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Publication numberUS3762471 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateOct 2, 1973
Filing dateApr 6, 1971
Priority dateApr 6, 1971
Publication numberUS 3762471 A, US 3762471A, US-A-3762471, US3762471 A, US3762471A
InventorsMott J
Original AssigneeHydril Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Subsurface well apparatus and method
US 3762471 A
Abstract
Subsurface well apparatus and method of operating same, wherein a controlled ball valve or closure means is provided, with means for mounting same in a well tubing for normally opening and closing flow through the well tubing, and wherein a fluid flow control assembly having a replacement ball valve therewith is adapted to be dropped in or otherwise lowered through the well tubing so as to position same above said controlled ball valve for subsequent operation of said replacement valve to thereafter serve as a replacement for said controlled valve.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 Mott [ 1 Oct. 2, 1973 1 SUBSURFACE WELL APPARATUS AND METHOD [75] Inventor: James D. Mott, Houston, Tex.

[73] Assignee: Hydril Company, Houston, Tex.

[22] Filed: Apr. 6, 1971 211 Appl. No; 131,629

[52] U.S. Cl. 166/224 S, 251/58 [51] lnt.Cl E211) 43/12 [58] Field of Search 166/72, 154, 224, 166/315; 137/458, 494; 251/58, 62, 79

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,675,720 7/1972 Sizer 166/224 3,527,297 9/1970 Todd 166/154 R25,471 11/1963 Fredd 166/224 S A {y I k W, H hdi/ Ila 1/4 6- g 41A 75d 2 3; gig? w- 7511 oJa-- W 64 J/a- 6 J0: I f,

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8/(\ -J/a J/e 1 M Q 4 V g Job /-4fl I f \i I 1 t l 30 Tausch i. 166/224 S Primary Examiner-James A. Leppink Altorney-Pravel, Wilson & Matthews [57] ABSTRACT Subsurface well apparatus and method of operating same, wherein a controlled ball valve or closure means is provided, with means for mounting same in a well tubing for normally opening and closing flow through.

the well tubing, and wherein a fluid flow control assembly having a replacement ball valve therewith is adapted to be dropped in or otherwise lowered through the well tubing so as to position same above said controlled ball valve for subsequent operation of said replacement valve to thereafter serve as a replacement for said controlled valve.

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ATTORNEYS PAIENIEUBBT 3,762.47 1

SHEET 9 OF 9 ATTORNEYS 1 SUBSURFACE WELL APPARATUS AND METHOD CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS This application is related to my co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 72,034, filed Sept. 14, 1970.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The field of this invention is a subsurface well apparatus and method.

The practice of using controlled subsurface devices in production tubing of producing wells to close the bore of the production tubing to flow for preventing a well blowout is well known in the art. Sand and other abrasives flowing through the devices with the produced hydrocarbons eroded or damaged the device and frequently made the device inoperative. Previously it has been necessary to utilize a wire line tool or pull a portion of the production string to replace a controlled subsurface device. The lost production as well as the cost of the special crews and equipment made replacement an expensive operation.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a new and improved pressure operated subsurface well apparatus and method. The apparatus includes a housing having a bore therein connected in a production tubing, a closure means movable to an open position by a first control fluid pressure and which is moved by a means for imparting movement to a closed position when the control fluid pressure is reduced, and a positioning means for positioning a means for controlling flow in the bore when the closure member malfunctions. A ball type closure means for rotating to and from the open and closed position is provided. The means for imparting movement to the closure means includes an equalizing flow means for equalizing the pressure in the bore before commencing to open the closure means and a compound motion means for reducing the pressure of the control fluid needed to move the closure means. The positioning means is movable into the bore of the housing to constrict the bore by a second control fluid pressure. The second control fluid pressure also moves the closure means to the open position and operates a releasable locking means to lock the closure means in the open position. The means for controlling flow in the bore comprises a flow control assembly, a plug means, a plug mover means, a releasable securing means operated by pressure in the bore of the tubing for securing the assembly in the bore of the housing and a means for operably engaging the plug mover means with the means for imparting movement to the closure means. The plug means is moved to the open position by control fluid pressure moving the means for imparting movement and enabling the plug mover means to move the plug means to the open position and which is moved to the closed position when the pressure is reduced by the engaged means for imparting movement moving the plug mover means. The plug means includes a ball type member rotatable to and from open and closed positions and having a diameter equal to the diameter of the bore of the housing. The securing means includes a releasable detent moving into a recess in the surface of the bore of the housing. The means for operably engaging the plug mover means includes a releasable detent moving into a recess in the surface of the bore of the housing adjacent the means for imparting movement. A running and retrieval tool moving and operated by pressure in the bore is used for securing and releasing the means for controlling the flow in the bore.

The method of installing the means for controlling the flow in the bore includes releasably connecting the means for controlling the flow with the running tool, inserting the connected assembly in the bore and increasing the pressure in the bore above the tool. Formation pressure is used to recover the tool.

The method of recovering the means for controlling the flow in the bore includes inserting a retrieval tool in the bore and increasing the pressure in the bore above the tool. After the tool connects with the means for controlling flow in the bore, formation pressure is used to flow the connected assembly back to the surface.

An object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved subsurface well apparatus.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved subsurface well method.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a new and improved subsurface well apparatus having a bore closure means controlled from the surface.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved subsurface apparatus having a positioning means for locating a flow control assembly in the bore of the well tool for controlling the flow in the bore.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved means for controlling the operation of the flow control assembly within the subsurface well apparatus.

Yet still another object of the present invention is to provide a new and improved method for securing a flow control assembly in the subsurface well apparatus.

Another object is to provide a new and improved method for retrieving the flow control assembly from the subsurface well apparatus.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is an elevation, partly in section, of the apparatus of the present invention connected in a production tubing in a well;

FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C are elevations, partly in section, from the upper to the lower end, respectively, of the apparatus of the present invention, with the stopper member or ball valve in the closed position;

FIGS. 3A, 3B and 3C are views similar to FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C, respectively, but showing the ball valve in the open position;

FIG. 4 is an elevation, partlyin section, illustrating an intermediate portion of the apparatus for locking the ball valve in the open position of FIG. 3C;

FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4, but illustrating the means for locking the ball valve open in another position;

FIGS. 6A and 6B are elevations, partly in section, showing the upper and an intermediate portion of the apparatus of this invention, with a flow control assembly being pumped or otherwise moved downwardly into the apparatus.

FIGS. 7A and 7B are views similar to FIGS. 6A and 6B, but showing the valve with the flow control assembly in the closed position;

FIGS. 8A and 8B are views similar to FIGS. 7A and 78, respectively, but with a portion of the flow control assembly removed;

FIG. 9 is a view similar to FIGS. 6A and 7B, but showing the retrieval tool connected to the flow control assembly;

FIGS. 10, 11 and 12 are elevations, partially in section, showing the open, intermediate and closed relationship, respectively, of the ball valve and pivot members;

FIG. 13 is an exploded view, partially in section, showing assembly of the ball and pivot means; and

FIGS. 14 and 15 are elevations, partially in section, showing the open and closed relationship, respectively, of the flow control assembly ball valve and pivot members.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As illustrated in FIG. 1, the subsurface safety valve apparatus or well tool generally designated 20 is mounted in a production tubing T of a well W for controlling the flow of fluid to the surface S through the bore of the production tubing T. A packer P seals the annular space between the outer surface of the production tubing T and the inner surface of the well casing C for forcing the hydrocarbon production through the bore of the production tubing T as is well known in the art. Production flow is from a well formation F through the perforated openings into the casing C and upward through the bore of the production tubing T to the surface S as is well known in the art. A block valve B connected with a Christmas tree X at the surface S is normally used to control the flow of fluid through the bore of the production tubing T as is well known in the art. A fluid conduit 22 connects the well tool 20 with a control fluid means reservoir F located at the surface S. A conduit 23 connects another portion of the tool 20 with a second control fluid means reservoir V located at the surface S.

As illustrated in particular in FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C, the tool 20 of the present invention includes a housing 30, preferably made of four portions 30a, 30b, 30c and 30d for purposes of assembly. To assist in understanding the present invention, the Figures are designated in alphabetical sequence commencing from the upper portion 30a of the housing 30 and proceeding down wardly. The upper section 30a of the housing 30 is connected to the section 30b by threads 30, as illustrated in FIG. 2A. The section 30b and the section 300 are connected by threads 30f, as illustrated in FIG. 2B. The section 30c is connected to the section 30d by threads 30g, as illustrated in FIG. 2C. A threaded box connection 31 at the upper end of the section 30a of the housing 30 connects with the production tubing T above the tool 20 (FIG. 1). A threaded pin connection 32 at the lower end of the section 30d connects with the production tubing T below the tool 20 (FIG. 1).

The housing 30 is a tubular member having a longitudinal bore 40 aligned and communicating with the inner bore of the production tubing T for enabling flow of fluid through the bore 40 of the housing 30 to the surface S. As illustrated in FIGS. 2A, 2B and 2C, the inner bore is defined in greater detail by a surface including a tapered annular shoulder 400, a constant diameter portion 40b, a greater diameter recess 400 having tapered annular shoulders 40d and 40a, a constant diameter portion 40f, an annular shoulder 40g, 21 larger constant diameter portion 40h, a tapered annu lar shoulder 401', a constant diameter portion 40j, a keeper shoulder 40ja, a keeper slide surface 40jb, a spring shoulder 40k, a constant diameter portion 40m. a tapered annular sealing shoulder 40n, a constant diameter portion 400, a smaller constant diameter lug or spline portion 40p having tapered annular shoulders 40q and 401', a constant diameter portion 40s, a spring shoulder 40:, a constant diameter portion 4014, a tapered annular portion 40v, and a constant diameter portion 40w.

Disposed in the bore 40 adjacent the surface 40s is a stopper or closure means including a ball 50 and a seat ring 55. The ball 50 is rotatably movable to and from open (FIG. 3C) and closed (FIG. 2C) positions. As illustrated in FIGS. 10, ll, 12 and 13, the ball 50 includes an opening 51 therethrough for aligning with the inner bore 40 to enable flow of fluid through bore 40 in the open position and with the ball 50 rotating to the closed position to block flow of fluid through the inner bore 40. The ball 50 includes a spherical outer surface 52 having a pair of parallel flat portions 520 having eccentric recess 53 therein for a purpose to be described more fully hereinafter. The annular seat ring 55 has an arcuate mating surface 55a to seal with the spherical surface 52 for preventing flow of fluid around the ball 50.

A means for imparting movement to the stopper means or ball 50 includes an actuator means disposed in the bore 40 of the housing 30. The actuator means includes a sleeve means 61 and a pivot means 62 mounted with the housing 30. The sleeve means 61 includes a piston portion 63, an upper portion 64, a middle portion 65, and a lower portion 66 as illustrated in FIGS. 2B and 2C. The actuator means 60 also includes spring means 630, 64a, 65a and 66a to be described more fully hereinafter.

As illustrated in FIG. 2B, the upper piston portion 63 of the actuator sleeve means 61 is movable relative to both the housing 30 and the upper sleeve portion 64. The upper piston portion 63 is a sleeve having a larger outer diameter portion 63b adjacent the constant diameter portion 40j of the bore 40, a smaller diameter outer portion 630 located above the larger diameter portion 63b adjacent the constant diameter portion 40h of the bore 40. An annular recess 632 positioned on outer annular shoulder 63d connects the outer surfaces 63d and 63c. A smaller inner constant diameter surface 63f is connected to a larger constant diameter lower inner surface 64g by a tapered annular surface 63h. A lower beveled surface 63i and an upper surface 63j complete the surfaces of the sleeve 63. An O-ring 63k seals between the surface 40h of the housing and the smaller diameter outer surface 63c. An O-ring 63m seals between the surface 40j and the larger outer diameter surface 63b of the sleeve 63. A sliding ring spring keeper member 35 is disposed in the bore 40 between the sleeve means 61 and the housing 30. The keeper 35 is longitudinally movable along the surface 40jb of the bore 40 between the shoulders 40jb and 40k of the housing 30. The spring 63a is positioned between the lower shoulder 63i of the piston portion 63 and the keeper 35 for urging the piston portion 63 upwardly to the location illustrated in FIG. 2B. The piston 63 islongitudinally movable in the housing 30 between the position illustrated in FIG. 2 and the position illustrated in FIG. 4 collapsing the spring 63a, in a manner to be described more fully hereinafter.

As illustrated in FIG. 3B, the upper sleeve portion 64 includes a constant diameter inner surface 64b, an upper end 640 having beveled edges, a smaller diameter outer surface 64d, an outer annular shoulder 64e, a larger constant diameter outer surface 64f having a recess 64g therein, an outwardly extending annular collar 64h having a flat upper surface 64i and a lower flat surface 64j. The spring 64a is positioned in the bore between the shoulder 6411 and the spring shoulder 40k of the housing 40 for urging the longitudinally movable sleeve 64 from the location illustrated in FIG. 38 upwardly to a location illustrated in FIG. 23. An O-ring 63n seals between the outer surface 64d of the member 64 and the surface 63g of the piston portion 63.

As illustrated in FIG. 3C, the upper portion 64 also includes an outer collar 64k with an upper annular tapered surface 64m having an O-ring 64n therein, a lower flat surface 640, a larger diameter lower outer portion 64p, having a recess 64q therein, a lower smaller constant diameter outer portion 64r, and a stepped bottom surface 64s connecting with the inner surface 64b. A channel 64 extends through the sleeve 64 above the collar 64k for a purpose to be described more fully hereinafter.

As illustrated in FIG. 2C, the middle portion sleeve 65 is movable in the housing and includes a constant diameter outer surface 65b, an upper shoulder 650, a larger constant diameter inner portion 65d, a spring shoulder 65e, an intermediate diameter inner portion 65f, a flat annular shoulder 65g, a constant diameter inner portion 65h, a flat lower surface 65i, an inner surface 65j and a bottom shoulder 65k. Threaded member 65m is secured to the sleeve 65 and extends inwardly into the recess 64g to connect the sleeve 64 and the sleeve 65 while permitting limited relative longitudinal movement. The seat ring 55 is mounted with the shoulders 65e and 65g of the sleeve 65. The spring 65a located between the surface 64s of the sleeve 64 and the shoulder 65a urges the sleeve 65 to move away from the sleeve 64 to maintain the ring 55 in sealing contact with the ball 50. An O-ring 65n seals the surface 65 ito the sleeve 64. An O-ring 55a seals between the seat ring 55 and the sleeve 65. Sealing the sleeve 65 at 65n and 55a, enables the pressure in the bore 40 below the ball to act in both directions on the sleeve 65 to balance and offset such fluid pressure and enable the small spring 65a to hold the seat ring against the ball 50 even with great pressure in the bore 40. An outer larger diameter portion 650 serves as a guide and an upper stop for the sleeve engaging the shoulder 40r of the housing 40 in the upper position.

As illustrated in FIG. 2C, the movable lower sleeve 66 includes a uniform diameter inner portion 66b, an annular tapered lower shoulder 66, a uniform diameter outer portion 66d, an outer annular shoulder 66e having a flat lower surface 66f, a constant diameter upper outer portion 663 and an upper arcuate surface 66):. The shoulder 66!! engages the spherical outer surface 52 of the ball 50. The spring 66a is positioned between the shoulder 40! of the housing 40 and the shoulder 66f of the lower sleeve 66 for urging the lower sleeve 66 to move upwardly.

The pivot means 67 is secured within the housing 40 against upwardly movement by an inwardly projecting member (not shown) threaded in the housing and extending into the pivot means 67 and a sleeve extension 67a engaging the housing shoulder 405 to prevent downward movement of the pivot means 67. As partially illustrated in FIG. 13, the pivot means 67 includes a split sleeve formed by a constant diameter inner surface 67b, upper and lower surfaces 670 and 67d, respectively, and a constant outer diameter surface 67e having the recess 67g therein. A circular pin 67f extends inwardly from the pivot means 67 within each of the eccentric slots 53 of the ball 50.

A releasable locking means is disposed in the bore 40 of the housing 30 for mechanically locking the ball 50 in the open position as illustrated in FIGS. 4 and 5. The locking means includes the recess 64g of the sleeve 64, an annular piston latch means 70 and a ring detent member 71. The piston 70 is a longitudinally movable ring or sleeve member concentrically disposed between the sleeve 64 and the housing 40 having a flat lower surface 70a, a constant diameter inner surface 70b, a stepped upper surface 70c having an inner locking shoulder 70d and a constant diameter outer portion 70e. An O-ring 70f slidably seals the inner surface 70b of the piston 70 to the outer surface 64g of the sleeve 64. An O-ring 70g seals the piston 70 to the housing 30. The detent 71 is a snap split ring located above the latch 70 having a sufficient gap opening therein to enable the ring to constrict and move into the recess 64g of the sleeve 64 when aligned therewith. The detent ring includes a flat portion 71a, an upper tapered portion 71b and lower tapered portions 71c and 71d for purposes to be described more fully hereinafter. A means for releasing or unlocking the ball 50 is also provided which is to be described more fully hereinafter.

A positioning means 75 (FIG. 2B) is disposed in the inner bore of the tubular housing member 30 for positioning a flow control means 85 (FIG. 6A) for controlling the flow in the bore 40, as will be explained. The positioning means 75 includes a spring split ring 75 having a gap opening therein to enable the ring 75 to constrict and move into the bore 40. The ring 75 includes an inner diameter surface 75a, a flat lower edge 75b, a constant diameter outer portion 75c, a tapered annular outer portion 75d and an inwardly tapered inner portion 75e. In the expanded position illustrated in FIG. 2B, the bore of the ring 75 has the same diameter as the bore of the sleeve 64 enabling full bore flow through the tool. As illustrated in FIG. 4, the positioning ring 75 is moved into the bore 40 by piston portion 63 which is to be described more fully hereinafter.

The control fluid pressure means conduit 22 communicates with the control fluid opening in the housing 30. The fluid control pressure is communicated through the opening 80 into a channel 80a to a port 80b and into an annular expansible chamber 800 within the inner bore 40 of the housing 30. The expansible chamber 800 is defined by the lower surface 63i of the piston portion 63, by a portion of the outer surfaces 64c, 64d and 64e of the upper sleeve portion 64, by the stepped surface 70c and the shoulder 70d of the piston member 70 and the surfaces 40j, 40ja and 40jb of the housing 30. The pressure of the fluid introduced into the chamber 800 through the control fluid conduit means 22 acts on shoulder 631' to move the piston portion 63 upwardly. Such pressure also acts downwardly on the stepped shoulder 700 of the latch member 70 to move the movable latch member 70 downwardly. The inner surface of the sliding keeper member 35 is spaced from the sleeve 64 for communicating the control fluid pressure to the latch member 70.

The second control fluid pressure means conduit 23 communicates with the opening 81 in the tubular member 30 and is communicated through a channel 810 to a port 81b and a port 81c. The port 81b communicates with an annular variable capacity chamber 81d formed by a portion of the outer surfaces 63b and 630 and the annular tapered shoulder 630 of the piston and the annular tapered shoulder 40i and the inner surface 40j of the housing 30. Control fluid introduced into the chamber 81d exerts a force on the shoulder 63d to move the piston sleeve 63 downwardly for a purpose to be described more fully hereinafter. The control fluid is communicated through port 810 into a variable capac ity chamber 8le defined by a portion of the inner surface 40] and the shoulder 40k of the housing 30, the outer surface 64d of the sleeve 64 and the surface 70a of the piston 70.

As illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B, a means for controlling the flow in the bore of the housing includes a flow control assembly generally designated 85 comprising a frame means 86, a plug means 87, a mover means 88 and a securing means generally designated 89.

The frame means 86 comprises a tubular member having a longitudinal bore 85a aligned and communieating with the bore 40 of the housing 30 and includes an upper sleeve portion 86a, a center sleeve portion 86b and a lower sleeve portion 86c. The center portion 86b is secured to the upper portion 860 by threads 86d while threads 86e secure the center portion 86b and the lower portion 860. An O-ring 86f also seals between portions 861; and 860. A packing 86g seals the middle portion 86b to the inner surface 40f of the housing 30 for directing all flow through the bore 40 through the bore 85a of the frame means 86.

The plug means 87 is disposed in the bore 85a of the frame means 86. The plug means 87 is a ball type member rotating to and from open and closed positions. The ball 87 includes a spherical outer surface 87a having a pair of flat opposite portions 87b with eccentric recesses 87c for a purpose to be described more fully hereinafter. The diameter of the ball 87 is the same as the outer diameter of the frame 86 or the inner diameter of the sleeve 61. The ball 87 also includes an inner bore 87d therethrough for permitting communication through the bore 85a of the frame 86 when the ball 87 in the aligned or open position illustrated in FIG. 6A. When the ball 87 rotates to the closed or transverse condition illustrated in FIG. 7A, the ball 87 blocks flow through the bore 85a of the frame means 85 and the bore 40 of the housing 30.

The mover means 88 for moving the plug means 87 to and from the open and closed positions includes a movable sleeve portion 880 above the ball 87 and a movable sleeve portion 88b below the ball 87. The lower sleeve portion 88b includes a constant diameter inner surface 88c, an upper surface 88d engaging the ball 87, an outside surface 88c having an outwardly extending collar 88f with upper and lower flat shoulders 88g and 88h, respectively, and an annular recess 88i. A plurality of longitudinally extending openings 88j extend through the sleeve 88b. Corresponding inwardly projecting fingers 86): secured to the frame 86 extend into the grooves 88j connecting the sleeve 88b and the frame 86, permitting relative longitudinal movement therebetween after shearing a shear pin 195.

The upper portion 880 of the actuator sleeve 88 includes a lower surface 88n, a stepped inner surface 880, an upper shoulder 88p, and an outer surface 88:; having a recess 881' therein. An inwardly projecting shoulder 86i of the frame 86 extends into the recess 88r for limiting the longitudinal movement of the upper sleeve portion 88a relative to the frame 86. An O-ring 88s seals between the outer surface 88: of the sleeve 88a and the inner surface of the frame 86. A spring 88! mounted between a shoulder 861' of the frame 86 and the shoulder 88p of the actuator sleeve 88 urges the sleeve 88a to move downwardly for a purpose to be described more fully hereinafter. The seating surface 88n engages the ball 87 for sealing between the upper actuator sleeve 88a and the ball 87.

The actuator means 88 also includes a pivot means for rotating the ball 87. The eccentric slots 87c within the flat surfaces 871; of the ball 87 receive corresponding inwardly extending members 86j threadably secured in the frame 860. By threadedly securing the fingers 86j in the frame 86 the larger diameter ball 87 may be placed in the frame 86c and the fingers 86] secured for ease of assembly. A downward movement of the sleeve 88a will cause the ball 87 to rotate about the members 86j to the open or aligned position illustrated in FIG. 6 A. An upward movement of the sleeve 88b rotates the ball 86 around the eccentric extensions 86j to move the ball 87 to the transverse or closed position as illustrated in FIG. 7 A.

As illustrated in FIG. 6 B, the securing means 89 comprises an expansible detent ring 90 and a latch sleeve 91 for securing the frame 86 in the bore 40 of the housing 30. The movable latch member 91 includes a outer tapered lower surface 910, a shoulder surface 91b, a stop 910, a annular upper shoulder 91d, and a constrant diameter inner surface 9le having a recess 91f therein. A plurality of inwardly extending projections 91g secured in the member 91 project within a corresponding plurality of longitudinal openings 86j in the frame member 86a for slidably securing the latch 91 to the frame 86 while permitting limited relative movement therebetween. The detent 91 is an expansible split ring concentrically mounted with the frame means 86 below the latch 91 and adapted for moving outwardly from the position illustrated in FIG. 6 B to the position illustrated in FIG. 7 B when aligned with the recess 40c. The split ring 91 includes a constant diameter inner surface 90a, a upper inner tapered shoulder 90b, an outer upper tapered portion 900, a constant diameter portion 90d, a lower tapered outer portion 90e, and a lower flat portion 90f.

The tubular assembly 85 also includes a means for engaging the mover means 88 with the actuator means 61 for moving the ball 87 to and from the open and closed positions using pressure of the control fluid. The engaging means includes a lower sleeve 92, a detent ring 93, and a latching shoulder 94. The latching shoulder 94 is concentrically mounted with the sleeve 88b. The latching shoulder 94 includes a uniform diameter outer surface 95a and a tapered lower surface 94b, and a flat upper surface 94c. A slidable keeper 94d is mounted on the sleeve 88 and is urged downwardly by spring means 94c. The expansible detent ring 93 includes a uniform diameter inner surface 93a, an inward tapered upper surface 93b, and outer upper tapered surface 93c, a uniform diameter outer surface 93d, a lower outer tapered surface 93c, and a lower flat surface 93f. The sleeve 92 includes a constant diameter outer portion 92a, a tapered lower portion 92b, a small diameter inner surface 920, an annular shoulder 92d, a larger diameter inner portion 922 and a flat upper shoulder 92f. The outer sleeve 92 is slidably secured to the actuator sleeve 88 by a snap ring 88k engaging the spring keeper 92e. A spring 92f is located between the keeper 92 and the shoulder 92d for urging the sleeve 92 upwardly. A shear pin 92g initially positions the sleeve 92 with respect to the sleeve 88, for a purpose to be described more fully hereinafter. The spring 92furges the sleeve 92 upwardly when the shear pin 92g has been sheared.

As illustrated in FIG. 6A a running tool 95 is secured to the frame 86 by a shear pin 95a for installing the valve 85. The running tool 95 includes a lower tubular portion 95b into which shear pin 95a extends, a collar portion 950 having a lower annular tapered shoulder 95d above the latch 91, an upper flat shoulder 95c and upper tubular portion 95f having a threaded portion 95g adjacent the top. A rubber cup swab tool or plug 96 is mounted with the upper portion 95f between the shoulder 95c and a standard fishing neck 97. Both the rubber swab cup 96 and the fishing neck 97 are well known in the art.

The means for controlling the flow in the bore also includes a bore plug pulling or retrieval tool 196. As illustrated in FIG. 9 the retrieval tool 196 includes a lower extension 196a having an annular tapered outer shoulder 19612, a upper portion 196c threadedly engaged with lower portion by threads 196d. A swab or plug 197 is mounted on the exterior of the upper portion 196C and is secured thereto by the fishing neck 198 threadedly engaging the portion 1960 with threads at 196a. A collet member 211 is movably mounted on the exterior surface of the lower portion 196a of the retrieval tool 196. The collet 211 includes a slidable base 211a, a plurality of flexible arms 21 lb extending downwardly having enlarged heads 211a. The collect 211 is movably retained between shoulders 196f and 196g. The base shoulder 196g is spaced sufficiently from the shoulder l96f wherein the base 211a adjacent the shoulder 196f will permit'the head 211C to be positioned above the shoulder 196g enabling the head 2110 to move inwardly by flexing of the member 2111; to provide clearance to the head 2110 as the head 211C moves downwardly past the surface 9le and into the recess 91f of the latch member 91.

In the use and operation of the present invention, the tool is connected in the tubing string T to position the tool 20 at the desired location in the well W below the surface S as illustrated in FIG. 1. The conduit 22 and the conduit 23 are connected and the tool 20 is lowered into the casing C as is well known in the art.

When the valve 20 is lowered in the well with the ball 50 in the transverse position, drilling fluid must be injected into the production tubing T above the ball 50 at the surfaces to prevent the collapse of the production tubing T above the ball 50. Filling of the tubing T above the ball 50 is not required if the tool 20 is lowered into the well W with the ball 50in the locked open condition which is to be described more fully hereinafter.

As illustrated in FIGS. 2b and 20, when the pressures in the conduit 23 and the conduit 22 are equal, the piston sleeve 63 has equal pressures acting upwardly on the lower surface 631' and downwardly on the shoulder 63d. Since the effective areas on which the pressures act are equal, the urging on the sleeve 63 is offsetting and the spring 63a will urge the sleeve 63 to move upwardly to the position illustrated. Since the effective areas of the surfaces 700 and 700 of the piston are also equal, the urging of the pressure acting on the lower surface a is the same as the urging of the pressure acting on the upper step surface 70c of the latch member 70. With this offsetting pressure urging on the latch member 70, the spring 64a will urge the sleeve 64 to move upwardly and move the shoulder 64i of the outwardly extending collar 64h into engagement with the lower shoulder 70a of the latch 70. The latch 70 will move upward until the upper portion of the surface 700 engages the detent ring 71 which is prevented from moving upward by the keeper 35 engaging the shoulder 40ja. The sleeve 64 in the upper position engages the tapered annular shoulder 40n of the housing 40 with annular tapered surface 64m and is sealed thereto by O-ring 64n. The spring 65a urges the sleeve 65 downwardly for maintaining the seat ring 55 seating surface 55a against the ball 50. The lower portion of the actuator sleeve is urged upward by the spring 66a for rotating the ball to the transverse position blocking flow through the inner bore 40 of the housing 30.

As can be seen by this arrangement, the valve is failsafe" in that a loss of pressure in the fluid control lines 22 and 23 would enable the spring 66a to move the ball 50 to the closed position blocking flow up the bore 40 of the housing 30.

In normal operation, the tool 20 is controlled by introducing fluid under pressure through the conduit 22 and venting through the conduit 23. The control fluid pressure is communicated from the conduit 22 through the channel a and the port 80b into the expansible chamber 80c. The pressure of the control fluid in the chamber 80c urges upwardly on the shoulder 63i of the upper portion 63 of the valve actuator sleeve 61. This urging assists spring 63a in urging the sleeve 63 upwardly. The pressure in the chamber 80e also acts on step surface 70c for urging the latch member 70 to move downwardly. The upper shoulder 64g of collar 64f engages the lower surface 70a of the downwardly moving latch 70 wherein the pressure in the chamber 80c must overcome the urging of the spring 64a before the latch 70 and engaged valve actuator sleeve 64 continue to move downwardly.

The initial downward movement of the sleeve 64 co]- lapses the spring 65a and moves the shoulder 64k away from the shoulder 40n of the housing 40 enabling communication of fluid in the bore 40 from below the ball 50 through the port 64t into the bore 40 above the ball 50 while the ball 50 remains in the closed position. The equalizing port 64t permits the pressure above and below the ball 50 to equalize before commencing to rotate open the ball 50. Equalizing the pressure differential across the ball 50 will reduce the velocity of the initial flow across the seating surface 52a of the ball 52 and seat ring 55a as the ball 52 commences to rotate open. As the latch 70 and engaged sleeve 64 continue to move downwardly the lower surface 640 of the collar 64k engages the shoulder 65c to move the sleeve 65 downwardly. The ball 50 is urged downwardlyby the engaged seat 550 mounted with the sleeve portion 65 wherein the ball 50 rotates around the inward extending eccentric members 67f extending within the slots 53 of the ball 50 to rotate the ball 50, as illustrated in FIGS. 10, 11 and 12. As the ball 50 rotates to the aligned position, illustrated in FIG. 3C it moves downwardly moving the engaged lower portion of the sleeve 66 downwardly and overcoming the upward urging of the spring 660. The vented conduit 23 serves as a means for receiving the fluid in the chamber 81e as the piston 70 moves downwardly wherein the operation of the ball 50 is independent of the pressure in the bore 40 of the housing 30.

The downward momentum of the sleeve 64 impacting on the engaged sleeve 65 and ball 50 assists in overcoming the inertia of the sleeve 65 and ball 50 and reduces the fluid pressure required to initiate rotation of the ball 50.

To return the ball 50 to the transverse or closed position the pressure of the fluid in the conduit 22 is vented at the surface enabling the fluid to flow out of the expansible chamber 80c. The strongest spring 66a urging on the lower portion 66 of the valve actuator sleeve 61 first moves the ball 50 and the sleeves 64, 65 and 66 upwardly. The movement of the ball 50 rotates the ball 50 about the members 67f of the pivot means 67 to rotate the ball 50 to the transverse position as illustrated in FIG. 2-C. The ball 50 is rotated to the transverse position before the equalizing port 641 is sealed. This reduces the velocity of flow through the opening 51 as the ball rotates closed. As the pressure of the fluid in the chamber 800 continues to decrease, the spring 64a will urge the sleeve 64 to move to the upper position and seat shoulder 64m against the shoulder 40n of the housing 30 for sealing with O-ring 64n to block flow through the equalizing port 64:. The spring 65a urges the sleeve 65 downwardly as the spring 64a moves the sleeve 64 upwardly to maintain the seal between the valve seat 55a and the surface 52 of the ball 50.

A means for locking the ball 50 in the open position is provided should it be necessary to run a tool down the bore 21 of the production tubing T below the valve 20. Also, the ball 50 may be locked open when the tubing T is lowered into the well W in order that the drilling fluid within the well W may flow through the bore 40 of the housing 30 to fill the bore 21 above the valve and prevent a collapse of the production tubing T. To lock the ball 50 open, the conduit 22 is vented and the control fluid pressure in the conduit 23 is increased. This pressure is communicated into the valve 20 at opening 81 and communicated through channel 81a to the ports 81b and 81c. The pressure is communicated through port 81b and into the expansible chamber 81d partially defined by the shoulder 63d. The recess 63c serves as a manifold to communicate the fluid pressure over the entire surface of the shoulder 63d when the upper portion 63 of the valve actuator sleeve 61 is in the upper position, illustrated in FIG. 2B. The pressure urging on the shoulder 63d urges the sleeve 63 to move downwardly to the position illustrated in FIG. 4. The downwardly movement of the sleeve 63 engages the surface 63i with the annular shoulder 64e of the sleeve 64 to move the sleeve 64 downwardly. The fluid pressure communicated through port 810 into the expansible chamber 81c partially defined by lower shoulder 70a of the latch member 70 urges the latch member 70 to move upwardly.

The downwardly movement imparted to the sleeve 64 by the sleeve 63 operates in the same manner as when the sleeve 64 was moved downward by the latch 70 to rotate the ball 50 to the open position. When the ball 50 moves to the open position the recess 642 is aligned with the detent 71 enabling the detent 71 to move into the recess 64e. This movement enables the control fluid pressure urging on the shoulder a to move the latch member 70 upwardly to lock the detent 71 in the recess 64e, as illustrated in FIG. 4. With the detent 71 locked in the recess 64e the spring 66a is unable to move the ball 50 upwardly for rotation to the closed position, when the fluid pressure in the conduit 23 is reduced.

As illustrated in FIG. 4 the downwardly movement of the sleeve 63 by the urging of the pressure of the control fluid means in the conduit 23 engages the lower surface 75b of the positioning means 75 with the upper shoulder 64b of the sleeve 64 to force the ring 75 to move inwardly to constrict the bore 40 of the housing 30.

As illustrated in FIG. 5, a reduction of the control fluid pressure after locking leaves the ball 50 locked in the open position by detent 71 and latch 70, but the spring 63a urges the upper sleeve 63 to move upwardly, enabling the ring 75 to expand along the tapered shoulder 63g to a position where it no longer constricts the bore 40 of the housing 30.

To unlock the ball 50 the control fluid pressure in conduit 23 is vented and the control fluid pressure in the conduit 22 is increased. The increased pressure is communicated into the expansible chamber c where it urges on the shoulder 70c to move the latch member 70 downwardly. The movement of latch member 70 unlocks the detent 71 and enables the detent 71 to move out of the recess 64e for unlocking the ball 50. A subsequent reduction of the control fluid pressure in the conduit 22 enables the spring 66a to urge the sleeve 66 upwardly to rotate the ball 50 to the closed position.

Should sand or other abrasives flowing with the hydrocarbon through the bore 40 of the tool 20 damage the seat 55a or the spherical surface 52 of the ball 50 wherein the seal between the ball 50 and the seat 55 is unable to block the flow of fluid through the bore 40, a means to control the flow in the bore 40 may be located in the bore 40 by moving into the bore through the bore 21 of the production tubing T.

To position the flow control assembly in the bore 40 of the housing 30, the ball 50 is locked in the open position by detent 71 and latch member 70 using control fluid pressure in the conduit 23. The pressure in the conduit 23 also urges the positioning ring 75 to move inwardly to constrict the bore 40 of the housing 30. The assembly 85 is connected to the installation tool by shear pin 95a. The connected members are inserted into the bore 21 of production tubing T at the surface with the tool 95 above the assembly 85. The pressure in the bore 21 above the tool 95 is then increased by use of a pump or other pressure generating means to urge the assembly 85 and tool 95 to move down the bore 21, as illustrated in FIGS. 6A and 6B. A wire line may be attached to the tool 95 as the tool 95 and con nected assembly move down the bore. The ball 87 is maintained in the open position by shear pin 195.

When the latching sleeve 92 engages the constricting ring 75, the pressure in the bore 21 shears the shear pin 95a between the installation tool 95 and the tubular assembly 85, enabling the shoulder 95d of the installation tool 95 engaged with the shoulder 91d of the latch 91 to move the latch 91 downwardly relative to the frame 86. The tapered lower shoulder 91a of the latch memher 91 engages the correspondingly tapered shoulder 90!) of the detent 90 for expanding the detent outwardly into the recess 40c of the housing 30. The latch sleeve 91 continues to move downwardly until the detent 90 is seated on the shoulder 91b of the latch member as illustrated in FIG. 7A. When the detent 90 is seated on the latch 91, the tapered shoulder 90b engages the corresponding tapered shoulder 910 of the latch member 91. The flat surface 90f of the detent 90 engages the frame 86a for transmitting the downward force of pressure above the tool 95 to the frame 86.

The downward urging force on the frame 86 is opposed by positioning means 75 engaging the sleeve 92 secured to the valve actuator 88 by the shear pin 92g. The downward force shears the pin 92g between the sleeve 88 and the latch 92. The engaging detent 93 is then wedged outwardly into a recess in the housing 30 formed by the surface 40h between the annular shoulder 40g and the upper end 63j of the sleeve 63 by the tapered shoulder 94b as the keeper 94 moves downwardly relative to the detent 93. The detent 93 moves to seat on the surface 94a of the keeper 94 for securing the detent 93 within the recess, as illustrated in FIG. 7B. The pressure in the bore 21 above the tool 95 is then reduced and formation pressure flowing upwardly through the bore 21 urging on the tool 95 moves the tool 95 upwardly to the surface S. The fishing neck 97 is used to recover the tool 95 if the tool 95 should become lodged in the bore 21 of the production tubing T. After the tool 95 is retrieved the control fluid pressure in conduit 23 is reduced. moving the tubular assembly to the position illustrated in FIGS. 8A and 8B and shearing the shear pin 195. i

The operation of the assembly 85 is controlled by movement of the sleeve 63. The control fluid pressure urgining on the shoulder 63d moves the sleeve 63 downwardly enabling the spring 881 to urge the sleeve 88 to move downwardly rotating the ball 87 around the eccentric members 86j to the open position as illustrated in FIG. 68. Reduction of the pressure in the conduit 23 enables the spring 63a to urge the upper sleeve 63 to move upwardly engaging the detent 93 and moving the sleeve 88 upwardly for overcoming the downwardly urging of the spring 88: and rotating the ball 87 to the closed position illustrated in FIG. 7B. With this arrangement the means for controlling the flow in the bore 40 of the housing 30 will still block flow through the bore 40 if control fluid pressure is lost. The relationship of the ball 87 and the finger 86j is illustrated in greater detail in the lower or open position in FIG. 14 and in the upper or closed position in FIG. 15. By venting the conduit 22 a means for receiving the fluid displaced by movement of the sleeve 63 is provided wherein the operation of the ball 87 is independent of the pressure in the bore 40 of the housing 30. The ball 50 remains in the locked open position during operation of the assembly 85.

Should the assembly 85 malfunction or otherwise be rendered unable to block the flow through the bore 40 of the housing 30, the assembly 85 may be retrieved by pumping a retrieval tool 196 down the bore 21. Before pumping the retrieval tool 196 down the bore 21 of the production tubing T to retrieve the tubular assembly 185, the ball 87 is rotated to the opened position, as illustrated in FIG. 9 by increasing the pressure of the control fluid in the conduit 23. As the retrieval tool 196 moves downwardly into the well tool 20 the collet head 211a engages the upper latch member shoulder 91d for moving the collet 211c upwardly adjacent to shoulder 196f wherein the collet head 2l1c will move inwardly to permit the retrieval tool 196 to continue to move downwardly. When aligned with the recess 91f of the member 91 the head 211C will move outwardly for connecting the retrieval tool 196 to the tubular assembly 85. The pressure in the bore 21 above the tool 96 is then reduced to enable the formation pressure to urge the tool 196 and connected assembly to move upwardly, but a wire line may be used to recover the assembly 85 if the formation pressure is not sufficient. As the tool 196 moves up it pulls the latch member 91 upwardly from under the detent enabling the detent 90 to move out of the recess 400 as illustrated in FIG. 6A. The member 91g then engages the upper edge of the slot 86k to move the frame 86 upwardly. The upward movement of the frame 86 enables the member 86h to engage the upper edge of the slot 88j and move the connected sleeve 88 upwardly. The spring 88g is free to maintain the ball 87 in the open position enabling formation pressure to communicate through the base 87d to urge upwardly on the tool 196 to move the tool 196 and connected assembly 85 upwardly. As the sleeve 88 moves upwardly, the shoulder 930 of the detent 93 engages the shoulder 40g of the housing 30 which forces the detent 93 off of the shoulder 94a. As the detent moves off of the member 94 it moves inwardly to the position illustrated in FIG. 6A enabling the tool 96 and tubular assembly 85 to move upwardly in the bore 21 to the surface S. A replacement tubular assembly 85 may then be pumped down the bore of the tubing 21 in the manner set out above.

The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention are illustrative and explanatory thereof, and various changes in the size, shape, and materials as well as in the details of the illustrated construction may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. Apparatus for mounting a closure means in a well tubing to control the flow of fluid in the bore of the tubing and adapted to receive a means for controlling the flow in the bore of the tubing when the closure means malfunctions, including:

a. a housing connected at its upper and lower ends to the well tubing and having a bore therethrough communicating with the bore of the well tubing;

b. a closure means disposed in said bore of said housing for movement to and from open and closed positions for controlling flow of fluid through said bore;

c. means disposed in said housing for imparting movement to said closure means to move said closure means to and from open and closed positions; and

d. means mounted with said housing for positioning in said bore of said housing the means for controlling the flow in said bore.

2. The structure as set forth in claim I wherein said positioning means includes means for constricting a portion of said bore of said housing wherein the means for controlling the flow in said bore is located above said means for constricting.

3. The structure as set forth in claim 1, including means for locking said closure means in the open position.

4. The structure as set forth in claim 3, including means for unlocking said closure means from the open osition.

5. The structure as set forth in claim 1, wherein:

a. said closure means is a ball means having a bore therethrough for rotational movement to and from open and closed positions; and

b. said means for imparting movement to said closure means includes an actuator sleeve means movable in said housing relative thereto and a pivot means for causing said ball to rotate upon movement of said actuator means.

6. The structure as set forth in claim 5, including:

a. said actuator sleeve means having urging means for urging said actuator sleeve means in a direction to close said ball means to thereby block fluid flow upwardly through said bore of said housing; and

b. a first control means for urging said actuator sleeve means to overcome the force of said urging means to rotate said ball means to enable fluid flow through said bore of said housing.

7. The structure as set forth in claim 6, wherein said first control means includes a control pressure means urging on said actuator means to rotate said ball means to enable fluid flow through said bore of said housing.

8. The structure as set forth in claim 7, including:

a. a first movable piston means defining a first variable capacity chamber; and

b. said first control pressure means communicating with said chamber for urging on said piston means wherein said piston means urges said actuator means to rotate said ball means to enable fluid flow through said bore of said housing.

9. The structure as set forth in claim 8, including:

a. said first piston means defining a second variable capacity chamber; and

means for receiving the fluid in said second chamber when said first control pressure rotates said ball means to the open position wherein said ball means moves to and from open and closed positions inde pendent of the pressure in the bore of the housing.

10. The structure as set forth in claim 8, including means for locking said ball means in the open position.

11. The structure as set forth in claim 10, including a second control pressure means for urging said actuator sleeve means to rotate said ball means to enable flow of fluid through said bore of said housing and for locking said ball means in the open position.

12. The structure as set forth in claim 11, wherein said means for locking means includes:

a. a detent; and

b. said actuator sleeve means having a recess therein into which said detent is adapted to move when aligned therewith, said recess aligned with said detent when said actuator sleeve means is moved by said second control pressure means to rotate said ball means to permit flow of fluid through said bore of said housing.

13. The structure as set forth in claim 12, including:

a. said first piston means defining a second variable capacity chamber; and

b. said second control pressure means communicating with said second chamber for urging on said first piston wherein said second control pressure urging rotation of said ball means to enable flow of fluid through said bore of said housing aligns said recess with said detent and urges said first piston means to move to lock said detent in said recess wherein said ball means is locked in the open position.

14. The structure as set forth in claim 2, wherein said means for constricting includes a split ring member disposed in said bore of said housing.

15. The structure as set forth in claim 13, wherein said second control pressure urging on said second piston means moves a split ring member into said bore of said housing for constricting the bore to provide means for positioning the means for controlling the flow in said bore.

16. The structure as set forth in claim 2, wherein:

said means for constricting a portion of said bore of said housing expanding in said bore for enabling full bore flow through said housing.

17. The structure as set forth in claim 13, wherein:

said first control pressure means urges on said first piston means to release said detent from said recess.

18. The structure as set forth in claim 6, including:

a. said actuator sleeve means having a portion thereof movable relative to said actuator sleeve means when said actuator sleeve means is urged for rotating said ball means to enable fluid flow through said bore of said housing by said first control means; and

b. a second control means for urging on said portion of said actuator sleeve means to overcome the force of said urging means to rotate said ball means to enable fluid flow through said bore of said housing wherein said first and said second control means are operable to rotate said ball means open.

19. The structure as set forth in claim 18, wherein:

said second control means in rotating said ball means to the open position locks said ball means in the open position to block closing of said ball means.

20. The structure as set forth in claim 19, wherein:

said first control means unlocks said ball means from the locked open position to enable closing of said ball means.

21. The structure as set forth in claim 18, wherein:

a. said means for positioning in said bore the means for controlling the flow in said bore includes a member located adjacent said portion of said actuator sleeve means; and

b. said second control means urging on said portion of said actuator sleeve means constricts a portion of said bore of said housing with said member for positioning the means for controlling the flow.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3799258 *Nov 19, 1971Mar 26, 1974Camco IncSubsurface well safety valve
US3844345 *Jun 1, 1973Oct 29, 1974Hydril CoEncapsulated control line
US3941348 *May 7, 1974Mar 2, 1976Hydril CompanySafety valve
US3967647 *Apr 22, 1974Jul 6, 1976Schlumberger Technology CorporationSubsea control valve apparatus
US3987849 *Apr 9, 1975Oct 26, 1976Hydril CompanyWell tool
US4026362 *May 23, 1975May 31, 1977Hydril CompanySubsurface well apparatus having improved operator means and method of using same
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US4119147 *Oct 20, 1976Oct 10, 1978Otis Engineering CorporationPumpdown safety valve
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US4256180 *Jun 7, 1976Mar 17, 1981Hydril CompanyMethod of moving a through-the-flowline installed safety valve through a curved flow line
US4469180 *Oct 21, 1981Sep 4, 1984Hydril CompanyWell fluid pressure balanced operator for subsurface safety valve
US4513944 *Jul 19, 1984Apr 30, 1985Otis Engineering CorporationValve with latching means
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US7210534Mar 9, 2004May 1, 2007Baker Hughes IncorporatedLock for a downhole tool with a reset feature
US8087463Jan 13, 2009Jan 3, 2012Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.Multi-position hydraulic actuator
US8118105Feb 4, 2011Feb 21, 2012Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.Modular electro-hydraulic controller for well tool
US8151888Mar 25, 2009Apr 10, 2012Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.Well tool with combined actuation of multiple valves
EP0203008A1 *May 20, 1986Nov 26, 1986TOTAL Compagnie Française des PétrolesHydraulically actuated safety valve for inclusion into an oil well tubing
Classifications
U.S. Classification166/322, 251/58
International ClassificationE21B34/10, E21B34/00
Cooperative ClassificationE21B34/106, E21B2034/002
European ClassificationE21B34/10R2