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Publication numberUS3493043 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 3, 1970
Filing dateAug 9, 1967
Priority dateAug 9, 1967
Publication numberUS 3493043 A, US 3493043A, US-A-3493043, US3493043 A, US3493043A
InventorsWatkins Bruce J
Original AssigneeRegan Forge & Eng Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Mono guide line apparatus and method
US 3493043 A
Abstract  available in
Images(4)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

Feb. 3, 1970 B. J. 'wATKlN-s MONO GUIDE yLINE APPARATU S AND'METHOD IFiled Aug'. 9, 1967 acs I MTK/Ns Ov-roe/vEs/s.

Feb. 3, 1970 5.-.1. wATKlNs MONO GUIDE LINE APPARATUS AND METHOD Filed Aug. 9, 1967 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR.

Feb. 3, 1970 B. J. wATKlNs MONO GUIDE LINE APPARATUS AND METHOD 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 I Filed Aug. 9. 196? LZIG. 6.

NVENTOR. I War/ms Ba/Bce L Y B. Jr wArKlNs MONO GUIDE LINE APPARATUS AND METHOD. l

Feb. 3, 1970 l4 sheets-sheet 4 Filed Aug. 1967 Lira. l0. 4

J F 1.4% l/mwzz:

W 8 1 lrlrlw .f [.uflz rz? N G J/ l. f x a INVENTOR. m/CE JI MTK/Ns United States Patent O U.S. Cl. 166-.5 20 Claims ABSTRACT F THE DISCLOSURE A reentry frame associated with drill pipe for relative vertical movement therebetween and an associated orienting assembly seated upon a guide line latch means to -be run to a well head from a floating vessel concurrently with the running of the drill pipe and latch means, the latch means being suspended by a single guide line which is operable from the floating vessel independently of the drill pipe for raising and lowering the reentry frame and associated orienting assembly relative to the drill pipe. An orienting slot on a single guide post at the well head for receiving a dog mounted to the orienting means to preorient the orienting means at the well head by such reference point on the guide post. Inner and outer members of the orienting assembly mounted to each other for relative rotation therebetween in a predetermined manner and extent when the associated dog is aligned to and dropped into the post orienting slot by rotation of the members on the guide post. Means associated with the inner and outer members for allowing downward movement of the outer member relative to the inner member into a well head oriented position when the limited allowed relative rotation between the inner and outer members is completed.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION After a subsea well has been drilled and production operations have been suspended, it frequently becomes necessary to reenter the well in order to resume production operations or to perform other conventional work-over operations at the well head beneath the sea. The amount of drill pipe or tubing necessary to run work-over tools to the subsea well head generally is very heavy and it becomes very difficult to land the work-over tool at the well head without doing considerable damage thereto. The landing of heavy tools and the accompanying drill string or tubing can be facilitated through the use of two or more guide lines where such guide lines are retained intact between the well head and a floating vessel or buoy or where it is possible to connect such guide lines through the use of divers or other means. In either event, the maintenance or problem of reconnecting such guide lines in operable relationship is expensive and burdensome. Prior efforts have been made to land and orient a tool at a subsea well head without the use of guide lines, but such efforts have resulted in damaging of fittings and other expensive and uneasily reached equipment at the Well head.

It is therefore the primary object of this invention to disclose and provide an apparatus and method for running a tool by drill pipe or tubing from a floating vessel to a remote subsea well head without damaging equipment at the well head and without the need for maintaining or preconnecting guide lines between the floating vessel and the well head. It is another object within the present invention to run such tools to a subsea well head from a floating vessel by drill pipe or tubing concurrently with the running of a single guide line to the well head which may thereafter be employed for subsequent operations in addition to that performed by the initially run tool.

It is another object of the present invention to disclose and provide an orienting assembly and method for orienting a drill string over a subsea well head prior to its landing thereon through the use of a single guide line only, such guide line being run with the drill string or prior thereto. It is another object within the present invention to disclose and provide a reentry frame for mounting about the lower end of the drill pipe or tubing for connecting the orienting assembly of the foregoing object to the drill string or tubing in a manner so that the concurrently run drill string or tubing may be held stationary above the well head while the associated orienting assembly is lightly landed upon the well head and is thereafter operated to align the drill string or tubing over a predetermined location at the well head, orienting the drill string or tubing prior to its landing on the well head.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Generally stated, the mono guide line apparatus and method of the present invention comprises the running of drill pipe or tubing mounting a tool at a lower end thereof from a floating vessel toward a remote subsea well head with an orienting assembly laterally constrained to the tubing and suspended for vertical movement relative thereto by a single guide line being run concurrently with the tubing from the floating vessel. The tool mounting drill string or tubing and its associated laterally constrained but vertically movable orienting assembly are guided over the well head and, with the drill string or tubing held in fixed vertical relationship to the well, the orienting assembly is lightly landed upon a guide post at the well head provided with a reference point means thereon for preorienting the orienting assembly thereon. The landed orienting assembly is then actuated into its preoriented assembly engagement with the reference point means on the guide post and thereafter into a fully oriented position by lateral movement of the drill string or tubing in an arcuate direction about the guide post to rotate portions of the orienting assembly about the guide post. The drill string and associated tool are thereafter landed on the well head while the orienting assembly laterally constrains the drill string or tubing in a fully oriented relationship over the well head.

`More particularly, the apparatus for running a tool by drill pipe from a floating vessel to a remote subsea Well head and orienting such tool into a predetermined location at the well head through the use of only a single guide line and an associated guide line latch means run with the apparatus to a single guide post at the well head comprises the provision of a reentry frame of preferably sleeve-like configuration mounted about a lower portion of the drill pipe or tubing for relative vertical movement therebetween. An orienting assembly is seated upon a guide line latch means to be run to the well head with the latch means being suspended by a single guide line. Means are provided for securing the orienting assembly to the reentry frame for selectably raising or lowering the reentry frame and orienting means relative to the drill pipe by the guide line, the orienting assembly being seated upon the latch means.

The orienting assembly, generally stated, includes inner nd outer tubular members and meansfor mounting the flembers to each other for relative rotation therebe- Ween, the inner member being seated on the guide line itch means, the outer member being. secured to the rentry frame and latching dog and means for mounting he dog to the tubular members for preventing their rela ive rotation until the orienting assembly is placed in ts preoriented relation on the well head guide post with he latching dog engaging a reference point means on he 'guide post, which is preferably an orienting slot proided in a landing7 surface of the guide post. The cornlete orienting of the drill string by the orienting asembly is accomplished through the provision of means .ssociated with the tubular members of the assembly for Lllowing downward movement of the outer tubular mem- )er relative to the inner tubular member into a well head riented position when the latching dog has been re- :eived in the orienting slot and the outer tubular memer is rotated relative to the inner tubular member a preletermined amount.

A complete understanding of the present invention as vell as the recognition of additional objects and advanages of the present invention can be obtained by those .killed in the art from a consideration of the following letailed explanation of a preferred exemplary embodinent of the mono guide line apparatus and the method )f running a tool to a predetermined location at a renote subsea well head, according to the present invenion. In describing such preferred exemplary embodiment )f mono guide line apparatus and method, reference will )e made to the appended sheets of drawings in which:

IFIG. 1 is an elevational view of an apparatus in tccordance with the present invention being run from an axemplary oating vessel, dynamically positioned gen- :rally above a remote subsea well, to the well head using )nly a single guide line in accordance with the method of :he present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation, partially in section, of the exemplary embodiment of apparatus of FIG. 1 for run- Jing a tool by drill pipe or tubing from a floating vessel :oward a subsea well head in accordance with the method Jf the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a side elevation of the exemplary embodiment of apparatus of FIGS. l and 2 showing the orienting assembly portion of the apparatus landed upon a guide post at the well head prior to orienting of the :lrill pipe or tubing and associated tool to the well head in accordance with the method of the present invention;

FIG. 4 is a side elevation of the exemplary embodiment of apparatus of FIGS. 1 through 3 showing the apparatus completely landed on and aligned to the Well head in accordance with the method of the present invention with the tool associated with the drill pipe or tubing connected to a cap or fitting means at the Well head;

FIG. 5 is a side elevation, partially in section, of an exemplary embodiment of guide line latch means which may'be employed with the orienting assembly of the exemplary embodiment of apparatus of FIGS. 1 through 4 to connect the single guide line to the single guide post at the well head in accordance with the method of the present invention;

FIG. 6 is a side elevation of an alternative exemplary embodiment of a lubricator connector tool being run to the Well head on the guide line of FIGS. 1 through 5 after the apparatus of FIGS. 1 through 5 has been removed from the well head, all in accordance with the apparatus and method of the present invention;

FIG. 7 is a side elevational view of the alternative exemplary embodiment of tool of FIG. 6 shown landed at the well head after it has been oriented thereon by the orienting assembly in accordance with the apparatus and method of the present inventign;

FIG. 8 is an elevational View @f a still further alternative exemplary embodiment of Qhristmas. tree Cap rur1- ning tool showing the tool landed at the well head by means of the apparatus and method of the present invention;

FIG. 9 is a horizontal section view of the orienting assembly of the apparatus of FIGS. 1 through 8 taken along the plane IX-IX in FIG. 3 when the orienting assembly has been landed onv the guide line post but prior to its engagement with a reference point means provided on the guide line post;

FIG. 10 lis a vertical section view of the orienting assembly of FIG. 9 taken therein along the plane X-X;

FIG. 11 is a vertical section View of the orienting assembly of FIG. 9 taken therein along the plane XI-XI;

FIG. 12 is a horizontal section View of the orienting assembly of FIGS. 9 through 1l after it has been rotated on the guide post to engage the reference point means on the guide post and after an outer member of the orienting assembly has been rotated relative to an inner member of the orienting assembly just prior to the full orienting and landing of the apparatus as shown in FIG. 4; and

FIG. 13 is a vertical section View of the orienting assembly of FIG. 12 taken therein along the plane XIII- XIII.

Referring first to FIG. 1, a floating vessel, indicated generally at 10, is shown dynamically positioned in the sea above a typical remote subsea well, indicated generally at 11. An otherwise conventional subsea well head, indicated generally at 12, is provided in accordance with the present invention with a single guide post 13 with reference point means thereon, as subsequently disclosed, to receive an orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14. The orienting assembly is part of the apparatus in accordance with the present invention, indicated generally at 15, being run by drill pipe or tubing string 16 and the single guide line 17 tothe well from the floating vessel. The apparatus of the present invention, indicated generally at 15, is connected to the lower end of tubing or drill pipe run or pumped down from the oating vessel toward the subsea well head with a movable frame portion of the apparatus mounting the orienting assembly being suspended about and movable with respect to the tubing 16 by the guide line 17 as hereinafter explained in detail. Any conventional subsea well tool may be mounted to the lower end of the portion of the apparatus fixed to the tubing or drill pipe string.

A preferred exemplary embodiment of the apparatus for running a tool by drill pipe or tubing from a floating vessel to a remote subsea Well head is seen in FIGS. 2 through 4 during the various stages of the running and orienting of the tool to be landed at the Well head by the apparatus and method of the present invention. As seen in FIG. 2, the orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14, is laterally constrained at the lower end of the drill pipe or tubing string and mounted thereto for limited relative vertical movement by means of the associated sleeve-like frame 20 mounted about a mandrel for lower tubing section 21. The mandrel or tubing section 21 is connected into the tubing string 16 below a jet means 18 of conventional construction employed for guiding the drill or tubing string laterally over the well head to align the orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14, over the guide post 13 prior to landing of the orienting assembly on the guide post by lowering of guide line 17 as hereinafter more fully explained.

Mandrel or tubing section 21 is preferably provided with a laterally extending ange 22 with means, which in the exemplary embodiment include pulleys 23 and 24 rotatably mounted to flange 22, for entraining guide line 17 to mandrel 21 While allowing relative vertical movement therebetween. Additional laterally extending flanges 2S and 26 may also be provided on mandrel 21 for mounting a television camera 27 and its associated cable 28 thereto. Television camera 27 may be employed for visually observing the guide post 13 during lateral jetting of the tubing string by means of the jet means 18 preparatory to landing of the orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14, on the guide post 13.

A conventional subsea well tool, as retrieving tool 30, is preferably mounted at the lower end of the mandrel or tubing string 21 to be run, oriented and landed upon the subsea well head. In the exemplary embodiment of FIGS. l through 4, retrieving tool 30 is intended to be used in removing the cap 31 provided at the well head during re-entry operations on the well concurrently with the landing and connecting of a guide line latch means 32 on post 13. ,Subsequent work-over operations can thereafter be performed on the well head by guiding other tools to the well head by means of the guide line 17 after latch means 32 has been secured to post 13. During such subsequent operations, as hereinafter explained, the orientating assembly, indicated generally at 14, continues to perform its orienting function in orienting the associated reentry guide frame over the means at the well head to be operated on.

The orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14, is positioned about and seated upon a guide line latch 32 suspended on guide line 17. The orienting assembly, as shown in detail in FIGS. 9 through 13 and as more fully explained with reference to such figures hereinafter, generally includes an outer tubular member 60 and an inner tubular member 50, the inner and outer members being mounted to each other for limited relative rotation and vertical movement therebetween during the orienting operation performed by the assembly. The outer tubular member 60 is provided with a laterally extending flange 51 which is mounted by conventional means, as by bolts 52 and 53 to a flange 54 secured to the re-entry frame or sleeve 20. The orienting assembly is thus laterally constrained to the mandrel or lower tubing section 21 by means of the re-entry frame 20.

Re-entry frame 20 is provided with a plurality of vertically extending narrow slot-like apertures to allow relative vertical movement between the frame 20 and the flanged mandrel or tubing section 21. As seen in FIG, 2, the re-entry frame 20 is provided with a vertical aperture S5 extending from a point below flange 22 to the upper limits of the frame where an end collar 56 is secured. Collar 56 may be provided at the upper end of frame or sleeve 20 by a threaded connection or by welding. The overall length of aperture 55 may be chosen in View of the extent of relative vertical movement desired between the frame 20 and mandrel 21. It has been found that a relative movement of from 14 to 20 feet is desirable during the landing operations as subsequently described. Aperture 55 should thus be at least approximately 15 feet longer than the height of flange 22 protruding through the aperture. Additional apertures or slots 57 and 58 are also provided in the frame or sleeve 20 to allow passage therethrough of the flanges and 26 for the camera means 27 and for mounting an upper portion of cable 28. The vertical extent of each of apertures 57 and 58 should be approximately equal to the amount aperture 55 extends in addition to the height of flange 22.

As seen in FIG. 2, the orienting assembly, indicated generally 'at 14, is seated upon guide line latch 32, the inner tubular member 60 of the assembly seating upon an outer housing about latch 32. When the drill pipe or tubing string with mandrel or lower tubing section 21 has been run down toward the well head within approximately 10 to 20 feet of the well head, the lowering or pumping of the drill string is preferably stopped. Using television camera 27 for visu-ally observing guide post 13, the drill string may be guided laterally over the well head by jet means 18 until the orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14, can be landed by its guide flange 59 on post 13. As shown in FIG. 3, the landing of the orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14, on post 13 is accomplished by maintaining the tubing string 16 and mandrel 21 vertially stationary While lowering guide line 17 allowing re-entry frame 20 to extend downwardly about the mandrel 21 and associated tool 30 until the latch means 32 positioned within the orienting assembly is landed and connected onto post 13. Over extending of the re-entry frame relative to mandrel 21 is prevented by means of the upper collar or cap 56 which will seat upon the upper end of flanges 22 and 26 preventing loss of frame 20 olf of the mandrel or tubing section 21. From the foregoing, it can be seen that the heavy drill or tubing string may be withheld from landing upon the well head and doing any appreciable damage thereto while the relatively lighter -re-entry frame 20 and associated orienting means, indicated gener-ally at 14, is lightly landed by lowering of guide line 17 onto the guide post 13. Generally, such landing will be accomplished with the re-entry frame 20 misaligned to the means at the well head, as Cap 31, to which the tool being run is to be aligned and landed upon. The operation of the orienting apparatus and the continued method of landing a tool at the well head in accordance with the present method will now be explained in detail after a short description of an exemplary latch means 32 is made.

While any conventional form of guide line latch means can be employed in association wtih the orienting assembly and apparatus of the present invention, in the preferred exemplary embodiment, the guide line latch of my co-pending application Ser, No. 491,247 filed Sept. 29, 1965, entitled Guide Line Latch, now abandoned, is disclosed. However, whether the exemplary guide line latch means is employed, or some other form of latch means is employed, an additional housing 33 is preferably rotatably mounted about the guide line latch means to facilitate rotation of the orienting means about post 13 during the orienting operations as hereinafter explained. As seen in FIG. 5, housing 33 is provided with a landing conical surface 34 to receive inner member 60 of the orienting assembly thereon. Housing 33 is rotatably mounted to the latch housing 35 by means of circular race ball bearing means indicated generally at 37. Such ball bearing means include an inner race 38 mounted to housing 3S with an outer race 39 mounted to outer or additional housing 33. A plurality of ball bearing members, as member 40, are provided between the circular inner tnd outer races 38 and 39, respectively to rotatably mount the outer housing relative to inner or main latch housing 35. An additionally similarly constructed circular race ball bearing means, indicated generally at 41, may be provided at a lower portion of the housings to provide lower lateral support for the outer housing 33 relative to the inner latch housing 35 and the associated inner socket member 42 and the connected annular landing collar 43. Outer bearing race 44 may be held to the outer housing 33 by means of the threaded collar 45 while the landing collar 43 is adapted to retain the inner bearing race 46 assembled within the latch housing 35 and socket member 42 The inner latch mechanism of the latch means illustrated in FIG. 5 is completely described and its operation explained in the co-pending Ser. No. 491,247, referred to hereinabove. However, for purposes of the present application, it should be understood that the exemplary latch means is self actuating upon landing post 13. As seen in FIG, 5, a plurality of latch dogs 47 are slidably mounted in the inner socket member 42 for movement in a direction normal to the axis of the socket member into engagement with a peripheral groove provided in post 13. On landing of the latch means upon post 13, a trigger block 48 is pushed upwardly freeing dogs 49 which are slidably mounted in the side wall of inner socket member 42 for movement in an axial direction relative to the socket. Upon freeing of dogs 49 by upward movement of the trigger block 48, an upwardly biased actuator 49 moves upwardly camming dogs 47 into the peripheral groove provided in the upper end of post 13 and thereafter blocking withdrawal of dogs 47 and release of the latch means from post 13. As more fully escribed in the co-pending application Ser. No. 491,247, 1e latch means may be released by dropping a ring Ieight downwardly about the guide line 17 to land about 1e upper open end of actuator 49 to force it down- /ardly in FIG. 5 overcoming the upward spring bias proided. Downward movement of actuator 49 in FIG. 5 eleases the dogs 47 and allows release of the latch means rom post 13,

Referring to FIGS. 9, and 1l, the preferred exemlary embodiment of orienting assembly includes the pro- 'ision of inner tubular member 50 and outer tubular nember 60 and means for mounting the members to each ther for relative rotation therebetween. Such means for counting members 50 and 60 to each other for relative otation therebetween, in the exemplary embodiment, in- :ludes the provision of a horizontal arcuate recess 61 in he outer wall of inner tubular member 50 and a mating ug 62 provided on and extending inwardly of the outer ubular member 60 to ride within, and on the lower sur- 'ace 63 of, recess 61. Lug 62, as seen in FIGS. 9 and l0, s formed integrally with a body block 64 which is re- :eived into a mating recess 65 provided in outer member i0 with conventional bolts 66 and 67 securing a ange i8 of block 64 to a boss 69 provided on outer member 601 rnd in which recess 65 is formed. Relative rotation be- Aween inner and outer members 50 and 60, respectively, s limited by the vertical side walls 70 and 71 of recess 61 grovided in inner member 50.

As shown particularly in FIG. 9, the inner and outer nembers 50 and 60, respectively, of the orienting assem- Jly are provided with removable line blocks 72 and 73, respectively, to allow passing of the guide line 17 through :he side walls of the orienting assembly on board the vessel during initial setup of the apparatus or subsequent Jperations therewith without disconnecting the guide line l7 from between the vessel and post 13. Such removable line blocks 72 and 73 are secured in place by the provision of bolt means, as bolts 74 and 75, respectively, adapted to pass through the line blocks and screw into portions of the members 50 and 60. As seen in FIG. 9, a split llange 76 is provided with a tapped and threaded bore 77 to receive bolt 74, while the inner body 50- is provided with a tapped and threaded bore 78 to receive bolt 75 therein. Each of bores 77 and 7 8i are enlarged or reamed. to receive the bolt heads as shown.

When the orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14, and the associated latch means 32 is landed on post 13, as seen in FIG. 3, the inner orienting tube 50 is seated on the conical landing surface 34 provided by outer additional housing 33 associated with the latch means. The apparatus, in accordance with the present invention, is provided with a latching dog and means for mounting such dog to the tubular members for preventing relative rotation therebetween when the members are rst landed upon guide post 13 prior to a preorienting of the assembly relative to the well head by engagement between the assembly and a reference point means provided on post 13. In the exemplary embodiment, such reference point means includes the provision of an upwardly opening slot 80- provided in post 13 with the upper end of slot k80 opening into the conical landing surface 81 in a portion thereof outwardly of the latch means 32. As seen in FIG. l1, the latch means 32 seats upon the conical landing surface 81 of post 13 maintaining the inner tubular member 50 spaced upwardly of the post a slight distance to facilitate relative rotation therebetween Via the outer housing 33 being rotatably mounted upon the inner latch means housing 35 as shown in FIG. 5. The exemplary latching dog for engaging the orienting slot 801 comprises the downwardly biased dog 82. The means for mounting dog 82 to prevent relative rotation between members 50` and 60 prior to alignment and dropping of dog 82 into slot 80 includes the provision of a vertically extending recess 83 in inner member 50 with a downward bias on dog 82 effected by spring means, as spring 84. The spring means may be mounted in a deeper recess portion 85 of recess 83 with a bottom end of the spring means seated on an inner ledge 86 provided by a recessed portion of dog 82 provided at its lower end. Such biased mounting of dog 82 forces it downwardly and outwardly of the orienting tubes 50 and 60 during the landing operation until the latch means 32 seats on post 13 bringing the inner tube member 50 down over and in close spaced relation to conical landing surface 81.

Dog 82 is adapted, by its mounting means, to land on and abut surface 81 and be thereby forced upwardly relative to the orienting tube members 50 and 60 against the downward bias provided by spring means 84. An upper end 87 of dog 8-2 is forced upwardly into recess 61 blocking relative rotational movement of lug 62 and the associated outer tubular member 60y by the landing of the inner tube member 50 about post 13 with the lower end of dog 82 resting upon post landing surface 81.

Upon landing of the orienting assembly upon the guide post, the inner and outer orienting tube members are prevented from relative rotation therebetween by the blocking of the upper end 87 of dog 82 in recess 61 as clearly shown in FIG. 9. Upon lateral movement of the reentry frame by the drill string, in an arcuate movement about post 13 in the exemplary embodiment, the orienting assembly is rotated as a unit about post 13 until dog 82 is aligned to and dropped into orienting slot `80 as seen in FIG. 13.

A limit pin 88 in member 50 and a cooperating aperture 89 in dog 82 may be provided for limiting the vertical movement of dog 82 relative to member 50l under the urging of the spring bias of spring means 84. -In order to prevent premature relative rotation between the members 50 and 60, a shear pin 90, as seen in FIG. 9, may be provided between members 50 and 60` to prevent their rotation during the running of the orienting assembly from the vessel to the well head post 13 as seen in FIGS. 1 through 3.

Additional means are associated with the orienting assembly for allowing a limited predetermined arcuate movement of the associated reentry frame and inwardly constrained mandrel or lower tubing section 21 about post 13 after the assembly is preoriented on post 13 through engagement of dog 82 and orienting slot 80. In the preferred exemplary embodiment, such additional means include means for allowing a downward movement of the outer tube member 60' from the position of FIG. 3 to the positionof FIG. 4 when the outer tubular member is rotated (shearing pin 90) relative to the inner tubular member `50 into a predetermined position over the well head. The exemplary means for allowing such downward movement of the outer tubular member 60 relative to the inner tubular member 50 includes the provision of a vertical recess 91 formed in an outer wall of the inner tubular member 50 and communicating at its upper end with the horizontal arcuate recess 61 provided in member 50, as seen from its upper end in FIG. 9 and as seen in broken line in FIG. 10. After dog 82 is aligned to and dropped into slot l80, it no longer serves to prevent relative rotationv between outer tubular member 60 and inner tubular member 50. Continued rotation of the outer tubular member 60, while inner member 50 is held stationary through the engagement of dog 82 with post 13, causes relative rotation therebetween with lug 62 progressing from the position of FIG. 9 to that of FIG. 12 just prior to the alignment of lug 62 over the vertical recess or slot 91 provided in outer member 50. The vertical side wall 71 of recess 61 prevents over rotation of member 60` relative to the inner xed member 50` at this stage in the orienting procedure.

Further relative rotation of member 60 to member 50 from the position of FIG. l2 causes lug 62 to drop downwardly in recess 91 allowing outer tube 60 to drop downwardly in a completely oriented position relative to the means at the well head to be oriented to as seen in FIG. 9.

If the drill string has not been lowered relative to the well head from the position of FIG. 2, there will only be a slight initial dropping of the reentry frame and orienting assembly relative thereto since collar 56 will land on flange 22. Thereafter a lowering of the drill string will allow complete lowering of the reentry frame and associated orienting assembly to the position of FIG. 4 where the reentry frame or sleeve 20 guides landing of tool 30 by drill string 16 on the well head means, cap 31 in the exemplary embodiment. Even where the drill string is sutiiciently close to the well head so that the reentry frame drops its full extent relative to inner member 50, there will be no damage to the well head iittings since the reentry frame lowermost portion is positioned above the means at the Well head being oriented to.

After landing of the tool 30 by drill string 16 in its completely oriented position relative to the well head effected by the apparatus and method of the present invention, the drill string and tool 30 (retrieving cap 31) may be raised back up to the floating vessel raising re-entry frame 20 and the orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14, therewith. Since collar 56 prevents the re-entry frame from dropping oil the lower end of mandrel or lower tubing section 21, a raising of the drill string 16 will cause an upward movement of the entire apparatus including the orienting assembly leaving latch means 32 and its associated outer housing fastened to the guide post, the assembly being withdrawn upwardly in easily controlled manner due to the engagement with the secured single guide line 17. Thereafter, as particularly contemplated within the method of the present invention, additional work-over tools can be run to the well head by means of the previously secured guide line and the orienting assembly apparatus of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 6, it can be seen that a conventional lubricator connector tool 130 may be connected to the lower end of a tubing string 116 with an orienting assembly, according to the present invention and as indicated at 14, connected by a flange 151 to tool 130. The tool 130 may be run down to the well head with the orienting means inner and outer tubular members 50 and 60 riding about the guide line 17 until inner tubular member 50 lands upon guide post 13. Rotation of the drill string 116 about post 113 to cause actuation of the orienting assembly as hereinbefore described will place the alternative tool 130 directly over the means at the well head, connector 131, for landing as shown in FIG. 7.

As seen in FIG. 8, after removal of the lubricator connector tool 130, the Christmas tree cap may be replaced on the well head by rerunning Christmas tree cap running tool 30 on the lower end of a drill string 216 using the orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14, as in the manner hereinbefore described. In this alternative exemplary embodiment, the orienting assembly may be mounted by a stepped ange 251 to allow clearance for the connestor caps provided on the Christmas tree cap 31.

From the foregoing description of an exemplary embodiment of apparatus for running a tool from a floating vessel to a predetermined location at a remote subsea well head, it can be seen that the foregoing objects of the invention have been attained. Generally summarized, the method according to the present invention includes the running of tubing 16 and 21 mounting a tool 30 at a lower end thereof from a oating vessel, indicated generally at 10, toward a remote subsea well head, indicated generally at 12 in FIG. l. The orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14, is run laterally constrained to the tubing by re-entry frame 20 toward the well head concurrently with running of the tubing, the orienting assembly and its associated re-entry frame 20 being suspended by the single guide line 17. The orienting assembly, re-entry frame and tubing are guided over the well head by means of the jet means 18 with the running of the tubing being stopped when the tool 30 is positioned approximately ten to twenty feet above the well head. The orienting assembly, indicated generally at 14, is then landed on the well head by lowering of the guide line 17 independently of the running of tu'bing 16. According to the present method, the orienting assembly is then actuated at the well head into a predetermined oriented position by moving the tube laterally of the well head to bring the dog 82 into engagement in slot in a pre-oriented position. Further rotation of outer member 60 while the inner member 50 is held stationary to post 13 within a predetermined limited amount allows exact orienting of the reentry frame over the means, such as Christmas tree cap 31, at the well head to be worked over by the tool being lowered to the well head. Such inal orienting of the reentry frame by the orienting means is accomplished in the exemplary embodiment by a relative lowering of the orienting assembly outer tubular means and associated reentry frame relative to the preoriented stationary inner tubular member 50 on the guide post 13. Also, as seen from the foregoing explanation of an exemplary apparatus in accordance with the present invention, a guide line latch means may be run with the orienting assembly and latched to the guide post at the well head on landing of the orienting assembly at the well head, the latch means being attached to the guide line and supporting the orienting assembly removably thereon. The initially run tool may be removed together with the re-entry frame and orienting assembly from the well by raising of the tubing and another tool rerun to the Well using the orienting assembly and the previously secured guide line. It is therefore possible to obtain a running and orienting of a tool from a floating vessel to a predetermined location at a subsea well head concurrently with the running of a single guide line which is readily available for further rerunning of work-over tools thereafter.

Having thus described an exemplary embodiment of the apparatus and having explained the method of running a tool from a floating vessel to a remote subsea well head by means of a single guide line, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that the foregoing detailed descriptions were of an exemplary apparatus and method of operation thereof according to the present invention. Other modifications, adaptations and innovations upon the apparatus and method according to the present invention may be made within the scope of the present invention as defined and limited only by the following claims:

I claim:

1. A method of running a tool to a predetermined location at a remote subsea well head comprising the steps of:

running tubing mounting a tool at a lower end thereof from a floating vessel toward a remote subsea well head;

running an orienting assembly laterally constrained to said tubing toward said well head concurrently with said tubing with said orienting assembly being suspended by a single guide line being run concurrently with said tubing from said floating vessel;

guiding said tool and tubing to a location generally adjacent said well head and landing said orienting assembly on said well head by lowering of said guide line independently of said tubing;

actuating said orienting assembly at said well head into a predetermined oriented position by moving said tubing laterally of said Well head; and

thereafter landing said tool onto said well head by lowering said tubing while said tubing is laterally constrained by said orienting assembly.

2. The method of claim 1 including the steps of:

running a guide line latch means with said orienting assembly and latching said latch means to a guide post at said well head on landing of said orienting assembly on said well head, said latch means being attached to said guide line and having the orienting assembly removably mounted thereon; and removing said tool and orienting assembly from said well head by raising of said tubing and leaving said guide line secured to said guide post by said latch means.

3. The method of claim 2 including the steps of:

rerunning a tool and said orienting assembly to said well head by said tubing with said orienting assembly being guided to said well head by said guide line secured to said well head guide post.

4. A method of running a tool by drill pipe from a ioating vessel to a remote subsea well head and orienting ;aid tool into a predetermined location at said well head .hrough the use of a single guide line and an associated guide line latch means adapted to latch onto a guide post 1t said well head, said method comprising the steps of mounting an orienting assembly to a giude line latch means and mounting a frame means connected to said orienting assembly to a lower end f a drill pipe for limited relative vertical movement therebetween, said drill pipe being provided with a tool at its lower end;

running said tool by said drill pipe from said vessel toward said subsea well head and concurrently running said frame means and connected orienting assembly with said tool and drill pipe toward said subsea well head by said guide line associated with said guide line latch means to which said orienting assembly is mounted;

stopping the running of said drill pipe above said well head prior to said tool engaging any portion of said well head and independently running said latch means and associated orienting assembly and frame means to said well head by said guide line and landing said latch means on said guide post;

moving said drill pipe laterally of said guide post to rotate said frame means and connected orienting means on said post;

orienting said frame means over said well head at a predetermined location by said rotation of said orienting means on said guide post with respect to a predetermined reference point on said post; and thereafter landing said tool at said well head.

5. The method of claim 4 including the step of laterally guiding said drill pipe and tool over said well head after said step of stopping the running of said drill pipe and prior to said step of independently running said latch means and associated orienting assembly and frame means to said well head.

6. An apparatus for running a tool by drill pipe from a floating vessel to a remote subsea well head comprising:

an orienting assembly laterally constrained at a lower end of said pipe to be run with said pipe to said well head;

a guide post at said well head with a reference point means thereon;

means associated with said orienting assembly for engaging said reference point means on said post for pre-orienting said assembly on said post; and additional means associated with said orienting assembly for limiting the movement of the lower end of said pipe about said post in a predetermined manner after said assembly is pre-oriented on said post.

7. An apparatus for running a tool by drill pipe from a iioating vessel to a remote subsea well head comprising:

an orienting assembly laterally constrained at a lower end of said pipe and including inner and outer members and means for mounting said members together for relative rotation therebetween; a guide post at said well head with a reference point means thereon, said reference point means including a slot in an outer surface of said guide post;

means associated with said orienting assembly for engaging said reference point means on said post for pre-orienting said assembly On said post, said means associated with said orienting assembly including a latch dog and means for mounting said dog to said inner and outer members for preventing relative rotation therebetween when said dog is in a raised position and for preventing rotation of said inner member only relative to said post when said dog is aligned to and dropped into said post orienting slot on rotation of said members relative to said post; and

additional means associated with said orienting assembly for allowing a limited predetermined movement of the lower end of said pipe about said post after said assembly is pre-oriented on said post.

8. An apparatus as in claim 7 wherein:

said additional means associated with said orienting assembly includes means associated with said tubular members for allowing downward movement of said outer tubular member relative to said inner tubular member into a well head oriented position when said dog is in said slot and said outer tubular member is rotated relative to said inner tubular member by said movement of said pipe about said post.

9. An apparatus for running a tool by drill pipe from a floating vessel to a remote subsea well head and orienting said tool into a predetermined location at said well head through use of only a single guide line and associated guide line latch means run with said apparatus to a single guide post at said well head, said apparatus comprising:

a reentry frame associated with said drill pipe for relative vertical movement therebetween;

an orienting assembly seated upon said guide line latch means to be run to said well head with said latch means suspended by said single guide line;

means for securing said orienting assembly to said reentry frame for selectably raising and lowering of said reentry frame relative to said drill pipe by said guide line prior to latching said guide line latch means onto said well head guide post, said reentry frame being laterally constrained to said drill pipe; and

reference point means On said guide post for cooperating with said orienting assembly in orienting said reentry frame at said well head by rotation of said frame and assembly about said post on said latch means by lateral arcuate movement of said drill pipe about said post.

10. .An apparatus as in claim 9 wherein:

said guide line latch means is provided with an outside housing and means for rotatably mounting said outside housing on said latch means to assist rotation of said orienting assembly about said guide post when said latch means is latched on said post.

11. An apparatus as in claim 9 wherein:

said reentry frame includes a sleeve body mounted about a lower end of said drill pipe, said sleeve body having a vertical aperture in a side wall thereof;

a laterally extending flange is provided on a lower portion of said drill pipe extending through said sleeve body aperture; and

guide line entraining means are mounted on said ange for laterally entraining said guide line to said lower portion of said drill pipe and for allowing relative vertical movement therebetween.

12. An apparatus as in claim 11 wherein:

said sleeve is provided with an additional vertical aperture in a side wall thereof, said drill pipe has an additional flange protruding through said additional aperture and a camera means is mounted to said additional ange.

13. An apparatus as is claim 9 wherein:

said reference point means on said guide post comprises the provision of an orienting slot in an outer sur face of said post in a predetermined location; and

said orienting assembly comprises:

inner and outer tubular members and means for mountf ing said members to each other for relative rotation therebetween, said inner member seating on said guide line latch means, said outer member being se,

cured to said reentry frame by said means for securing; t

a latching dog and means for mounting said dog to said tubular members for preventing relative rotation therebetween when said dog is in a raised position and for preventing rotation of said inner tubular member only relative to said post when said dog is aligned to and dropped into said post orienting slot vertically oriented recess means in said inner memlbei outer wall connected into said horizontal recess to receive said housing lug upon rotation of said housing relative to said inner member by movement of said tool about said post when said dog is in said slot preventing further rotation of said inner member about said post.

17. A mono guide line orienting apparatus for orion rotation of said members relative to said post; and 1o means associated with said tubular members for allowing downward movement of said outer tubular mementing tools run on tubing lowered from a floating vessel to a subsea well head by use of only a single guide line between such vessel and a guide post at said well head wherein the improvement comprises:

ber relative to said inner tubular member into a well head oriented position when said dog is in said sl-ot the provision of an orienting slot in an outer surface of said post in -a predetermined location relative and said outer tubular member is rotated relative to l5 risaid inner tubular member by said movement of said ltdntlcans at sald 'Wen head sald tool 1s to be o Mpltaards E? claim 13 wherein, inner and outer tubular members and means for mountsaid means f-or mounting said members to each other g1g std img2gif Stdelllleroglrngrr gilrmglgte for relative rotation therebetween includes a hortolunegolt said guide une and to Seat pon said zontal arcuate recess provided in an outer wall of d -said outer member having means consaid inner tubular member and a lu r post an l t and extending inwardly of said Outergtui 62116311? nected thereto for latera1ly constraining said outer ber to ride within said horizontal recess; and nelllper t said tbmg; f tin Said do to said means associated with said tubular members for a alc mg 0g an means or mom? g g allowing downward movement `of said outer tubular said tubular members for preventing relative rotamember relative to said inner tubular member intion therebetween when Sald,dog 1S 1P 2f raised Pos1' cludes a vertical recess formed in said outer wall of tion and for Preventing mtagtlon of Sald mnef tubulr said inner tubular member communicating at its upmmber only relatlve t0 Sald gst Whenaltfi dois; per end with said horizontal arcuate recess to receive ahned to and dropped Into Sal Post onen mg s said lu u on said rotation of said outer member relaan tive togsai inner member. means associated with said tubular members for al- 15'. An apparatus as in Claim 13 wherein: lowing downward movement of said outer tubular said means for mounting said members to each other member I121 1V6 t0 Sald Inner tubuliar metrnber ililito for relative rotation therebetween includes a horia Pfdeterrniried well head orente Poil 11011 W en zontal arcuate recess provided in an outer wall of Saldldog 1S m Sa1dl0t andfal Outer tu u af mem Said inner tubular member and a lng provided on ber 1s rotated relative to .said inner tubular member and extending inwardly of said outer tubular memby movement of said tubing about said post to posiber member to ride `within said horizontal recess; tion said associated tool to said means at said well said means for mounting said dog to said tubular memheadbers including biasing means for biasing said dog downwardly of said members and mounts said dog to ride on a surface on said post in which said orienting slot is provided during rotation of said members about 18. The improvement in mono guide line orienting apparatus of claim 17 wherein:

said means for mounting said mem-bers to each other for relative rotation therebetween includes a horizontal arcuate recess provided in an outer wall of said post; and t said dog includes an upper end protruding into said said inner tubular member and -a lug provided horizontal recess formed in said inner member when on and extending inwardly of said outer tubular said dog rides on said post surface to prevent movemember to ride within said horizontal recess.

ment of said outer member lug in said inner member 19. The improvement in mono guide line orienting horizontal recess until said dog is urged into said apparatus of claim 18whereiu;

orienting slot by said biasing means. 16. An apparatus for orienting a tool run by tubing said means associated with said tubular members for allowing downward movement of said outer tubular members relative to said inner tubular member includes a vertical recess formed in said outer wall of said inner tubular member communicating at its from a floating vessel to a subsea well head by means of a single guide line connected lbetween the vessel and Well head, said apparatus comprising:

a guide post at the well head including an orienting slot;

a housing including means for attaching the housing to a tool being i'un to said well;

upper end with said horizontal arcuate recess to receive said lug upon said rotation of said outer member relative to said inner member.

20. The improvement in -mono guide line orienting an inner member mounted within said housing for relative rotation therebetween, said inner member appafatus of clalm 18 wherfm' receiving said guideline therethrough and seating on sald means for mounfmg Said dog to Sa 1d,tubul" ir said post when in fully lowered position; members includes biasing means for biasing satd a horizontal arcuate recess formed in an outer wall dOg downwardly 0f Said memlefs and mounts Said of said inner member and a lug protruding inwardly dog t0 fide 011 a Surface 0n Sald POS in which Said of said housing to ride in said recess on relative rotaorienting slot is provided during rotation of said tion between said inner member and said housing; members about said post; and a dog and means for mounting said dog to said inner said dog includes an upper end protruding into said member t0 place an upper portion 0f Said dOg in horizontal recess formed in said inner member when Said hOIlZOIlal IeCeSS blocking IIlOVemellt Of Said lug said dog fides on Said post Surface to prevent movehell'll When Said dog iS H a raised POSOD; ment of said outer member lug in said inner membiasing means for biasing said dog out of said raised ber horizontal recess until Said dog is urged into position into said slot when said inner member and said orienting .slot by said biasing means housing are landed and rotated on said post to align said dog to said slot; and (References on following page) References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS Bauer et al. 175-7 Bauer et al. 175-7 Bauer et al. 175-7 X Hayes 175-5 Watkins 166-.6

16 6/1965- Bates et a1. 175-5 2/ 1967 Postlewaite 175-7 X U.S. Cl. X.R.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification166/341, 175/7, 166/352
International ClassificationE21B41/00, E21B41/10
Cooperative ClassificationE21B41/10
European ClassificationE21B41/10
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Mar 15, 1982ASAssignment
Owner name: HUGHES TOOL COMPANY
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:REGAN OFFSHORE INTERNATIONAL,INC.;REEL/FRAME:003957/0735
Effective date: 19820211