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Publication numberUS3856085 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 24, 1974
Filing dateNov 15, 1973
Priority dateNov 15, 1973
Also published asCA984287A1, DE2361811A1, DE2361811C2
Publication numberUS 3856085 A, US 3856085A, US-A-3856085, US3856085 A, US3856085A
InventorsHolden J, Wray G
Original AssigneeHalliburton Co
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Improved annulus pressure operated well testing apparatus and its method of operation
US 3856085 A
Abstract
A full opening, annulus pressure responsive, formation testing method and apparatus wherein both valve closing and valve opening biasing forces are generated in response to annulus pressure and wherein a full opening, formation fluid flow passage is provided by the testing valve. A disabling mechanism may be employed which would be operable, in response to removal of the apparatus from a well bore, to vitiate an annulus pressure generated biasing force tending to urge the testing valve to a closed condition.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 Holden et al. I

[451 Dec. 24, 1974 [75] Inventors: John C. Holden; Gary Q. Wray,

both of Duncan, Okla.

[73] Assignee: Hallihurton Company, Duncan,

Okla.

22 Filed: Nov. 15, 1973 21 Appl. No.1 412,881

[52] U.S. Cl 1 66/264, l66/.5, 166/224 [51] Int. Cl E2lb 47/00 [58] Field of Search 166/264, 226, 224, .5,

[56] References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,347,318 10/1967 Barrington 166/226 3,356,145 12/1967 Fredd 166/224 A 3,435,897 4/1969 Harrington" 166/226 3,499,487 3/1970 Barrington 166/237 3,533,430 7/1969 Fredd 166/224 X 6/1971 Anderson et al. 166/129 3,646,995 3/1972 Manes et al. 166/.5 3,664,415 5/1972 Wray et al. 166/264 X 3,703,193 11/1972 Raulins 1661224 A 3,750,751 8/1973 Mott 166/244 A 3,814,182 6/1974 Giroux..... 166/226 3,823,773 7/1974 Nutter 166/152 X 3,824,850 7/1974 Nutter 73/151 Primary Examiner-Stephen J. Novosad Attorney, Agent, or Firm-John H. Tregoning; James E. Cockfield; Floyd A. Gonzalea [5 7 ABSTRACT A full opening, annulus pressure responsive, formation testing method and apparatus wherein both valve closing and valve opening biasing forces are generated in response to annulus pressure and wherein a full opening, formation fluid flow passage is provided by the testing valve. A disabling mechanism may be employed which would be operable, in response to removal of the apparatus from a well bore, to vitiate an annulus pressure generated biasing force tending to urge the testing valve to a closed condition.

6 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures PATENTEI] DEC 2 4 I974 SHEET 2 0F 2 ISY IMPROVED ANNULUS PRESSURE OPERATED WELL TESTING APPARATUS AND ITS METHOD OF OPERATION GENERAL BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF INVENTION ment of formation testing techniques which minimize 1 structural complexity and manipulative effort so as to enhance the ease of conducting formation testing operations and to improve the general reliability of such testing operations.

A particularly efficacious advance in the art in this respect is reflected in US. Wray, et al. Pat. No. 3,664,415 May 23, 1972. The Wray et al. patent discloses a unique formation testing concept where a prior art reliance upon mechanical manipulations, internal pressurization, or confined hydraulic systems was discarded in favor of a testing valve which was operable in response to changes in annulus pressure as controlled from a surface location.

Other advances in the well testing art are reflected by such U.S. Pats. as Barrington No. 3,435,897 Apr. 1, 1969 and Barrington No. 3,499,487 Mar. 10, 1970. These Barrington patents disclose a rotary ball valve mechanism suitable for use in formation testing. The Barrington valve apparatus is operable, when open, to provide formation flow passages of a full open" nature, i.e., extending centrally and longitudinally of a tubular assembly of tools comprising a formation testing apparatus (commonly referred to in the art as a testing string).

These advancesin the formation testing art notwithstanding, a need has persisted for further improvements which would facilitate formation testing, particularly in offshore areas, and particularly where high flow rates and high flow volumes of formation fluids would be expected to be encountered during a testing operation.

Thus it is that the present invention departs from the mechanical manipulative techniques featured in the aforesaid Barrington patents and departs from the specific valve mechanism disclosed in the Wray et al. patent while uniquely retaining, refining and inducing particularly unique coaction between, the annulus pressure operated testing valve concept of Wray et al. and the full flow testing valve concept of Barrington.

ln effecting this advance in the art, an improved method of formation testing is envisioned.

This method for conducting formation testing utilizes a formation testing string, a formation testing valve assembly incorporated in a lower portion of this formation testing string, and a packer assembly incorporated in a lower portion of this formation testing string. The packer assembly is operable to isolate a formation to be tested from an upper portion of a well bore within which the formation testing string is positioned. The formation testing valve assembly is operable'to control a flow of formation fluid between this formation and the interior of the formation testing string.

This method is characterized by improvements in testing valve operation. Such improvements, in part, entail the providing of full opening formation testing valve means in the formation testing valve assembly operable to move between closed and open conditions. This full opening formation testing valve, in its open condition, is operable to provide a formation fluid transmitting opening extending generally centrally and longitudinally of the formation testing string. The improvements further entail the provision of annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve closing means in the formation testing valve assembly. Such closing means includes first, annulus pressure responsive, force generating means operably responsive to the pressure of fluid in an annulus in a well bore generally adjacent the formation testing valve assembly to generate in the well bore a first biasing force. The closing means also includes first, annulus pressure responsive, force transmitting means operable to transmit this first annulus pressure generated biasing force to the full opening formation testing valve and urge the full opening formation testing valve to its closed-condition. In addition, the improved method entails the provision of annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve opening means in the formation testing valve assembly. This opening means includes second, annulus pressure responsive, force generating means operably responsive to the pressure of fluid in the annulus of the well bore generally adjacent the formation testing valve assembly to-generate in the well bore a second biasing force. The opening means further includes second, annulus pressure responsive, force transmitting means operable to transmit the second annulus pressure generated biasing force to the full opening formation testing valve and urge the full opening formation testing valve to its open condition. And finally, the improvements entail the operation of the annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve closing means, the annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve opening means, and the full opening formation testing valve in combination so as to provide the closed and open valve conditions in response to changes in fluid pressure in the annulus while permitting a relatively unobstructed flow of formation fluid generally centrally and longitudinally of the formation testing string through said formation testing valve assembly when the full opening formation testing valve is in its open condition.

Another independently significant facet of the invention relates to uniquely and particularly effectively coordinated apparatus means operable in combination to effect the performing of the method steps heretofore set forth.

Still further independent and significant aspects of the inventionreside in a particular type of full opening spect to the present invention and the manner in which it may be practiced.

DRAWINGS Presently preferred embodiments of the invention are set forth in the appended drawings in which:

FIG. 1 provides a schematic vertically sectioned view of a representative offshore installation which may be employed for formation testing purposes and illustrates a formation testing string or tool assembly in position in a submerged well bore and extending upwardly to a-floating operating and testing station;

FIGS. 2a and 2b, joined along section line x-x, provide an enlarged, partially vertically sectioned elevational view of the formation testing valve assembly of the FIG. 1 formation testing string, depicting this testing valve assembly in a closed valve condition;

FIGS. 3a and 3b, joined along section line y-y, provide an enlarged, partially vertically sectioned elevational view of the formation testing valve assembly of the FIG. 1 formation testing string, depicting the testing valve assembly in an open valve condition;

FIG. 4a provides a transverse sectional view of the aforesaid formation testing valve assembly, viewed generally along the location of section line 44 and illustrating the valve in its normal run-in or fully closed condition;

FIG. 4b provides another transverse sectional view of the testing valve assembly as viewed along the general location of section line 44 and illustrating the position of a rotary ball valve component in a partially rotated condition, moving toward an open valve condition; and

FIG. 40 provides a transverse sectional view of the testing valve assembly as viewed at the general location of section line 44 and depicting the rotary ball valve member in a full open condition as set forth in FIG. 3a.

With the nature of the appended drawings having been described, it now becomes appropriate to consider detailed ramifications of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION In describing the invention, reference will be made, first, to a representative operating environment and a representative testing string and, second, to details of the improved full opening, annulus pressure responsive characteristics of the testing valve of the present invention.

Exemplary Operating Context within which Invention May Be Practiced FIG. 1 depicts a representative offshore operating environment. i

The representative operating and testing environment depicted in FIG. 1 is the same as that set forth in the aforesaid U.S. Wray et a1. Pat. No. 3,664,415. For purposes of convenience of correlation, reference numerals in FIG. 1 of the presently appended drawings depicting this environment are the same as those employed in the disclosure of the aforesaid Wray et al. patent in connection with the same elements of this environment.

By way of summary, the environment may include:

Reference Numerals Common to Present Disclosure and Wray et a] Patent 3,664,415 Item of Illustrative Context Floating drillin vessel or work station Submerged we site Well bore Casing string lining well bore 3 Formation, the productivity of which is to be tested Interior of well bore 3 Submerged well head installation including blowout preventor mechanism Marine conductor extending between well head 7 to work station 1 Deck structure on work station 1 Fomiation testin string (i.e., assembly of generally tubu ar components extending between formation 5 and work station 1 and passing through marine conduct9r 8 and well bore 3) ll-liisting means supporting testing spring Derrick structure supporting hoisting means 11 Well head closure at upper end of marine conductor 8 Supply conduit for fluid operable to transmit fluids such as mud to interior 6 of well bore beneath blowout preventors of installation 7 Pum to impart pressure to fluid in con uit l4 Annulus surrounding testing or conduit string 10 Upper conduit string portion extending to work site 1 (usually threadably interconnected conduit sections) Hydraulically operated, conduit string test tree Intermediate conduit portion Torque transrnittin pressure and volume balanced 5 1p joint Intermediate conduit portion for imparting packer setting weight to lower portion of string Circulating valve Intermediate conduit ortion Up er pressure recor er and housing V ving and sample entrapping mechanism I Lower pressure recorder and housing Packer mechanism Perforate tail pipe providing fluid communication between interior of testing string 10 and formation 5 Details of components 1 through 28 and other possible components and" aspects of their incorporation in the aforesaid installation as depicted in FIG. 1 are set' forth in detail in columns 3 through 6 of the aforesaid Wray et al. US Pat. No. 3,664,415, the entire disclosure of which is herein incorporated by reference so as to avoid the necessity for redescribing this representative testing environment. In columns 3 through 5 of the aforesaid Wray et al.-

patent, reference is made to patents depicting details of various components of this representative context of the invention and reference is also made to US. patent applications depicting certain of these components. The Anderson et al. application Ser. No. 829,388 identified in column 4 of the Wray et al. Patent has now issued as US. Pat. No. 3,584,684 June 15, 1971-. Similarly, the Manes et al. application Ser. No. 882,856 revironment, it is believed appropriate to not pursue further detailed discussion of this environment so as not to obscure the advance in the art afforded by the present invention.

It will also be appreciated, in this respect, that the present invention is not confined to the offshore environment depicted in FIG. 1 and is not confined to the representative testing string assembly therein depicted.

At this juncture, with a representative operating and testing environment having been set forth, it becomes appropriate to consider structural and operational details of the advance in the art afforded by the improved formation testing valve assembly of the present inventlOl'l.

Structural Details Improved Testing Valve Assembly The improved testing valve of the present assembly is illustrated in various operating conditions in FIGS. 20, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b and 4c.

FIGS. 2a and 2b, joined along connecting line x-x,

illustrate the testing valve assembly 100 of the present first be identified.

As will be apparent from the following tabulation, improved testing valve assembly 100 includes a valve unit 101, an actuator or power" unit 121, and a separable connecting means 139 which serves to permit selective connection and disconnection of these two components. With this understanding, it is now appropriate to identify the components of the overall valve assembly 100 as follows:

Reference Numeral Component I040 and l04b Valve Unit IOI Generally tubular housing fabricated from threadably interconnected, generally tubular components having a longitudinally extending central flow passage 1020.

Ball valve having axially extending, central passage 103a.

Reeesses located eccentrically on periphery l03b of ball valve 103 extending radially between flow passage 103a and outer periphery 103b of ball valve as shown generally inFlGS. 2a, 3a, 4a, 4b, and 4c, and disposed in mirror image relation with respect to longitudinal axis of FIGS. 2a and 3a. Generally cylindrical valve housing connected with housing means 102.

U er ball valve seat carried by housing 5 and engaging upper portion of ball valve 103.

Generally annular lower valve seat mounted for telescoping or vertical sliding movement within housing I05. Coil spring carried by housing 102 and biasing lower seat I07 against lower side of ball valve I03 and urging ball valve I03 against upper seat I06.

Reference Numeral -Continued Component 109a and 10% ll0aand 11% III Longitudinally extending actuating arms 109a and 10% operably associated with ball valve I03 and arranged in mirror image relation with respect to longitudinal axis of FIGS. 2a and 3a. Lug members a and I101; carried by and associated respectively with actuating arms 109a and 10%. Each of lugs 1 10a and 1 I0]: is generally spherical in configuration with its axis being directed generally radially of the longitudinal axis of the testing string. Lug 1 10a is rotatably and slidably received within eccentric recess 104a and IIOb is rotatably and slidably received within eccentric recess l04b. Lugs H00 and llOb bear a mirror image relation to each other with respect to the longitudinal axis of FIGS. 2a and 3a. Circumferentially extending, outwardly facing groove means formed on the upper end of a telescoping pulling sleeve means I12. Lower radially inwardly extending flange portions I090. associated respectively with actuating amis 109a and 1091; are circumferentially slidably received within this circumferential groove so as to permit the actuating arms I09a and 10% to undergo circumferential sliding movement in the groove Ill about the longitudinal axis of the testing string while moving longitudinally with sleeve means 112. Generally tubular and cylindrically configured pulling sleeve means teleseopingly asociated with the lower end'of housing 105. Pulling sleeve means I12 may be telescoping in nature and be fabricated from an outer telescoping sleeve 1 l3 and an inner telescoping sleeve 1 l4 interconnected by mutually cooperating abutment means 1 13a and 1140 so as to provide a lost motion connection I I5 between the components I13 and H4. Outer tubular component of sleeve means ll2. Inner telescoping component of sleeve means 112. Lost motion means including mutually engageable abutment means 1 13a and 1 140 which serve to permit limited telescoping movement of sleeve members 113 and 114 but cause these members to move downwardly in unison when abutment 1 Ma is moved downwardly into engagement with abutment means I l3a. Transiently operable bypass valve means operable, during telescoping separation of sleeves 1 l3 and I 14, to equalize pressure within the interior central passage 102a of the testing valve assembly both above and below the ball valve 103. Radially extending, bypass port means carried by sleeve 1 l4.

ypass port means carried by a radially inwardly disglaced sleeve portion 1021; of housing I 2 and cooperating with port means 117 to provide a telescopin sleeve valve I16 communicating with bypass passage ll9. Bypass passage means I19 extending between port means I I8, peripherally around sleeve means I 12, valve 103 and valve housing 105 and communicating with a bypass passa e 120 which affords communication wit the interior or central passage 1020 of the testing string above the valve 103. Passage means 120 in housing I02 affording fluid communication between ypass passage means 119 and interior 10a of testing string assembly.

Actuator Unit 121 -Continued Continued Reference Numeral Component Reference Numeral Component 122 Generally tubular housing means 138 A schematically depicted, selectivel fabricated from threadably interconnected, generally tubular components and having a central, generally longitudinally extending passage 122a.

Generally tubular, power mandrel telescopingly mounted within housing 122 for longitudinal telescoping movement.

Annular piston carried on outer periphery of power mandrel 123 and telescoprngly received within cylinder portion 125 of housing 122.

Generally annular, radially inwardly opening cylinder means fonned on inner periphery of housing 122 and telescopmgly received annular piston means 124.

Port means formed in periphery of housing means 122 and providing fluid communication between well annulus 16 and interior of cylinder 125 above annular piston 124.

Coil spring positioned beneath piston 124 and carried in cylinder means 125 so as to exert a biasing force between housing 122 and the underside of piston 124 and urge the power mandrel 123 to the upper or valve closing position shown in FIG. 2a.

Gas-containing chamber means communicating with lower end of cylinder means 125 and extending downwardly from cylinder means 125 within housing 122. Chamber 128 may be filled, for example, with nitrogen gas which at surface station 1, prior to the installation of the too], would be at atmospheric or a relatively low pressure level.

Vertically slidable, generally annular floating" piston telescopingly received within gas chamber 128 in an annular cylinder-like area defined b radially spaced housing portions 12 h and 1221'. Annulus pressure responsive, biasing chamber contained within housing 122 and communicating with the lower end of floating piston 129.

Telescoping sleeve valve means selectively operable to efiect or block fluid communication between biasing chamber 130 and well annulus 16. Outer sleeve portion 132 of sleeve valve 131.

Inner sleeve portion of telescoping valve 131 having an abutment 133a operable to limit telescoping movement of components 132 and 133 by en agement with abutment means 132a an l32b which, like sleeve portion 132, are carried by, and fixedly positioned in relation to, the lower portion of housing means 122 which includes sleeve 122b. Vigving port carried by sleeve means Valving port means carried by sleeve means 133 and operable, when the testing valve 100 is in the run-in condition, to be in communication with port means 134 such that fluid communication exists between the annulus 16 and the biasing chamber 130. Biasing coil spring interposed between flange 133a and abutment 132b and operable to urge sleeve 133 to the upper position shown in FIG. 2b where port means 135 and 14 are disposed in communicating or aligned relation and fllggge 1330 is engaged with abutment Spline joint interconnectin sleeve 133a and housing portion 122b. 's arrangement provides-a torque transmitting capability in the sleeve valve 131 so that torque may be transmitted through the testing valve assembly. as required, to effect such operations as manipulation of the packer assembly.

operable disabling mechanism whic may serve in response to excessive pressure in the annulus 16 to offset or counteract the biasing influence of annulus Eressure acting through rt means 1 6 on the top of piston 12 This disabling means may comprise ruaptureable port means or openable v ve means selectively operable to establish fluid communication between annulus 16 and gas chamber 128 in response to a sufficient excess of annulus pressure. For example, this sulfieient excess of annulus pressure could operate to form a pressure differential across a ru tureable wall portion or operable v ve ggrtion of housing 122 surroundin charn r 128 so as to effect opening 0 this wall means and thus establish fluid communication between the annulus l6 and the underside of piston 124 via the passage means 128,

Separable Connection 139 140 Separable, threaded connection detachably connecting housing means 102 and 122.

141 Separable and selectively actuable Consistent with conventional practices employed in connection with the fabrication and utilization of well tools, it will be recognized that the components heretofore described may be segmental in character, i.e., fabricated from multiple components. Conventionally, such components are generally tubular in nature and threadably or otherwise interconnected to facilitate overall assembly, disassembly and servicing of the well tool.

In particular, it will be noted that the rotary ball valve housing may be segmental in character and fabricated from longitudinally interconnected components detachably joined with housing 102. As is schematically shown in the drawings (FIGS. 2a and 4a, for example), rotary ball valve housing 105 includes circumferentially extending side wall opening means 105a operable to permit circumferential sliding movement of the arm means 109a and 10% with their associated, ball recess engaging lug means a and 11%.

In FIGS. 4a through 40 the circumferential opening 105a is shown as extending completely between and encompassing the operative positions of the arm means 109a and 10%. However, it is contemplated that intermediate, longitudinally extending support means in the housing 105 may be provided at a location intermediate the arm positions depicted in FIG. 4b. Such intermediate support has not been illustrated in order not to obscure the mode of illustration of arm movements as depicted in FIGS. 4a through 4c.

With the basic components of a preferred embodiment of testing valve assembly 100 having been described, along with theirv structural relationships, it now becomes appropriate to consider the method of operation of this well tool.

Run-in" or At-Rest Position of Testing Valve Assembly FIGS. 2a and 2b provide an illustration of the positional relationships of the components of testing valve assembly 100 as the testing valve exists while the testing string is being run-in (i.e., being lowered into the well bore 3) and prior to the time that the pressure of well fluid in annulus 16 is raised so as to cause valve opening activation of this assembly 100.

As shown in FIG. 2a, the coil spring 127 imposes a lifting force on interconnected mandrel means 123 and 1 14 with this mandrel means exerting a lifting force on sleeve 1 13 through abutting cooperation between abutment means 114a of sleeve 114 and annular abutment l13b of sleeve 113. The lifting force imposed upon sleeve 113 elevates arms 109a and 10% to the upper position depicted in FIGS. 2a and 4a, with the lug means 110a and 11012 cooperating with the ball valve recess means 104a and 104b, respectively, so as to maintain the ball valve in the closed condition depicted in FIG. 2a. This valve closing position is determined by abutting engagement between abutment 123a of mandrel 123 with abutment 122a of housing 122. In this closed condition, the ball is rotated so that the longitudinal or central flow passage 103a extends transversely or perpendicularly of the valve assembly passage 102a so as to close this passage.

During the run-in condition of the valve components, the bypass ports 117 and 118 are displaced so as to close the bypass passage controlling, valve means 116.

The actuating unit 121, in its run-in condition as depicted in FIG. 2b, is arranged with the floating piston 129 disposed at the bottom of the gas chamber 128 and with the sleeve valve 131 in an open condition, i.e., with the ports 134 and 135 affording fluid communication between the well annulus and the fluid biasing chamber 130. This open condition of sleeve valve 131 is maintained by the biasing influence of coil spring 136 which tends to hold the sleeves in the port aligning condition shown in FIG. 2b while the tool string'l0 is freely suspended in a well bore. Running-In" Operation As the tool string 10 is lowered into the well bore, annulus pressure will be transmitted to cylinder means 125 on the top of piston 124 via port means 126 and will also be transmitted to the underside of floating piston 129 via port means 134 and 135. The transmittal of annulus pressure to the underside of piston 129 will transmit annulus pressure through gas in chamber 128 to the underside of piston means 124.

Thus, during the run-in condition of the testing string 10, the actuating piston 124 will be fluid pressure-balanced, but the pressure of gas in the chambers 130 and thus entrap annulus pressure within the gas chamber 128 so as to maintain the application of static annulus pressure (i.e., the hydrostatic head pressure existing at port means 135 and 134) acting on the underside of the piston 124. Thus, the piston 124 will be biased upwardly toward the valve closing condition,

when the testing string 10 is installed, by the combined influence of hydrostatic annulus pressure and the biasing influence of the coil spring 127. Testing Valve Operation In order to open valve 3 and place it in the FIG. 3b

.condition, the fluid pressure in annulus 16 adjacent port means 126 must be increased. This may be accom plished by operation of pump 15 to pressurize the annulus 16 via line 14 as generally described in the Wray rected biasing force on piston 124 by way of port above and below the ball valve 103 by way of the bypass passage means 119-120. This equalization of pressure will permit relatively easy operating movement of the ball valve, i.e., prevent excessive frictional interaction between the ball valve and its respectively associ- 130 and 128 will continuously increase as hydrostatic annulus pressure increases with the lowering depth of the valve assembly 100. This increase in pressure of gas in the chamber 128 will result in upward movement of floating piston 129 to an intermediate portion of cylinder-like area 128a as generally depicted in FIG. 3b.

When the tool has been lowered to the appropriate depth, the packer 27 may be actuated and set as described generally in the aforesaid U.S. Wray et al. Pat. No. 3,664,415. With the packer set, a reduction-in the hoisting force imposed by hoisting mechanism 11 will effect downward telescoping movement of the sleeve valve 131 so as to close the valve, i.e., displace the ports 134 and 135 as shown in FIG. 3b. This closing of the valve 131 will trap annulus pressure in chamber ated valving seats 106 and 107.

Continued downward movement of the sleeve 114, in response to downward movement of the piston 124 and its associated sleeve 123, will cause the abutment 114a to come into contact with the abutment 113a so as to exert a downward pulling force on arm means 109a and 10% and effect their downward, longitudinal movement relative to ball 103.

Downward movement of the arm means 109a and 109b, relative to the ball 103 (which remains in a fixed longitudinal position with respect to the housing 102) will cause valve opening cooperation between the arm carried lug means a and 110b and the eccentrically located recess means 104a and 104b of the ball valve 103.

' As this ball opening movement commences, the circumferential position of recessmeans 104a and 104b will appear to circumferentially shift" when the apparatus is viewed in sectional view looking downwardly as shown in FIG. 4b. This shifting of the circumferential positioning of the recess means 104a and l04b will cause circumferentially sliding movement or convergence of the arm means 109a and 10% and their associated lug means as generally depicted in FIG. 4b until the point in time when the recess means 104a and 104b are disposed on a transversely extending median plane of the ball valve. During this movement, of course, the

lug means 110a and 11% will undergo rotational, sliding and telescoping movement relative to the associated recess means 104a and 104b, with such movements being facilitated by an essentially spherical segment form of the lug means 110a and 1l0b.

Continued downward movement of the piston means 124 will bring the components of the valve unit 101 into the condition shown in FIGS. 3a and 40. In this condition, as the recess means 104a and 104b move downwardly beneath the transverse median plane of the ball valve, the recess means 104a and 104b will appear to shift back toward the original positions shown in FIG. 4a so as to cause the arm means 109a and to undergo circumferentially sliding, separating movement.

During the circumferentially sliding movement of the arm means 109a and 109b, then upright or longitudinal alignment may be stabilized by conforming cooperation between outer cylindrical peripheries 109d and 109e of arm means 109a and 10% with the cylindrical inner periphery 1420f housing 102.

With the ball valve disposed in the full opening position depicted in FIG. 3a, i.e., with the sleeve abutment 113a engaged with the upper end of housing sleeve 102b, movement of the valve components will be stopped with the ball valve rotated to the full open condition such that the valve passage 103a will be axially aligned with the passage 102a and the overall interior passage 1000 of the testing string 10. This alignment will provide a substantially unobstructed, relatively high flow capacity, central passage extending centrally and longitudinally of the testing string 10 and through the valve assembly 101 and the power unit 121.

Such a central passage will be conducive not only to the transmittal of high flow rates and sustained flow rates of formation fluids, but also conducive to the passage of "testing tools, operating tools, etc., through the entire testing string. Moreover, a pressure recorder, po-

sitioned at location 26 of FIG. 1, may be retrieved through the open valve 100' when a testing operation is completed.

As will be appreciated, cyclically repeated closing and opening of the ball valve 103 may be effected by merely cyclically raising and lowering the pressure of well fluid in the annulus 16 adjacent to the valve assembly 100.

As will be appreciated at this juncture, the components 131, 130, 129, 128, 124, 123, 112 and 109a and b provide annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve closing means. Included in this closing means are first, annulus pressure responsive, force generating means provided by components 131, 130, 129, 128 and 124. This first, annulus pressure responsive, force generating means is operably responsive to the pressure of fluid in annulus l6 and well bore -3 generally adjacent the formation testing valve assembly to generate in the well bore 3 a first biasing force acting upwardly through actuating chamber 130 and gas chamber 128 on the underside of piston 124. This valve closing means additionally includes first, annulus pressure responsive, force transmitting means provided by components 124, 123, 112 and 109a and b. This force transmitting means is operable to transmit the aforesaid first, annulus pressure generated biasing force to the full open formation testing valve 3 and urge the valve 3 to the closed position depicted in FIG. 2a.

It will also be recognized that the improved testing valve assembly 100 includes annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve opening means as provided by components 126, 125, 124, 123, 112 and 109a and b.

Included in this valve opening means are second, annulus pressure responsive, force generating means provided by components 126, 125 and 124. This second force generating means is operably responsive to the pressure of fluid in the annulus 16 of well bore 3 generally adjacent the forrnation testing valve 3 to generate in the well bore 3 a second biasing force acting downwardly on piston 124 by way of port means 126. The

valve opening means additionally includes second, annulus pressure responsive, force transmitting means which in this case happens to be the same as the first force transmitting means and is constituted by components 124, 123, 112 and 109a and b. This force transmitting means is operable to transmit the second, annulus pressure generated, biasing force to the full opening formation testing valve 3 and urge this valve to the full open condition depicted in FIG. 3a.

Moreover, the assembled elements comprising 1. the annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve closing means,

2. the annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve opening means, and

3. the full opening formation testing valve itself coact to provide the closed and open conditions of the valve 3 in response to changes in fluid pressure in the annulus 16 while permitting a relatively unobstructed flow of formation fluid generally centrally and longitudinally of the formation testing string 10 through the formation testing valve assembly when the valve 3 is in the full open condition depicted in FIG. 3a.

With both structural components and interrelationships and operational aspects of the improved testing valve assembly having been discussed, it now becomes appropriate to summarize major advantages of the invention and the overall scope of the advance in the art deemed to be herein presented.

SUMMARY OF ADVANTAGES AND SCOPE OF INVENTION sleeve valve 131 will automatically open (as a result of the raising action imposed by the hoisting means 11 augmented by the spring force 136). This opening of the sleeve valve 131 will allow the pressure in chamber 128 to automatically dissipate or be vitiated as the tool is raised.

Thus, when the tool is brought to the surface location 1, operators will not be faced with the presence of dangerous levels of pressure in actuating gas chamber 128 when the tool is to be disassembled and/or handled.

By having the actuating unit 121 separable from and located beneath the sample entrapping valve assembly 101 (which traps a sample of formation fluid within the interior passage 100a and above the closed valve 103), it is possible to detach a portion of the tool containing the sample of formation fluid from the actuating unit and tranport the sample intact to an appropriate analysis location.

The unobstructed exterior nature of the tool facilitates its being moved into and out of the well bore and insures effective actuation .of the tool in response to annulus pressure changes. Similarly, the relatively unobstructed, centrally and longitudinally extending flow passage of the testing valve assembly facilitates relatively high and sustained flow rates of formation fluids during well testing operation. Such a full open flow passage additionally permits the transmittal of auxiliary operating, testing or logging tools throughout the entire extent of the testing string during well testing and completion or evaluating operations.

The particular structure of the rotary ball valve mounting and operating components as disclosed is believed to provide an especially rugged and reliable rotary ball valve mechanism which is uniquely operable to contain and resist fluid pressure acting either beneath or above the valve and confine flows of either an upward or downward nature.

In addition to the disabling action of sleeve valve 131 which serves to provide a first disabling means operable to vitiate the biasing influence of annulus pressure changes acting on the upper side of piston 124 and operable to vitiate theannulus pressure in chamber 128 in response to raising of the tool string and its removal from the well bore, the testing valve assembly 100 may be provided with a second disabling means 138 as me viously noted. Such a second disabling means 138 may assume a variety of forms including ruptureable means, openable means, or selectively operable latching means operable in response to excessive annulus pressure to provide and maintain a closed valve condition.

It will be apparent, of course, that the invention may be practiced in a variety of apparatus and operational formats differing from the preferred embodiments heretofore set forth.

For example, a pair of concurrently operable, longitudinally displaced valve assemblies 100 may be employed so as to, in effect, entrap a sample of formation fluid not only within the testing string but between longitudinally spaced rotary ball valve or full opening formation testing valve means. Desirably, this could be effected by having a cylindrical, formation fluid receiving sample chamber interposed between an assembly 100 arranged, as shown in the application drawings, at a lower end of the cylindrical chamber and another assembly 100 arranged above the sample receiving tubular chamber but inverted from the position shown in the present drawings.

With this arrangement it would be possible to separate the actuator units from each end of the sample chamber, leaving the valve units in place so as to isolate a sample of entrapped formation fluid.

In connection with the testing string heretofore described, the invention may be practiced with a circulating valve and separably connected annulus pressure responsive actuator or power unit of the type featured in our copending application Ser. No. 288,187, filed Sept. 1 l, 1972, entitled Well Bore Circulating Valve," and assigned to the assignee of the present application. Such a circulating valve could be located below valve means 100 and above packer 27 or could be used as valve means 22 at a location above-the testing valve 100 (i.e., valve means 25 in FIG. 1). The disclosure of this application Ser. No. 288,187 is herein incorporated by reference. With respect to the annulus pressure actuation of the biasing chamber 128, greater appreciation of details of this concept may be gained by reference to our pending application Ser. No. 335,980, filed Feb. 26, 1973, now abandoned entitled Method and Apparatus for Testing Oil Wells, and assigned to the assignee of the present application. The disclosure of this application Ser. No. 335,980 is herein incorporated by reference. 5

As will also be appreciated, control over relative rates of movement of telescoping components of the testing valve assembly may be effected by utilization of movement impedence means, representative embodiments of which are disclosed in the aforementioned Wray et al. U.S. Pat. No. 3,664,415, as well as in the aforesaid Barrington U.S. Pat. No. 3,499,487.

As will also be appreciated, full opening valve members other than rotary ball valves may be employed under certain circumstances and rotary ball valve actuating mechanisms different from that herein disclosed may be employed. For example, rotary ball valve actuating means of the type featured in the aforesaid U.S. Barrington Pat. No. 3,435,897 or U.S. Barrington Pat. No. 3,347,318 Oct.. 17, 1967 may be employed under certain circumstances. I

In short, those skilled in the well testing art and the particular demands of its difficult operating environment and familiar with the present disclosure may envision additions, deletions, substitutions, or other modifications or alterations which would fall within the purview of the invention as set forth in the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

l. A method for conducting formation testing utilizing a formation testing string;

a formation testing valve assembly incorporated in a lowerportion of said formation testing string; and

a packer assembly incorporated in a lower portion of said formation testing string and operable to isolate a well bore within which said formation testing string is positioned, with said formation testing valve assembly being operable to control a flow of formation fluid between said formation and the interior of said formation testing string; said method being characterized by improvements in testing valve operation comprising:

providing full opening formation testing valve means in said formation testing valve assembly operable to move between closed and open conditions, said full opening formation testing valve means, in said open condition, being operable to provide a formation fluid transmitting opening extending generally centrally and longitudinally of said formation testing string; providing annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve closing means in said formation testing valve and having first, annulus pressure responsive, force generating means operably responsive to the pressure of fluid in an annulus in a well bore generally adjacent said formation testing valve assembly to a formation to be tested from an upper portion of generate in said well bore a first biasing force, and first, annulus pressure responsive, force transmitting means operable to transmit said first annulus pressure generated biasing force to said full opening formation testing valve means and urge said full opening formation testing valve means to said closed condition; providing annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve opening means in said formation testing valve assembly and having second, annulus pressure responsive, force generating means operably responsive to the pressure of fluid in said annulus of said well bore generally adjacent said formation testing valve assembly to generate in said well bore a second biasing force, and second, annulus pressure responsive, force transmitting means operable to transmit said second annulus pressure generated biasing force to said full opening formation testing valve means and urge said full opening formation testing valve means to said open condition; and operating said annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve closing means, said annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve opening means, and said full opening formation testing valve means. in combination to provide said closed and open conditions in response to changes in fluid pressure in said annulus while permitting a relatively unobstructed flow of formation fluid generally centrally and longitudinally of said formation testing string through said formation testing valve assembly when said full opening formation testing valve means is in said open condition. 2. An apparatus for conducting formation testing including a formation testing string; a formation testing valve assembly incorporated in a lower portion of said formation testing string; a packer assembly incorporated in a lower portion of said formation testing string and operable to isolate a formation to be tested from an upper portion of a well bore within which said formation testing string is positioned, with said formation testing valve assembly being operable to control a flow of formation fluid between said formation and the interior of said formation testing string; said apparatus being characterized by improvements in said formation testing valve assembly comprising:

full opening formation testing valve-means included in said formation testing valve assembly and movable between closed and open conditions, said full opening formation testing valve means, in said open condition, being operable to provide a formation fluid transmitting opening extending generally centrally and longitudinally of said formation testing string; annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve closing'means included in said formation testing valve assembly and having first, annulus pressure responsive, force generating means operably responsive to the pressure of fluid in an annulus in a well bore generally adjacent said formation testing valve assembly to generate in said well bore a first biasing force, and first, annulus pressure responsive, force transmitting means operable to transmit said first annulus pressure generated biasing force to said full opening formation testing valve means and urge said full opening formation testing valve means to said closed condition; annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve opening means included in said formation testing valve assembly and having second, annulus pressure responsive, force generating means operably responsive to the pressure of fluid in said annulus of said well bore generally adjacent said formation testing valve assembly to generate in said well bore a second biasing force, and second, annulus pressure responsive, force transmitting means operable to transmit said second annulus pressure generated biasing force to said full opening formation testing valve means and urge said full opening formation testing valve means to said open condition; and said annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve closing means, said annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation testing valve opening means, and said full opening formation testing valve means being operable to provide said closed and open conditions in response to changes in fluid pressure in said annulus while permitting a relatively unobstructed flow of formation fluid generally centrally and longitudinally of said formation testing string through said formation testing valve assembly when said full opening formation testing valve means is in said open condition. 3. An apparatus as described in claim 2 including first disabling means operable, in response to raising of said formation testing string and removal of said formation testing string from said well bore, to vitiate said first, annulus pressure generated biasing force urging said full opening formation testing valve means to said closed condition; and second disabling means operable, in response to an increase in fluid pressure in said annulus, to counteract said second, annulus pressure generated biasing force. 4. A formation testing apparatus as described in claim 2:

wherein said full opening formation testing valve means includes a rotary ball valve, and a housing supporting said rotary ball valve in generally fixed longitudinal position within said formation testing valve assembly; wherein each of said first and second annulus pressure responsive, force transmitting means includes arm means extending generally longitudinally of said formation testing string and operable to unde'rgo longitudinal and circumferential movement relative thereto,

recess means carried by said rotary ball valve, ex-

tending generally radially of the outer periphery thereof and located eccentrically thereon, and

' lug means carried by said arm means'and rotatably and slidably received by said recess means,

said arm means being operable, in response to an imposition of longitudinal force thereon by each of said first and second annulus pressure responsive force generating means, to transmit rotary movement inducing force through saidlug means and recess means to said rotary ball valve while being free to move longitudinally and circumferentially of said formation testing string as the position of said recess means changes during rotation of said rotary ball valve. 5. An apparatus as described in claim 2 including selectively operable detachable coupling means operable to interconnect said first and second, annulus pressure responsive, force generating means with said full opening formation testing valve means beneath said formation testing valve means and above said packer assembly; and wall means included in said formation testing valve assembly operable to provide a substantially unobstructed exterior of said testing valve assembly in said annulus and a substantially unobstructed, longitudinally extending, generally centrally located central passage within the interior of said testing valve assembly through which relatively high flow rates of formation fluid may pass when said full opening formation testing valve means is moved to said open condition. 6. An apparatus for conducting formation testing including a formation testing string; a formation testing valve assembly incorporated in a lower portion of said formation testing string; a packer assembly incorporated in a lower portion of said formation testing string and operable to isolate a formation to be tested from an upper portion of a well bore within which said formation testing string is positioned, with said formation testing valve assembly being operable to control a flow of formation fluid between said formation and the intesting valve opening means included in said formation testing valve assembly and having annulus pressure responsive, force generating means operably responsive to the pressure of fluid in said annulus of said well bore generally adjacent said formation testing valve assembly to generate in said well bore a biasing force, and annulus pressure responsive, force transmitting means operable to transmit said annulus pressure generated biasing force to said full opening formation testing valve means and urge said full opening formation testing valve means to said open condi' tion; said annulus pressure responsive, full opening forma- 15 tion testing valve opening means, and said full opening formation testing valve means being operable to provide said open condition in response to a change in fluid pressure in said annulus while permitting a relatively unobstructed flow of formation fluid generally centrally and longitudinally of said formation testing string through said formation testing valve assembly when said full opening formation testing valve means is in said open condition; said full opening formation testing valve means includ ing a rotary ball valve, and i a housing supporting said rotary ball valve in generally fixed longitudinal position within said formation testing valve assembly; and said annulus pressure responsive, force transmitting means includes arm means extending generally longitudinally of said formation testing string and operable to undergo longitudinal and circumferential movement relative thereto, recess means carried by said rotary ball valve, ex-

tending generally radially of the outer periphery thereof and located eccentrically thereon, and

terior f id formation testing i 40 lug means carried by said arm means and rotatably said apparatus being characterized by improvements in and Slidabl) received y 531d recess means, said formation testing valve assembly comprising: Said arm means being per ble, in response to an imfull opening formation testing valve means included Position Oflongitudinal force thereon y Said annuin said formation testing valve assembly and movlus pressure responsive force generating means, to able between closed and open conditions, said full ran mit rotary movement inducing force through opening formation testing valve means, in said said lug means and recess means to said rotary ball open condition, being operable to provide a formavalve while being free t0 move longitudinally and tion fluid transmitting opening extending generally circumferentially of said formation testing string as centrally and longitudinally of said formation testthe position of said recess means changes during ing string; and rotation of said rotary ball valve. annulus pressure responsive, full opening formation

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Classifications
U.S. Classification166/264, 166/336, 166/324
International ClassificationE21B49/00, E21B49/08, E21B34/10, E21B34/00
Cooperative ClassificationE21B49/081, E21B49/001, E21B34/10, E21B2034/002
European ClassificationE21B34/10, E21B49/08B, E21B49/00A