US 3646962 A
There is disclosed wellhead apparatus having a plurality of bores and a valve for controlling flow through a bore. The valve is remotely controlled, and power for actuation is derived from fluids in two of the bores at relatively high and low pressures.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Jones 1 Mar. 7, 1972  REMOTELY LOCATED APPARATUS  References Cited FOR PRODUCING WELL FLUIDS UNITED STATES PATENTS  Invent 3,509,910 5/1970 Nelson et al. ..137/594  Assignee: Cameron Iron Works, Inc., Houston, Tex.
Primary Examiner-Henry T. Klinksiek  led: 1970 Attorney-Hyer, Eickenroht, Thompson & Turner 21 LN 81 469 l 1 App 0 [57 ABSTRACT There is disclosed wellhead apparatus having a plurality of  U.S.Cl ..l37/594, l37/2 36, bores and a valve for controlling flow through a bore The  Int. Cl 6k 31/42 valve is remotely controlled, and power for actuation is l d  Field of Search ..137/594, 595, 236; 66/5, .0, fjggjg fifjfgg a 5 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures REMOTELY LOCATED APPARATUS FOR PRODUCING WELL FLUIDS This invention relates to an improvement in remotely located apparatus for producing well fluids from two or more formations.
A common field installation for this purpose includes wellhead apparatus having a plurality of separate bores each connecting with a production tubing communicating with an oil or gas formation.- The apparatus may consist of a single wellhead having a plurality of bores or two or more wellheads each having one or more bores. In any event, a valve is provided for controlling flow in each bore.
When such wellhead apparatus is disposed on land or above water, each valve may be operated manually or by means of readily available and conveniently located power sources. However, when, for example, the wellhead apparatus is several hundred feet under water and hundreds of feet from a production platform, power must be transmitted to the valves through long lines which are expensive and subject to breakage, leakage and other malfunction.
Fluids in layered formations are usually at different pressures, so that even though the bores may be close to one another, their tubings extend to different depths and tap formations having fluids at relatively high and low pressures. The primary object of this invention is to provide remotely controlled wellhead apparatus which avoids the need for long power transmitting lines by the employment of actuatorsfor the valves which avail themselves of power derivable from these significantly different levels of pressure.
Another object is to provide such wellhead apparatus which is well adapted for use in subsea oil and gas well completions.
Another object is to provide apparatus which will reduce the cost of installation and upkeep of prior remotely located apparatus of this type.
In accordance with these objects, each such valve is operated by means of an actuator for moving its closure member between alternate flow controlling positions in response to selective connection to its oppositely reacting pressure responsive surfaces of the relatively highand lowpressure fluids contained within two of the bores. Either such bore may be the bore controlled by the valve, or both may be bores other than the one controlled by the valve. Also, the
bores may be in a single wellhead, or in different wellheads.
Thus, the invention usually permits a wide selection of fluid pressure sources from which those best suited for operating the valve may be chosen.
First and second conduit means connect the bores containing the relatively highand low-pressure fluids with means which includes four-way valve means movable between alternate positions for connecting the first surface of the actuator with the first conduit means and the second surface of the actuator with the second conduit means, and for connecting the second surface of the actuator with the first conduit means and the first surface of the actuator with the second conduit means. A means is also provided for moving the four-way valve means between its alternate positions so as to in turn cause the actuator to be moved to a desired position in response to the differential pressure of the fluids contained in the bores. Although in the described embodiments such means is operated by means of fluid pressure from a remote source, such as above water level, the force required for this purpose is only a fraction of that which is required to move the actuator for the valve controlling the bore; that is, the line through which the fluid for operating the pilot is conducted is not a powerline.
In the drawings, wherein like reference characters are used throughout to designate like parts:
FIG. 1 is an elevational view of two wellheads each having a bore controlled by a valve operated in accordance with the present invention;
FIG, 2 is a cross-sectional view of one wellhead, as seen along broken line 22 of FIG. I; and
FIG. 3 is a vertical cross-sectional view of the wellheads of FIG. 1, as seen along broken line 3-3 of FIG. 2, extended,
and with the four-way valve means of the operators shown diagrammatically.
With reference now to the details of the above-described drawings, the two wellheads I0 and II are mounted near the subsea surface S, and are relatively near to one another, as compared with the distance to shore or to a production center, such as platform above sea level. Each includes a Christmas tree comprising a master valve 12 mounted above a head [3 from which production tubing is suspended and a wye 14 mounted above the master valve,
As shown in FIG. 3, bores 15 and 16 extend vertically through the wellhead l0, and bores I7 and I8 extend vertically through the wellhead ll. Tubings I9 and 20 are connected to the lower ends of the bores I5 and 16, respectively. for extension downwardly into a well casing, and tubings 21 and 22 are connected to the lower ends of the bores 17 and 18, respectively, for extension downwardly into a well casing. As well known in the art, the lower ends of these tubings communicate with from two to four different oil or gas formations, at different elevations and pressures. The upper ends of the bores through the wye connect with flow lines (not shown) which conduct fluid to a suitable collection point.
Valves 26, 27, 28 and 29 are provided for controlling flow through bores 15, 16, 17 and 18, respectively. Each valve includes a body which is a portion of a master valve 12 and a closure member reeiprocable within the body between posi- "tions opening and closing the bore controlled by the valve.
Thus, as best shown in FIG. 2 in connection with the valve 27, each valve includes a gate 30 guidably slidable within a cavity 31 in the wellhead extending laterally across the bore it controls. The closure member 30 has a hole 32 through it which is adapted to be aligned with the bore so as to open it, as shown in the case of valves 26, 27 and 29, and moved to one side of the bore so as to dispose a solid portion of the closure member 30 across the bore for closing it, as shown in the case of valve 28.
As shown in connection with valve 27 (FIG. 2), the closure member of each valve is caused to so move by means of a rod 33 reeiprocable within the valve body and connected at its outer end to a piston 34 sealably slidable within a cylinder 35. As will be further described in connection with valves 27 and 28, the piston of each is shifted within the cylinder so as to move the closure member 30 between its alternate positions by the selective application of differential pressures to the opposite sides of the piston 34.
Thus, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, conduits 36 and 37 connect with the cylinder 35 on the inner and outer sides, respectively, of the piston 34 of valve 27, and conduits 38 and 39 connect with the cylinder on the inner and outer sides, respectively, of the piston of valve 28. More particularly, pressure fluid is directed alternately into one and exhausted from the other of the conduits 36 and 37 by means which includes a conventional, pilot-operated spring return, four-way directional valve 40, and into one and exhausted from the other of the conduits 38 and 39 by means which includes a similar valve 41. An example of a suitable valve for this purpose is Model OD-4 Series shown in the catalog of Racine Hydraulics & Machinery, Inc, of Racine, Wisconsin (see Section G, page 6.
A conduit 42 connects bore 15 beneath valve 26 with the branch conduits 43 and 44 leading to four-way valves 40 and 41, respectively. A conduit 45 connects bore 16 beneath valve 27 with valve 40, and a conduit 46 connects bore 17 beneath valve 28 with valve 41.
As shown in FIG. 3, each of the four-way valves 40 and 41 includes a body 47 and a member 48 longitudinally shiftable therein and having ports therethrough, which are indicated diagrammatically by arrows. Thus, the member 48 of valve 40 is selectively shiftable between positions connecting each of I the conduits 43 and 45 with one or the other of the conduits 36 and 37, and the member 48 of valve 41 is selectively shiftable between positions connecting each of the conduits 44 and 46 with one or the other of the conduits 38 and 39.
A conduit 49 connects with the upper end of the body 47 of each fouruway valve to permit pressure fluid from a remote source to be imposed on the upper end of the shiftable member 48 for urging it in a downward direction. The member 48 is urged in the opposite or upward direction by a force due to environmental fluid pressure introduced to the lower end of the shiftable member through a port 50 in the lower end of the body 47 and by spring 51. Thus, member 48 is shifted between its alternate positions by an increase or decrease in the pressure introduced through line 49.
The left-hand portion of FIG. 3 illustrates the application of my invention to the operation of gate valve 27 by utilization of the difference in pressures in the bores and tubings in a single wellhead. Such an application is feasible when, as is usually the case, there is sufficient differential between the pressures in bores and 16. While either may be the higher pressure, it is assumed, for purposes of illustration, that in FIG. 3, the pressure in bore 16 is the higher.
Thus, with signal pressure in conduit 49 depressing fourway valve 40 to the position shown in FIg. 3, high-pressure fluid from bore I6 is connected through the conduits 45 and 36 to the cylinder 35 of the valve 27 on the inner side of the piston 34. At the same time, conduits 37, 43 and 42 connect the outer side of the piston 34 of such valve with the low-pressure bore 15. Consequently, the piston 34 is urged to its outermost position for opening valve 27, as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Upon release of the signal pressure in conduit 49, valve 40 shifts to cause the piston 34 to move inwardly and close valve 27.
The two bores from which the desired pressure differential is derived may be in different wellheads. This is illustrated in FIG. 3 by the application of my invention to the operation of valve 28, utilizing the pressure differential between bores 15 and 17. In FIG. 3, it is assumed that the higher pressure is in bore 17. Thus, with the signal pressure in conduit 49 relaxed, and fourway valve 41 in the position shown, the higher pressure of bore 17 is effective to move the actuator piston inwardly and close valve 28. Admitting signal pressure to conduit 49 causes valve 28 to open in the manner previously described in connection with valve 27.
Other possible arrangements of the conduits for supplying relatively highand low-pressure fluid to the actuators of the valve will be obvious to one skilled in the art. For example, high-pressure fluid for operating valve 28 may instead be derived from bore 16.
From the foregoing it can be seen that this invention is one well adapted to attain all of the ends andobjects hereinabove set forth, together with other advantages which are obvious and which are inherent to the apparatus.
It will be understood that certain features and subcombinations are of utility and may be employed without reference to other features and subcombinations. This is contemplated by and is within the scope of the claims.
As many possible embodiments may be made of the invention without departing from the scope thereof, it is to be understood that all matter herein set forth or shown in the accompanying drawings is to be interpreted as illustrative and not in a limiting sense.
The invention having been described, what is claimed is:
1. Apparatus for producing well fluids, comprising wellhead apparatus having a plurality of bores therethrough, a valve on the wellhead apparatus having a closure member for controlling flow through one of the bores, and means for operating the valve by means of energy derived from the fluids within said bores, said means comprising an actuator having a pair of oppositely reacting fluid pressure responsive surfaces and connected to the closure member formoving it between alternate positions in response to the reaction of said surfaces to pressure differential thereacross, first and second conduit means connected to first and second bores, respectively, valve means connected between said firstand second conduit means and said first and second pressure responsive surfaces for movement between alternate positions connectin the first surface with the first conduit means and the secon surface with the second conduit means, and connecting the second surface with the first conduit means and the first surface with the second conduit means, and remotely operable means for moving the valve means between said alternate positions so as to move said actuator to a desired position in response to the differential pressure of fluids contained in said bores.
2. Apparatus of the character defined in claim I, wherein said wellhead apparatus comprises a single wellhead having a plurality of bores therethrough.
3. Apparatus of the character defined in claim 2, wherein the bore controlled by the valve is one of said first and second bores.
4. Apparatus of the character defined in claim 1, wherein said wellhead apparatus comprises a plurality of wellheads each having a bore therethrough.
5. Apparatus of the character defined in claim 4, wherein the bore controlled by the valve is one of said first and second bores.