US 3884299 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 91 1111 3,884,299
McCarter et al. May 20, 1975 WELL PUMP FOR FLUIDS AND VAPORS 57 ABSTRACT  n e to s 0 c S y A pipe and one or more annular pipes disposed there- -s both of LOngWeWTeX- with for stringing down into a well below the fluid level means, supplying gas to the upper end of the an- 73 A' :R.E.Bl t,L .T .;2 1 Sslgnee mm Ongvlew ex 1 nulus ad acent the center pipe: for feeding gas under part interest pressure, an aerator device for coupling the gas from Filed: June 2 1974 the adjacent annulus into the lower terminal of the  APP] NOJ 482,655 inner pipe causing the gas to comingle and foam with the well fluids, and a venturi throat means within the Related Application Data gas flow path downstream of the aerator device for  Continuation of Ser, No, 313,620, D 11 1972, causing a slight suction in the upper direction in the abandoned. inner pipe of the foamed well fluids so as to force the well fluids, when emulsified, upwardly for discharge at  US. Cl 166/68; 417/109 the upper terminal of the inner pipe. There may also  Int. Cl. E21b 43/00 be provided an additional concentrically disposed pipe  Field of Search 166/68; 417/108, 109, 1 10, forming an outer annulus through which gas from the 417/115 external supply flows into the adjacent annulus. The aerator device may include a ball and seat standing  References Cited valve which opens upon the application of gas under UNITED STATES PATENTS pressure passing through the aerator, and in which 562,266 6/1896 Young et a1. 166/68 a the Outlet thereof for the 990,830 5/1911 Bischoff et a1 417 109 of gas Into the 911 flow passageway.
1,604,644 lO/l926 Heyser 1 417/108 1,758,376 5/1930 Sawyer 166/68 7 Claims, 5 Drawing Figures PATENTEU 3,884,299
SHEEI 10? 2 PATENTED HAYZOIQYS SHEETE 0F 2 WELL PUMP FOR FLUIDS AND VAPORS This is a continuation of Application Ser. No. 313,620, filed Dec. ll, 1972, now abandoned.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates to an improved well pump that provides for the preservation of gas volume pressures and provides improved life of the well. This invention produces a more favorable volume of oil for the amount of gas volume heretofore necessary for such production. More particularly, the invention relates to a device or well pump for emulsifying crude oil along with the lighter ends of the petroleum and lifting the entire content to the surface without the need of intervening lift devices, so that the emulsified crude process is complete at the bottom hole level. This is caused by a multiple discharging flathead leading into a reducing constriction at an exact point, with the foamed well fluids remaining emulsified on the way to the surface.
One of the important features of the present invention is that there is provided a specific aerator device used in a system for oil well pumping and is a departure from prior art devices for well pumping. The improved aerator device is incorporated as the foot piece of an axial string of pipe and is disposed immediately above a packer of any suitable design. Therefore, there is no need to introduce conventional water soluble or oil soluble emulsifying agents.
The device of the present invention is different from the conventional venturi lifts and the so-called jet lifts in that it combines a complete effective emulsifying process with the lifting process and is disposed at the bottom of the string. The complete effective emulsifying process and the lifting process are provided with less input pressure due to the resulting favorable weight-volume ratio caused by the bottom hole emulsifying process.
It is seen therefore that an object and advantage of the invention is that it permits a more uniform pressure of the emulsified fluid as well as providing a condition that virtually permits a skimming off of the oil due to no, or substantially no, significant pressure drop at the bottom hole opening, thereby preventing a water drive production, or what is normally called salt water drive or salt water production. The salt water production is the standard killer of all oil and gas producing wells. With the use of the conventional pump, and other current devices, there is a crowning effect at the bottom of the producing string, which cuts off the incoming oil and produces the water from beneath the continuously thin layer of oil.
An additional object and advantage of the invention is that it provides a device that may be used with or without packing. It is probable that packing will be more desirable and less expensive due to the elimination of the need for additional tail pipe or extension.
It is a further object of the invention to provide an improved well pump in which oil flow passageways are drilled through a solid block in the lower end of the discharge pipe, with the openings surrounding a gas discharge extension, upstream thereof. The gas discharge extension has at least four elongated openings, from inside to outside, and discharging gas is directed ata right angle to a wall of the inverted funnel or venturi, and concentrically just above the center of the cone or fun nel opening, for forcing into the venturi restriction the emulsified oil or other well fluid being produced. The
device of the invention does not bubble the oil; it foams v the bottom of the producing string of pipe, In brief, it
reduces or eliminates coning, and it emulsifies the liquid until surfacing, with water production minimized or entirely eliminated in most instances.
Another object of the invention is that it provides a simple determination of the oil level and depth which is inexpensive, and a readjustment of the producing. string of pipe can be made with a simple raising or lowering of only one string, which raising or lowering is usually of small magnitude, and is often not necessary.
A further object of the invention is to provide an improved well pump that does not require the use of for eign agents to aid the foaming or emulsification, since the device itself foams the product being produced and under the minimal pressure necessary for surfacing the 1 foam; the reduction of the foam does nottake place until such pressure is no longer present, as when the foam surfaces and is exposed to the atmospheric pres sure under conditions which, at this point, causes it to a readily and instantly reduce to a liquid form.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention provides a method and apparatus for i producing fluids and vapors of oil well fluids in which an aerator device is added as a foot piece on a central string of pipe for causing the gas to comingle with and foam the well fluids. The well fluids so formed have zero weight by virtue of its make up, including friction between the foam and the wall of the inner pipe for enabling the foam to be forced upward and discharged at the surface of the well-head with very low pressure. A
venturi throat in the aerator causes a slight suction in an upward direction in the inner pipe.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The above and other objects and advantages of the invention will become apparent upon full consideration of the following detailed description and accompanying v drawings in which:
FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram of an arrangement placing concentric strings of pipe down into a well below fluid level;
FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram of one of the preferred embodiments of the invention in which there is an aerator device provided as a foot piece on an inner pipe of a string placed down into a well for causing gas to comingle with and foam the well fluids;
FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of an arrangement shown in FIG. 2 having an added outer column acting to hold a back pressure against the face of the producing formation, in accordance with a further embodiment of the invention; FIG. 4 is a schematic diagram embodying a modification and details of the arrangement shown in FIG. 3; and
FIG. 5 is a broken-away and blown up cross-sectional view of a form of an aerator according to another em bodiment of the invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Referring now to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 an improved well pump extending down within a bore hole and connected at the upper end to a pipe 12 which extends centrally down within the pump, as shown. There is concentrically disposed to pipe 12 a pipe 14 connected to an external supply of gas (not shown) coupled at an inlet 16, which forms an upper terminal to the annular pipe 14. Gas under pressure is fed down into the annular pipe 14 and upon sufficient pressure, the gas is forced below the fluid level 18. The lower terminal of the annular pipe 14 is provided with perforations 20,20 to provide the inflow of the well fluids which reach the fluid 18. The lower terminal of the inner pipe 12 is provided with an aerator device 24 which causes the gas in the annular pipe 14 to comingle with and foam the well fluids which are then driven under pressure from the gas upward in the inner pipe 12.
In FIG. 2, there is similarly shown a pump 10a, an inner pipe 12, an annular pipe 14 with the inlet 16 and the perforations 20, and in which a packer means or element 28 is positioned immediately below the aerator device 24 within the annular pipe 14. The aerator device is provided with and made a part of a venturi throat means within the gas flow path for causing a slight suction in an upward direction within the inner pipe of the foamed well fluids, so that there results a flow of the foamed well fluids upwardly which are discharged at the upper terminal 30 of the inner pipe at the earths surface with very low applied pressure.
In FIG. 3, there is shown a well pump 32 having an inner pipe 34 with an upper terminal 36 provided with a valve 38, and an annular pipe 40 having an upper terminal 42 through which is provided an inlet 44, and the annular pipe 40 extending below a fluid level 48 to its lower terminal 50 having perforations 52,52. The lower terminal or end 54 of the inner pipe 34 is provided with a packer means or element 56, and within an aerator device 58 there is a venturi throat means 60. The venturi throat means provides for the gas flow path leaving the aerator device 58 for causing a slight suction or pressure in an upward direction in the inner pipe 34 for the flow of foamed well fluids which are forced upwardly and discharged at the upper terminal 36 when the valve 38 is open. To provide an increment of pressure upon the fluid level 48 and the foaming of the well fluids, there is provided an outer annular pipe 64 that is additionally disposed concentric of the pipes 34,40, and in which the lower terminal means 66 of the outer pipe 64 extend below the surface of a well fluid and into an oil zone 68. The upper terminal 70 of the outer casing or pipe 64 is closed off except for an outlet 72 which connects with a pipe 74 to the inlet 44 and which includes a valve 76. The lower terminal means 66 of the casing or pipe 64 is essentially open for engaging with the oil zone 68, as shown in FIG. 3.
An external supply (not shown) is applied to a pipe 80 which is connected to the outer casing or pipe 64 near the upper terminal 70, and it includes a valve 82 that may be opened to various magnitudesv This external supply provides gas through the pipe 80 into the casing 64 above the fluid level 48 and, as the pressure fills this area with gas, it then leaks through the pipe 74 into the annular pipe 40 which is driven downwardly through the aerator device 58 into the venturi 60,
which is below the fluid level 86, the fluid level being above the packer 56, as shown, and thus the foamed well fluids are driven upwardly within the inner pipe 34 to the terminal, as described above.
An improved modification and preferred mode of practicing the invention is shown in FIG. 4 in which the same reference numerals for corresponding elements are shown and described in connection with FIG. 3. The well pump of FIG. 4 is provided with an improved aerator device 90, shown in enlarged scale in FIG. 5. and in which the venturi is shown as a nozzle or throat portion 92.
In FIG. 4, the lower terminal 66 of the casing 64 is provided with apertures or perforations 94,94, through which pass the oil of the oil zone strata 68 into the casing or outer annular pipe 64 to reach the fluid level 48 therein, and then passes through the apertures 52,52 into the adjacent annular pipe 40 to reach a fluid level 86. Also the oil permeates into the inner pipe 34 through openings or apertures 100,100 which may be similar in function to the perforations 52,52,94,94, so that the oil within the inner pipe 34 reaches the aerator device at which point it becomes the oil foam which passes through the venturi 60 into the emulsified fluid that proceeds thereabove.
The details of the aerator device 90 together with the venturi are shown in FIG. 5. The aerator device 90 includes a multiple discharge flathead having a plurality of oil flow passageways 102,102, extending vertically for the upward flow of oil. The oil leaving the passageways 102,102 mixes with gas brought in from the annular pipe 40 through a passageway 106 in a direction shown by the arrow 108 and through a standing valve 110 consisting of a ball 112 and a seat 114. The gas then passes through a screen or grid work 116 for mixing with the oil flow from the passageways 102,102, and results in foamed well fluids that pass through the venturi throat 92. As shown in FIG. 5, the throat may have a peripheral surface that is recessed from the diameter and which is provided with a coupling surface such as a threaded section 126 for being coupled threadedly in engagement with the inner threaded section of a section of pipe 34. Of course, other means of coupling well known in the art for connecting pipe sections may also be used within the purview of the invention.
The standing valve 110 provides means to create adjustment of back pressure against the face of the producing formation for preventing encroachment of salt water and for prolonging the producing life of the well. The standing valve opens upon the application of gas under pressure passing through the aerator, and the oil passing through the passageways 102 mixes with the pressurized gas that passes through the screen or grid work 116 in producing the foamed well fluids, and which is forced upwardly along the pipe 34.
The oil flow passageways 102,102 are of appropriate size, construction and configuration for preventing foreign and solid particles from entering and clogging the producing string. Such foreign and solid particles would otherwise collect and accumulate in the pipe 34, but due to the sizing of the passageways 102,102, they do not enter into the foamed flow or oil fluids in pipe 34. The foreign and solid particles are such items as old pump washers, packing, rocks and the like, which in prior art devices have been found to enter the producing string. By use of the aerator device according to the present invention, there is provided a more uniform pressure in the extraction of oil from the oil zone within more natural conditions, and virtually permits a skimming off of the oil without any substantial or significant pressure drop at the bottom hole openings or perforations 94,94.
Additional embodiments of the invention in this specification will occur to others and therefore it is intended that the true spirit of the invention be limited only by the appended claims and not by the embodiments described hereinabove. Accordingly, reference should be made to the following claims in determining the true spirit of the invention.
What is claimed is:
1. An improved well pump for fluids and vapors comprising a set of at least two concentrically disposed pipes for stringing down into a well below fluid level, said set consisting of an inner pipe and an adjacent annulus each having an upper and a lower terminal thereof, an external supply of gas coupled to the upper terminal of the adjacent annulus for feeding gas under pressure down therein, aerator means disposed at the lower terminal of the inner pipe for coupling the gas of the adjacent annulus into the inner pipe including emulsifying means for causing the gas to comingle with the well fluids, and venturi means within the flow path downstream of said aerator means and said emulsifying means for causing a slight suction in an upward direction in the inner pipe of the well fluids, so that the foamed and emulsified well fluids are forced upward and discharged at the upper terminal of the inner pipe at the earths surface with very low applied pressure.
2. The invention according to claim 1, further including packer means positioned immediately below the aerator device within the adjacent annulus.
3. The invention according to claim 1 further including a section completely filling an axial section of said inner pipe and defining a plurality of axial oil flow passageways therethrough, and wherein said aerator means includes a gas flow channel having a terminal portion aligned concentrically with said section downstream thereof.
4. The invention according to claim 1, further including an additional concentrically disposed pipe forming an outer annulus and having upper and lower terminal means, said outer annulus having an open lower terminal means for receiving well fluid surfacing above the position of the aerator device, and means feedingsaid external supply of gas from a source through the portion of the outer annulus above the surface of said well fluid to said upper terminal of the adjacent annulus.
5. The invention according to claim 4, wherein valve means are provided within the feeding means between the outer annulus and the adjacent annulus to create adjustment of back pressure against the face of the producing formation for preventing encroachment of salt water and thereby prolonging the producing life of the well.
6. The invention according to claim 4, wherein the lower terminal of the inner pipe includes a section having a plurality of oil flow passageways communicating the well fluids thereinto, said aerator device including a ball and seat standing valve which opens upon the application of gas under pressure passing through said aerator and the output of said aerator having a screen means for the efflux of gas into the oil flow from said oil flow passageways.
7. The invention according to claim 6 wherein said section completely fills the lower terminal of said inner pipe and whereinsaid oil flow passageways preclude foreign particles from entering and clogging the producing string through said section.
UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE Certificate Patent No. 3,884,299 Patented May 20, 1975 Arol B. McCarter and Seymour Van Os Application having been made by Arol B. McCarter and Seymour Van Os, the inventors named in the patent above identified, and said McCarter Assignor of 15% to RR Blount, Longview, Texas, for the issuance of a certificate under the provisions of Title 35, Section 256, of the United States Code, deleting the name of Arol B. McCarter as a joint inventor, and a showing and proof of facts satisfying the requirements of the said section having been submitted, it is this 8th day of March 1983, certified that the name of the said Are] B. McCarter is hereby deleted from the said patent as a joint inventor with the said Seymour Van Os.
Fred W. Sherling, Associate Solicitor