|Publication number||US3811322 A|
|Publication date||May 21, 1974|
|Filing date||Sep 25, 1972|
|Priority date||Sep 25, 1972|
|Publication number||US 3811322 A, US 3811322A, US-A-3811322, US3811322 A, US3811322A|
|Original Assignee||Offshore Co|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (4), Referenced by (10), Classifications (9), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
Umted States Patent 1191 1111 3,811,322 Swenson May 21, 1974  METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR 40,485 11/1863 Johnson .1 73/202 MONITORING RETURN MUD FLOW FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS [751 William swells, Houston 177,966 ll/1906 Germany 73/202  Assignee: The Offshore Company, Houston,
Tex. Primary Examiner-Richard C. Queisser Assistant Examiner-John Beauchamp 21 A l. N 291,907 PP 0 57 ABSTRACT [52 U.S. c1.' 73/155 175/48 A math and apparatus mnitringl Steady State 51 im. c1 E2l b 47/10 mud return rate hmugh marine riser extending  Field of Search fg 5 i 155 between a floating drill ship and the ocean floor, and
' i 1 including a telescopic joint wherein the mud flow return rate is measured at a point below the telescoping  References (med joint where the flow rate is essentially unaffected by the pumping action of the telescoping joint and the UNITED STATES PATENTS measurements are then transmitted to the drill ship. 3,434,550 3/l969 Townsend, Jr 175/5 2,966,059 12/1960 Dower 73 155 8 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures PMENTEIJMY21 m4 PR/OR ART . 1 METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR MONITORING RETURN MUD FLOW The present invention is directed to an improved method and apparatus for monitoring the mud flow re turn rate through a marine riser used with a floating drill ship.
The problems created by the ships motion when drilling from a floating vessel have plagued the drilling industry from the advent of the floating drill ship. One such problem engendered by the ship's motion is the detection of blowouts by monitoring the return mud flow. On land rigs and on fixed and movable drilling platforms, return mud flow is monitored at the ground or deck level to detect sudden surges or drops in the flow rate which may signal an impending blowout. When such a sudden increase or decrease in flow rate is observed, proper measures are taken to prevent or minimize the blowout.
However, when drilling from a floating vessel, the well casing is connected to the drill ship by marine conductor or marine riser which extends between the ocean floor and the drill ship. To accommodate the ,ships motion, the marine. riser is provided with a telescoping joint, usually near its upper en d. The ships heave strokes the telescoping joint up and down, creating a pumping action on the returning mud flow, which results in pulsations of the mud flow as received by the shipboard mud system. Under these conditions, the instantaneous maximum mud flow rate induced by the ships heave may be several times the steady state or real flow rate. Thus, the real flow rate is masked by the pumping action of the telescoping joint making it difficult or impossible to detect quickly any changes in the real flow rate.
It is. accordingly, the primary object of the present invention to provide a method and apparatus for monitoring steady state or real mud flow return rate in a marine riser.
Another object is to provide such a method and apparatus wherein the mud flow is measured at a point below the telescoping joint in the marine riser where the flow rate is essentially unaffected by the pumping action of the telescoping joint.
Another object is to provide such a method and apparatus wherein only a small representative portion of the mud flow is measured externally of the marine riser so as to not obstruct the mud flow.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention will beapparent from the following drawings, specifications and claims. In the accompanying drawings in which like numerals indicate like parts:
HO. 1 is a somewhat diagrammatic representation in elevation and partly in section ofa floating drill ship engaging in offshore drilling operations with the typical marine riser including a telescoping joint extending from the drill .ship to the ocean floor;
FIG; 2 is a view similar to FIG. 1, showing the desired placement of mud flow measuring apparatus according to the present invention; and
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 1, and showing an alternative placement of the mud flow measuring apparatus externally to the marine riser.
Referring now to FIG. l, there is shown a floating drill ship on a body of water 12 engaged in drilling a well bore in the ocean floor 14. The ship 10 mounts on its deck a derrick 16 which includes a drawworks and other usual apparatus for conducting drilling operations. Extending'between the ship and ocean floor is a marine riser indicated generally at 18 which includes at its lower end the usual blowout preventer apparatus g of the marine riser l8vwith drill stem 30 extending from the drawworks of derrick 16, down through the riser l8, and terminating in the usual drill collars and drill bit (not shown). In the customary fashion, drilling mud for flushing out dirt and rock chips as the well is drilled is circulated down through the drill stem 30 and returns to the ship through the annulus 32 between the outer diameter of drill stem 30 and the inside diameter of marine riser l8.
lt is desirable to monitor the flow rate of drilling mud returned to the ship 10, since any sudden change in the flow rate may indicate an impending blowout or other problem which requires immediate closing of the blowout preventer 20, or other action to protect the well as well as the ship and its personnel. However, when drilling with the apparatus shown in FIG. 1, monitoring of the mud flow rate as it returns to the ship is made unreliable by the pumping action of telescoping joint 22. As the ship 10 heaves up and down with respect to the ocean floor responsive to wave action, the effective volume of annulus 32 through which the mud is flowing undergoes concomitant changes due to the extension and retraction of telescoping joint 22. This results in alternate surges and drops in the mud flow return rate as observed from the ship 10 which mask the true or steady state flow rate, and make it difficult or impossible to spot a change indicating an impending blowout in sufficient time to take necessary preventive action.
Referring now to FIG. 2, there is shown an apparatus according to the present invention which overcomes this problem. It is the discovery of the present inventionthat the steady state or true mud flow rate can be monitored by measuring the flow at a point below the telescoping joint 22 where the flow rate is essentially unaffected by the pumping action of the telescoping joint. Thus, suitable flow measuring means may be inserted in the marine riser at a point below the telescoping joint, as indicated diagrammatically by flow sensor 34. Virtually any type of suitable flow sensor may be utilized and may measure either volumetric flow through the annulus 32, or linear velocity of the mud.
Means are provided for transmitting the measurements made by the flow sensor to the drill ship. These transmitting means are indicated diagrammatically by wire 36 extending from the flow-sensor 34 to suitabledisplay means 38 on the drill ship. The display means 38 receive the transmitted measurements made by the flow sensor and display them in some intelligible form, such as print-out, a meter, gage, etc. While an electrical connection is shown between the flow sensor 34 and display means 38, other means of transmission may of course be employed, such as, for example, a flexible cable connection between the flow sensor 34 and display means 38, sonor transmission through the water or seismic vibrations transmitted through the marine riser itself to the ship.
it is preferable that the flow sensor 34 be of a type which presents little obstruction to the mud flow path. If it is desired to use a type of flow sensor which does obstruct flow, it is preferable that the flow sensor be mounted externally to the marine riser 18 as in a bypass line 40, illustrated in FIG. 3. With this arrangement, only a small but representative portion of the entire mud flow would be monitored as it flows through the bypass line 40 and flow sensor 34.
The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention is 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 within the scope of the appended claims without departing from the spirit of the invention.
What is claimed is:
l. A method for monitoring the steady state mud flow return rate in a marine .riser extending between the ocean floor and a drill-ship and including a telescoping joint, said method comprising:
measuring the mud flow at a point below the telescoping joint where the mud flow rate is essentially unaffected by the pumping action of said telescopic joint, and
transmitting said measurements to said drill ship.
2. The method according to claim 1 wherein the mud flow rate is measured in the annulus of said marine riser.
3. The method according to claim 1 wherein a representative portion of said mud flow is measured externally of said marine riser.
4. An apparatus for monitoring mud flow return rate in a marine riser extending between the ocean floor and a floating drill ship and including a telescoping joint,
4 said apparatus comprising:
means for measuringthe mud flow in said riser at a point below said telescoping joint where the mud flow rate is essentially unaffected by the pumping action of said telescoping joint,
means for transmitting the measurements made by said measuring means to said drill ship, and
means on said drill ship for receiving and displaying said transmitted measurements. v
5. The apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said measuring means comprises a flow sensor placed in the annulus of said marine riser.
6. The apparatus according to claim 4 wherein said measuring means comprises a flow sensor placed in a bypass line connected to said marine riser for measuring only a representative portion of said mud flow in said marine riser.
7. An apparatus for monitoring mud flow return rate during offshore drilling operations comprising:
a floating drill ship; a marine riser extending from said ship to the ocean floor and including,
a telescoping joint in said marine riser to accommodate vertical movements of said drill ship with respect to the ocean floor, and
mud flow measuring means positioned in said marine riser at a point below said telescoping joint; means for transmitting the measurements made by said measuring means to said drill ship; and means on said drill ship for receiving and displaying said transmitted measurements.
8. The apparatus according to claim 7 wherein said mud flow measuring means comprise flow sensor apparatus mounted in a bypass line externally of said marine riser for measuring only a portion of the mud flow.
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|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
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|WO1993006335A1 *||Sep 11, 1992||Apr 1, 1993||Rig Technology Limited||Method and apparatus for smoothing mud return fluctuations caused by platform heave|
|U.S. Classification||73/152.21, 175/48, 73/152.29|
|International Classification||E21B21/00, E21B21/08|
|Cooperative Classification||E21B21/001, E21B21/08|
|European Classification||E21B21/00A, E21B21/08|
|Aug 5, 1982||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: SONAT OFFSHORE DRILLING INC.
Free format text: CHANGE OF NAME;ASSIGNOR:OFFSHORE COMPANY, THE;REEL/FRAME:004048/0943
Effective date: 19820105