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Publication numberUS3847372 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 12, 1974
Filing dateFeb 26, 1973
Priority dateFeb 26, 1973
Publication numberUS 3847372 A, US 3847372A, US-A-3847372, US3847372 A, US3847372A
InventorsLitchfield M
Original AssigneeSmith International
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Drilling fluid saver and safety valve
US 3847372 A
A drilling fluid saver and safety valve assembly includes a tubular body having a core rotatably mounted within the tubular body to open and close the valve and an actuator rotatably mounted about the tubular body having a lost motion rotation whereby the initial rotation of the actuator rotates the core to the closed position and a further rotation causes the tubular body to disconnect from the drill string.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [191 Litehtiieid 1 Nov. 12, 1974 [54] DRTLLTNG BLUE!) SAVER AND SAFETY VALVE Inventor: Mason Rawleigh Litchtield,

Houston, Tex.

[73] Assignee: Smith international, inc, Midland,


Fi1ed: Feb. 26, 1973 Appl. No.: 335,489

int. C1. 1FI6k 31/541 Field of Search 251/58, 77, 172, 218, 248, 251/2495, 250, 250.5, 251, 340; 137/315, 329.05, 495, 496, 614.11; 175/218; 214/350;

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,398,928 8/1968 Fredd .251/251 us. C1 2511/2418, 251 /251, 251/340,

Primary E.t'aminer-Martin P. Schwadron Assistant Examiner-David R. Matthews Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Murray Robinson; Ned L. Conley; David Alan Rose [57] ABSTRACT A drilling fluid saver and safety valve assembly in cludes a tubular body having a core rotatably mounted within the tubular body to open and close the valve and an actuator rotatably mounted about the tubu1ar body having a lost motion rotation whereby the initial rotation of the actuator rotates the core to the closed position and a further rotation causes the tubular body to disconnect from the drill string.

9 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures PATENTEUHBV 12 197 3,847,372 SHEET 10F 3 PAIENTEU NOV 12 1974 SREEF 3 BF 3 CROSS REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS U.S. Pat. No. 3,698,426 to Mason Rawleigh Litchfield and Floyd Logan Scott, Jr. issued Oct. 17, 1972.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,738,436 to Mason Rawleigh Litehfield and Floyd Logan Scott, in issued June l2, 1973.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention A r This invention pertains to valves-and more particularly to a valve assembly of the type known as a kelly foot valve or mud saver and safety valve used in the rotary system of drilling wells.

2. Description of the Prior Art In drilling oil or gas wells or the like by the rotary drilling method, a drilling fluid, known' as drilling mud, is pumped from a surface reservoir, called a mud pit, to a swivel suspended from the draw works of the derrick and downwardly from the swivel through a string of drill pipe to a rotary bit at the bottom of the well bore. The mud is ejected at high velocity through a number of ports extending through the walls of the bit and is circulated up the annulus between the drill pipe and wall of the well bore andback to the mud pitfor recirculation. The drilling mud provides a rapid, continuous removal of rock cuttings from the well bore, prevents the caving and sloughing of poorly consolidated or friable rock formations, maintains a sufficient pressure on the walls of the well bore to prevent a blowout and well damage when unexpected high pressure reservoirs are encountered, and cools and lubricates the drill pipe and bit as they rotate against the abrasive rock formations.

To permit the satisfactory performance of these functions, the mud must be closely controlled. Ordinarily, the drilling mud comprises a suspension of natural clays in water, oil, or an emulsion of water and oil. The addition of varying amounts of mud chemicals or wetting agents is determined by the specific requirements regarding viscosity, density, thixotropy, acidity, gel strength, shear strength and other properties that might I be required in a particular situation.

The force rotating the string of thd drill pipe is provided by a rotary table located on the rig floor. In order that the rotary table will have a positive grip on the drill disconnected from the drill string. The column of mud that was contained in the kelly, when circulation was halted, then flows onto the rig floor.

The volume of mud required for the drilling of a 15,000 foot well would be l,0002,000 barrels-land might constitute as much as 20 percent of the total drilling costs; therefore, any innovation that reduces the amount of mud required to drill a particular well re duces the cost. During the drilling of a l 5,000 foot well, the operation of disconnecting the kelly from the drill string is performed approximately 500 times with a loss each time of over one-half barrel'of mud plus the cost of idle rig time and wasted man-hours while the mud is washed from the rig floor. Further, the mud sprays all over the adjacentarea and the workmen, making the rig floor dangerously wet and slippery and consequently hazardous for persons working on the rig floor.

To prevent the loss of drilling mud and to prevent having mud on the rig floor, it is well known to provide a kelly foot valve or mud saver and safety valve on the kelly to close the kelly prior to disconnection from the drill string,thereby prohibiting the mud from flowing out of the kelly.

t A- variety of valve assemblies having been designed to serve as mud saver valves, including check valves, flapper valves, float valves, spring loaded plug valves, and collapsable valves. Many of these valve assemblies are actuated by the change in mud pressure within the valve assembly caused by the shutting down of the mud pump, which greatly reduces the: mud pressure.

Mud saver valves operated by automatic means may be more expensive than manually actuated valves and the automatic actuation means provides an additional string, the upper end of the string is provided with a joint of pipe called a kelly, having a polygonal crosssection designed to fit a similarly shaped opening in a kelly drive bushing of the rotary table. The kelly, which is approximately 50 feet long, is connected in the drill string from the swivel suspended from the draw works and passes through the kelly bushing in the rotary table to the upper joint of drill pipe.

Eachtime a joint of pipe is added to the drill string, the mud pumps, creating up to 2,000 pounds more or less per square inch on the mud, are shut down and the lower end of the kelly is lifted above the rig floor and mechanism subject to failure, e.g. cut out due to the abrasive action of the drilling mud. Manually actuated valves, whileavoiding the problems of higher cost and early failure of some automatic valves, require the expenditure of a certain amount of rig time for operation. Assuming 3 minutes of time required for finding the valve handle, inserting the handle in.the valve, closing and opening the valve, and removing the handle, perhaps 1,500 minutes of rig time at $2.50 per minute would be so consumed drilling the aforementioned 15,000 foot well.

Automatic and manually operated valves are actuated independently of the tightening of the rotary shouldered connection between the kelly and the new joint of pipe to be added to the drill string. To make up the connection, tongs are placed on the new joint and a kelly spinner or spinning claims are attached to the kelly. The kelly spinner spins the kelly within the joint until the shoulders of the pin on the kelly mate with the box on the joint. However, the connection still needs to be tightened by replacing the kelly spinner with a second set of tongs, and further tightening the connection. If the connection is not tightened and the new joint is connected to the drill string, it will leak drill mud. Hopefully this leak would be detected prior to running the new joint into the well. Regardless, if the connection is not tightened while the new joint is resting in the mouse hole, much time will be wasted connecting the leak later. This occurs because the opening of an automatic or manually operated valve is in no way related to the final tightening operation of the connection.

It is well known in the art to use a ball-type plug valve captured between spring biased seats sealed within a tubular valve body and having the plug rotated between the open and closed position by means of a trunnion rotatably mounted on bearings within the tubular body. Examples of the above'are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos.: 3,036,590; 3,384,337; 3,427,270; 3,509,9l3; Canada Patent No. 869,692; and the Hydril Kelly Cock manufac'tured by Hydril Company of Los Angeles, Califorma.

U.S. Pat. Nos.: 2,799,470; 3,036,590; 3,509,913; Canada Patent No. 869,692 and the Hydril Kelly Cock show a plug valve with a tubular valve body having a lower portion with a box to receive the plug and valve seats and an upper portion with a pin and follower ring threadingly engaged with the box of the lower portion to capture the plug and seats within the assembly.

Rotary shouldered connections on the ends of the tubular valve body for connection with the lower end of thekelly and the upper end of the drill string are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos.: 3,036,590; 3,433,252; and Canada Patent No. 869,692. This type of connection is used for each connection in a drill string to provide a seal sufficient to withstand the high pressure of the drilling mud, to form a joint strong enough to support the weight of the drill string, to withstand operational bending moments, and to transmit drilling torque. In the latter regard, the construction is such as to transmit a large portion of the torque through the frictionally engaged shoulders, e.g. the un threaded portion of the pin and box making up the connection, sufficient torque must be applied in making up each connection to insure adequate axial stress in the connection to exert and maintain enough axial pressure on the shoulders to prevent slippage even when the connection is under axial and bending loads tending to separate the shoulders. Torque loads of the order of 50,000 lb.-ft. are normal. To exert such torque, long wrenches or tongs are applied to one-or both parts of the connection and force is applied by cable connected to the tongs, one anchored and the other connected to a power winch or cat head. In disconnecting a drill string connection,

torque is similarly applied in the reverse direction. Although the initial breakout torque and the final makeup torque are both large, rotary shouldered connections are wholly made up by hand or with light equipment such as a cat line wrapped around the kelly or a kelly spinnr connected between the swivel and upper end of the kelly. Similar procedures are used for final breakout rotation. Every time a drill string connection is made up and broken it will be necessary to go through these procedures. The requirement that tongs be used is reflected in the construction of the rotary shouldered connection itself, whose exterior periphery must be soft enough, e.g. 160 to 240 Brinell hardness and at least below 550 Brinnell, to be tong engageable. In this regard note U.S. Pat. No. 3,067,593 to M. G. McCool. A large diameter tong engageable surface is usually provided just above the pin shoulder and the outer periphery of the box itself forms another tong engageable surface, the box wall thickness being great enough to withstand the application of tongs.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 1,759,060 and 3,472,270 describe a polygonal cross-section trunnion received within hex recesses in the plug for transmission of torque from an actuator rotating the trunnion. Indicators mounted on one end of the trunnion which indicate whether the valve is open or closed are shown in U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,064,940 and 3,284,045.

The above described apparatus is generally well known in the art. However, the means for actuating the trunnion to open and close the valve has provcn inconvenient, inadequate and inefficient.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,509,913 Lewis shows an actuator arm mounted on the trunnion and having its other end received by a slot in an actuator piston sleeve whereby the stroke of the piston sleeve pivots the actuator arm. However, the piston sleeve moves axially and does not rotate. In Moore U.S. Pat. No. 1,759,060 the actuator arm is cammed within the slot of a rotatable actuator sleeve.

Pinions and gears have been used as actuators. Anderson U.S. Pat. No. 3,064,940 shows a manually rotated worm gear rotating a pinion mounted on the trunnion. Kennard U.S. Pat. No. 3,433,252 shows a rack on a piston sleeveengaging a pinion on the trunnion.

Schneid U.S. Pat. No. 1,998,886 describes the use of an annular gear on a throttle valve for an internal combustion engine which rotates a leaf valve by means of pinion and trunnion.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention includes a plug rotatable on a trunnion mounted within a tubular valve body having rotary shouldered connections at each end. The trunnion is pivoted by a dual pinion engaging dual segmented annular gears formed within recesses in a gear sleeve rotatable about the flow axis of the tubular valve body. A tong sleeve is rotatably mounted around the flow axis and is splined to the gear sleeve at one portion and is splined to the tubular valve body at another por tion. However, the splined connection between the tong sleeve and tubular valve body has lost motion to permit the trunnion to be rotated so as to close the valve before the splines of the tong sleeve and tubular valve body engage so as to rotate the entire valve assembly.

In the process of adding a section of drill pipe to the drill string, the valve is closed and the kelly disconnected in one motion by the steps of rotating the tong sleeve, to close' the mud saver valve and rotating the tong sleeve further to disconnect the kelly from the drill string.

The present invention is advantageous over the prior art since the closing of the mud saver valve is not dependent upon a pressure change of the drilling mud within the kelly.

A further advantage is that the valve is closed and the kelly disconnected in one motion requiring one operation. The kelly must be rotated to be disconnected from the drill string anyway, so the closing of the mud saver valve during the same operation is efficient, reliable and time saving.

Another object of the invention is to require the connection between the new joint and kelly to be secure prior to running the new joint into the well. Since the valve is opened during the same operation which tightens the connection between the new joint and valve, the new joint will not be runinto the well until the connection is secure becasue the valve will be closed and so mud will flow if the connection has not been tightened.

Other objects and advantages of the invention will appear from the following description.

of the invention, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 is a schematic of the environment in which the present invention operates: I

FIG. 2A is a cross-section of the upper portion of the drilling fluid saver valve; I c

FIG. 2B is a continuation of the cross-section shown in FIG. 2A showing the lower portion of the drilling fluid saver valve;

FIG. 3 is a cross-section of the drilling fluid saver valve taken at the plane indicated in FIG. 2A;

FIG. 4 is an end view of the trunnion of the drilling fluid saver valve at the plane indicated in FIG. 3; and

FIG. 5 is a cross-section of the drilling fluid saver valve taken at the plane indicated in FIG. 2B.

DESCRIPTION or THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIG.I illustrates generally a drilling fluid saver valve assembly It) installed in a typical rotary drilling system. The drilling fluid saver valve assembly III is shown in detailin FIGS. 2-5.

Referring now to FIG. 1, a derrick 12 having a derrick floor I4 is shown suspending a drill string 16, pipe joints I8, and 22 being illustrated, within a conductor casing 24 previously installed in an earth bore 26. To support drill string I6 a casing head 28 is mounted on top of conductor casing 24 with a blowout preventer is disposed around blowout preventer 30 with a rotary table 32, mounted on derrick floor I4, which is adapted to receive a master bushing 34 to provide the power source to rotate the drill string 16.

As shown in FIG. I, a set of slips 36 is received in master bushing 34 to suspend drill string I6 within the well during the operation of adding another pipe joint 38. Pipe joint 38 is stored in a mouse hole 40. Mouse hole 40 is a conduitprotruding through and supported by the derrick floor and has a closed lower end. Pipe joint 38 rests within mouse hole 40 until it is'to be added to drill string I6.

A kelly 42 and the drilling fluid saver assembly I0 are suspended on the derrick I2 above the derrick floor I4 by the draw works including a block and tackle or hoist 44. The hoist 44 includes a crown block (not shown) disposed at the very top of derrick I2 with a traveling block 46 suspended from the crown block by cables 48. This hoist 44 provides a means by which the kelly 42 30 disposed abovecasing head 28. The derrick floor 14 and valve assembly I0 can be raised and lowered rela- 1 tive to the derrick floor I4.

A swivel 50 is provided with a ball 52 which engages a hook 54 carried by traveling block 46. The kelly is connected at its upper end to swivel 50 by means of a swivel sub 56. Swivel 50 includes the swivel sub 56 which rotates with the kelly 42 and an upper portion 58 rotatably connected to the swivel sub 56 and adapted to remain stationary while the swivel sub 56 rotates with the kelly 42. This permits the swivel 50 to transmit rotary shouldered connection. The rotary shouldered valve assembly 10 is connected to the lower end portion 66 of the kelly 42 by means of a rotary shouldered connection formed bya pin 68 projecting from lower end portion 66 and threadingly received by a box 70 disposed in the upper end of valve assembly It). The combination of the aforedescribed drilling fluid saver valve assembly 10 and the kelly 42 constitutes the heart of the present invention since the purpose of the present invention is to prevent the flow of drilling fluid or mud from the kelly 42 when additional joints of pipe such as pipe joint 38 are added to drill string 16. i

A kelly bushing 72 is disposed around kelly 42. Kelly bushing 72 has a square cross-section 74 tclescopingly and slidingly cngageable with the square shaped inner bore 76 of master bushing 34. and a polygonal shaped inner bore 78 telescopingly and slidingly receiving the polygonal periphery'62 of kelly 42. When these connections are engaged, the master bushing 34 transmits torque to the kelly 42, which in turn drives drill string 16.

When it is desired to rotate drill string 16, the kelly 42 ,islowered and valve assembly 10 is connected to pipe joint 18 of drill string I6 by means of a second rotary shouldered connection which includes pin 80 pro jecting from the lower end of valve assembly 10 to be threadingly received by box 82 disposed in the upper end of drill joint 18. The hoist 44 removes the tension on theslips 36 and the slips 36 are removed. The drill string 16 is then lowered until kelly bushing 72 is received in the bore 76 of master bushing 34. Thereupon the rotary table 32 can rotate the drill string I6 through master bushing 34, kelly bushing 72, and kelly 42 and drilling can proceed.

In a rotary drilling system a drilling fluid or mud continually passes through the system during the drilling operation. The mud is pumped by mud pump 90, which is driven by drilling motor 92, from a surface reservoir or mud pit 94 and through pipes 96, 98 to the hose 60 previously described as attached to swivel 50. The mud thenpasses through swivel 50 and down the common flow bore of the kelly 42, valve assembly I0 and drill string 16 to a rotary bit (not shown) atthe bottom of the well bore 26. The mud is ejected at high velocity through a number of ports extending through the wall of the bit and iscirculated up the annulus I00 between the casing 24 and drill string 16. The mud passes from annulus I00 via side port I02 in casing head 28 and through pipe. 104 and back to mudl pit 94 for recirculation.

Referring now to FIGS. 2-5 for a detailed description of the drilling fluid saver valve assembly It), there is shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B a cross-section of the complete assembly 10 with FIG. 2A illustrating the upper portion thereof and FIG. 2B illustrating the lower portion. Valve assembly 10 includes a tubular body I10 having an upper body portion I12 and a lower body portion 114. The upper body portion 112 provides the flow inlet for flow bore 116 of the tubular body, I I0 and the lower body portion 114 provides the flow outlet.

The upper body portion 112 includes box 70 for threadingly receiving pin 68 of kelly 42 to form a rotary shouldered connection, and the lower body portion 114 includes pin 80 adapted for threaded engagement with box 82 disposed on pipe joint 18 to form a second connections described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,754,609 to William R. Garrett issued Aug. 28, 1973, could b used for the connections described above.

A valve nest 118 is disposed in the upper end of the lower body portion 114 opposite pin 80 and includes a series of counterbores 120, 122, 124 and 126. Counterbore 120 provides internal threads 128 at its upper end to form box 130. I

' A valve core 132 is adapted to be received by valve nest 118, and includes two identical valve seats 134 and a plug type stopper 136. Valve seats 134 have a reduced outer diameter neck 137 creating an annular shoulder 138. The end of seats 134 adjacent neck 137 has an inner frusto-conical surface 140 and the oppositeend has a counterbore "142. An inner frusto-conical surface 144 is disposed at the'base of counterbore 142. An outer frusto-conical surface 146 is disposed on the outer lip of the end opposite neck 137 of seats 134, and an annular pressure sealing surface 148 is disposed on the inner lip of that same end for engagement with stopper 136.

Stopper 136 is generally spherical with a flow bore 150 through the middle, the same size'as flow bore 116. The axis of bore 150 is perpendicular to the rotational axis of stopper 136. The interfaces of the bearing surfaces 152, 154 of counterbore 122 and stopper 136, respectively, are planesparallel to the flow axis and perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the stopper 136. The remaining spherical faces 156 of stopper 136 have the same general curvature as counterbore 122 so as to slidingly fit therein when the stopper 136 is inserted into counterbore 122 and rotated therein.

In the assembled position, an annularly bowed flat springv 158 is inserted within the valve nest 118 as shown, with spring 158 having generally the same mean diameter as upwardly facing annular shoulder 160 created bycounterbore 126. The neck 137 of the lower seat 134, having a slip fit with counterbore 126, is received by nest 118 with counterbore 124 providing substantial lateral clearance. Stopper 136 is inserted into nest 118 with bearing surfaces 152, 154 in a mating position. The upper seat 134 is then received within nest 118. The upper tubular body-portion 112 has a pin 162 on its lower end forming an outer annular downwardly facing flange 164' and an inner frusto-conicalshoulder 166. A counterbore 168 is disposed within pin 162 for receiving the neck 137 of upper seat 134 and another annularly bowed flat spring 170. Pin 162 has exterior threads 172 threadingly engaging the interior threads 128 of box 130 as pin 162 is received by nest 118 and box 130. Spring 170 engages the downwardly facing annular shoulder 174 created by counterbore 168, and counterbore 168 receives the neck 137 of upper seat 134 as pin 162 is threadingly received by box 130. Springs 158 and 170, seating on shoulders 160 and 174, urge the annular pressure sealing surfaces 148 of seats 134 into annular engagement with curved surfaces 156 of stopper 136. Inner frusto-conical shoulder 166 of upper body portion 112 mates with a correlating frustoconical surface 176, forming the extreme end 177 of bore 120. The mating of shoulder 166 and end 177 causes O-rings 178 to tightly engage surface 183. 0-

rings 184 are located in annular grooves 186 in the exterior surface of necks 137 of seats 134 to sealingly engage the smooth sealing surfaces 188, 190 of countercesses 206 in bearing surfaces 154 receive mating polygonal cross-sectioned pins 208 disposed on the inte rior ends of trunnion 200. Trunnion 200 is-rotatably mounted in bearing holes 210 passing through the bearing surfaces 152 of counterbore 122. 0-rings 212, dis

posed within annular grooves 214 in-trunnion 200, sealingly engage the smooth surfaces 215 of bearing holes 210 to prevent mud from escaping.

Referring now to FIG. 4, gear sleeve 202 is rotatably mounted about the upper part of lower body portion 114 and has windows 216, 218 which receive pinions 220 disposed on the exterior ends of trunnion 200. Crown gear teeth are cut in the upper side of window 216 at 222 and in the lower side of window 218 at 224, and mesh with pinions 220 such that, as gear sleeve 202 is rotated about the axis of flow bore 116, trunnion 200 rotates stopper 136. The engagement of the upper edge of one pinion 220 by the upper side of window 216 and the engagement of the lower edge of other pinion 220 by the lower side of window 218 prevent any torque mounted about the mid section of lower body portion 114 and is exteriorly splined at its upper end at 226 to interior splines 228 on the lower end of gear sleeve 202. Therefore, the stopper 136 will move between the open and closed position when the actuator sleeve 204 is manually rotated with tongs or a wrench.

A housing sleeve 230, having a counterbore 232 at its lower portion, slips over the upper end of lower body portion 114 and encloses gear sleeve 202 within counterbore 232. The extreme end of housing sleeve 230 circumscribes the splines at 226 and a further upper part of actuator sleeve 204. Housing sleeve 230 is mounted to the lower body portion 114 by means of a threaded pin or screw plug 234 protruding into a small bore 236 in the upper end of lower body portion 114. The upper extreme end 238 of housing sleeve 230 abuts downwardly facing flange 164 of upper body portion 112. 0-ring 240, disposed in annular groove 242 on the upper interior surface of housing sleeve 230, sealingly engages the smooth sealing surface 244 of the upper end of lower body portion 114. Dual 0-rings 246 are disposed in annular grooves 248 in the lower interior surface 250 of counterbore 232 to sealingly engage the smooth sealing peripheral surface 252 of actuator sleeve 204.

Housing sleeve 230 also provides support for pinions 220. Plugs 254'are received by recesses 256 in the exterior ends'of trunnion 200 and extend through ports 258 'in housing sleeve 230. Plugs 254 are attached to trunnion 200 by bolts 260 countersunk into plugs 254 and threaded into tapped bores 262 in the ends of trunnion 9 200. O-rings 2 64, received by annular grooves 266 disposed around plugs 254, sealingly engage the smooth posed in the lower'end of sleeve 204, and is splined at 274 to the periphery of the lower body portion 114. The segmented channels'276, as best shown in FIG. 5, are much larger than-the correlating splines 278 disposed on reduced-diameter portion 288 of body portion 114. Channels 276 therefore permit actuator sleeve 204 to be rotated a sufficient distance to cause stopper 1136 to be rotated to the closed position before the side shoulders 280 of channels 276 engage splines 278 and cause tubular body M to rotate. This lost motion between the actuator sleeve 204 and lower body portion permits the valve to be closed and the valve assembly 10 to be disconnected from the pipe joint 18 in one continuous rotation of the actuator sleeve 204. Bearing rings 282 are disposed between the lower end of actuator sleeve 204 and upwardly facing shoulder 284 created by reduced diameter portion 286 of lower body portion I14.

In the operation of the present invention, when drilling has progressed to wherethe kelly 42 has moved down to the pointin which the sub 64 is right on top of the kelly bushing 72, it becomes necessary to add another piece of drill pipe such as pipe joint 38 shown stored in mouse hole 40 in FIG. ll. The drill string 16 is-lifted by the hoist 44 until the kelly bushing 72 clears themaster bushing 34 and slips 36 are inserted to suspend the drill string 116 as shown in FIG. 1. The motor 92 is stopped, thereby shutting down the'mud pump 90. At this time, the pressure in drill string 16, as indicated by gage 300, should drop to substantially zero. If it does not, bleeder valve 302 is opened to bleed off the residual pressure. a

To breakout and disconnect the connection between the drill string 16 and valve assembly 10, a break-out.

torque is-applied to the connection by clamping tongs on a wrench (not shown) to the uppermost pipe joint 18 of drill string 16 with an anchor cable (not shown) affixed to derrick l2, and by attaching power tongs to the actuator sleeve 204 with a cable (not shown) extending from the power tongs to a cat-lead (not shown). The cat-lead winds the cable to cause the power tongs to rotate the actuator sleeve 204.

The first partial rotation closes the valve, during which time the lost motion between the splines of actuator sleeve 204 and body portion 114 isexpended, and further rotation of actuator sleeve 204 causes the drilling fluid saver valve assembly 10 and kelly 42 to rotate thereby unthreading pin 80 from box 82 on pipe section 18.

Following the initial breakout of the connection 'using the power tongs, the connection may be com- 42 and assembly 10 are lifted from drill string 16, no

mud flows out since the valve is closed.

The kelly'42 and assembly 10 are then pushed over to one side of the derrick l2 and aligned with box 304 of pipe joint 38 in mouse hole 40. Tongs (not shown) are clamped to joint 38 with an anchor cable (not shown) being attached to derrick 12. A spinning chain or kelly spinner (not shown) is positioned around valve assembly 10. A forked cable is used by wrapping the shorter branch around valve assembly 10 and tying the longer branch to the tongs such that, as the shorter branch of the cable is wound on a cat lead, the kelly is threaded into joint 38. When all the slack of the longer branch of the cable has been taken up. pin 80 and box 304 are almost completely engaged. The tongs attached to the longer branch are then attached to aclua' tor sleeve 204. Force is then applied to the longer branch, rotating actuator sleeve 204 in a direction opposite to that of the breakout operation first opening the valve again, and then finally tightening pin 80 within box 304. The mud previously trapped in kelly 42 and assembly 10 then flows through pipe joint 38 and into mouse hole 40, which has an over-flow 306 to remove excess accumulated mud. Becauseof the frictional drag within the drive train of valve assembly 10, a torque sufficient to initially threadingly engage pin 80 within box 304 can be applied without causing-actuator sleeve 204 to open the valve. Only when the connection is tightened will a large enough torque be placed on actuator sleeve 204 to cause the drive train to actuate the valve..

Pipe joint 38 is then lifted out of mouse hole 40, and pin 308 on joint 38 is stabbed and screwed tight into 'box 82 of joint 18. The pump motor 92 is then restarted restoring circulation, and the newly added joint 38 and its connections are checked for leaks. If there are no leaks, the joint 38 is lowered in the hole and kelly 42 is lowered until kelly bushing 72 engages recess 76 in master bushing 34. Drilling is then resumed.

After rising the prior art valves, the connection between the kelly 42 andnew joint 38 was not finally tightened until the joint 38 was connected to the uppermost pipe joint 18 ofdrilling string 16. Upon starting the mud pump again,'the prior art valves would permit the circulation of mud through the system causing a leak at the connection. If the leak were detected, the connection could not be tightened until the joint had been run into the well sufficiently for the connection to reach a workable level. This would be difficult because the joint would have to be run into the well without mud circulation due to the leak. If the leak through the unsecured connection was not detected, the added joint 38 could be lowered in the well before the leak eventually was discovered. By making the tightening operation synonymous with the opening of the valve, this type of error could not be made.

In addition to the special function heretofore described of the drilling fluid saver valve assembly 10 as a mud saver valve, the assembly 10 also serves as a conventional safety valve. The stopper 136 can be rotated to lose the valve assembly 10 and prevent drilling fluid from backing up on the drill string 16.

' While a preferred embodiment of the invention has been shown and described, modification thereof can be made by one skilled in the art without departing from a the spirit of the invention.

, at flow axis between an open'position permitting fluid flow through said tubular body along said flow axis and a closed position preventing fluid flow through torque means for transmitting torque between said actuator means and said tubular body about said flow axis, said torque means including a portion carried by said actuator means and a portion carried by said body, said portions being engageable .in one relative positionof said body and closure means to transmit torque in one direction about said axis and being engageable in another relative position of said body and closure means to transmit torque 'in the opposite direction about said flow axis, said positions being azimuthally separated by an amount-equal to the azimuthal travel of said actuator means relative to said body required to move said closure means between open and closed positions,

. said torque means being independent of said drive means, whereby torque can be transmittedbetween said actuator means and'said' tubular body without passing through said drive means, thereby avoiding torquestrain on said drive means except when the closure is being moved between said open and closed positions. 1

2. Apparatus according to claim 1 wherein said tubular body includes valve seats disposed in said flow passage at opposite sides of said valve closure means and engageable therewith, said seats being free of stop surfaces that would prevent rotation of said closure means relative to said seats about said flow axis. I

3. Apparatus according to claim 2 wherein said valve recesses in said valve body and are free to rotate in said recesses about said flow axis. I 4. Drilling fluid saver valve assembly comprising: a tubular body having a flow axis; valve closure means mounted within said tubular body for rotation about an axis transverse to said flow axis between an open position permitting fluid flow through said tubular body along said flow axis and a closed position preventing fluid flow through said tubular body along said flow axis; means rotatable around said flow axis for rotating said valve closure means between said open and closed positions; and lost motion means engageable with said rotatable means for rotating said tubular body after said valve closure means has rotated to a new position;

said lost motion means including a splined connection betweensaid rotatable means and said tubular body, said connection having at least one spline received within a channel, said channel being sufficiently larger than said spline to permit said rotatable means to rotate said valve closure means to a new position before said spline engages one side of said channel to cause said tubular body to rotate with said rotatable means. 5. A valve assembly according to claim 4 wherein said tubular body includes rotary shouldered connection means atboth ends thereof for connection with other fluid conducting members whereby upon the retation of said tubular body with-said rotatable means oneof said rotary' shouldered connections is effected with one of said other fluid conducting members;

6. A valve assembly according to claim 5 wherein said valve closure means includes pinion means having first gear teeth engageable with said rotatable means for rotation of said valve closure means; and

' said rotatable means includes asleeve circumferentially mounted about said tubular body for rotation thereabout, said sleeve having segmented windows receiving said pinion means; said windows having said segmented windows including one window having said second gear teethlprojecting from its upper portion and another window having said second gear teeth projecting from its lower portion.

8. A valve assembly according to claim 7 wherein said valve closure means further includes a trunnion mounted within said tubular body forrotation about an axis transverse to said flow axis, a plug mounted for rotation on said trunnion and having a flow-bore alignable with said flow axis in the open position, and seats engageable with said plug, said pinions being mounted on said trunnion.

9. Drilling fluid saver valve assembly comprising:

a tubular body having a flow axis and rotary shouldered connection means at both ends thereof for connection with other fluid conducting members;

avalve closure rotatably mounted within said tubular body on an axis transverse to the flow axis; said valve closure including a shaft having a pinion; and

an actuator rotatable around the flow axis having a crown gear engaging said pinion whereby upon rotating said actuator, said valve closure is rotated within said tubular body.

UNITED STATES PATENT OFFICE @ER'HMCATE @F QQRREQTWN Patent NO. 313479372 Dated NOVEMBER 12, 1974 InVentmL-(S) MASON RAWLEIGH LITCHFIELD It is certified that error appears in the above-identified patent and that said Letters Patent are hereby corrected as shown below:

Col umn l l ine 53: After "of delete thd" and insert an? the Column 2 l ine 52 After "spinning" delete "cl aims are" and insert chain is Col umn 2 9 l ine 54: After "until the" cancel "shoulders" and insert shoulder Col umn 2 l ine 54: After "kelly cancel "mate" and insert mates Column 2 l ine 62 After "wasted" delete "connecting" and insert correcting Col umn 4, l ine l8: Cancel "Schnei d" and insert Scheid Col umn 4 9 l ine 63: After "secure" delete "becasue and insert because Col umn 4 l ine 64: Delete "so" and insert no Column 9 l ine 43: Cancel "on and insert or Column 9 l ine 47: After "a" cancel "cat-lead" and insert cat -line Col umn 9, l ine 48: After "The" cancel "cat-l ead winds" and insert cat-l ine pul ls on Col umn l0, l ine 36: Delete "After rising" and insert when using Col umn lO l ine 4l After "system" cancel "causing a" and insert despite any Col umn l0, l ine 58: After "to" cancel "lose" and insert close gigntd and fimied this fif h Day of August1975 [SEAL] Arrest aura r. MASON r. MARSHALL DANN Arresting (If/Iver (ummisximu'r of lalvnrs and Trademarks

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3398928 *Mar 11, 1966Aug 27, 1968Otis Eng CoValves
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4316596 *Apr 2, 1979Feb 23, 1982Krober Hubert DPower actuated valve
US4450905 *Aug 9, 1982May 29, 1984Crain Scott LMud bucket
US5836395 *Jun 4, 1997Nov 17, 1998Weatherford/Lamb, Inc.Valve for wellbore use
US6776393 *Jun 5, 2002Aug 17, 2004Glenn D. BurgosTorque booster for valve operation
U.S. Classification251/248, 251/251, 251/340, 137/315.39, 137/614.11, 175/218
International ClassificationE21B21/10, E21B34/00, E21B21/00
Cooperative ClassificationE21B21/106, E21B2034/002
European ClassificationE21B21/10S