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Publication numberUS3854846 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 17, 1974
Filing dateJun 1, 1973
Priority dateJun 1, 1973
Also published asCA1004592A, CA1004592A1, DE2426349A1
Publication numberUS 3854846 A, US 3854846A, US-A-3854846, US3854846 A, US3854846A
InventorsB Douglas
Original AssigneeDresser Ind
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Oil well pumpoff control system utilizing integration timer
US 3854846 A
Abstract
A valve in the production flow line of an oil well closes a reed switch indicative of fluid being pumped through the line. The switch closure activates a first oscillator whose count is compared with a variable frequency oscillator having a frequency of approximately one-half that of the first oscillator. The comparison is made over a given period of time to ascertain the percentage of time the valve has been open and passing fluid. Theoretically, the valve should be open fifty percent of the time because fifty percent of the time is taken on the downstroke of the pumping assembly when no production is occurring. In response to the integration timer producing a signal, a shutdown timer is turned on which restarts the cycle after a preselected amount of time. When the system is restarted by the shutdown timer, a pump-up timer is turned on which is adjusted to allow for a desired pump-up time. As the pump-up timer is allowing the system to recycle, the integration timer is reset and the recycling is completed if the requirements of the integration timer are met. Otherwise, the unit is shut down again and the system recycled. A variable electronic scaler is connected to the output of the integration timer which monitors the output signals from the integrator timer. After the preset number of times the integration timer produces a signal, the scaler turns off the whole system.
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tlnited States Patent Douglas OIL WELL PUMPOFF CONTROL SYSTEM UTILIZING INTEGRATION TIMER [52] US. Cl. 417/12, 417/43 [51} Int. Cl. F04b 49/00 [58]v Field of Search 417/12, 33,43, 20, 44,

417/45; ZOO/81.9 R, 81.9 M; 318/326, 327, 318, 474, 481; 331/65 [56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,596,361 5/1952 Blancher 331/65 3,091,179 5/1963 Echols 417/12 3,101,615 8/1963 Pavone 331/65 3,297,843 1/1967 Hoss ZOO/81.9 M 3,355,949 12/1967 Elwood et 211.... 331/65 3,421.106 1/1969 Garber et a1 331/65 3,440,512 4/1969 Hobby 318/474 3,559,731 2/1973 Stafford... 417/12 3.610.782 10/1971 McGuire... 417/45 3,778,694 12/1973 ,Hobby 318/474 CONTROLLER PANEL [1 11 3,854,846 [451 Dec. 17,1974

-[ 5 7] ABSTRACT A valve in the production flow line of an-oil well closes a reed switch indicative of fluid being pumped through the line. The switch closure activates a first oscillator whose count is compared with a variable frequency oscillator having a frequency of approximately one-half that of the first oscil1ator. The comparison is made over a given period'of time to ascertain the percentage of time the valve has been open and passing fluid. Theoretically, the valve should be open fifty per cent of the time because fifty percent of the time is taken on the downstroke of the pumping assembly when no production is occurring. In response to the integration timer producing a signal, a shutdown timer is turned on which restarts the cycle after a preselected amount of time. When the system is restarted by the shutdown timer, a pump-up timer is turned on which is adjusted to allow for a desired pump-up time. As the pump-up timer is allowing'the system to recycle, the integration timer is reset and the recycling is completed if the requirements of the integration timer are met. Otherwise, the unit is shut down again and the system recycled. A variable electronic scaler is connected to the output of the integration timer which monitors the output signals from the integrator timer. After the preset number of times the integration timer produces a signal, the scaler turns off the whole sys- (em.

13 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTELSECI 71974 SHKU 1 3 2| CONTROLLER PANEL '3 I I0 l5 a Q 7 F I G.

2O 24 CONTROLLER PANEL Q FIG. 2

PATENTEU m 1W4 3,854,846

SHEET 2 1 3 T0 PRIME MOVER INTEGRATOR SHUTDOWN PUMP UP FROM PROXIMITY SWITCH FIG, 3

PATENTED 3. 854,846

SHiU 3 BF 3 n m T VARIABLE s4 55 FREQ COUNTER 1 OSCILLATOR v:

SINGLE 5 O P l COM PARATOR 8 HOT OSCILLATOR COUNTER 52 L L f RESET SHUTDOWN PUMP UP TIMER TIMER l l l F 51 I63 I a f 67 I -|---o o g l J I I I L o I -Isw -1 PRIME MOVER PRIME POWER SUPPLY MOVER VARIABLE scALER FIG. 4

OIL WELL PUMPOFF CONTROL SYSTEM UTILIZING INTEGRATION TIMER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to oil wells and more particularly to an automatic well cutoff system for pumping oil wells.

In the production of oil, a well is drilled to the oil bearing strata. At the bottom of the well, a pump is installed to pump oil to the surface of the earth from the pool that gathers at the bottom of the well. A desirable mode of operation is to pump the oil whenever there is oil in the pool and to stop the pumping when there is no oil in the pool.

Advantages of this desirable mode of operation are that the pump automatically reaches its optimum pumping rate with a result in a saving of man hours and equipment. The pump thus operates at a greater efficiency in pump displacement, thereby reducing the total number of pumping hours which in itself results in a saving of power and power cost.

Those in the prior art have long recognized the desirability of control systems for providing such an auto-' matic pump-off control of oil .wells. Examples of such prior art include U.S. Pat. No. 2,550,093 to G. A. Smith and U.S. Pat. No. 2,316,494'to Tipton. In the Smith patent, a valve activates an electrical circuit which causes the pummp to be shut down after a predetermined time interval in the event the produced oil ceases to flow through the valve. In the Tipton patent, a clock is caused to run in response to there being no produced fluid, thus causing the pump to periodically cycle in response to the well being pumped dry.

These two patents exemplify the prior art in that various means and systems are provided which monitor the lack of produced fluid and which in turn cause the system to recycle in response thereto.

However, the prior art, to the best of my knowledge, has failed to provide a system which provides satisfactory pump-off control for the various oil well pumping facilities having varying conditions and components thereof.

A need therefore exists in the oilfield for a means for controlling the operation of oil well pumps in such a manner that the duration of their pumping periods will be substantially or approximately in accordance with the actual time periods required for the pumping off of the wells. Such a need exists for a means of control whereby an oil well can continue in operation so long as it is pumping oil, but which will automatically stop when it has pumped off the oil, or for breakage, in response to cessation of discharge of oil from the pump.

It is therefore the primary object of the present invention to provide a well pumping control system wherein the pump control is a factor of the percentage of time during which oil is being pumped during a given period;

It is also an object of the invention to provide a new and improved well pumping control system wherein the operation of the pump is automatically stopped when the fluid in the borehole is depleted; and v Another object of this invention is to provide a system having a variable timing subsystem providing greater flexibility than heretofore known in the prior art.

The objects of the invention are accomplished, generally, by a system which utilizes a valve in the production flow line to create an event indicative of produced fluids within the line. The produced event is utilized in conjunction with a timer which determines the percentage of time during which fluid is being produced, and based upon such determination, either allows the system to continue or to shut down. As additional features of the invention, means'are provided for the system to recycle and to completely shut down after a predetermined number of recycles.

These and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be more readily understood from the following description taken with reference to the attached drawing, in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatic sketch illustrating the component parts of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a view, partly in cross section, illustrating the valve and sensor means utilized to show produced fluid within the flow line;

FIG. 3 schematically illustrates the timing system,

partly as a flow diagram, according to the present invention; and

FIG. 4 schematically illustrates, partly in block diagram, the electrical circuitry of the invention.

Referring now to the drawingin more detail, espe- ,cially to FIG. l, a subsurface pump (not shown) located in well 10 is actuated in a well-known manner by means of a sucker rod string 11, the well fluid lifted to the surface being directed to storage through a pipe 12.

' The sucker rod string 11 is reciprocated in the well by the offsetting motion of a walking beam 13, which is driven through a pitman 14, crank 15 and speed reducing mechanism 16 by a prime-mover17 such as an electric motor receiving its power through lead 18. It should be appreciated that any suitable type of motor or engine may be used as-the prime-mover 17, for example,a gasoline engine having its energizing ignition current supplied through lead 18.

A valve assembly 19, shown in more detail in FIG. 2, islocated within the pipe 12 and has an electrical conductor 20 leading from the valve assembly 19 to a controller panel 21 shown in more detail in FIG. 3.

Referring now to FIG. 2, the valve assembly 19 is illustrated in greater detail. This valve assembly is substantially cylindrical in shape and has threaded connections 22 and 23 on opposite ends to facilitate assembly within the flow pipe 12 of FIG. 1. A cylindrical valve housing 24 constructed, for example, of plastic and fabricatedperpendicularly to the axis between threaded ends 22 and 23, has mounted on its exterior surface a proximity switch 25, for example, a reed switch, having an electrical conductor 20 leading therefrom to the controller panel 21.

A valve 30 is located within the valve housing 24 and has anelongated cylindrical body portion 31 and a frusto-conical section 32 at its lower end adapted to engage a frusto-conical valve seat 33 in the lower portion of the valve housing 24. Although the valve 30 could be fabricated in various ways, it should be appreciated that it can be constructed inaccordance with my 00- pending U.S. Pat. application Ser. No..30l,557, filed on Oct. 22, 1972, for Dual Sealing Element Valve for Oil Well Pumps and Method of Making Same, assigned to the assignee of the present invention. The full disclosure of said application is incorporated herein by reference.

A magnet 35 is attached to the uppermost section of the valve body 31 and is adapted to close the proximity switch 25 whenever the valve is lifted from the valve seat 33. A non-magnetic spring 36 is used between the upper end of the housing 24 and the valve 30 to spring load the valve 30 into its seating arrangement with the valve seat 33. It should be appreciated that although the housing 24 is illustrated as being of a plastic material, other non-magnetic housings can be used, for example, certain series of the stainless steel family.

The lower section of the cylindrical valve housing 24 above the valve seat 33 is enlarged with respect to the upper section of the valve housing 24, thus forming a chamber 37 for movement of the sealing member 32 as it rises from the valve seat 33. The periphery of such enlarged section has two or more openings 38 and 39 to allow fluid to pass therethrough.

In the operation of the system described with respect to FIG.s 1 and 2, it should be appreciated that as the fluid is pumped from the well 10, it enters the flow pipe 12 and is pumped through the valve assembly 19. In reference especially'to FIG. 2, the flow is from the threaded end 22 towards the threaded end 23. Each time the subsurface pump (not shown) causes a surge of fluid, the valve 30 is lifted off the valve seat 33 and switch 25 is shown as applying, upon its closure, a

the fluid passes out through the ports 38 and 39 and on to the threaded end 23 and out through the flow pipe 12. As the valve is lifted off the valve seat 33, the magnet travels near the proximity switch 25, thereby closing the switch and allowing the conductor 20 to be grounded. v p

Referring now to FIG. 3, there is illustrated in greater detail the control panel 21. The conductor 20, which is grounded each time the proximity switch 25 of FIG. 2 is closed, is connected into an integrator timer 40, the output of the integrator timer 40 being connected to a shutdown timer 41 whose output is connected to a pump-up timer 42. The output of the integrator timer 40 is also connected to the variable electronic 'scaler 45 whose output drives a visual monitor 46 bearing the legend EQUIPMENT MONITOR. The output of the pump-up timer 42, through a reset line 43, causes each of the three timers to be reset upon a recycling of the system. It should be appreciated that the illustration of FIG. 3 is included primarily to show the physical layout of the timing mechanisms and the visual monitor 46. As will be explained in more detail with respect to FIG. 4, the visual monitor 46 has any given number of lights but the preferred number is three, bearing the numerals 1, 2 and 3, respectively. As the signals are received sequentially by the sealer 45 from the integrator timer circuit 40, the lights in the monitor 46 are activated in successionto indicate the number of times the system has been shut down. For example, during the operation of the system, the first time the system is shut down, the number 1 will be lighted by a red light on the monitor 46 and the numerals 2 and 3 will be sequentially illuminated on subsequent shutdowns. A recorder connection 47 is provided for utilizing a strip chart recorder or the like in providing a permanent monitor of the operation of the system. The integration timer 40, shutdown timer 41 and pump-up timer 42 are commercially available from the Eagle Bliss Division of Gulf-Western Industries, Ind. of 925 Lake Street, Baraboo, Wis. 53,193, such items bearing the following part numbers: integration timer 40, Part No. HP51A6; shutdown timer 41, Part No.

ground to the conductor 20. The conductor 20 is connected to one of the outputs of the oscillator 50 within the integrator timer circuit 40. The oscillator 50 can be set at any frequency desired, but as is explained hereafter, is preferably operating at approximately twice the frequency of the variable frequency oscillator 51. By way of further example, the oscillator 50 has a nominal frequency of 10 kHz and the variable frequency oscillator 51 is set at 5 kHz. The outputs of the oscillator 50 and the oscillator 51 are' connected to digital counters 52 and 53, respectively. The outputs of the counters 52 and 53 are connected into a comparator circuit 54. If the output of the counter 53 exceeds the output of the counter 52, as shown by the comparator 54, this is indicative that the system is pumping oil less than fifty percent of the time. In response to such an adverse comparison, the comparator 54 generates a signal which in turn triggers the single shot multivibrator circuit 55 which in turn is connected into other of the components of the circuitry of FIG. 4. Although the oscillator 50 has been described as being set at twice the frequency of the oscillator 51, other frequencies can be used to provide different percentages. Thus, if the oscillator 50 is set at four times the frequency of the oscillator 51, then the system ascertains whether the oil is being pumped 25 percent of the time. It should also be appreciated that it is preferable to provide a comparison over a given period of time, for example, during 1 minute. This eliminates problems such as might be occasioned by an infrequent gas bubble or the like which might cause the valve to not come off the seat 33 upon any given stroke of the pump. Since a percentage of fifty percent is theoretically the perfect condition, a reasonable setting of the variable frequency oscillator would be 4 kHz in conjunction with the 10 kHz output of the oscillator 50. Under these conditions, a signal would not be produced from the single shot multivibrator 55 until there was a showing that the system was operating less than forty percent of the time.

The output of the single shot multivibrator 55 is connected by conductor to the input of the shutdown timer 41 which can be adjusted to any predetermined period, for example, four hours. The output of the shutdown timer 41 is connected to the input of a pump-up timer 42 which can also be adjusted to any preselected time, for example, twenty minutes. The shutdown timer 41 and the pump-up timer 42 each contains a single shot multivibrator for producing a single pulse at their respective outputs at-the conclusion of the given time periods. 4

The conductor 60 is also connected to the coil 63 of a relay 64, the other side of the coil 63 being grounded. The relay 64 has a pair of normally open and normally closed contacts. The output of the shutdown timer is also connected to the coil 65 of a relay 66, the other side of the coil 65 being grounded. The relay 66 also has a pair of normally open and normally closed contacts, The output of the pump-up timer 42 is connected to the coil 67 of a relay 68, the other side of the coil 67 being grounded. The relay 68 also has a pair of normally open and normally closed contacts.

The lower normally open contact of relay 64 is connected to a power supply, illustrated as being a battery 70 which is of adequate voltage to maintain the relay 64 in the latched position. The lower normally open contact of relay 66 is similarly connected to a power supply 71 for similar reasons. The upper normally closed contact of relay 64 is connected to a conductor 72 which in turn is connected to the upper normally open contact of relay 66. The upper wiper arm of relay 64 is connected to conductor 73 which is connected directly to the prime-mover power supply 74 output. The conductor 73 is also connected to the upper wiper arm of relay 66. The lower wiper arm of relay 64 is connected to the upper wiper arm of relay 68. The lower wiper arm of relay 66 is connected to the lower wiper arm of relay 68. The underground side of the coil 65 in relay 66 is connected to the lower normally closed contact of relay 68. The upper normally closed contact of relay 68 is connected to the ungrounded side of the coil 63 in relay 64.

The output of the single shot multivibrator 55 is also connected through conductor 80 to the input of a variable electronic sealer 45 which, for example, produces one pulse out for each three pulses in from the single shot multivibrator 55. The output of the scaler 45 is connected to the top of a coil 82 of a relay 83, the other side of the coil 82 being grounded. The upper normally closed contact of relay 83 is connected directly to the prime-mover 17. The upper wiper arm of relay 83 is connected to conductor 72. The lower wiper arm of relay 83 is connected to a power supply 84 suitable for latching the relay 83. the lower normally open contact of relay 83 is connected through a spring-loaded normally closed switch 85 back to the ungrounded side of the coil 82 of relay 83.

In the operation of the circuit of FIG. 4, there has already been described the effect of an adverse comparison being made in the circuit 54 to thus produce a single voltage pulse from the output of the single shot multivibrator 55 which occurs on the conductors 60 and 80. Such a pulse appearing on the input of the shutdown timer 41 causes the timer 41 to count for a predetermined time interval, for example, four hours. Simultaneously with the production of this signal upon conductor 60, the relay 64 is momentarily energized and latched into a posistion such that the wiper arms are in contact with the normally open contacts, respectively. The action of the power supply 70 causes the relays to be latched in such a position. This removes the primemover power supply 74 from the prime-mover l7 and the pumping action terminates. As soon as the preselected time of the shutdown timer 41 has expired, a single pulse is generated at the output of the timer 41 which activates the relay 66. This causes the relay 66 to latch in position such that the wiper arms are in contact with the normally open contacts, respectively. This causes the output of the prime-mover power supply 74 to be connected to the prime-mover l7 and the pumping action is again commenced. Simultaneously with the activation of the relay 66, the output of the timer 41 is coupled into the pump-up timer 42 which is set for a predetermined time, for example, minutes, and thereafter which generates a single pulse of its own which is coupled back to reset the pump-up timer 42, the shutdown timer 41 and the counters 52 and 53 in the integration timer 40. Simultaneously with this resetting operation, the output of the pump-up timer 42 activates the relay 68 which causes the relays 64 and 66 to be unlatched and their wiper arms to be returned to the positions as illustrated in FIG. 4. This allows the output of the prime-mover power supply 74 to remain connected to the prime-mover 17 and the system has thus been recycled.

Each time the output of the single shot multivibrator produces a voltage pulse on the conductor 80, the pulse is coupled into the variable sealer 45 which is set, by way of example, to produce a single output pulse for each three pulses in. After the system has been shut down three times, three pulses will have been produced by the single shot multivibrator 55 and thus the scaler circuit 45 will produce a single pulse at its output which activates the relay 83 and which is latched in such a position by the power supply 84. This causes the primemover power supply 74 to be removed from the primemover 17 and the pumping action is terminated. The

system cannot be recycled at this point until the springloaded switch 85 is manually activated to the open position to unlatch the relay 83 and thus allow the system to be recycled.

Thus it should be appreciated that there have been described and illustrated herein the preferred embodiments of the present invention wherein a vastly new and improved system has been provided for making a determination as to the percentage of time in which fluid is being produced from an oil well, and to control the pumping operation based upon such determination. Those skilled in the art will recognize that modifications can be made to these embodiments as illustrated and described. For example, other types of valves and sensing mechanisms can be used to create an event indicative of the flow ofoil through the flow line. By way of a specific example, the use of a float valve well known in the art can be used to generate an electrical signal or some other such event and such use is contemplated by the invention hereof. Such an event can then be used to aid in the determination of the percentage of time in which the oil is flowing through the flow line. Likewise, while the preferred embodiment contemplates the use of various electrical, mechanical and electro-mechanical timing mechanisms, as well as the use of solid state devices such as the sealer circuit 45, those skilled in the art will recognize that equivalent devices can be used to provide the results of the invention. For example, the entire circuitry of FIG. 4 can be age of time in which the oil is flowing through the flow pipe, those skilled in the art will recognize that pneumatic signals can also be used in making such a determination. Likewise, although not illustrated, a ramp voltage device can be used and its amplitude compared at a-give'n time with a known amplitude to provide a determination of the percentage of time during which the oil is being pumped.

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A system for controlling the operation of a well pumping installation including a pump, a motor for op erating said pump, and a pumpedfluid flowpipe, comprising:

means responsive to the flow of fluid through said flowpipe;

signal means for generating signals indicative of said response;

means to determine whether said signals are occurring less than a predetermined percentage of time during a given time interval; and

meansto terminate the pumping operation in the event of said lesser determination.

2. The system of claim 1 wherein said signal means comprises a first oscillator having a preset frequency wavetrain output.

3. The system of claim 2 including in addition thereto, a second oscillator having a preset frequency output.

4. The system of claim 3 wherein said means for determination comprises means for comparing the outputs of said oscillators during a given time interval and wherein the frequency of one of said oscillators is approximately twice the frequency of said other oscillator.

5. A system for controlling the operation of a well pumping installation including a pump, a motor for operating said pump and a pumped fluid flowpipe, comprising:

valve means responsive to the flow of fluid through said flowpipe; means to generate signals indicative of said response;

means to determine whether said signals are occurring less than a predetermined percentage of time during a given time interval; and

means to terminate the pumping operation in the.

said flowpipe for less than a predetermined percentage of time during a given time interval; and means to terminate the pumping operation in the event of said lesser determination.

7. The system according to claim 6, including in addition thereto, means for recycling the operation after a pumping installation including a pump, a motor for operating said pump and a pumped fluid flowpipe, comprising:

valve means responsive to the flow of fluid through said flowpipe, said valve means including a magnet;

a valve housing assembled between sections of said flowpipe for housing said valve;

a proximity switch arranged on said housing for activation by said magnet; v means to generate signals in response to the closure of said switch; means to determine whether said signals are occurring less than a predetermined percentage of time during a given time interval; and

means to terminate the pumping operation in the event of said lesser determination.

10. The system according to claim 9, wherein said means to generate signals comprises a first oscillator having a preset frequency wavetrain output.

11. The system according to claim 10, including in addition thereto, a second oscillator having a preset frequency output. I

12. The system according to claim 11, wherein said means for determination comprises means for comparing the outputs of said oscillators during a given time interval.

13. The system according to claim 11, wherein the frequency of one of said oscillators is approximately twice the frequency of said other oscillator.

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3918843 *Mar 20, 1974Nov 11, 1975Dresser IndOil well pumpoff control system utilizing integration timer
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Classifications
U.S. Classification417/12, 417/43
International ClassificationE21B47/00, E21B37/06, F04B49/02
Cooperative ClassificationE21B37/06, E21B47/0008, F04B2205/13, F04B2201/02071, F04B2205/16, F04B49/02
European ClassificationE21B37/06, F04B49/02, E21B47/00P2