US 3664376 A
A chambered housing mounted, or in association with, a subsea wellhead with fluid passages therein communicating with the well casing and at least two or more associated fluid conduits, a diverter valve member within said chamber including an arcuate transverse passage therethrough and means for moving such diverter valve member in the chamber for selectively diverting communication with said well casing between two of such fluid conduits.
Claims available in
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Watkins  FLOW LINE DIVERTER APPARATUS  Inventor: Bruce J. Watkins, Palos Verdes Estates,
 Assignee: Regan Forge and Engineering Company,
San Pedro, Calif.
 Filed: Jan. 26, 1970  Appl.No.: 5,662
521 US. CL. ..l37/625.68 51 1m. (:1 ..Fl6k 11/06  Field of Search ..l66/.5, .6; 137/610, 625.48, 137/625.68, 625.4
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 948,649 2/1910 Koelkebeck ..137/625.68 2,858,851 11/1958 H011 .137/625.48 X 3,047,020 7/1962 Barrett ..137/610 X 1 1 May 23, 1972 3,482,601 12/1 969 Drouin ..137/610 3,521,674 7/1970 Dodson et al ..137/625.48
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 610,915 6/1926 France l 37/625.48 6,800,773 7/1968 Netherlands. ..166/.5 949,202 8/1956 Germany l 37/625.48
Primary ExaminerSamuel Scott Attorney-Miketta, Glenny, Poms and Smith  ABSTRACT A chambered housing mounted, or in association with, a subsea wellhead with fluid passages therein communicating with the well casing and at least two or more associated fluid conduits, a diverter valve member within said chamber including an arcuate transverse passage therethrough and means for moving such diverter valve member in the chamber for selectively diverting communication with said well casing between two of such fluid conduits.
5 Claims, 6 Drawing figures FLOW LINE DIVERTER APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates in general to subsea wellhead equipment and particularly to a flow line diverter apparatus for use in diverting flow line communication with a particular part of a subsea well between a pair of associated fluid conduits. Subsea wells are being drilled in ever increasing depths in offshore oil formations. The connection and disconnection of fluid conduits and flow lines to such subsea wells for entry, producing and reentry operations is complicated by the remoteness of the well from the platform, land location or floating platfonn from which the operations are being conducted.
' Heretofore, either vertically extending fluid conduits, or laterally extending flow lines, connected to the wellhead apparatus or Christmas tree have been run to floating vessels above the well, to production platforms or nearby land based platforms or production locations. These flow lines or conduits have provided apath for tools which have been run therethrough during entry, reentry and production operations. However, it has heretofore been very time consuming and expensive to interrupt production operations, through an associated flow line and then run a flow line tool down into the well through the line to perform various well servicing operations such as changing gas lift valves, cleaning well casing or installing plugs.
It is therefore the primary object of the within invention to provide a flow line diverter means for use at the subsea wellhead apparatus for selectively diverting communication with the subsea well between a pair of flow lines, conduits, or a conduit and a flow line, in order to allow the running of well tools down through a second line or conduit without having to interrupt the connection of a first flow line or conduit between the well and apparatus, such as production apparatus, on a remotely located platform, floating vessel or land location.
It is another object of the present invention to disclose and provide a flow line diverter apparatus for use in diverting flow line communication with a subsea well between a pair of fluid lines or conduits connected to the subsea wellhead from a remote location by means of a movable diverter valve member movably positioned within a chambered diverter apparatus housing capable of being inserted into the Christmas tree or wellhead apparatus at the subsea well.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a flow line diverter apparatus as in the foregoing object wherein such diverter valve member is provided with an arcuate diagonal transverse passage for selectively diverting well communication between a vertical conduit which may run to a floating vessel above the well and a laterally spaced arcuate or curvilinear flow line passage which may be connected to a flow line running to a production platform.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION Generally stated, the flow line diverter apparatus of the present invention comprises a chambered housing with a plu rality of internal fluid flow passages. The housing may be mounted at or in association with a subsea wellhead. A first vertical flow through passage, interrupted by a chamber in the housing, is adapted to connect a first vertical fluid line or con duit with the bore of the subsea well. A second arcuate passage is provided in the housing communicating between a second associated conduit or flow line of curvilinear configuration with the aforementioned chamber. Diverter means including a valve member having a transverse, diagonal, arcuate passage is provided within the chamber together with hydraulic fluid actuated means for moving the diverter member between first and second positions within the chamber.
When the diverter member is placed in a first position, the aforementioned arcuate passageway and its associated second flow line is placed in communication with the well. On movement of the diverter member to a second position within the chamber by operation of the associated hydraulic fluid operated means, the associated vertical conduit is placed in fluid flow communication with the well bore through the housing chamber. Movement of the diverter member within the housing chamber under operation of the hydraulic fluid actuated means therefore allows selective diverting of well communication between the associated first and second lines or conduits.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an exemplary representation of a subsea wellhead apparatus connected by a first vertical conduit to a floating vessel and by a second conduit, a lateral flow line, to an associated land based production platform with a preferred ex emplary embodiment of flow line diverter apparatus incorporated in said wellhead apparatus;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged elevational view of the flow line diverter apparatus of FIG. I;
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the apparatus of FIG. 2 taken therein along the plane III-III;
FIG. 4 is a section view of the apparatus of FIG. 2 taken therein along the plane IV-IV;
FIG. 5 is a section view of the apparatus of FIG. 4 taken therein along the plane VV showing an exemplary embodiment of diverter means in a first position of adjustment; and
FIG. 6 is a section view of the apparatus of FIG. 5 showing the exemplary embodiment of diverter means thereof in a second position of adjustment.
Referring to FIG. 1, an exemplary embodiment of subsea wellhead apparatus and associated conduits or lines are illustrated in which the preferred exemplary embodiment of flow line diverter apparatus may be used. The exemplary embodiment of subsea wellhead apparatus is illustrated generally at 10 beneath a first floating vessel 11. Vessel 11 maybe connected by a plurality of guide lines, normally four, to a guidance system, usually including four upstanding guide posts, located about the wellhead apparatus. s seen in FIG. 1, two of such guidelines 12 and 13 are illustrated connected to two of such guide posts 14 and 15 provided in the guidance apparatus, indicated generally at 16 mounted on well template The wellhead apparatus, indicated generally at 10, may be seated upon a well pipe 18 associated with the template '17 in conventional manner. In the exemplary installation, it is contemplated that a pair of conduits including conduit 20 as seen in FIG. 1, are connected between a pair of coupling members, as coupling 21 as seen in F IG. 1, on the top of the wellhead apparatus or Christmas tree assembly. These flow lines, including conduit or line 20, normally are run generally vertically up to the platform or floating vessel 11 positioned above the well. Production operations as well as entry and reentry operations with well tools may be accomplished from the remote floating vessel in conventional manner.
As contemplated within the present invention, a second pair of conduits, flow lines 22 and 23 in the exemplary embodiment, are to be selectively connected into the wellhead assembly or Christmas tree for an alternative production or flow line communication with the well. As seen in FIG. 1, flow lines 22 and 23 are preferably run from a remote land based production platform 24 to the subsea wellhead apparauts.
Such connection of flow lines 22 and 23m platform 24 is exemplary only, since it is contemplated that flow lines 22 and 23 could be run to a gathering point on land or at sea, or to even another floating vessel or platform. As seen in FIG. 1, the lower ends of flow lines 22 and 23 curve laterally into a generally horizontal direction relative to the floor of the sea where they are connected by fittings, as fitting 25, to the subsea well apparatus. Horizontal conduits, as conduit 26 in FIG. 1, connect the aforementioned fittings to flow line continuations 22' and 23 by additional fittings as fitting 25' in FIG. 1. The flow lines, or continuations 22' and 23', are sharply curved or looped to run from the horizontal orientation of conduits 26 up and around into the diagonal direction entry into the wellhead apparatus as illustrated in FIG. 1.
It can be seen from the foregoing detailed explanation of an exemplary subsea well installation, that it is contemplated that the flow line diverter apparatus of the present invention will be utilized in association with a subsea wellhead or Christmas tree apparatus in which there is at least one vertical or linear conduit or line connection between the well bore and a remote platform or floating vessel, as by line in FIG. 1, and at least one or more additional curvilinear flow lines, as lines 22 and 23', connecting to the same well bore portions or casing portions as the former line and running to a second remote location which may be a second floating vessel, a platform or a land formation. As particularly contemplated within the present invention, a flow line diverter apparatus, indicated generally at in FIG. 1, is used in association with the Christmas tree assembly or wellhead apparatus for allowing selective communication between a well casing, annulus or bore and either the first linear flow line or the second curvilinear flow line. Thus, if production operations are being conducted through the vertical conduit or lines, as line 20, the flow line diverter apparatus in accordance with the present invention can be operated to allow entry into the well through the second curvilinear flow lines without modifying the first flow line connection between the well and vessel 11. lternatively, if production operations, for example, are being conducted through the curvilinear lines 22 and 23 between land or the second floating vessel, operation of the flow line diverter apparatus in accordance withthe present invention will allow entry into the same portions of the well communicating with flow lines 22 and 23 by an operation of the diverter apparatus from a remote location and entry into the well through the vertical or linear conduits, as line 20.
Referring now to FIGS. 2, 3 and 4, the preferred exemplary embodiment of flow line diverter apparatus, according to the present invention, comprises a chambered housing indicated generally at 30. The housing, indicated generally at 30, includes a body 31 with upper and lower flanges 32 and 33 respectively. In the exemplary wellhead apparatus, the diverter apparatus, indicated generally at 30, is connected by a plurality of conventional turnbuckles 34 to the wellhead connector or latch 35 with a conventional multiple valve apparatus 36 positioned therebetween. The upper ends of the turnbuckles 34 are threadedly received in the housing lower flange 33 while the lower ends of turnbuckles 34 are threadedly received in the upper flange portion of latch 35. Housing flange 33 is secured down upon the multiple valve 36 by tightening the plurality of nuts 37 associated with the tumbuckles 34.
Similarly, the upper flange 32 of the diverter apparatus indicated generally at 30, receives the lower ends of a plurality of turnbuckles 38 whose upper ends 38' may be connected into a part of the guide frame 39 as seen in FIG. 1. A second multiple valve 40 is positioned between the guide frame portion 39 and flange 32. Each of the multiple valves 36 and 40 have a plurality of flow passages therein with associated conventional hydraulic control means for opening and closing the passages. As seen in FIG. 4, and indicated in broken line in FIG. 3, a pair of flow through lines 41 and 42 in multiple valve 40 are connected into a pair of flow through lines 43 and 44 in chambered housing 31. Lines 43 and 44 are connected into mating flow through lines 45 and 46 in the lower multiple valve 36. The latter lines 45 and 46 are connected to the coupling or latch 35 into the well casings and annuli within pipe 18 therebelow.
The vertical conduits running between the wellhead apparatus and the floating vessel, including conduit 20, are connected to the vertical diverter apparatus flow through lines 41 and 42 through multiple valve 40. From the foregoing, it should be apparent to those skilled in the art that flow through line tools can be run down the vertical conduit 20 through the diverter apparatus flow through lines 41 and 42, and associated multiple valve flow through lines, into the well bore, casings or annuli associated therewith, Similarly, production operations can be conducted through these lines when the diverter apparatus flow through lines 43 and 44 are unobstructed.
As particularly contemplated within the present invention,.
diverter means are provided within a chamber in housing 31 to selectively divert communication with the portions of the well below the apparatus to the alternative flow through lines, as lines 22 and 23 in the exemplary embodiment. Flow line continuations 22' and 23 are connected into the chambered diverter apparatus housing 31 as seen in FIGS. 2 and 5. The end of each flow line continuation is provided with a fitting or flanged end, as flange 47 in FIG. 2, to connect into flanged portions of the housing, as flanges 48 and 49. Each housing flange 48 and 49 surrounds an inlet to an arcuate fluid passage 50 and 51, respectively, communicating with the housing inner chamber 52.
As seen in FIG. 5, vertical fluid passage 44 is interrupted by the generally rectangular inner chamber 52 in housing 31 into an upper portion 53 and a lower portion 54. The arcuate or curvilinear passage 50 is provided in the upper portion of housing 31 so that a projection of passage 50 through open chamber 52 intersects the upper end of passage portion 54 where it enters chamber 52. As explained hereinafter, diverter means are provided within chamber 52 to selectively divert communication between the upper linear passage 53 and curvilinear passage 50 in housing 31 with the lower passage 54 communicating with the well therebelow.
In the exemplary embodiment, and as best seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, the diverter means provided within chamber 32 comprises a movable valve member 55 having an internal diagonally extending arcuate transverse passage 56. The exterior configuration of member 55 is generally rectilinear to conform within the rectilinear chamber 52. However, the width of member 55, as seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, is less than that of chamber 52 so that member 55 may be moved back and forth within chamber 52 to selectively divert communication between the three internal passages 53, 54 and 50. When diverter valve member 55 is in a first position of adjustment, as seen in FIG. 5, the arcuate passage 50 connects curvilinear flow line 22 with the well through lower passage 54 and multiple valve passage 46. When diverter valve member 55 is moved to a second position of adjustment, as seen in FIG. 6, the vertical flow through passage 44, upper portion 53 and lower portion 54 are allowed communication through chamber 52 to connect the vertical conduit 20 with the well through the associated multiple valve passages 42 and 46 as .aforedescribed.
Means are provided for selectively moving the diverter valve member 55 between said first and second positions within chamber 52 for selectively diverting well communication between lines 20 and 22 (22). It should be understood that the foregoing detailed description with regard to FIGS. 5 and 6 relates to only one of the two diverter means in the exemplary apparatus. Housing 31 is provided with a duplicate diverter member, as member 55, for selectively diverting communication with lower multiple valve passage 45 between the housing vertical flow through passage 43 and the second curvilinear passage 51 connected to the second curvilinear flo line 23, 23'.
Means are provided for moving each of the two diverter members, as member 55, in the exemplary embodiment between their first and second positions of adjustment in the exemplary embodiment. As seen in FIGS. 4 through 6, a
hydraulic actuated piston and cylinder arrangement is provided, as indicated generally at 6,0 and 61, for operating the respective diverter valve members between their respective first and second positions aforedescribed. As seen in FIGS. 5 and 6, the exemplary embodiment of hydraulic actuating means for the diverter member 55 includes a piston member 62 provided within hydraulic cylinder 63 secured to the housing 31. Fluid sealing piston rings 64 and 65 are shown about piston 62. Piston 62 is secured upon a piston rod 66 secured into the rear portion of member 55 by the threaded connection indicated at 67. The rear end 68 of rod 66 is joumaled in a bore 69 provided in the rear portions of cylinder 63. A fluid seal 70 is provided at the outer end of bore 69 to prevent fluid passing into and behind rod end 68 within bore 69. Similarly, an O-ring type seal 71 is provided in the housing 31 wall 31' through which piston rod 66 is slidably mounted.
Hydraulic fluid lines are connected into the chamber 72 in cylinder 63 to allow selective introduction of hydraulic fluid therein on alternate sides of piston 62. Such hydraulic fluid lines may be provided internally of housing 31 and multiple valve 40, or, as illustrated, may be provided by external lines 73 and 74 on housing 31. Lines 73 and 74 may be connected into surface controlled hydraulic flow passages in valve 40 or can be run directly to the surface vessel.
As seen in FIG. 5, hydraulic lines or conduits 73 and 74 are connected by internal passages 75 and 76 to the forward and rearward portions of chamber 72 to allow selective application of hydraulic fluid pressure on alternate sides of piston 62.
From the foregoing, it can be seen that selective application of hydraulic fluid through lines 73 and 74 causes movement of diverter apparatus member 55 between the first position of FIG. 5 and the second position of FIG. 6. A pressure relief passage 77 is provided between housing 52, at a rearward portion thereof, and passage 54 to prevent entrapment of well fluids therein. Such passage is required in view of the provision of fluid seal ring 78 about the exterior of member 55 as illustrated.
Assuming that production operations are being conducted through the flow lines 22 and 23 with the associated diverter valve members in the first position of FIG. 5, entry into the well to perform cleaning, plugging or other operations can be readily achieved in accordance with the present invention by applying hydraulic fluid pressure through line 73. The application of such pressure through line 73 will cause diverter valve member 55 to move from the first position of FIG. 5 to the second out of the way position of FIG. 6. Communication with the well can be diverted to the vertical linear lines through passage 44. Thus, through the use of the flow line diverter apparatus of the present invention, communication with the well can be selectively diverted between either of a pair of associated conduits and/or lines from a remote location such as a floating vessel above the well. 4'
Having thus described an exemplary embodiment of flow line diverter apparatus for use in diverting flow line communication with a subsea well from a remote location, it should be noted by those skilled in the art that various modifications, adaptations and alternative embodiments of such flow line diverter apparatus may be made Within the scope of the within invention, which is defined and limited only by the following claims.
1. A flow line diverter apparatus for use in association with subsea wells to selectively connect two or more conduits to the well bore, said apparatus comprising:
a housing to be mounted in association with a subsea wellhead and including an internal chamber, a first fluid passage connecting said chamber to the well bore, a second fluid passage connecting said chamber with a conduit run from said wellhead to an overhead floating vessel and a third fluid passage connecting said chamber with a second conduit connected between said wellhead and a production platform;
diverter means in said chamber including a body having a single diverter passage therethrough for connecting said first and third fluid passages through said diverter passage when said body is in a first position and for providing communication through said chamber past said body between said first and second fluid passages when said body is in a second position spaced from between the first and second fluid passages; and
means for moving said body between said first and second positions.
2. A flow line diverter apparatus for use in diverting well communication between a first linear and a second curvilinear fluid line connected to a subsea wellhead, said first linear line rising vertically from said wellhead to a floating vessel above said well and said second curvilinear line extending initially in a lateral arcuate direction and running to a remote production platform, said apparatus comprising:
a housing to be mounted at a subsea wellhead with at least one vertical fluid passage therethrough to connect said well with said linear fluid line;
a chamber in said housing interrupting said fluid passage into upper and lower portions thereof;
an arcuate fluid passage in said housing communicating between said chamber and said curvilinear flow line, a projection of said arcuate passage through said chamber intersecting said fluid passage lower portion where the latter enters said chamber;
diverter means in said chamber including a body having an arcuate diverter passage therethrough, said diverter passage being provided in said body to connect said arcuate fluid passage of said housing with said housing vertical passage lower portion when said body is in a first position, said diverter means providing communication through said chamber past said body between said upper and lower portions of said housing vertical fluid passage when said body is in a second position spaced from between the upper and lower portions in said chamber; and
means for selectively moving said diverter means body between said first and second positions within said chamber whereby communication between said well and said linear flow line may be selectively directed to said curvilinear flow line.
3. A flow line diverter apparatus as in claim 2 wherein:
said chamber in said housing is of rectilinear configuration;
said diverter means body is also of rectilinear configuration to fit within said chamber, but one dimension thereof being smaller than the corresponding dimension of said chamber to allowmovement of said body in the direction of said dimension in said chamber; and
sealing means are provided about said body providing a fluid seal between the periphery of said body and an inner surface of said chamber.
4. A flow line diverter apparatus for use in diverting well communication between fluid lines connected to the wellhead of a subsea well, said apparatus comprising:
a chambered housing to be mounted in association with a subsea wellhead with a well fluid passage means therethrough for connecting said well through said chamber with a first fluid line run to a floating vessel above said well;
a second fluid passage in said housing connecting said chamber with a second flow line run to a floating vessel;
diverter means in said chamber including a body having a single diverter passage therethrough suitably shaped for alignment with said second passage for selectively connecting said second passage with said well fluid passage means when said body is moved to a well communication diverter position in said chamber, said diverter means providing communication through said well fluid passage means and chamber past said body when said body is in a second position spaced from said well fluid passage means; and
means for selectively moving said diverter means body in said chamber to selectively divert well communication from said first fluid line to said second flow line.
5. A flow line diverter apparatus for use in association with subsea wells to selectively connect two or more conduits to the Well bore, said apparatus comprising:
a housing to be mounted in association with a subsea wellhead and including an internal chamber, a plurality of first fluid passages connecting said chamber to the well bore, a plurality of second fluid passages connecting said chamber with a plurality of first conduits run from said wellhead to an overhead floating vessel, and a plurality of third fluid passages connecting said chamber with a plurality of second conduits connected between said Wellhead and a production platform;
diverter means in said chamber including a valve body for blocking the connection between the first and second passages when in said first position and having its diverter passage thereof spaced from betweenthe first and third passages and the end thereof spaced from between the first and second passages when in the second position; and
means for moving said bodies between said bodies between said first and second positions independently of one another for selectively connecting first passages of each set with the second and third passages of each set.