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Publication numberUS3856082 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 24, 1974
Filing dateJun 12, 1973
Priority dateMar 26, 1973
Publication numberUS 3856082 A, US 3856082A, US-A-3856082, US3856082 A, US3856082A
InventorsDinning R
Original AssigneeMacco Oil Tool Co Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Selective positioning well tool apparatus
US 3856082 A
Abstract
Apparatus for selectively positioning well tools within a flow conductor comprising a tubular receiver adapted for connection in a flow conductor; a well tool movable through the flow conductor for entrance into the receiver; a sleeve member disposed within the receiver for limited axial movement between closed and opened positions; cooperable ports in the sleeve member and receiver registerable when the sleeve member is in the opened position to provide fluid communication between the well tool and the exterior of the receiver; a latch assembly carried by the well tool and engageable with the sleeve member on entrance into the receiver to latch the well tool therein and to shift the sleeve member to the opened position. The apparatus is designed so that the actual forces acting on the sleeve member, due to pressures to which it is subjected, are equally balanced in either the open or closed positions. Emergency latch retractor means may also be provided.
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United States Patent [191 Dinning Dec. 24, 1974 [75] Inventor: Robert W. Dinning, Houston, Tex. [73] Assignee: Macco Oil Tool Company, Inc., Houston, Tex.

[22] Filed: June 12, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 369,410

Related US. Application Data [63] Continuation-impart of Ser. No. 344,568, March 26,

[52] US. Cl... 166/154, 166/224 [51] Int. Cl E21b 33/16, E21b 43/12 [58] Field of Search 166/ 154, 224

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,073,392 l/l963 Dinning et al. 166/224 3,094,307 6/1963 Alley 166/224 3,151,681 10/1964 Cochran 166/224 3,166,128 l/l965 Myers 166/224 3,306,365 2/1967 Kammerer, .j. 166/224 3,378,079 4/1968 Page, Jr. 166/224 3,606,926 9/1971 Schwegman 166/154 Primary Examiner.lames A. Leppink Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Torres & Berryhill v[5 7] ABSTRACT Apparatus for selectively positioning well tools within a flow conductor comprising a tubular receiver adapted for connection in a flow conductor; a well tool movable through the flow conductor for entrance into the receiver; a sleeve member disposed within the receiver for limited axial movement between closed and opened positions; cooperable ports in the sleeve member and receiver registerable when the sleeve member is in the opened position to provide fluid communication between the well tool and the exterior of the receiver; a latch assembly carried by the well tool and engageable with the sleeve member on entrance into the receiver to latch the well tool therein and to shift the sleeve member to the opened position. The apparatus is designed so that the actual forces acting on the sleeve member, due to pressures to which it is subjected, are equally balanced in either the open or closed positions. Emergency latch retractor means may also be provided.

21 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures SELECTIVE POSITIONING WELL TOOL APPARATUS CROSS REFERENCE To RELATED APPLICATIONS The present application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 344,568 filed on Mar. 26, 1973.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION surrounded by a larger diameter casing string. The tubing string often contains valves, at various locations, for injecting gas, chemicals, etc., or for controlling various conditions encountered in the completion of wells and v production of petroleum liquids therefrom. For example, the producing information of such a well may lack the pressure necessary for natural flow of liquids to the surface. In such cases, an artificial form of lift must be employed. Onepopular method of artificial lift is gas injection, where gas is injected into the fluid to be produced at various depths within the well. Sometimes the gas is injected through the casing string with production through the tubing string and sometimes gas is injected through the tubing' string with production through the casing string. In either case, the gas mixes with the petroleum liquids producing a mixture of lower specific gravity, allowing a continuous flow of the mixture. I

Gas lift valves are normally installed 'in the tubing string in special mandrels or receivers at predetermined positions within the tubing string. Sometimes the valves are installed in receivers connected in the tubing string, at the surface of the well, and lowered into position therewith. In another way of installing such valves, the valve is suspended on a wire line and lowered through the tubing,- which is already in place, to the desired depth.

More recently, gas lift valves have been installed by the use of through-flow-line tools '(TFL) developed specifically for such uses. With such tools a single valve may be pumped downwardly through the conduit for selective engagement and positioning with a corres'ponding receiver in the well conduit. Such tools also allow a plurality of valves to be releasably attached in a train to a motor or locomotive unit which is'pumped downwardly through the tubing string. The valves are successively disengaged from the train-and selectively received within a corresponding receiver at the desired location. In some systems, the valves are released and one-by-one as the train moves back toward the surface. After all valves have been installed the motor or locomotive unit is removed from the tubing string. Such a system is fully described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,419,074 Brown.

- With trough-flow-line tools (TFL), as well as in oth- 'ers, some means must be provided for allowing fluid communication between the casing and the gas lift valve. The gas lift valve then controls fluid communication between the casing and the tubing string. In the past, it has been necessary to perforate the tubing string, or its receiver, in place, to allow such communication. This procedure is difficult and somewhat hazardous, since there is usually a period of time, before installation of the gas lift valve, when there is no control over the fluid communicationbetween the casing and tubing string. Various valve devices have been developed to solve this problem. However, most of them are rather complexand inherently disadvantageous for various reasons. One such valve is the spool type shown in and described in the aforementioned U.S. Pat.No.

3,334,690. Another is the sleeve type valve shown in the aforementioned U.S. Pat. No. 3,419,074.

One of the problems encountered in the sleeve type valve is adapting such a valve for opening and closing, yet allowing easy installation and removal of gas lift valves from the receiver. In the past it has been necessary to utilize a special tool for selectively engaging and disengaging the sleeve valve on both installation and removal. The tools and apparatus of such'sleeve valves have been relatively complicated.

In the aforementioned U.S. Pat. application Ser. No. 344,568, apparatus is disclosed which simplifies the installation and removal of gas lift valves. Such apparatus includes areceiver assembly for selectively'receiving well tools, such as gas lift valves, attached to a throughflow-line motor or locomotive unit. The apparatus comprises a tubular sleeve member disposed within the receiver for limited movement between an upper closed position and a lower open position. The sleeve and receiver are provided with cooperable ports which are registerable, when the sleeve is in the lower position, to provide fluid communication between the interior and exterior upper conduit.

In such improved apparatus seals are provided between the well tool and receiver and sleeve, respectively, isolating the upper end of the sleeve from presi cation with the casing string through the cooperable installed in their respective receivers one-by-one, tail valve first, as the train moves downwardly through the string. Such a system is shown anddescribe d in detail ports, when the sleeve is in its open position. With such apparatus a well too], i.e., gas lift valve, may be pumped downwardly through-the tubing string until selective latches thereon engage a corresponding receiver. As the well tool latch assembly engages a sleeve member within its receiver, the sleeve is shifted from a closed position to an opened position, permittting fluid communication with the casing string. Fluid communication is also established between the casing string and tubing string through the gas lift valve. The TFL motor or locomotive unit is then returned to the surface of the well.

Blocking fluid communication between the casing and tubing-strings with such improved apparatus may be done simply and without the use of complicated retrieving tools. All that is necessary is to raise the pres- 3 sure within the tubing string above a certain predetermined level. The pressure differential between the upper end of the sleeve (casing pressure) and the lower end of the sleeve (tubing pressure) causes the sleeve to shift from its downwardly open position to the upper closed position, preventing further flow communication between the casing and tubing string. Then the well tool (gas lift valve) can be removed from the tubing string by any appropriate means, e.g., motor or comotive unit, wire line tools, etc.

The aforementioned improved apparatus for implementing a gas lift system is particularly desirable for tubing flow, i.e., injection through the casing string and production through the tubing string. Closing of the sleeve valve and removal of the gas lift valve is accomplished simply by increasing the pressure within the tubing string, due'to the differential pressure areas on the sleeve member. However, in some cases it is desirable that the sleeve member not be subjected to such differential pressures. For example, if the gas lift system is one in which the gas is injected through the tubing string and production is had through the casing string,

it is possible that increased gas injection pressures would cause the sleeve member to prematurely shift to the closed position. Thus, in such a system it would be desirable to have a sleeve member which would not be subject to shifting caused by pressure area differentials.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention pertains to apparatus, much like the apparatus described in the aforementioned patent application Ser. No. 344,568, which permits selective installation of well tools' (gas lift valves) by through-flow-lin'e pumpdown techniques. Like in the aforementioned improved apparatus, the present invention includes a receiver and a tubular sleeve member disposed therein forlimited axial movement between closed and opened positions. The sleeve and receiver are provided with cooperable ports which are registerable, when the sleeve is in the open position, to provide fluid communication between the well tool and the exterior of the receiver (the casing string). Unlike the aforementioned improved version, the apparatus of the present invention is designed so that axial forces acting on the sleeve member, due to pressures to which it is subjected, are equally balanced in either the open or closed position. Tl-Ius, there is no chance of the sleeve member being prematurely shifted from one position to the other.

To make the sleeve member nonresponsive to pressures to which it is subjected, the apparatus is provided with cooperable port means which includes first and second axially spaced portsin the receiver communicating with each other through an axial flow passage to provide the flow communication between the well tool and 'the exterior of the receiver when the sleeve member is in its opened position. Axially spaced first and second seals are provided between the well tool and the receiver means on opposite sides of the first port and axially spaced third and fourth seals are provided between the sleeve member and receiver on opposite sides of the second port. When the sleeve member is shifted to its closed position the fourth seal blocks communication between the exterior of receiver and the well tool.

Like in the aforementioned improved apparatus, the

present invention includes a latch assembly carried by I the well tool for selective engagement with the sleeve member. However,'as an additional feature, the present invention is provided with a latch retractor for retracting the latches of the latch assembly in emergency situationsQFor example, if the latches become clogged with materials so that a normal axial force will not be sufficient to retract the latches for removal, some other means must be used to allow removal of the well tool and the latch assembly from the receiver. The retractor means of the present invention includes a skirt portion mounted for limited axial movement between a nonoperative position and an operative position, engaging the latches for retraction thereof. The skirt portion is initially held in the nonoperative position'by a releasable connection which is releasedin response to a predetermined axial force applied to the well tool. This force may be applied by various means, e.g., wire line tools or the like.

Thus, the apparatus of the present invention provides a simple means by'which fluid communication can be established or prevented between the casing string and the tubing string. This fluid communication is made possible through the unique sleeve valve design which also allows easy installation and removal of well tools in and from the receiver. The apparatus is easilyinstalled, maintained and operated. It is also relatively simple and inexpensive to manufacture. Although it is BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a series of gas lift valves and corresponding receivers, according to a preferred embodiment of the present invention, installed in the'tubing string of a well for gas lift operations; 1 a v FIGS. 2A and 2B are vertical elevation views, in quarter section, of well tool, receiver, and sleeve member for selectively installing such a well tool in a well conduit, according to a preferred embodiment of the invention, FIG. 2A being the upper portion and FIG. 2B being the continued lower portion, and showing the well too] and sleeve member in their respective positions upon initial engagement of the well tool with the sleeve member;

FIGS. 3A and 3B are vertical elevation views, in quarter section, similar to FIGS. 2A and 28, showing the well tool and sleeve member after full engagement and shifting of the sleeve member to the opened position;

FIG. 4 is a quarter sectional elevation view, similar to FIGS. 2B and 3B, showing the well tool and sleeve member shifted to the closed position, and just prior to removal of the well tool and the attached latch assembly from the receiver.

FIG. 5 is a quarter sectional elevation view, similar to FIG. 4, showing the well tool being removed from the receiver with the latches of the latch assembly retracted by the emergency latch retractor apparatus;

DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Referring first to FIG. 1, there is schematically represented a well which includes an outer casing string C and a tubing string T. Connected in the tubing string T at various levels within the well are a plurality of tubular receivers R. Mounted in each receiver R is a well tool, in the present case gas lift valve V,- which may be installed by through-flow-line pumpdown methods, as will be more fully understood hereafter. The gas lift valves provide means for injecting gas into the petro- Ieum liquids from the well. The gas mixes with the petroleum liquid producing a mixture of lower specific gravity and allowing continuous flow in cases where the producing formation lacks the natural pressure necessary to lift the liquids to the surface. In many gas lift systems gas is injected through the casing and the gas lift valve into the tubing string. In the specific embodiments disclosed herein, gas is injected through the tubing string T and the valves V into the casing'string C, through which production fluids flow.

Gas lift valves may be installed -by several methods. Sometimes the valves are attached in the tubing string as it is lowered into the well hole. In other methods, the gas lift valves are lowered into place on wire line equipment. More recently, in light of tools referred to as through-flow-line tools (TFL), pumpdown equipment has been developed for pumping such valves into place. It is for use with this type of method that the present invention is contemplated. However, it can easily be adapted for wire line and other type installations.

Referring now to FIGS. 2A and 2B the receiver R comprises upper and lower tubular members and 11, respectively, threadedly connected at 12. The upper tubular member isthreaded at 13 for connection to the tubing string 10 by collar 14. The lower tubular member 11 is threadedly connected at 15 to an adaptor 16 which may be connected to a section of tubing string therebelow. Upper tubular member 10 is provided with an annular recess 17, the function of which is to receive latching devices for tools that form no part of the present invention. The walls of the upper tubular member 10 may be reduced by internal and external recesses 18 and 19, respectively. Although perforation of the re- 24 providing flow communication between the ports 20 and 21. See also FIG. 6. The bubble 23 has a lower pocket portion which is separated from the passage 24 by a wall 26. The pocket portion 25 and its ports 27 provide communication between port 22 and the exterior of the receiver R, i.e., the casing string C. See also FIG. 7. It will be noted that the ports 27 are slanted so that fluid exiting therefrom exits in a tangential path relative to the casing string surrounding the receiver R. This reduces errosion wear in the casing string.

Disposed within receiver R for limited axial movement between an upper, or closed, position and a lower, or opened, position is a tubular sleeve member 30. The sleeve member 30 may comprise an upper latch receiving section 31, a seal section 32 and a retainer section 33. The latch receiving section 31 may be machined so as to provide an axial profile to correspond with a particular set of latches 73' to be more fully described hereafter. In the particular embodiment shown inwardly directed shoulder 34 serves this purpose. Sleeve section 32 is provided with a plurality of annular seals 35, 36 and 37. Seals 35 and 37 provide a sliding seal between sleeve member 30 and receiver R. In the upper, or closed, position seal 36 blocks communication between ports 21 and 22 thus blocking flow communication between the exterior or receiver R and valve V through passage 24.

The sleeve member 30 is initially held in the upper or closed position by retainer section 33. The retainer section 33 comprises a plurality of downwardly depending collet figures 38 having outwardly projecting lugs 39 thereon. The lugs 39 engage an annular groove 40 formed on the interior of adaptor 16. If enough'axial force is applied. to sleeve member 30 the collet fingers 38 will be squeezed inwardly, by virtue of the camming action between lugs 39 and tapered shoulders of groove 40, allowing the sleeve member 30 to move downwardly, as will be shown hereafter, so that the lugs 39 V engage a lower annular groove 41 for retaining the sleeve member 30 in a lower or open position.

The gas lift valve V comprises a part of a well tool W which may be pumped through the tubing string T into the receiver R. The well tool W may comprise a mandrel 50in which the gas lift valve V is installed. The gas lift valve V could be of many conventional designs. For descriptive purposes, the gas lift valve V will be described as one responsive to casing pressure for regulating the flow of gas from tubing string T to casing C through port 20 passage 24 and ports 21, 22 and 27, as will be more fully understood hereafter. Such a gas lift valve V may be provided with a pressure bellows (not shown) responsive to casing pressure to move a closure member 61 into and out of engagement with a seat 62 to allow passage of gas from tubing string T through ports 62, 63, 64, 65, 66 and 67 and check valve 68, through ports 20, passage 24, ports 21 and 22 into the flow of production fluids through the surrounding casing string. Such valves are well known in the prior art and further description thereof is unnecessary. The mandrel 50 of well tool W is provided with a pair of annular seals 51 and 52 axially spaced on opposite sides of port 20.

A pumpdown locomotive or motor unit M may be attached to the upper end of well tool mandrel 50 by a running neck 53. The motor or locomotive unit M is of conventional design and will not be described in detail except tosay that it is provided with a seal assembly S... which permits the motor M and the attached well tool W to be pumped downwardly through the tubing string T by applying a fluid pressure thereabove. Although it is contemplated that the well tools W of the present invention will be run one at a time, they could be run in a train consisting of a plurality of such well tools attached to a locomotive or motor unit therebelow. In such a case each well tool is connected to an adjacent well tool by the latches 73 and is released from the train, tail end first, as the well tools move downwardly through the tubing string. The latches 73 of each well too] are designed with a profile which matches the profile of a corresponding sleeve member 30. For a fuller description of such train operation reference may be made to the aforementioned patent application Ser. No. 344,568.

Carried by the well tool W and threadedly attached thereto at 71 is a latch assembly 70. The latch assembly 70 comprises a tubular latch housing 72 and a plurality of latches 73. The latches 73 are mounted within windows 74, cut in latch housing 70, on pins 75 for pivoting radially, inwardly and outwardly betweenretracted and expanded positions, respectively. Torsion springs 76 may be provided, biasing latches 73 toward the radially outward or expanded position. The lower end of the latches 73 may be notched at 77 providing a lip 78, the purpose of which is'to allow coupling and uncoupling between adjacent well tools if they are run in a train.

The latches 73 are notched at 79 to provide a profile, as stated earlier, corresponding with the profile of the latch receiving section 31 of sleeve 30. The upper end of latches 73 are tapered as at 73a to correspond with a tapered shoulder 11a or receiver R, so as to allow retraction of the latches 73 as will be more fully understood hereafter.

The latch housing 72 may be coupled to the well tool W by a retractor assembly 80. The retractor assembly 80 may comprise a downwardly extending skirt 81 the lower end of which is provided with a tapered surface 81a corresponding with the taper 73a of latches 73. The retractor assembly 80 is mounted for limited axial movement relative to the latch housing 72, but is initially prevented from such movement by shear pin 82. The latch retractor assembly 80 is for emergency retraction of the latches 73 and its operation will be explained more fully hereafter. The latch retractor assembly 80 also serves another purpose to be described hereafter.

In operation, the well tool W, coupled to the motor or locomotive unit M, is introduced into the tubing string T at the surface of the well/The motor M, well tool W and latch assembly 70 are then pumped downwardly through the tubing string until the well tool W reaches the receiver R in which it is to be installed. When the well tool W which corresponds with a particular receiver R reaches such receiver, its latches 73 spring outwardly into engagement with the latch receiver section 31 of sleeve member 30. Further pres sure .on the motor or locomotive unit causes a downwardly directed force to be applied to the sleeve 30, through latches 73, until enough force is exerted to cause the ends of retainer collet fingers 38 and their respective lugs 39 to be contracted inwardly, allowing the sleeve 30 to move downwardly to the position shown in FIG. 3B. Downward movement is arrested by the engagement of sleeve shoulder 32a with the upper end of adaptor 16. At this point the lugs 30 of collet fingers 38 are in registration with annular groove 41 and expand radially into engagement therewith, preventing premature return to the upper or closed position. At this point the sleeve 30, well too] W, motor M and latch assembly are in the position shown in FIGS. 3A and 38.

Since the sleeve member 30 has been shifted to the lower or open position, seal 36 no longer blocks communication between ports 21 and 22. Fluid communication is established between these two ports 21 and 22 through the annular space 32b provided between the receiver R and a reduced outer diameter portion of seal section 32. Thus flow communication between the surrounding casing string and valve V is now established through ports 27, 22, 21, passage 24 and ports 20 and 67. The bellows control (not shown) of the valve V is then exposed to the casing pressure and is responsive thereto to regulate the flow of gas from the tubing string T to the surrounding casing string.

It should be noted that, contrary to other designs, the axial forces acting on the sleeve member 30, due to pressures to which it is subjected, are equally balanced in either the opened or closed positions. Thus forces which might otherwise tend to shift the sleeve because of differences in sealing area between the well tool seals 51 and 52 and the sleeve member seals 35, 36 and 37 are eliminated. This is one reason why the flow passage 24 and axially spaced ports 21 and 22 are provided.

Should it now be desired to block communication between the tubing string and casing string, such as is necessary to remove well tool W for repair or replacement, the sleeve member 30 must be shifted to the upper or closed position. This may be accomplished by latching onto the tool neck N with a wire line tool and providing an upwardly directed force to the well tool W. This force is transmitted to the sleeve member 30 through latch assembly 70 causing the collet fingers 38 to be retracted inwardly and allowing the sleeve 30 to move or shift to the upper position where the lugs 39 reengage groove 40. See FIG. 4. As an alternate method, a locomotive or motor unit may be reattached to the tool neck N and pressure applied to the tubing string therebelow to produce the necessary upwardly directed axial force.

After sleeve member 30 has been shifted to the upper or closed position, further upwardly directed force causes the latches 73 to be inwardly retracted, by virtue of the camming action between tapered surfaces 73a and 11a. The well tool and latch assembly 70 may then be removed from the well.

Occasionally latches 73 may stick in their radially outwardly expanded positions, due to the buildup of deleterious materials therebehind. The axial force applied through the pulling neck may not be sufficient to cause the latches to be retracted. For this reason, emergency retraction apparatus may be provided. Such apparatus is provided by the retraction assembly 80. As earlier stated, the retraction assembly is connected to the latch assembly 70 by a shear pin 82; If a sufficient downwardly directed force is applied to the retractor assembly 80, the pin 82 will be sheared, allowing the retractor assembly and its depending skirt 81 to move downwardly relative to the latch assembly 70. As the skirt 81 moved downwardly the tapered surface 81a engages the tapered surfaces 73a of latches 73, forcing the latches toward an inwardly retracted position. When the retractor assembly has moved downwardly a sufficient distance to fully retract the latches 73 an outwardly biased snap ring 83 springs into engagement with annular surface 80a on the retractor assembly 80 to prevent its return to the initial position. With the latches 73 fully retracted an upwardly directed force may be applied to the tool W and latch assembly 70 for upward movement through receiver R and removal from the well. See FIG. 5.

The latch retractor assembly 80 also serves a retaining function in the nonoperative or fixed position shown in FIG. 2B.

In some installations, the latch assembly 70 is required to pass through enlarged diameter areas prior to reaching its respective receiver R. If the latches 73 are not prevented from doing so, they may swing outwardly for premature engagement with annular surfaces within such enlarged diameter sections. If the tapered surface 81a of the skirt 81 is closely disposed to the tapered surface 73a of latches 73, such premature engagement is prevented. The skirt will only allow the latches to swing outwardly slightly more than is required for full engagement with the respective receiver R.

An alternate design for the receiver R is illustrated in FIG. 8. As in the previously described embodiment, the receiver R may comprise a lower tubular section 111 in which a sleeve assembly 130 is mounted for limited axial movement between an upper closed position and a lower open position, as shown in'FlG. 8. The sleeve assembly 130 is basically the same as sleeve assembly 30 and in the previously described embodiment. Instead of being provided with an elongated semicircular tubular portion or bubble, as in the previous embodiment, the embodiment of FIG. 8 is provided with an outer sleeve 123 concentrically mounted around the tubular section 111 to provide an annular passageway 124 corresponding with the passageway 24 of the previously discussed embodiment. Fluid communication between the exterior of the receiver R and the valve which would be mounted therein may be established through ports 120, 121, 122 and 127 and annular passages 124 and 132b. As in the previous embodiment, this communication is blocked by annular seal 136 when the sleeve assembly 130 is shifted to the upper or closed position. All other features of the alternate emfore, intended that the scope of the invention be limited only by the claims which follow.

I claim: 1. Apparatus for selectively positioning well tools within a flow conductor comprising:

tubular receiver means adapted for connection in said flow conductor; a well tool movable through said flow conductor for entrance into said receiver means; sleeve means disposed within said receiver means for limited axial movement between closed and opened positions, axial forces acting on said sleeve means, due to pressures to which said sleeve means is subjected, being equally balanced in either said opened or closed positions; cooperable port means in said sleeve means and receiver means registerable when said sleeve means is in said opened position to provide fluid communication between said well tool and the exterior of said receiver means; latch means carried by said well tool engageable with said sleeve means on said entrance into said receiver means to latch said well tool therein and to shift said sleeve means to said opened position; said cooperable port means comprising first and second axially spaced ports in said receiver means communicating with each other, through axial flow means, to provide said flow communication between said well tool and said exterior of said receiver means when said sleeve means is in said opened position, said second port communicating with the exterior of said receiver means through said sleeve means, when said sleeve means is in said opened position, seal means being disposed between said sleeve means and said receiver means for blocking said communication between said second port and said exterior of said receiver means, when said sleeve means is in said closed position.

2. Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 comprising third port means in said receiver means in fluid communicabodiment of FIG. 8 are basically the same as in the previously described embodiment and the same type of well tool and latch assembly could be used therewith.

Although the present invention has been described for one at a time well tool installation, it can easily be seen that a plurality of tools may be assembled in a pumpdown train for one-by-one installation as the train moves downwardly through the tubing string. It is also obvious that the present invention could easily be adapted for TFL tools which release the tools oneby-one from the bottom up. Furthermore, as previously indicated, the present invention can be adapted for use with wire line tools.

Although the present invention has been described for installing as lift valves in a gas lift system in which the gas in injected from the tubing into the casing string, it can be appreciated that it could easily be used with systems in which gas injection is from the casing string into the tubing string. Furthermore, it should be obvious that the present invention may be used for installing any type of well tools which are to be installed at predetermined locations within the tubing string. In fact many variations and adaptation of the present invention can be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is, theretion with said second port, when said sleeve is in said opened position, through second axial flow means at least partially defined by said sleeve means.

3. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 in which said second axial flow means comprises an annular passage formed by a reduced diameter portion of said sleeve means.

4. Apparatus as set forth in claim 2 comprising seal means between said well tool and said receiver means, including axially spaced first and second seals on opposite sides of said first port, and in which said seal means between said sleeve means and said receiver means includes axially spaced. third and fourth seals on opposite sides of said second port, said fourth seal blocking communication between said second and third port, when said sleeve means is in said closed position, to prevent said fluid communication between said well too] and said exterior of said receiver means.

5. Apparatus as set forth in claim 4 in which said seal means between said sleeve and receiver means comprises a fifth seal axially spaced from said fourth seal, said fourth and fifth seals being on opposite sides of said third port, when said sleeve means is in said closed position.

6.' Apparatus as set forth in claim 1 comprising latch retainer means carried by said well tool for engagement ill with radially extendable latches on said latch means to limit the radial extension of said latches.

7. Apparatus as set forth in claim 6 in which said latch retainer means comprises tubular skirt means the end of which surrounds one end of said latches.

8. Apparatus for selectively positioning well tools within a flow conductor comprising:

tubular receiver means adapted for connection in said flow conductor;

a well tool movable through said flow conductor for entrance into said receiver means;

sleeve means disposed within said receiver means for limited axial movement between closed and opened positions, axial forces acting on said sleeve means, due to pressures to which said sleeve means is subjected, being equally balanced in either said opened or closed positions;

coopera'ble port means comprising first and second axially spaced ports in said receiver means communicating with each other, through axial flow means, to provide flow communication between said well tool and the exterior of said receiver means when said sleeve means is in said opened position;

latch means carried by said well tool engageable with said sleeve means on said entrance into said receiver means to latch said well tool therein and to shift said sleeve means to said opened position; and

seal means between said well tool and said receiver means, including axially spaced first and second seals on opposite sides of said first port, and'seal means between said sleeve means and said receiver means, including axially spaced third and fourth seals on opposite sides of said second port.

9. Apparatus as set forth in claim 8 in which said first mentioned seal means is of a smaller diameter than said.

second mentioned seal means.

10. Apparatus as set forth in claim 8 in which said axial flow means comprises an annular passage formed betweeen the body of said receiver means and-a cylindrical sleeve member therearound.

11. Apparatus as set forth in claim 8 in which said sleeve and receiver means are provided with cooperable retainer means for retaining said sleeve means against premature movement between said opened and closed positions.

12. Apparatus as set forth in claim 11 in which said retainer means comprises a plurality of collet fingers carried by said sleeve means having lugs thereon engagable with annular grooves carried by said receiver means in both said closed and opened positions.

13. Apparatus as set forth in claim 8 comprising latch retractor means carried by said well tool and responsive to a predetermined axial force applied to said well tool to engage and retract latches on said latch means from engagement with said sleeve means, allowing removal of said well tool and latch means from said receiver means.

14. Apparatus as set forth in claim 13 in which said retractor means comprises skirt means attached to said latch means for limited axial movement between a nonoperative position and an operative position engaging said latches for retraction thereof, said skirt means being initially held in said nonoperative position by means which is releasable upon application of said predetermined force.

15. Apparatus as set forth in claim 14 including retainer means engagable with said skirt means upon retraction of said latches to hold said skirt means in said operative position.

16. Apparatus for selectively positioning well tools within a flow conductor comprising:

tubular receiver means adapted for connection in said flow conductor;

a well tool movable through said flow conductor for entrance into said receiver assembly;

sleeve means disposed within said receiver assembly for limited axial movement between closed and opened position; cooperable port means in said sleeve means and receiver means registerable when said sleeve means is in said opened position to provide fluid communication between said well too] and the exterior of said receiver means, said port means comprising first, second and third axially spaced ports insaid receiver means, said first port communicating directly with said well tool, said third port communicating directly with said exterior of said receiver means, and said first and third ports communicating with each other through said second port only when said sleeve means is in said opened position;

latch means carried by said well tool including radially movable latches engageable with said sleeve means on said entrance into said receiver means to latch said well tool therein and to shift said sleeve means to said opened position;

latch retractor means carried by said well tool and responsive to a predetermined axial force applied to said well too] to engage said latch means latches, retracting said latches from engagement with said sleeve means and allowing removal of said well tool and latch means from said receiver means.

17. Apparatus as set forth in claim 16 in which said latch retractor means comprises skirt means surrounding a portion of said latches and engagable therewith to limit the radial extension of said latches prior to application of said predetermined force.

18. Apparatus as set forth in'claim 16 in which said latch retractor means comprises a skirt "member disposed around said latch means for limited movement between a nonoperative position and an operative position engaging said latches for retraction thereof.

19. Apparatus as set forth in claim 18 in which said skirt means is initially held in said nonoperative position by means which is releasable upon application of said predetermined axial force.

20. Apparatus as set forth in claim 19 comprising retainer means engagable with said skirt means upon said retraction of said latches to hold said skirt means in said operative position.

21. Apparatus as set forth in claim 20 in which said releasable means comprises a frangible connection and said retainer means comprises a spring biased member on one of said latch means and said retainer means and a shoulder engagable thereby on the other.

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Referenced by
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US4105069 *Jun 9, 1977Aug 8, 1978Halliburton CompanyGravel pack liner assembly and selective opening sleeve positioner assembly for use therewith
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Classifications
U.S. Classification166/154, 166/332.1
International ClassificationE21B34/00, E21B34/14
Cooperative ClassificationE21B34/14
European ClassificationE21B34/14