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Publication numberUS3717202 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 20, 1973
Filing dateAug 30, 1971
Priority dateAug 30, 1971
Publication numberUS 3717202 A, US 3717202A, US-A-3717202, US3717202 A, US3717202A
InventorsBurrow M
Original AssigneeBurrow M
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Remote well plugging apparatus
US 3717202 A
Abstract
A remote well plugging apparatus for plugging a well casing to stop the flow of fluid therethrough from a remote location with respect to the well casing including: an extension assembly having a communication path extending therethrough, the extension assembly extending between the well casing and the remote location; and a clamping assembly connected to one end of the extension assembly for engaging a portion of the well casing and securing the extension assembly in a fixed position relative to the well casing in a clamped position thereof, the clamping assembly being actuated to the clamped position and securedly affixed to the well casing from the remote location, so that a cutting apparatus and a plugging apparatus can be moved from the remote location to an engaging position with the well casing at a fixed position on the well casing via the communicating path through the extension assembly.
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United States Patent 1191 Burrow [4 1 Feb. 20, 1973 [54] REMOTE WELL PLUGGING Primary Examiner-David H. Brown APPARATUS Attorney-Dunlap, Laney, Hessin & Dougherty [76] Inventor: Melvin N. Burrow, Route 1, Box

127, Tryon, Okla. 74875 [57] ABSTRACT 1 A remote well lugging apparatus for lug ing a well [22] [NHL 1971 casing to stop the flow of fluid theret hrou gh from a PP- 175,872 remote location with respect to the well casing including: an extension assembly having a communication 52 us. c1 ..l66/55, 166/95 P extending therethmugh exensim' assembly 51 1111.121 ..E2lb 29 00, E21b /00 extending between the casing and the remme [58] Field of Search ..166/55, 298, 95, 90, 297; cam"; and a clamping assembly One and 137/318 of the extension assembly for engaging a portion of the well casing and securing the extension assembly in 5 References Cited a fixed position relative to the well casing in a clamped position thereof, the clamping assembly UNITED STATES PATENTS being actuated to the clamped position and securedly 1 835 261 12 1931 Barrett ..166/95 affixed the casing from lemme 1:851:894 3/1932 Clough.... ..166/ that a cutting apparatus and a plugging apparatus can 1,879,160 9/1932 Fowzer 1 ..166/X be moved from the remote lowion to an engaging 2,840,166 6/1958 Eckel et al ..166/55 position with the well casing at a fixed position on the 3,6 ,38 9/1971 Schoeffler /5 well casing via the communicating path through the 3,631,928 D3126" X extension assembly 3,647,000 3/1972 Rowley et al. ..l66/297 X 21 Claims, 12 Drawing Figures PATENTEDFEBZOIW 3,717. 202

' SHEET 10F 3 lA/VE'NTOP MEL w/v 6v) BUPPOW A Trap/vars REMOTE WELL PLUGGING APPARATUS BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to well plugging apparatus and, more particularly, but not by way of limitation, to an improved apparatus for plugging the casing of a well from a safe, remote location.

2. Description of the Prior Art In the past there have been various methods and apparatus proposed for capping a well such as an oil and gas well in the event such. well became out of control or, in other words, in the event of a blow-out. One general approach suggested in the past has been to form. an auxillary access exposing a portion of the easing below the wellhead and subsequently inserting some type of plugging device or material through this portion of the casing.

Oneapparatus and method, of the type last-mentioned above, was disclosed in the Fowzer U.S. Pat. No. 1,879,160, wherein a tunnel was formed through the earth to provide access to a segment of the casing a distance below the wellhead, and a sleeve was welded to the outside of the well casing. An opening was then cut through well. casing, and a plug was inserted through the opening to block the flow of fluid through the well casing. The plug had a fluid passage and suitable connections so that mud could be pumped into the well casing to overcome the fluid'pressure.

The Barrett U.S. Pat. No. 1,835,261, disclosed an apparatus comprising a bowl having two sections which were secured about a well casing, and suitable valves and interconnecting pipelines to'permit the casing to be cut and a wedge type plug subsequently inserted into the well casing. The wedge type plug was seated against a portion of the bowl and one of the valve members to seal off the flow of fluid through the wellcasing.

The Eckel U.S. Pat. No. 2,840,166, and the Houpeurt U.S. Pat. No. 3,277,964, disclose similar apparatus for closing or plugging a well casing, each apparatus requiring the securing of an initial. member to the well casing prior to the steps of cutting the well casing and inserting the plug. Most of these prior art patents thus required either a permanent of semi-permanent installation, or some initial work being done by divers or the like near the well casing which has been found to be costly and, although representing a reduction in the overall safety hazards present, the close working near the well casing still represented a substantial risk with respect to personnel and property.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION An object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for plugging a well casing in a safer, more efficient manner.

Another object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for plugging a well casing from a remote location.

One other object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for plugging a well casing from a remote location which is portable and adaptable to various applications.

An additional object of the invention is to provide a self-aligning apparatus for plugging a well casing from a remote location.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide an apparatus for plugging a well casing which is economical in construction and operation.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will be evident from the following detailed description when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate the preferred embodiments of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a diagrammatical view of the remote well plugging apparatus of the present invention, showing the operation thereof in conjunction with an offshore well installation and a barge type water vehicle.

FIG. 2 is a partial elevational view of a portion of the extension assembly of the remote well plugging apparatus of FIG. 1, showing the clamping assembly in a position generally adjacent a portion of a well casing (shown in dashed-lines).

FIG. 3 is a partial sectional, partial elevational view of the portion of the extension assembly of FIGS. 1 and 2, but showing the clamping assembly in a clamped position about a portion of a well casing.

FIG. 4 is a partial sectional, partial diagrammatical view of a portion of the extension assembly of the remote well plugging apparatus of FIG. 1, generally opposite the end thereof shown in FIG. 2, and diagrammatically showing the drive apparatus and some of the actuating apparatus which are positioned at the remote location.

FiG. 5 is an enlarged side elevational view of the clamping assembly of FIGS. 2 and 3, showing the clamping assembly secured in a clamped position about a portion of the well casing.

FIG. 6 is a partial sectional view, similar to the view of FIG. 3, but showing the plugging apparatus positioned in the well casing.

FIG. 7 is anenlarged, partial sectional, partial top elevational view showing a modified clamping assembly.

FIG. 8 is an enlarged top elevational view, similar to FIG. 7, but showing another modified clamping assembly.

FIG. 9 is a cross-sectionalview, similar to FIG. 6, but showing a modifiedcutter element, a modified casing plug anda modifiedclamping assembly.

FIG. 10 is an enlarged elevational view, similar to FIG. 7, but showing one other modified clamping assembly.

FIG. 1 1 is an enlarged top elevational view, similar to FIG. 7, but showing still another modified clamping assembly.

FIG. 12 is a partial sectional view, similar to FIG. 4, but showing a modified means for movingand driving the cutter element.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings in general and to FIG. 1 in particular, shown thereinand designated by the general reference numeral 10 is a remote well plugging apparatus useful for plugging and stopping the flow of fluid through an oil and gas well which has become outof-control from a safe, remote location. The remote well plugging apparatus 10 is particularly useful in connection with offshore oil and gas well installations, for stopping oil and gas fires resulting from a particular well installation which has become out-of-control, an offshore installation being diagrammatically shown in FIG. 1 in cooperation with the remote well plugging apparatus 10 of the present invention for the purpose of example.

As shown in FIG. 1, the remote well plugging apparatus 10 is partially supported on one end thereof by a barge 12, or other such water vehicle, and extends a distance therefrom to a position wherein a portion of the well plugging apparatus 10 is secured to a portion of a well casing 14. The well casing 14 extends vertically upwardly above a water surface 16, and is generally centrally disposed within and partially supported by an offshore platform 18.

More particularly, the remote well plugging apparatus 10 includes an extension assembly 20 comprising a plurality of pipe sections 22, the extension assembly 20 being of a sufficient length to enable the barge 12 to be positioned a remote, safe distance from the offshore platform 18, during the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus 10. The extension assembly 20 provides the working communication between the remote location, that is the barge 12, for example, and the well casing 14 such that a hole can be cut through the well casing 14, including the concentric pipes generally disposed therein, and a plug can subsequently be inserted therein to stop the flow of fluid and bring the well under control, in a manner to be described in greater detail below.

The extension assembly 20 extends between the remote location and the well casing and has a remote end 24 which is supported at the remote location, the barge 12, and a connecting end 26. A clamping assembly 28 is connected to the connecting end 26 of the extension assembly 20, and a universal section 30 is interposed in extension assembly 20, generally near the connecting end 26 thereof. The clamping assembly 28 (to be described in greater detail below) is constructed to be positively positioned and securely affixe'd in a clamped position about a portion of the well casing 14, generally below the well head, to positively and securely position the remote well plugging apparatus 10 with respect to the well casing 14 so that a cutter element and a casing plug are positively positioned with respect to the well casing 14, during the operation, of the remote well plugging apparatus 10. The universal section 30 provides for incremental movement (wave action) of the extension assembly 20 during the positioning of the clamping assembly 28 and during the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus 10 as will be described in greater detail below.

A first valve assembly 32 is interposed in the extension assembly 20, generally near the well casing 14, and generally between the universal section 30 and the well casing 14. A second valve assembly 33 is, in one form, also interposed in the extension assembly 20, generally between the universal section 30 and the remote location, as shown in FIG. 1. The first valve assembly 32 and the second valve assembly 33 each include a valve operator 34, each valve operator 34 being connected to the valve member of one of the valve assemblies 32 and 33 and to a controller (not shown) positioned on the barge 12 (the remote location) such that each valve assembly 32 and 33 can be opened and closed from the barge 12 (the remote location) via the valve operator 34 and the controller connected thereto, during the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus 10.

The second valve assembly 33 is, more particularly, a back-up valve assembly to be utilized in the event that the valve assembly 32 should fail during the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus 10 and, in one form, the valve actuators 34 are interconnected such that the second valve assembly 33 is automatically actuated or positioned in an operating status upon failure of the valve assembly 32. Valve assemblies, valve operators and controllers which are constructed such that the valve members are opened and closed upon the valve actuator receiving a signal from the controller are well known in the art, and can be of the hydraulically electrically or pneumatically operated type.

As shown in FIG. 1, a pair of flotation members 36 are connected to the extension assembly 20, the flotation members 36 being constructed to floatingly support the extension assembly 20 generally above or on the water surface 16. The flotation members 36 are, in a preferred form, spaced along the extension assembly 20, the precise number of flotation members 36 required for a particular application depending upon the length of the extension assembly 20 and the construction of the particular flotation members utilized (the two flotation members 36 being shown in FIG. 1 for the purpose of illustration). It should also be noted that, in one form, the flotation members 36 are constructed with a ballast opening therein, the ballast opening being controlled from the remote location via a hydraulic or a pneumatic operator, for example, for controllingly lowering the extension assembly 20 below the water surface 16 for connecting to the well casing 14 below the water surface 16. Flotation members constructed to function in a manner similar to that described above with respect to the flotation members 36 are well known in the art, and a detailed description of the construction and operation thereof is not required herein.

Generally speaking, the extension assembly 20 will be assembled from the barge 12 at a remote position with respect to the offshore platform 18, and the barge 12 will then be maneuvered to guide the extension assembly 20 into an assembled position with respect to the well casing 14. The clamping assembly 28 is, more particularly, maneuvered into a clamped position with a portion of the well casing 14 and, in that position, the clamping assembly 28 is actuated from the barge 12 to be secured in the clamped position about a portion of the well casing 14.

After the clamping assembly 28 has been secured about the well casing 14, the valve assembly 32 is actuated to the open position via the valve operator 34 and the controller connected thereto, and a cutter element is extended through the extension assembly 20 to a position in cutting proximity to the outside portion of the well casing 14. A casing opening is then cut through a portion of the well casing 14, the clamping assembly 28 securely maintaining the extension assembly 20 and thus the cutter element in a fixed or cutting position relative to the well casing 14 during the cutting operation, for reasons and in a manner which will be described in greater detail below.

After the casing opening has been cut through a portion of the well casing 14, the cutter element is withdrawn, and a casing plug is inserted through the casing opening into the well casing 14 to a position wherein the casing plug interrupts the flow of fluid through the well casing 14, thereby bringing the well under control and extinguishing the fire. The entire operation, as briefly described above, is controlled from the remote location (the barge 12) which is located a safe distance from the offshore platform 18, thereby substantially reducing the hazards and difiiculties normally associated with extinguishing an oil or gas well fire, without requiring workmen or divers to be in close proximity to the fire or the well casing at any time during the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus 10.

As shown in FIGS. 2, 3, 6, 7 and 8, the well casing 14, more particularly, includes an outer well casing 37 and an inner concentric well casing 38. The general term well casing 14, thus, is used sometimes above and below to designate the outer well casing 37 and the inner concentric well casing 38, and sometimes to designate only the inner concentric well casing 38 since the fluid normally flows through the inner concentric well casing 38, as well known in the art. It should also be noted that, in some installations, a particular well casing might include a plurality of inner concentric well casings (an outer well casing and one inner concentric well casing being shown in the drawings for the purpose of illustration only).

As shown more clearly in FIG. 2, the clamping assembly 28 includes a first clamping member 40 and a second clamping member 42, each clamping member 40 and 42 being generally arcuately shaped. One side of the first clamping member 40 is pivotally connected to one side of of the second clamping member 42 via a pivot pin 44. Each clamping member 40 and 42 has an upper end 50 and a lower end 52, and a flange portion 54 is formed on the side of each clamping member 40 and 42, opposite the side thereof pivotally secured to the other clamping member. Each flange portion 54 extends a distance generally radially from the respective clamping member 40 or 42, each flange portion 54 having a mating end face 55.

A plurality of threaded bolt holes 56 are formed through the flange portion 54 of the first clamping member 40, the threaded bolt holes 56 being spaced along the flange portion 54 generally between the upper end 50 and the lower end 52 of the first clamping member 40. A plurality of bolt holes 58 are formed through the flange portion 54 of the second clamping member 42, the bolt holes 58 being spaced along the flange portion 54, generally between the upper end 50 and the lower end 52 of the second clamping member 42, such that each bolt hole 58 is generally aligned with one of the threaded bolt holes 56 in a clamped position of the clamping assembly 28, for reasons which will be made more apparent below.

Each clamping member 40 and 42 has an arcuately shaped surface 60 formed through a portion thereof extending generally between and intersecting the upper end 50 and the lower end 52 thereof. Each arcuately shaped surface 60 is, in a preferred form, formed on a radius such that, in the clamped position of the clamping assembly 28, the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 are positioned so that the arcuately shaped surfaces 60 form a substantially circularly shaped opening 62 extending generally through and between the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42. In a preferred form, the diameter of the opening 62 is substantially equal to the diameter of the outer periphery of the well casing 14, allowing for minor tolerance variations, so that the arcuately shaped surfaces 60 of the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 encompass a portion of the well casing 14 about a substantial portion of the outer periphery of the well casing 14 in a clamped position of the clamping assembly 28, for reasons and in a manner to be made more apparent below.

In a preferred form, the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 are also constructed such that the mating end face 55 of each of the flange portions 54 are spaced a relatively small distance apart when the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 are moved to the clamped position. In this manner, a bolt actuator assembly which is remotely actuated to drive bolts through the bolt holes 56 and 58, will pull the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 into a tight, secure clamping position wherein the clamping assembly 28 is securely affixed to a portion of the well casing 14, in a manner and for reasons which will be made more apparent below.

As shown more clearly in FIGS. 3 and 4, the pipe sec-v tions 22 of the extension assembly 20 each have an opening 66 extending therethrough, the openings 66 being generally axially aligned in an assembled position of the extension assembly 20.

The universal section 30, more particularly, includes a pair of partial-spherically shaped sections 68 or 70 and a connecting spherical section 72. The outer periphery of the spherically shaped section 70 is formed on a diameter slightly smaller than the diameter of the inner periphery of the other spherically shaped section 68 so that a portion of the spherically shaped section 70 slidingly and rotatingly fits within a portion of the spherically shaped section 68. In the assembled position of the universal section 30, the connecting spherical section 72 is bolted to the spherically shaped section 68, thereby securing the two spherically shaped sections 68 and 70 and the connecting spherical section 72 in an' assembled position. A plurality of seal members 74 are are disposed generally between the spherically shaped sections 68 and 70 and the connecting spherical section 72 to form a fluid tight seal therebetween.

As shown more clearly in FIGS. 3 and 6, an opening is formed through a portion of the second clamping member 42. The opening 80 is sized to receive a portion of the connecting end 26 of the extension assembly 20 or, more particularly, to receive one end portion of one of the pipe sections 22, the pipe section 22 being secured to the second clamping member 42, generally adjacent and about the opening 80. In the assembled position of the remote well plugging apparatus 10, the openings 66 through the extension assembly 20 thus, more particularly, provide a communicating path, designated in the drawings generally by the reference numeral 82, extending from the remote end 24 generally through the extension assembly 20 and intersecting the opening 62 of the clamping assembly 28.

The communicating path 82 is sized to slidingly and rotatingly receive a cutter element 84 and a plurality of drive shaft elements 86, the drive shaft elements 86 having end portions 88 and 90 constructed to effect a removable, universal-type connection between the various drive shaft elements 86 so that, in an assembled position, the drive shaft elements 86 provide a drive shaft assembly 92, as shown more clearly in FIGS. 3 and 4. The communicating path 82 is also sized to slidingly receive a casing .plug 94, as shown in FIG. 6, which is connected to one end of a drive shaft assembly 92a. The drive shaft assembly 92a constructed substantially the same as the drive shaft assembly 92, the numeral designation 92a being utilized to distinguish that the drive shaft assembly 920 is connected to the casing plug 94 whereas the drive shaft assembly 92 is, more particularly, connected to the cutter element 84.

The cutter element 84 has a cylindrically shaped base portion 100, one end of the base portion 100 being connected to one end of the drive shaft assembly 92 and a cutting surface 102 being formed on the end of the base portion 100, opposite the end thereof connected to the drive shaft assembly 92. The cutter element 84 and, more particularly, the cylindrically shaped base 100 thereof, is constructed to slidingly engage the wall formed through the extension assembly 20 by the communicating path. 82' and, thus, to be movable through the communicating path 82 for cutting a casing opening 104 through the well casing 14, in a rotating position of the drive shaft assembly 92, during one aspect of the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus 10. Cutter elements constructed to function and operate in a manner similar to that generally described above with respect to the cutter element 84 are well known in the art and a detailed description of the construction and operation thereof is not required herein. 1

As shown in FIG. 6, the casing plug 94 has a cylindrically shaped supporting base 106, one end of. the supporting base 106 being connected to one end of the drive shaft assembly 92a. A plug 108 is formed on one end of the supporting base 106, generally opposite the end of the supporting base 106 connected to the drive shaft assembly 920. A pair of seal members 110 and 112 are disposed on the plug 108, each seal member 110 and 112 sealingly engaging the well casing 14 or, more particularly, the inner periphery 116 of the inner concentric casing 38 in a plugged position of the plug 108, as shown in FIG. 6. The well plug has an outer periphery 114 shaped to engage the well casing 14, the diameter formed by the outer periphery 114 of the plug 108 being substantially the same as in the inner diameter of the well casing 14. Amud opening 115 isformed through the casing plug 94, one end of the mud opening 115 being in fluidic communication with the communicating path 82 and the opposite end of the mud opening 115 being in fluidic communication with the well casing bore, that is the opening formed through the inner concentric casing 38, generally below the casing plug 94. More particularly, the diameter formed by the outer periphery 114 is substantially the same as the diameter formed by an inner periphery l 16 of the inner concentric casing 38, the inner concentric casing 38 being the casing through which the fluid is flowing. As mentioned generally before, the term well casing 14 is used sometimes above and below to indicate the outer casing 37 and the inner concentric casing 37; however, the term well casing 14, more particularly, refers to the particular well casing having the fluid flowing therethrough when utilized in connection with the casing plug 94.

Since the casing plug 94 is cylindrically shaped and further since the casing plug 94 is sized to plug or seal the opening through the inner concentric casing 38, the casing opening 104 has a diameter substantially the same as the diameter of the well casing bore or, in other words, the diameter formed by the inner periphery 116 of the inner concentric casing 38. Thus, the cutter element 84 must be securely fixed or held in a fixed, stationary relationship with respect to the well casing 14 during the cutter operation, and the opening 80 must be securely fixed or held in fixed, stationary relationship with respect to the well casing 14 to maintain the alignment of the opening 80 and the casing opening 104 during the insertion of the casing plug 94. It is, therefore, important that the clamping assembly 28 be securely positioned in a clamped relationship about a portion of the well casing 14, during the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus 10.

As briefly mentioned before and as shown more clearly in FIGS. 2 and 5, a bolt actuator assembly 120 is connected to the second clamping member 42 is close proximity to the flange portion 54 thereof. The bolt actuator assembly 120 includes a bolt actuator 122 having a plurality of threaded bolts 124 connected thereto, each of the threaded bolts 124 extending a distance from the bolt actuator 122 and through a portion of one of the bolt holes 55. Each bolt member 124 thus extends a distance from the bolt actuator 122 terminating with a tapered end portion, as shown in FIG. 2.

The bolt actuator 122 is, more particularly, connected to each of the bolt members 124 such that the bolt actuator 122 rotatingly drives the bolt members 122 a distance generally out of the bolt actuator 122, in one actuated position thereof, and such that the bolt actuator 122 rotatingly drives the bolt members 122 generally toward the bolt actuator 122, in an actuated unbolting position thereof, to secure the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 in a clamped position and in a fixed position relative to the well casing 14. The bolt actuator 122 can be hydraulically, pneumatically or electrically actuated or operated and in either event, a bolt controller is connected to the bolt actuator 122. The bolt controller 130 is disposed at the remote location, as diagrammatically shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, and is constructed to provide an actuating signal 131, the actuating signal 131 being received by the bolt actuator 122 to position the bolt actuator 122 in an actuated position and an actuated unbolting position, during the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus 10.

As shown more clearly in FIG. 4, the remote end 24 of the extension assembly 20 extends through a portion of an operating frame 134 and, more particularly, extends through a pair of openings 136 formed through a pair of support members 138, the operating frame 134 thereby generally supporting the remote end of the extension assembly 20 at the remote location. The end of the drive shaft assembly 92, opposite the end thereof connected to the cutter element 84, is connected to a drive assembly 142. A spring retainer 144 is formed on a portion of the drive shaft assembly 92 and a bias spring 145 is disposed about the drive shaft assembly 92, one end of the bias spring 145 engaging the spring retainer 144 and the opposite end of the bias spring 145 engaging a portion of a journal support post 146. The bias spring 145 will thus bias the drive shaft assembly 92 generally toward the connecting end 26 of the extension assembly 20 or, in other words, bias the cutter element 84 and the plug 108 into a cutting position and a plugging position, respectively. The drive assembly 142 is connected to the drive shaft assembly 92 to rotate the drive shaft assembly 92, during one aspect of the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus 10, and yet allow the drive shaft assembly 92 to be biasingly moved generally toward the connecting end 26 of extension assembly 20, as the cutter element 84 cuts the casing opening 104 through the well casing 14.

As shown more clearly in FIG. 2, the clamping assembly 28 also includes a first closure arm 150 and a second closure arm 152, one end of the first closure arm 150 being secured to the second clamping member 42 and one end of the second closure am 152 being secured to the first clamping member 40. One end of a cable 156 is securely connected to the end of the second closure arm 152, generally opposite the end thereof secured to the first clamping member 40. The cable 156 is also connected to the first closure member 150 by threading the cable 156 generally through an opening formed in the end of the first closure member 150, generally opposite the end thereof secured to the second clamping member 42. The first closure am 150 and the second closure arm 152 are, more particularly, connected to the second clamping member 42 and the first clamping member 40 to pivotally move the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 to the clamped position in an actuated position, in a manner which will be made more apparent below.

The end of the cable 156, opposite the end thereof secured to the second closure arm 152 is connected to a cable actuator 158 which is disposed at the remote location, as diagrammatically shown in FIG. 4. The cable actuator 158 has a retriving position and a release position, and is constructed such that a portion of the cable 156 is pulled generally toward the remote location or, in other words, generally toward the cable actuator 158, in a retriving position of the cable actuator 158 and such that a portion of the cable 156 is released in a direction generally toward the clamping assembly 28, in a release position of the cable actuator 158. As the cable 156 is pulled in a direction generally toward the cable actuator 158, the second closure arm 152 is pulled in a closing direction 160, as shown in,FIG. 2, thereby moving the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 generally toward a clamped position thereof.

' The remote plugging apparatus 10 also includes means for pumping mud or the like into the well casing 14 during one aspect of the operation. thereof. More particularly, the remote well plugging apparatus 10 includes a mud pumping assembly 164 which is in fluidic communication with the communicating path 82 via a conduit 166. The mud pumping assembly 164 generally includes a mud reservoir and pump means for pumping fluid from the remote location or, more particularly, from the mud reservoir through the conduit 166 and through the communicating path 82, the term mud" being utilized to denote any sealing type fluid commonly utilized in the drilling of oil and gas wells, as well known in the art.

OPERATION OF FIGS. 1 THROUGH 6 The remote well plugging apparatus 10 is constructed for plugging a well casing from a remote location, thereby substantially reducing the risk to personnel and equipment generally associated with attempting to plug a well casing which has become out of control. The pipe sections 22, the clamping assembly 28, the first valve assembly 32, the second valve assembly 33 and the universal section 30 are initially connected to form the extension assembly 20, the remote end 24 of the extension assembly 20 being supportingly connected to the barge 12, in one form of the invention, as shown in FIG. 1. The cable 156 is connected to the clamping assembly 28 and to the cable actuator 158, the bolt controller is connected to the bolt actuator 122, and, in general, the various components and assemblies of the remote well plugging apparatus 10 are assembled at a remote location with respect to the well casing 14.

After the remote well plugging apparatus 10 has been assembled, the first valve assembly 32 is actuated via the valve operator 34 to the closed position, and the connecting end 26 of the extension assembly 20 is maneuvered to a position wherein the clamping assembly 28 engages the well casing 14. More particularly, the remote well plugging apparatus 10 is maneuvered to a position wherein the arcuately shaped surface 60 of the second clamping assembly 42 engages a portion of the outer periphery of the outer casing 37, as generally shown in FIG. 2. In this initial aspect of the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus 10, the drive shaft assembly 92 has not yet been disposed generally through the communicating path 82 of the extension assembly 20.

The cable actuator 158 is actuated to a retrieving position to retrieve a portion of the cable 156 generally toward the remote location, thereby moving the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 generally toward a clamped position. After the cable 156 has been retrieved a sufficient distance to move the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 to a position wherein each of the arcuately shaped surfaces 60 engage a portion of the outer periphery of the well casing 14 and the threaded bolt holes 56 and the bolt holes 58 are generally aligned, the bolt controller 130 is actuated to transmit the actuating signal 131 to the bolt actuator 122, thereby actuating the bolt actuator 122.

In the actuated position of the bolt actuator 122, the bolt members 124 are driven generally out of the bolt actuator 122, through the bolt holes 58 and through the threaded bolt holes 56. The bolt actuator 122 will remain in this actuated position until the bolt members 124 have been driven into threaded engagement with the threaded bolt holes 56, the mating end face 55 on the first clamping member 40 being pulled generally toward the mating end face 55 on the second clamping member 42 as the bolt members 124 are so driven, thereby securing the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 in a clamped position about a portion of the well casing 14.

In the secured, clamped position of the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42, the communicating path 82 is securely affixed with respect to a portion of the well casing 14, due to the interconnection between the extension assembly 20 and the second clamping member 42. The first valve assembly 32 is then actuated to the opened position via the valve actuator 34 connected thereto, and the cutter element 84 is moved through the communicating path 82 to a position wherein the cutting surface 102 initially engages a portion of the outer periphery of the well casing exposed to the communicating path 82, the cutter element 84 being moved through the communicating path 82 via the drive shaft assembly 92.

The drive assembly 142 is then actuated to rotatingly drive the cutter element 84 via the interconnecting drive shaft assembly 92 therebetween. As the cutter element 84 is being rotatingly driven, the bias spring 145 biasingly moves the cutter element 84 in a direction generally away from the remote location and through the well casing 14. The cutter element 84 is thus driven until the cutter element 84 has cuttingly formed the casing opening 104 through a portion of the outer casing 37 and through a portion of the inner casing 38, the casing opening 104 being of a diameter substantially the same as the diameter of the inner periphery 116 of the inner casing 38, as mentioned before.

The cutter element 84 and the interconnecting drive shaft assembly 92 are then withdrawn from the extension assembly 20, and the first valve assembly 32 is actuated to the closed position to prevent any of the oil or gas or the like from escaping through the communicating path 82 during this aspect of the operation. It should also be noted that, in one form of the invention, the mud pumping assembly 164 is actuated to pump mud or other such sealing fluid through the communicating path 82 during the cutting operation to further reduce the opportunity for any oil or gas or the like to escape via the communicating path 82.

The casing plug 94 is connected to one end of the drive shaft assembly 92a, and the casing plug 94 is then inserted through the communicating path 82 toward the well casing 14. The first valve assembly 32 is actuated to the open position, and the casing plug 94 is further moved through the communicating path 82 and through the casing opening 104. The casing plug 94 is, more particularly, moved into a plugging position within the inner casing 38, that is a position wherein the outer periphery 114 of the casing plug 94 engages and plugs the inner casing 38, the seal member 110 and 112 sealingly engaging the inner periphery 116 thereof, the casing plug 94 thereby stopping the flow of fluid therethrough.

In this position of the casing plug 94, the mud opening 115 is in fluidic communication with a portion of the well casing bore through the inner casing 38, generally below the casing plug 94, as shown in FIG. 6. The mud pumping assembly 164 is then actuated, in one operational embodiment, and mud or other such sealing fluid is pumped through the communicating path 82, through the mud opening in the casing plug 94 and into the well casing bore through the inner casing 38, thereby cooperating with the casing plug 94 to seal the flow of fluid through the well casing 14.

Thus, the extension assembly 20 is securely affixed to the well casing 14 via the clamping assembly 28, and the well casing 14 is cut and plugged utilizing the remote well plugging apparatus 10 of the present invention, in such a manner that the entire operation is performed from the remote location, thereby eliminating the necessity of having personnel or equipment located near the well casing 14 and substantially reducing the hazards normally encountered during a well plugging operation of a nature described above. The remote well plugging apparatus 10, not only reduces the safety hazards, but also increases the efficiency of the well plugging operation, since the entire operation is performed from the remote location.

EMBODIMENT OF FIG. 7

A modified clamping assembly 28a constructed to actuate the closure arms and 152 to move the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 to a clamped position, as described above, is shown in FIG. 7. In this embodiment of the invention a bias spring is connected on one end thereof to the end of the first closure arm 150, opposite the end of the first closure arm 150 which is secured to the second clamping member 42, and the opposite end of the bias spring 170 is connected to the end of the second closure arm 152, opposite the end of the second closure arm 152 which is secured to the first clamping member 40. The bias spring 170 is sized and connected to the first closure arm 150 and the second closure arm 152 to bias the second closure arm 152 in a closing direction 160, thereby moving the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 generally toward a clamped position thereof.

A stop member 172 is disposed through a portion of the first clamping member 40 and through a portion of the second clamping member 42, as shown in FIG. 7, to prevent movement of the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 in a stopping position of the stop member 172. The stop member 172, in one form, is connected to the cable 156 such that, in the retrieve position of the cable actuator 158, the stop member 172 is removed from the assembled, stopping position thereof, thereby allowing the first closure arm 150 and the second closure arm 152 to be biased by the bias spring 170 thereby moving the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 to the clamped position. In one other form, the stop member 172 is connected to a hydraulic cylinder or the like (not shown), the hydraulic cylinder being actuated via an actuator disposed at the remote location to move the stop member 172 from the assembled, stopping position thereof, thereby effecting the moving of the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 to the clamped position via the bias spring 170, in a manner similar to that described above.

EMBODIMENT OF FIG. 8

Another modified clamping assembly 28b is shown in FIG. 8. The clamping assembly 28b is constructed similar to the clamping assemblies 28 and 28a,

described before, the salient differences being that the clamping assembly 28b includes a central clamping member 180 and a closure guide band 182, the remote end 26 of the extension assembly 20 being connected to the central clamping member 180 in a manner similar to that described before with respect to the second clamping member 42. One side of the first clamping member 40b, opposite the flange portion 54 side thereof, is pivotally connected to one side of a central clamping member 180; and one side of the second clamping member 42b, opposite the flange portion 54 side thereof, is pivotally connected to one side of the central clamping member 180 opposite the side of the central clamping member 180 pivotally connected to the first clamping member 42b. One end of a closure guide band 182 is connected to a portion of the upper end 50 of the first clamping member 40b, and the opposite end of the closure guide band 182 is connected to a portion of the upper end 50 at the second clamping member 42b, the closure guide band 182 extending generally between the first clamping member 40b and the second clamping member 42b.

The closure guide band 182 is positioned on the clamping assembly 28b to initially engage a portion of the well casing 14, as the remote well plugging apparatus is maneuvered toward the well casing 14, and to pull the first clamping member 40b and the second clamping member 42b toward a clamped position. More particularly, as the extension assembly 20 is maneuvered into a position wherein the arcuately shaped surface 60b formed on the central clamping member 180 engages a portion of the outer periphery of the well casing 14, a portion of the closure guide band 182 is generally wrapped about a portion of the well casing 14, thereby pulling the first clamping member 40b and the second clamping member 42b to a clamped position. Thus, the clamping assembly 28b is automatically moved into the clamped position via the closure guide band 182 without the necessity of a cable or a cable actuator, such as the cable 156 and the cable actuator 158, described before.

EMBODIMENT OF FIG. 9

Shown in FIG. 9 is a modified cutter element 840, a modified casing plug 94c and a modified clamping assembly 280. More particularly, the casing plug 94 has a modified cylindrically shaped base 1060 having an end 190 which is shaped for connection to the modified cutter element 840, in lieu of a cylindrically or circularly shaped outer periphery 114, as shown in FIG. 6. The end of the cutter element-84c, opposite the cutting surface 102 end thereof, is connected to the end 190 of the casing plug 94c, in one form, the cutter element 84c being formed integrally with the casing plug 94c, in one other form.

The modified clamping assembly 280 is constructed to accommodate and cooperate with the modified cutter element 840 and the modified casing plug 94c connected thereto. More particularly, the first clamping member 40c includes an opening 192 formed therethrough which is diametrically aligned with the opening 80 through the second clamping member 42. A cutter receiving cap 194, having a closed end 196 and a hollow portion 198 extending a distance therethrough intersecting an open end 202, is connected to a portion of the first clamping member 40c, the open end 202 of the cutter receiving cap 194 extending through the opening 192 and the cutter receiving cap 194 being secured in an assembled position generally about the opening 192, as shown in FIG. 9. In a clamped position of the clamping assembly 28c, the hollow portion 198 is aligned with the communicating path 82 through the extension assembly 20, and the hollow portion 198 is sized for receiving the cutter element 84c in a plugged position of the casing plug 94c.

During the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus utilizing the modified apparatus shown in FIG. 9, the cutter element 84c will be driven to cut the casing opening 104 in a manner similar to that described before; however, in the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 9, the cutter element 84c will continue to be driven through the well casing 14 to cut a second casing opening 204, diametrically disposed with respect to the casing opening 104. The cutter element 840' will then continue to be driven in a direction generally away from the remote location 12, to a position wherein the cutter element 84c is disposed generally within the hollow portion 198 of the cutter receiving cap 194 (shown in FIG. 9). Since the casing plug 94c is connected to or formed integrally with the cutter element 84c, the casing plug 94c is also being moved in a direction generally away from the remote location 12, as the cutter element 840 is being so driven, to a plugged position wherein the seal members and 112 cooperate with the casing plug 94c, and particularly the plug portion 1080 thereof, to stop the flow of fluid through the well casing 14. Thus, the modified ca'sing plug 94c, the modified cutter element 84c and the modified clamping assembly 28c operate in a manner similar to the embodiments of the invention described before, the salient difference being that, in this embodiment of the invention, the cutting and the plugging operation is accomplished in a manner eliminating the necessity of withdrawing the cutter element and connecting the drive shaft, and subsequently inserting the casing plug and the interconnecting drive shaft, these two operations being accomplished in a single, uniform operation utilizing the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 9.

EMBODIMENT OF FIG. 10

Shown in FIG. 10 is one other modified clamping assembly 28d having a modified closure means for moving the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 to the clamped position, which includes an arcuately shaped rack 210 and a drive assembly 212. The rack 210 has one end 214 pivotally secured to a flange 216 formed on the first clamping member 40, and a plurality of gear teeth 218 formed along a portion of one side thereof, the rack 210 extending arcuately from the first clamping member 40. The drive assembly 212 includes a motor 220, which may be electrically or hydraulically driven via a power source disposed on and controlled from the remote location 12, connected to a drive gear 222, the drive gear 222 being gearingly connected to the gear teeth 218 portion of the rack 210.

During the operation of the embodiment of the invention shown in FIG. 10, the motor 220 is started via the controls and interconnected power source (not shown) when the clamping assembly 28d has been moved to a position wherein the second clamping member 42 is disposed adjacent the well casing 14, thereby driving the drive gear 222. Since the drive gear 222 is drivingly, meshingly and gearingly interconnected to the rack 210, the rack 210 will be driven to pivotally move the first clamping member 40 to the clamped position thereof, in one position of the motor 220, and to pivotally move the first clamping member 40 to the opened position, in one other driven position of the motor 220.

EMBODIMENT OF FIG. 1!

Shown in FIG. 11 is another modified clamping assembly 28e having a modified closure means for moving the first clamping member 40 and the second clamping member 42 to the clamped position, which includes a bias spring 230 and an arm 232. One end of the bias spring 230 is connected to a flange 234 formed on the first clamping member 40, and the opposite end of the bias spring 230 is connected to a flange 236 formed on the second clamping member 42. The bias spring 230 is sized and connected to the first clamping member 40 and to the second clamping member 42 to bias the clamping assembly 23c to the opened position in one position of the clamping assembly 28e, shown in FIG. 11, and to bias the clamping assembly 28e to the clamp-ed position in an actuated bias position of the clamping assembly 28e (not shown). The arm 232 is connected to the first clamping member 40 and, more particularly, to the upper end 50 of the first clamping member 40, the arm 232 extending a distance therefrom to engage a portion of the well casing 14 as the clamping assembly 28e is moved into contact therewith. The engagement of the arm 232 with the well casing 14 pivotally moves the first clamping member 40 generally toward the clamped position as the clamping assembly 28e moves into engagement therewith. After the arm 232 has pivotally moved the first clamping member 40 a distance toward the clamped position thereof, the bias spring 230 will be moved thereby to the actuated bias position thereof to cooperatingly bias the first clamping member 40 to a clamped position with respect to the second clamping member 42.

EMBODIMENT OF FIG. 12

Shown in FIG. 12 is a modified means for moving and driving the cutter element 84, similar to the embodiment shown in FIG. 4. The drive shaft 92 (partially shown) is connected to one end of a cylindrically shaped shaft 240 via interconnecting end portions 88 and 90, a bore 242 of a non-circularly shaped crosssection extends a distance through the cylindrically shaped shaft 240, intersecting an end 244 thereof, opposite the end thereof connected to the drive shaft 92. A flange 246 is formed on each end of the cylindrically shaped shaft 240, each flange 246 extending a distance radially from the cylindrically shaped shaft 240.

A threaded shaft 248 having a bore 250 extending therethrough is disposed about the cylindrically shaped shaft 240, the cylindrically shaped shaft 240, more particularly, rotatingly extending through the bore 250 of the threaded shaft 248. Each end of the threaded shaft 248 abuts one of the flanges 246 of the cylindrically shaped shaft 240, the flanges 246 thereby axially retaining the threaded shaft 246 disposed about the cylindrically shaped shaft 240.

The threaded shaft 248 is supported by a portion of the pipe section 22 at the remote end 24 of the extension assembly 20, the threaded shaft 248, more particularly, threadedly engaging and extending through a flange 252 secured on the pipe section 22 to close the remote end 24 of the extension assembly 20. A stop 2-54 is threadedly disposed about the threaded shaft 248 and thus movably disposed thereon, and a handwheel 256 is connected to the threaded shaft 248 to rotate the threaded shaft 248 thereby moving the threaded shaft 248 generally toward the well casing 14 in one rotational direction, and to rotate the threaded shaft 248 thereby moving the threaded shaft in a generally opposite direction (away from the well casing 14) in one other rotational direction. The step 254, more particularly, engages the flange 252 to limit the movement of the threaded shaft 248 in a direction generally toward the well casing 14 at predetermined positions, for reasons which will be made more apparent below.

One end of a shaft 260, having a cross-section shaped to mate with the bore 250 through the cylindrically shaped shaft 240, extends a distance through the bore 250. Since the bore 242 has a non-circular shaped cross-section and, further, since the shaft 260 has a mating cross-section, the shaft 260 is movable in an axial direction through the bore 242 of the cylindrically shaped shaft 240 generally toward and away from the well casing 14 and, yet, will engage the cylindrically shaped shaft 240 to drivingly rotate the cylindrically shaped shaft 240 in a rotatingly driven position of the shaft 260.

A drive shaft 262 is rotatingly supported by a pair of supports 264 and, more particularly, via a pair of support bearings 266. A sprocket 268 is secured to the drive shaft 262 and drivingly connected to a drive sprocket 270 via a chain 272. The drive sprocket 270 is connected to a motor shaft 274 which 'is rotatingly supported via the supports 264, motor shaft 274 being drivingly connected to a motor 276. One end of the drive shaft 262 is connected to the shaft 260 via the interconnecting end portions 88 and 90.

When the motor 276 is actuated to drivingly rotate the motor shaft 274, the drive shaft 262 is rotatingly driven via the sprocket-chain (268, 270 and 272) interconnection therebetween, thereby drivingly rotating the shaft 260. The rotation of the shaft 260 rotates the cylindrically shaped shaft 240, thereby rotating the drive shaft assembly 92. The rotation of the cylindrically shaped shaft 240 will not rotate the threaded shaft 248 since the bore 250 therethrough is also cylindrically shaped to rotatingly support the cylindrically shaped shaft 240. Thus, the threaded shaft 248 can be moved generally toward the well casing 14 via the handwheel 256 to move the cutter element 84 through the well casing 14 without interferring with the rotational movement of the cylindrically shaped shaft 240 or the drive shaft assembly 92, the interconnection between the cylindrically shaped shaft 240 and the shaft 260 being maintained during such axial movement of the threaded shaft 248. The stop 254 is, in a preferred form, set a predetermined distance from the end of the cylindrically shaped shaft 240 to engage the flange 252 at a position wherein the threaded shaft 248 and consequently the drive shaft assembly 92 has been driven a predetermined distance through the well casing 14. Thus, the stop 254 provides a visual indication to the operator of the distance through which the cutter element 84 has been moved and positively limits the movement of the cutter element 84 through the well casing 14.

Changes may be made in the construction and the operation of the various parts or the elements described herein without departing from the spirit and the scope of the invention as defined in the following claims.

What is claimed is:

l. A remote well plugging apparatus for plugging a well casing from a remote location with respect to the well casing, comprising:

an extension means extending between the remote location and the well casing having a remote end and a connecting end and a communicating path extending therethrough; clamping member means connected to the connecting end of the extension means having an opened and a clamped position, a portion of the clamping means engaging a portion of the well casing for securing the clamping means and thereby securing the communicating path of the extension means in a fixed position relative to the well casing in a clamped position of the clamping member means;

means for positioning the clamping member means in a clamped, position from a remote location;

cutter means movable through the communicating path for cutting a casing opening through a portion of the well casing in a cutting positioning thereof;

means for moving and driving the .cutter means through the communicating path for cutting the casing opening from the remote location;

plug means movable through the communicating path and through the casing opening, a portion of the plug means plugging the well casing to prevent the flow of fluidtherethrough in a plugged position thereof; and

means for moving the plug means through the communicating path and through the casing opening to a plugged position of the plug means from the remote location.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 defined further to include:

valve means interposed in the extension means for closing and opening the communicating path therethrough; and

means for closingand opening the valve means from the remote location.

3. The apparatusof claim 1 defined'further to include:

flotation member means connected to the extension means for supporting the extension means generally on the waters surface; and

universal section means interposed in the extension means to allow for movement of the extension means during the operation of the remote well plugging apparatus.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the plug means includes a cylindrically shaped supporting base having a circularly shaped outer periphery formed on one end thereof engaging a portion of the inner periphery of the well casing for plugging the flow of fluid therethrough in a plugged position thereof.

5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the plug means includes mud opening formed therethrough, one end of the mud opening in fluidic communication with the communication path and the opposite end of the mud opening in fluidic communication with the well casing bore generally below the plug means; and wherein the apparatus is defined further to include:

mud pumping means for pumping fluid from the remote location through the communication path, through the mud opening of the plug means and into the well casing bore.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the casing opening has a diameter substantially the same as the diameter of the well casing bore to be plugged.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the clamping member means includes:

a first clamping member; and

a second clamping member having one side thereof pivotally secured to one side of the first clamping member; and

wherein the means for positioning the clamping member means in a clamped position is defined further to include:

an arcuately shaped rack having one end pivotally secured to the first clamping member and a plurality of gear teeth formed along a portion of one side thereof; and

drive means supported on the second clamping member and gearingly connected to the gear teeth portion of the rack to pivotally move the first clamping member to the clamped position in one position of the drive means.

8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the means for moving and driving the cutter means is defined further to include:

drive shaft means having one end connected to the cutter means and extending through the extension means;

cylindrically shaped shaft having one end connected to the end of the drive shaft means, op-

posite the end thereof connected to the cutter means, and a bore extending a distance through the opposite end thereof;

threaded shaft having a bore therethrough, the cylindrically shaped rotatingly extending through the bore;

means to support the threaded shaft, the threaded shaft moving toward the well casing when rotated therein in one direction and moving in the opposite direction when rotated in one other direction;

means connected to the threaded shaft to rotate the threaded shaft;

stop means movably disposed on the threaded shaft to limit the movement of the threaded shaft toward the well casing at predetermined positions;

a shaft having one end portion movably disposed in the bore of the cylindrically shaped shaft, the shaft rotatingly driving the cylindrically shaped shaft in a driven position thereof; and

means connected to the shaft to drivingly rotate the shaft in one position thereof.

extending shaft 9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the plug means is generally cylindrically shaped; and wherein the cutter means is generally cylindrically shaped, the cutter means connected to the plug means for cutting the casing opening through the well casing and cutting a second casing opening through the well casing, generally the disposed with respect to thq casing opening, the cutter means extending through the second casing opening and the plug means disposed in a plugged position in one position; and wherein the clamping member means includes a cutter receiving cap connected to a portion thereof for receiving the cutter means in a plugged position of the plug means.

10. The apparatus of claim 9 defined further to include: seal means disposed on the plug means sealingly engaging the well casing in a plugged position of the plug means.

11. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the clamping member means includes:

a first clamping member having an upper end and a lower end, opposite sides, and an arcuately shaped surface formed through a portion thereof intersecting the upper end and the lower end, the arcuately shaped surface engaging a portion of the outer periphery of the well casing in a clamped position of the clamping member means; and

a second clamping member having an upper end and a lower end, opposite sides and an arcuately shaped surface formed through a portion thereof intersecting the upper end and the lower end, the arcuately shaped surface engaging a portion of the outer periphery of the well casing in a clamped position of the clamping member means, one side of the second clamping member pivotally secured to one side of the first clamping member; and

wherein the means for positioning the clamping member means in a clamped position is defined further to include:

closure means having a portion connected to the first clamping member and another portion connected to the second clamping member to pivotally move the first clamping member and the second clamping member to the clamped position in an actuated position of the closure means; and

means to actuate the closure means.

12. The apparatus of claim 1 1 wherein the side of the first clamping member and the side of the second clamping member, opposite the sides thereof pivotally interconnected, are disposed in close proximity and the arcuately shaped surface of the first clamping member and the second clamping member encompass a portion of the well casing about a substantial portion of the outer periphery thereof in a clamped position of the clamping member means.

13. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein a flange portion is connected to the side of the first clamping member and the second clamping member, opposite the sides thereof pivotally interconnected, each flange portion extending a distance generally between the upper end and the lower end of the clamping member connected thereto, the flange portion on the first clamping member having a plurality of spaced threaded bolt holes formed therethrough and the flange portion on the second clamping member having a plurality of bolt holes formed therethrough, each of the bolt holes of the second clamping member aligned with one of the threaded bolts holes of the first clamping member in a clamped position of the clamping member means; and wherein the means for positioning the clamping member means in a clamped position is defined further to include:

bolt actuator means connected to the second clamping member having a plurality of threaded bolts connected thereto, each of the threaded bolts extending a distance from the bolt actuator means through a portion of one of the bolt holes of the second clamping member, the bolt actuator means constructed for driving each of the threaded bolts through one of the bolt holes of the second clamping member and through one of the threaded bolt holes of the first clamping member in an actuated position of the bolt actuator means to secure the first clamping member and the second clamping member in a clamped position and in a fixed position relative to the well casing; and

bolt controller means for actuating the bolt actuator means from the remote location.

14. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the closure means includes:

a first closure arm having one en d secured to a portion of the second clamping end a second closure arm having one end secured to a portion of the first clamping member; and

wherein the means to actuate the closure means is defined further to include:

cable means having one end portion connected to the first closure arm and the second closure arm; and

cable actuator means disposed at the remote location connected to the end of the cable means, opposite the end thereof connected to the first closure arm and the second closure arm, the cable actuator means having a retrieving position for retrieving a portion of the cable means for moving the first closure arm and the second closure arm to move the first clamping member and the second clamping member to the clamped position.

15. The apparatus of claim 11 defined further to elude:

stop means connecting a portion of the closure means, for securing the first clamping member and the second clamping member in the opened position in a stop position of the stop means; and

means connected to the stop means for removing the stop means from the stop position thereof from the remote location.

16. The apparatus of claim 11 defined further to include:

a bias spring connected to the closure means for biasing the closure means to biasingly move the first clamping member and the second clamping to the clamped position.

17. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the clamping member means is defined further to include:

a central clamping member having opposite sides, an

upper and a lower end and an arcuately shaped surface formed through a portion thereof engaging a portion of the outer periphery of the well casing in a clamped position of the clamping member, one side of the first clamping member being pivotally connected to one side of the central clamping member and one side of the second clamping member being pivotally connected to the side of the central clamping member, opposite the side of the central clamping member pivotally connected to the first clamping member.

18. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the means to actuate the closure means is defined further to include:

closure guide band means having one end thereof connected to the first clamping member and the opposite end thereof connected to the second 10 through the extension means.

20. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the clamping member means substantially encompasses a portion of the well casing about the entire outer periphery thereof, in a clamped position of the clamping member means.

21. The apparatus of claim 11 wherein the means to actuate the closure means is defined further to include:

a bias spring connected to the first clamping member and to the second clamping member to bias the clamping member means to the opened position in one position of the clamping member means and to bias the clamping member means to the clamped position in an actuated bias position of the clamping member means; and

an arm connected to the first clamping member and extending therefrom, the arm engaging a portion of the well casing to move the clamping member means to the actuated bias position in one position thereof.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification166/55
International ClassificationE21B29/00, E21B35/00, E21B29/08
Cooperative ClassificationE21B29/08, E21B35/00
European ClassificationE21B35/00, E21B29/08