :from the upper mandrel threads 60, the mandrel could also be returned to any of the positions shown in FIGS. SA-SD as well.

Omission of the spacer 58 is not too desirable, however, where the bypass valve 21 and packer 23 are of the types described above with reference to FIG. 1. For example, following a so-called squeeze job, it is almost essential to rapidly flush-out the excess cement remaining in the tubing string 24 by applying pressure to the well control fluids in the well annulus 25 and forcing these fluids up into the lower end of the tubing string and on upwardly therein. Access to the tubing string 24 is typically gained by either unsetting the packer 23 or, as alast resort, opening the bypass 'valve 21 should the packer not be readily unseated. It will be realized, of course, that in either event, the ball valve means 34 of the present invention must be left open to permit a high flow rate of these fluids to be maintained. With bypass valves and packers of the types described, however,the

tubing string 24 usually must be at least partially rotated and then picked up with considerable force to either open the bypass valve 21 or unseat the packer 23. These motions could, therefore, serve to reclose the ball valve means 34 and prevent the desired flushing operation if either the packer 23 or bypass valve 21 were not completely free of foreign matter and readily movable. Thus, unless the packer 23 and bypass valve 21 are of a style requiring only a straight upward pull to unseat the packer or open the bypass valve, it is preferred to include the spacer 58 so that the ball member will unquestionably remain securely locked in its open position once the tool 20 is moved into the position depicted in FIG. 5F.

Turning now to FIG. 6, a partial vie-w is shown of another tool 200 that is similar to the tool 20 in most respects but includes additional features of the present invention. As will subsequently become apparent, the tool 200 functions in substantially the same manner as the tool 20 except that the mandrel 201 in the tool 200 can be restored to its initial extended position relative to its associated housing 202 after a ball member therebelow (not shown in FIG. 6 but similar to ball 100 in the tool 20) is opened and without reclosing the ball member.

To accomplish this, the tool 200 is not equipped with either an upper clutch member or an upper split-nut as are used with the tool 20. This, of course, will allow the mandrel 201 to be rotated relative to the housing 202 after the ball member (not shown) is opened. In addition, the mandrel 201 is somewhat longer than the mandrel 28 and is comprised of an upper section 203 that is releasably secured at its lower end by suitably arranged latch means 204 to the upper end of a lower mandrel section 205. As for the upper mandrel section 203, it is substantially like the mandrel 28 from its up per end down to a point just below that portion which engages O-ring 83 (FIG. 2C) when the mandrel 28 is in its elevated position. The other mandrel section 205 is substantially like the remainder of the mandrel 28 from a point just above the mandrel ports 96. Thus, in effect, the mandrel 201 can be considered like the mandrel 28 with the separated ends and latch means 204 being just above the mandrel ports 96. The housing 202 is substantially the same as housing 29 except that the housing 202 is somewhat longer to accommodate the latch means 204.

Generally speaking, the mandrel 201 functions in the same manner as the mandrel 28 to initially open the ports (corresponding to ports 96 and 97) which are not shown in FIG. 6 but are immediately below an O-ring (not shown but just below the shoulder 206) that fluidly seals the lower mandrel section 205 to the housing 202. Similarly, the ball member on below these ports is opened in the same manner as the ball member 100. Once the ball member is rotated to its open position, however, the

latch means 204 are disengaged from the upper mandrel A section 203 and now function to releasably secure the lower mandrel section 205 to the housing 202 so that the ball member will remain open and to allow the upper mandrel section 203 to be returned] to its initial extended position. It will be realized that the lower splitnut as at 52 (not shown in FIG. 6) and lower mandrel threads as at 61 (not shown in FIG. 6) are arranged to permit the upper mandrel section 203 to be pulled upwardly without rotation.

Once the upper mandrel section is returned to its initial extended position, the lower clutch member (corresponding to member 42) reengages cooperative splines (corresponding to splines 44) to again co-rotatively secure the mandrel section 203 to the housing 202. In this manner, the tubing string 24 can again transmit torque through the tool 200 to operate the tools therebelow as, for example, would be necessary to reopen the bypass valve 21 and to unseat the packer 23 arranged as shown in FIG. 1. Once the tools 21-23 are operated as, for example, to reposition the tools and re set the packer, the mandrel section 203 can be reconnected by the latch means 204 to the lower mandrel section 205 to reclose the ball valve. It will be appreciated, of course, that the lower split-nut (corresponding to nut 52) will require the mandrel section 203 to be progressively lowered and rotated through the same sequence as previously described with reference to FIGS. SA-SF before it can be relatched to the lower mandrel section 205.

The latch means 204 of the present invention are arranged to accomplish the selective coupling of the lower mandrel section 205 to either the housing 202 or the upper mandrel section 203 as desired by telescopically fitting the lower portion of the upper mandrel section into the upper portion of the lower mandrel section. A shoulder or enlarged-diameter portion 207 on the upper mandrel section 203 abuts the upper end 208 of the lower mandrel section 205 so that when the mandrel sections are coupled together, downward loads can be transmitted to the lower section. The upper portion of the lower mandrel section 205 is provided with a number of circumferentially spaced lateral openings 209 which respectively receive a ball member 210. These ball members 210 are appropriately selected to have a diameter slightly greater than the wall thickness of that portion of the lower mandrel section 205 through which the lateral openings 209 are formed.

When the tool 200 is in the position shown in FIGS.

6-8, the immediately adjacent inner wall of the housing 202 is closely spaced from the outer surface of the lower mandrel section 205. Thus, each of the balls 210 will partially project radially inwardly toward the outer surface of the lower portion of the upper mandrel section 202 and each will be partially received in an adjacent recess 211 formed therein by a corresponding number of cords or flats 212 of limited height cut at circumferentially spaced intervals into the adjacent surface of the upper mandrel section.

Accordingly, as will be appreciated from FIGS. 6 and 8, the close fit of the mandrel sections 203 and 205 with one another and in the housing 202 will cause the balls 210 to latch the mandrel sections to one another so long as the flats 212 are opposite the openings 209 and prevent both relative rotation and longitudinal movement therebetween without hampering relative rotation or longitudinal movement of the mandrel 201 with respect to the housing. Thus, so long as the mandrel sections 203 and 205 are latched together, the mandrel 201 will operate as a unit in the same manner as mandrel 28. This will, of course, permit the mandrel 201 to be operated through the same sequence as the mandrel 28 as previously illustrated in FIGS. 5A-5E.

When the mandrel 201 is moved into the position corresponding to that shown for the mandrel 28 in FIG. 5F, the openings 209 and balls 210 are then adjacent to a circumferential groove 213 formed around the inner surface of the housing 202. Thus, by rotating the mandrel 201 clockwise, the upper mandrel section 203 will rotate relative to the lower mandrel section 205 and, as the full diameter of the upper mandrel section comes into registration with the openings 209, force the balls 210 radially outwardly and into partial reception in the circumferential groove 213. It will be appreciated that the upward force of the spring (as at 118) as well as the frictional restraint of the various O-rings on the lower mandrel section 205 with the housing 202 will be suflicient to permit the upper mandrel section 203 to be rotated relative thereto at this time. To limit their relative rotation, the abutting surfaces at 207 and 208 are cooperatively keyed to one another as by upwardly extending fingers 214 loosely received in much wider arcuate slots or recesses 215 (FIG. 7) in the shoulder 207. Thus, it will always be possible to recouple the mandrel sections 203 and 205 in the proper orientation Cir all)

to assure the proper cooperation of the flats 212 with the lateral openings 209.

Once the flats 212 are moved out of registration with the lateral openings 209, the lower mandrel section 205 will then be secured to the housing 202 by the balls 210. With the mandrel section 205 secured in this manner, the ball valve will be held open and the ports (neither shown in FIG. 6) will be closed (as in FIG. 5F) so that the upper mandrel section 203 can be returned to its initial elevated position. It will be appreciated that the upper mandrel section 203 is of an appropriate length that its lower portion that is telescoped into the lower section 205 will always be adjacent to the lateral openings 209 so as to hold the balls 210 outwardly and in place in the circumferential groove 213.

To recouple the mandrel sections 203 and 205, the upper mandrel section can be returned only by being manipulated through the same sequence as already described in relation to FIGS. 5A5F. Once, however, the upper mandrel section 203 is again in its telescoped position, it is necessary only to rotate it in the reverse direction (counterclockwise) to re-engage the latch means 204 by bringing the flats 212 back into registration with the lateral openings 209 and balls 210. With the flats 212 again in position, upward movement of the upper mandrel section 203 will recouple it through the latch means 204 to the lower mandrel section 205 so that the ball valve can be reclosed and the mandrel 201 moved on to either its intermediate position or its upwardmost extended position.

Accordingly, it will be appreciated that the tool 200 can be operated through several sequences during a single trip into the well bore 25 rather than being limited to only a single sequence as is the case with the tool 20. This added flexibility provided by the latch means 204 of the present invention will have primary utility where a given well bore requires a number of completion operations at different depths. It will be recognized, of course, that the tool 200 can be employed with any type of packer or bypass valve and is not limited in its operation as is the tool 20. Moreover, the divided mandrel sections 203 and 205 in conjunction with the latch means 204 could be adapted for similar tools where the tool had only typical positioning means, such as for example a J-slot and J-pin arrangement, instead of the positioning means 35 described above.

The tool 20 (either with or without the spacer 58) and the tool 200 as described to this point are capable of performing any completion or testing operation except for measuring so-called downhole or bottom pressures. Inasmuch as it is essential to have a full-opening bore through the tools, as at 31 in the tool 20, for most if not all completion operations, it is necessary to provide means for releasably securing pressure-measuring devices in or just below the tools 20 or 200 in such a manner that these devices can be selectively released and returned to the surface when a full-opening bore is needed. Heretofore, pressure-measuring devices have been releasably connected to full-opening tools as, for example, respectively shown on opposite sides of page 3057 of the aforementioned Composite Catalog.

Although such tools as illustrated in the above-mentioned catalog have been sucessfully employed, there have been occasions where the releasable section (shown on the left of page 3057) is too long to freely pass through a corkscrewed tubing string. Similarly, the complexity of the releasing mechanism of this releasable section has been known to fail for one reason or another so that the entire tubing string and string of tools must be retrieved in order to release the center section.

Accordingly, as another aspect of the present invention, selectively releasable barrier means, such as a pressuremeasuring device 300, are shown in FIG. 9 which are free of the disadvantages mentioned above. Although the pressure-measuring device 300 is shown in position in the tool 20, it will be understood, of course, that this device could just as well be employed with the tool 200. Similarly, although these means 300 are described as being for measuring pressures, the same principles could be employed to releasably secure, either separately or in conjunction with other like or different mechanisms, temperaturesensing devices, fluid-sampling apparatus, or any number of different completion tools in the tools 20 or 200.

As seen in FIG. 9, the pressure-measuring means 300 are comprised of a support body 301 connected to the 'upper end of one or more typical pressure recorders 302 therebelow. The pressure-measuring means 300 are supported below the ball member 100 by means such as two or more outwardly extending shoulders 303 on the body 301 that are adapted to rest on an upwardly facing tapered seat 304 formed in the internal bore of a tubular sub 305 appropriately connected to the threads 32 at the lower end of the housing 29. It will be appreciated, of course, that the maximum transverse dimension of the shoulders 303 must be at least slightly less than the internal diameter of either the ball member passage 101 or the mandrel bore 31 (FIGS. 2A-2C) to allow the pres sure-measuring means 300 to pass freely therethrough as well as on through the tubing string 24. Similarly, no portion of the pressure-measuring means 300 below the shoulders 303 can have a transverse dimension that would prevent its passage past the inwardly projecting seat 304.

Accordingly, it will be appreciated that the pressuremeasuring means 300 will be trapped between the ball member 100 and the seat 304 so long as the selectively operable blocking means or ball member is in its closed position. Inasmuch as the passage 101 is preferably the same diameter as the mandrel bore 31, once the ball member 100 is in its open position, however, the pressuremeasuring means 300 are no longer trapped below the ball member and can be returned to the surface by, for example, applying pressure to the annulus fluids and reverse circulating them through the bypass valve 21 (or around the unseated packer 23) and back up through the bottom of the tool 20. Similarly, when either the spacer 58 (FIG. 2A) is not in the tool 20 or the tool 200 is employed, once the pressure-rneasuring means 300 are at the surface, they or other like devices could be returned through the tubing string 24 to the position shown in FIG. 9 and the ball member 100 reclosed to again trap the pressure-measuring means.

Although the pressure-measuring means 300 would be suitable with nothing more than described so far, it is preferred to extend the support body 301 upwardly and terminate it with suitable coupling means such as a fishing neck 306. The upright body 301 is extended upwardly so that the fishing neck 306- will be near to but spaced just below the bottom surface of the ball member 100 when that member is in its lowermost position. This minimum separation limits the distance that the pressure-measuring means 300 can shift due to fluid flow so long as the ball member 100 is closed.

Accordingly, it will be appreciated that so long as the valve means 33 and 34 are closed, the pressure recorder or recorders 302 will be measuring the so-called shutin pressure of the well. Moreover, whenever the ports 96 and 97 are opened (FIG. E), the recorder or recorders 302 will then measure the pressure of the well as it is flowing. Once the ball member 100 is opened, however, the pressure-measuring means 300 are free and can be returned to the surface through the ball passage 101 either by flowing well bore or formation fluids up through the tool 20 or by connecting suitable retrieving devices to the fishing neck 306 on the upright body member 301. As already mentioned, it will be seen that once the pressure-measuring means 300 are removed from the tool 20 (or tool 200), a continuous full-opening passage is provided to the well bore 25 below the packer 23 with the ball member 100 being opened to remove the only other barrier remaining therein.

It will be appreciated that should it be desired to reposition the pressure-measuring means 300 in the tool 20, for example, while it is in a well bore, it would be difiicult to ascertain from the surface whether the means were in fact reseated on the seat 304. Accordingly, to provide for this, a pressure-measuring device 400 or other selectively removable barrier means are arranged as shown in FIG. 10. As seen there, the pressure-measuring means 400 are substantially like those shown in FIG. 9 but instead include outwardly biased latching means, such as a pair of pivoted latch fingers 401 on its central body 402 that are arranged for latching reception in an annular recess 403 formed in the inner wall of a tubular housing or sub 404. Compression springs 405 insure that the upper ends of the fingers 401 will enter the recess 403 whenever the pressure-measuring means 400 are in their correct position. Once the fingers 401 spring outwardly and enter the recess 403, the upper ends of the fingers will engage the downwardly facing shoulder 406 formed by the upper surface of the recess and prevent the device 400 from being removed from the sub 404 until the fingers are retracted. Thus, an upwardly directed force on the device 400 through its retrieving device will provide a positive indication that the pressure-measuring means are in fact seated.

To retract the fingers 401, the body 402 is made either tubular or its upper portion hollowed sufiiciently to provide at least an axial bore 407 into which the lower ends of the fingers will project whenever the fingers are extended. Retrieving devices (not fully shown) suspended from a cable and having a suitable coupling or grapple adapted for connection to the fishing neck 408 on the body 402 are provided with a depending axial extension or probe 409 that will conveniently enter the axial bore 407 and engage the lower ends of the fingers 401. Then, as the retrieving device is lowered further into position to couple it to the fishing neck 408, the probe 409 will move the lower ends of the fingers 401 to retract their upper ends from the recess 403. Once the upper ends of the fingers are free of the recess 403, the pressure-measuring means 400 are freed from the sub 404 and can be retrieved to the surface. It will be realized, of course, that the depending probe 409 on the retrieving device will maintain the fingers 401 in their retracted position as the means 400 are returned to the surface through the tubing string 24.

The pressure-measuring device 400 can also be returned to its position as shown in FIG. 10 by either dropping it free through the tubing string 24 (FIG. 1) or lowering it with a retrieving device as just described but, however, without a depending proble. In this manner, the fingers 401 will again re-enter the recess 403 and secure the device 400 against an upward force applied through the suspension cable that is suflicient to insure first that the pressure-measuring means is again in position and then disconnect the retrieving device from the fishing neck 408.

The pressure-measuring means 400 must, of course, be returned to the surface by a cable-suspended retrieving device as just described. As will be appreciated, this is not always desirable; and, therefore, as best seen in FIG. 11, pressure-measuring means 500 are shown there which can be released without cable-suspended retrieving apparatus. The selectively operable barrier means or pressure-measuring device 500 is arranged similar to the pressure-measuring means, 400. As depicted, the pressuremeasuring means 500 are arranged for reception in a housing or sub 501 having a cooperative seat 502 for receiving outwardly projecting shoulders 503 on the tubular central body 504 of the device. Outwardly biased fingers 505 are pivotally mounted on the body 504 so that the outer ends of the fingers will enter an' internal annular recess 506 in the sub 501 and engage the downwardly facing shoulder 507 at the upper end of the recess. The upper end of the body 504 is terminated by a suitably arranged fishing neck 508 adapted for reception by a suitable grapple (not shown).

' The central body 504 receives a slidable member 509 that is releasably secured therein in an extended position by means, such as a frangible pin 510, to the central body. With the slidable member 509 secured, its upper end (not shown) is extended upwardly to a position slightly below the lower surface of the ball member (not shown) in the tool, as at 100 for example, when the ball member is still closed but the ports thereabove are in registration.

Thus, as will be appreciated from the preceding description of the tools 20 and 200, whenever the tool mandrel (not shown) is lowered to reclose the ports and open the ball member (as depicted in FIG. F), the ball member will be shifted downwardly against the upper end of the slidable member 509 with suflicient force to fail the pins 510. Then, as the ball member is moved on downwardly, the slidable member 509 will move downwardly in the central member 504 and engage the lower ends of the pivoted fingers 505 to retract their upper ends out of the recess 506. Once the member 509 is freed and moved downwardly, suitable latch means, such as an inwardly biased split-nut 511 in the central body 504 and engageable with external teeth or threads 512 on the slidable member, will secure the slidable member against upward movement.

Accordingly, once the ball member in the tool, as at 200, is open, the fingers 505 will be retracted. This will, of course, permit the pressure-measuring device 500 to be dispatched to the surface by fluids flowing upwardly through the tool and tubing string 24. The slidable member 509 and shear pin 510 can be replaced and the device 500 returned into position if desired.

It has been demonstrated, therefore, that the tools of the present invention provide new and improved means for controlling a cylindrical or spherical valve member. By arranging the actuating springs, as at 118 for example, to be selectively engaged by various shoulders, the springs are capable of holding the valve member in one of its positions and then moving it to another of its positions as the tool is operated. Moreover, by dividing the mandrel as shown and releasably connecting the two mandrel portions with the latch means depicted in FIGS. 6-8. The lower mandrel portion and ball member can be positively latched in one of their positions while the remainder of the mandrel is moved into diflerent positions.

The various embodiments of the barrier means shown in FIGS. 9-11 also give the tools of the present invention more flexibility. By employing such barrier means, various operations can be carried out by the tools and then, once the barrier is removed, still further operations can be conducted.

While particular embodiments of the present invention have been shown and described, it is apparent that changes and modifications may be made without departing from this invention in its broader aspects; and, therefore, the aim in the appended claims to cover all such changes and modifications as fall within the true spirit and scope of this invention.

What is claimed is:

1. Well bore apparatus comprising: inner and outer telescoped members movable longitudinally in relation to one another between spaced positions; a second inner member slidably disposed in said outer member adjacent to said first-mentioned inner member; passage means in said inner members including an annular valve seat on one of said inner members; a valve member having a curved portion complementary to said valve seat and a flow passage therethrough, said valve member being disposed between said valve seat and the other of said inner members and adapted for rotation relative to said valve seat to control communication through said flow passage; first means on one of said inner members'pivotally supporting said valve member; second means between the other of said inner members and said valve member for transmitting a turning force to said valve member; and valve-actuating means responsive to movement of said telescoped members for rotating said valve member including first and second opposed shoulders on said second inner member and said outer member respectively and movable toward one another as said telescoped members are moved from one of their said spaced positions to another of their spaced positions, biasing means between said opposed shoulders, and means for isolating said biasing means from at least one of said shoulders until said telescoped members are between their said one and other spaced positions.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said biasing means include: spring means having upper and lower ends and adapted for compression between said opposed shoulders to urge said second inner member upwardly as said first inner member is moved downwardly in relation to said outer member.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein said isolating means include: a third shoulder on said second inner member below said first shoulder for maintaining said lower end of said spring means away from said second shoulder.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 further including: a fourth shoulder on said outer member above said second shoulder and below said first shoulder so long as said telescoped members are in their said one position; and means between said fourth shoulder and said upper end of said spring means for maintaining said spring means in compression therebetween to prevent rotation of said valve member until said first shoulder is brought into engage ment with said upper end of said spring means.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein said first inner member has a first portion separable from a second portion thereof; and further including: means normally latching said first and second inner member portions to one another and releasable upon movement of said first portion in a distinctive manner to free it from said second portion for further longitudinal movement without operating said valve member.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein said latching means further include: means for latching said second inner member portion to said outer member whenever said first and second portions of said first inner member are free from one another to maintain said valve member in one of its positions.

7. A well tool adapted for connection to a string of pipe and comprising: inner and outer telescoped tubular members fluidly sealed together and longitudinally movable relative to one another between an extended position and progressively-telescoped positions; means for selectively establishing said positions of said tubular members; valve means including a valve member pivotally connected along one of its axes to the lower end of said inner member and having a curved portion with a transverse passage therethrough, and an annular valve seat coaxially mounted on said lower end of said inner member adapted for receiving said curved portion of said valve member; and actuating means responsive to movement of said inner member between two of its said positions for rotating said valve member in relation to said valve seat between a flow-blocking position and a flow-communicating position, said actuating means including an actuating member movably disposed in said outer member adjacent to said valve member, force-transmitting means eccentrically connecting said actuating member to said valve member for applying rotational forces thereto, spring means between said actuating member and said outer member, first means for engaging One end of said spring means with one of said two last-mentioned members as said inner member is moved from one of its said two positions toward the other of its said two positions, and second means for engaging the other end of said spring means with the other of said two last-mentioned members before said inner member reaches its said other position and energizing said spring means to develop sufiicient force to rotate said valve member from one of its said positions to the other of its said positions.

8. The well tool of claim 7 further including: second valve means responsive to movement of said inner member and adapted for reducing a pressure differential across said valve member before said valve member is rotated into its said flow-communicating position.

9. The well tool of claim 7 further including: third and fourth means respectively on said two members and engaging said ends of said spring means so long as said inner member is in its said one position for energizing said spring means to maintain said valve member in its said one position.

10. The well tool of claim 7 wherein said inner member is comprised of two separable portions; and further including: means normally latching said separable portions to one another and releasable upon rotation of the upper one of said two portions to free it from the lower one of said two portions for further longitudinal movement without operating said valve member.

11. The well tool of claim 10 further including: clutch means co-rotatively securing said upper portion to said outer member whenever said upper portion is in at least one position other than said other position of said inner member and releasable upon movement of said inner member to its said other position.

12. The well tool of claim 11 wherein said latching means further include means for latching said lower portion to said outer member whenever said upper and lower portions of said inner member are free from one another to maintain said valve member in its said other position.

13. A well tool adapted for connection to a string of pipe and comprising: inner and outer telescoped tubular members fluidly sealed together and longitudinally movable relative to one another between an extended position and first and second progressively telescoped positions; means for selectively establishing said positions of said telescoped members; first valve means including a port in said inner member and sealing means between said telescoped members for blocking fiuid communication between said port and a lower portion of the internal bore of said outer member until said telescoped members are moved from their said extended position to their said first telescoped position; second valve means including a ball member pivotally connected along one of its axes to the lower end of said inner member and having a passage therethrough along another one of its axes transverse to said pivotal axis, and an annular valve seat coaxially mounted on said lower end of said inner member receiving said ball member; and actuating means responsive to movement of said telescoped members between their said first and second telescoped positions for rotating said ball member in relation to said valve seat, said actuating means including a tubular actuating member movably disposed in said outer member below said lower end of said inner member, force-transmitting means eccentrically connecting said actuating member to said ball member for applying rotational forces thereto, spring means between said actuating member and said outer member and adapted for compression to develop sufficient spring force to rotate said ball member relative to said valve seat from a normal flow-blocking position to a flow-communicating position where said transverse passage is in alignment with said valve seat, a first shoulder on said actuating member above said compression spring means and adapted for engagement with the upper end of said compression spring means, and a second shoulder on said outer member below said first shoulder and said compression spring means and adapted for engagement with the lower end of said compression spring means, at least one of said first and second shoulders being spaced from its associated end of said compression spring means until said telescoped members are substantially in their said first telescoped position so that said compression spring means are not compressed between said first and second shoulders until said telescoped members are moved from their said first telescoped position to their said second telescoped position.

14. The well tool of claim 13 further including: means releasably connecting said compression spring means between said outer member and said actuating member for compressing said compression spring means so long as said telescoped members are in their said extended position and developing sufiicient spring force to maintain said ball member in its said flow-blocking position.

15. The well tool of claim 14 wherein said releasable connecting means include: a third shoulder on said outer member between said first and second shoulders and engaged with said upper end of said compression spring means so long as said telescoped members are in their said extended positions; and a fourth shoulder on said actuating member engaged with said lower end of said compression spring means and above said second shoulder until said telescoped members are substantially in their said first telescoped position.

16. The well tool of claim 15 wherein said inner member has an upper portion separable from a longer portion at a point below said position-establishing means; and further including: means normally latching said upper and lower portions to one another and releasable upon rotation of said upper portion relative to said outer member whenever said telescoped members are in their said second telescoped position to free said upper and lower portions from one another and latch said lower portion to said outer member for maintaining said ball member in its said flow-communication position.

17. The well tool of claim 15 further including: barrier means adapted for passage through said tubular members, said transverse passage, and said valve seat; and means below said valve member for supporting said barrier means.

18. The well tool of claim 17 further including: means releasably latching said barrier means in said tool.

19. The well tool of claim 18 further including: means responsive to movement of said telescoped members to their said second telescoped position for releasing said releasable latching means and freeing said barrier means for passage through said tubular member, said transverse passage, and said valve seat.

20. The well tool of claim 19 wherein said inner mem ber has an upper portion separable from a lower portion at a point below said position-establishing means; and further including: means normally latching said upper and lower portions to one another and releasable upon rotation of said upper portion relative to said outer member Whenever said telescoped members are in their said second telescoped position to free said upper and lower portions from one another and latch said lower portion to said outer member for maintaining said ball member in its said flow-communicating position.

21. The well tool of claim 19 wherein said movementresponsive latch-releasing means includes an upright member movably disposed between said releasable latching means and said ball member, said upright member being adapted for engagement by said ball member as said telescoped members are moved toward their said second telescoped position to move said upright member from a first position to a position for releasing said releasable latching means.

22. The well tool of claim 21 further including means for securing said upright member in its latch-releasing position.

23. The well tool of claim 22 further including means for releasably securing said upright member in its said first position.

24. Well bore apparatus comprising: inner and outer telescoped members movable longitudinally in relation to one another between spaced positions; a second inner 23 member slidably disposed in said outer member adjacent to said first-mentioned inner member; valve means in said inner members including an annular valve seat on one of said inner members and a valve member normally in one position and movably disposed between said valve seat and the other of said inner members; and valveactuating means responsive to movement of said telescoped members for moving said valve member to another position including first and second opposed shoulders on said second inner member and said outer member respectively and movable toward one another as said telescoped members are moved from one of their said spaced positions to another of their spaced positions, biasing means between said opposed shoulders, and means for isolating said biasing means from at least one of said shoulders until said telescoped members are between their said one and other spaced positions.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Re. 25,471 11/1963 Fredd 166224 X 2,894,715 7/1959 Bostock 16672 X 2,998,077 8/1961 Keithahn 166-226 3,273,583 9/1966 Dollison 166224 X 3,311,173 3/1967 Henslee et a1. 166-226 3,347,318 10/1967 Borrington 166226 3,351,133 11/1967 Clark et a1 166226X 3,356,145 12/1967 Fredd 166224 DAVID H. BROWN, Primary Examiner.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3483922 *Sep 16, 1968Dec 16, 1969Schlumberger Technology CorpValve system for a well packer
US3835925 *May 14, 1973Sep 17, 1974Hydril CoSurface controlled float valve and inside blowout preventer drilling tool
US4100969 *Mar 28, 1977Jul 18, 1978Schlumberger Technology CorporationTubing tester valve apparatus
US4508173 *Sep 26, 1983Apr 2, 1985Dresser Industries, Inc.Flow control valve for use on oil and gas wells or the like
US6073698 *Aug 10, 1999Jun 13, 2000Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.Annulus pressure operated downhole choke and associated methods
DE2213098A1 *Mar 17, 1972Sep 20, 1973Hydril CoDruckbetaetigtes sicherheitsventil fuer bohrlochrohrstraenge
Classifications
U.S. Classification166/334.2, 166/150, 166/152
International ClassificationE21B34/00, E21B34/12
Cooperative ClassificationE21B34/125, E21B2034/002
European ClassificationE21B34/12T