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Publication numberUS3921720 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateNov 25, 1975
Filing dateJul 24, 1974
Priority dateJul 24, 1974
Publication numberUS 3921720 A, US 3921720A, US-A-3921720, US3921720 A, US3921720A
InventorsWetzel Rodney J
Original AssigneeHydraulic Workover Inc
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Hydraulic packer apparatus and method
US 3921720 A
Abstract
An hydraulic packer apparatus having means for setting and resetting said apparatus without necessity of retrieving the apparatus to the well surface.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

[ Nov. 25, 1975 United States Patent [1 1 Wetzel HYDRAULIC PACKER APPARATUS AND 2,l96,658 4/[940 OD 2,942.667 6/l960 Blood et a1. 3,524,503 8/!970 [75] Inventor: Rodney J. Wetzel, St. Martinville,

Primary ExaminerFrank L. Abbott Assistant ExaminerGe0rge A. Suckfield Attorney, Agent, or Firm-William C. Norvell, Jr.

221 Filed: July 24,1974

21 Appl. No.: 491,224

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HYDRAULIC PACKER APPARATUS AND METHOD BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The present invention relates to a tool for manipulation in a well bore for testing, treating, cementing, or accomplishing other operations where a down hole seal is to be provided in the well between two concentric tubular members therein.

2. Description of the Prior Art During or after the completion of a subterranean oil well, it may be necessary to perform an operation, such as testing of tubing, treating the formation for the purpose of introducing acid or other chemicals to dissolve or treat the formation, cementing or squeezing of cement into the formation to block off the formation or to perform some other operation in connection with the completion, production or workover of the well.

The use of hydraulically actuated resilient inflatable packing elements has been known to the industry. Such elements have been incorporated in tools disclosed in US. Pat. Nos. 2,611,437, 2,862,562, 2,942,667 and 2,978,046. All of these devices relate to various types of testing tools and various types of arrangements of inflatable elements. Each of these, as well as other prior art devices, are set by inflating the packing element by increasing the pressure therein and deflating the packing element by reducing the pressure therein. However, most of the prior art hydraulically inflatable packers are not capable of being hydraulically reset because, upon deflating the packing element, the fluid is withdrawn therefrom by mechanical means, such as by rotation of an upper or lower portion of the packing apparatus to permit release of the fluid either into production tubing, casing, or the like, or into another portion of the apparatus. Some of the prior art inflatable packers are capable of being set and reset, but require mechanical rotation of tubing or other mechanical means to activate the apparatus.

Typical of some of the earlier related prior art methods and apparatuses are those disclosed in the US. Pat. No. Re. 22,483 (of US. Pat. No. 2,196,658) to Clarence E. Burt. The packer includes an elongated, hollow, cylindrical packer body of rubber or the like flexible material which is stationarily fixed at one end to a hollow mandrel and telescopically connected thereto at the opposite end. The pakcer is connected to the lower end of a string of running in tubing to enable the packer to be lowered into a well bore to the selected position. When this position is reached, the packer body may be expanded into packing relation with the casing or wall of the hole by pump pressure through the running in string. A cementing, washing or acidizing operation may then be conducted through the tubing and the packer. Thereafter, the packer body may be collapsed so that it may be removed from the hole along with the tubing string. When bleeder ports in the referenced tool are opened, the packer body will retract; however, the apparatus cannot be re-positioned within the well bore until a required shear pin is replaced to close the bleeder ports. Thereafter, the tool is inserted into the well and re-activated.

It would be most desirable to provide a packer apparatus that can be set and reset completely by hydraulic means not requiring mechanical rotation of the tubing and subsequently portions of the apparatus, or by other 2 means. Such a packer would have particular utility in applications wherein remedial coiled tubing is utilized.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a packer apparatus which is set and reset by hydraulic activation of the packing means and is not dependent upon mechanical activation.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a method of setting a hydraulically resettable packer apparatus.

It is also an object of the present invention to provide a method of resetting a hydraulically activated packer apparatus.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from a reading of the specification, the drawings and the claims below.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A packer apparatus is provided whereby the packing element can be set and reset without the requirement of retrieving the apparatus to the surface for replacement of mechanical parts or the like. An inflatable packing element is activated by increasing the pressure within the packer appartus. The pressure is contained within the apparatus by a check valve mechanism which is initially positioned in sealing relationship to a check valve seat by means of a pre-loaded spring abutting on the upper end of the check valve. After the pressure within the apparatus reaches a predetermined amount, the packing element will be fully inflated and the check valve will open by pressure exerted thereon by the fluid within the apparatus. The open position of the check valve will permit passage of the fluid through ports and passageways in the apparatus for subsequent use in testing, acidizing, cementing, or the like. The check valve is closed and the packing element deflated by reducing the pressure within the apparatus. The apparatus can be reset by repeating the above-described steps.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a vertical sectional view of the apparatus in condition to be run into the hole prior to inflation of the packing means.

FIG. 2 is a vertical sectional view of the apparatus showing the packing means fully inflated and the check valve open.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS The present invention has, as a particularly outstanding feature, compatibility with conventional tubing as well as continuous coiled tubing strings.

Referring to FIG. 1, a packer apparatus 1 has a connector 2 for subsequent attachment to a string of tubing 3. The connector 2 is attached at threads 4 to a top sub 5 which, in turn, is attached to an upper packing retainer 6 at threads 7. The packing means 8 is comprised of an inflatable packing element 9 securely bonded to and conventionally housed between the upper packing retainer 6 and a lower packing retainer 10. The inflatable packing element 9 is resilient in nature and may be composed of a synthetic material, rubber, or the like. Lower packing retainer 10 is attached by threads 11 to an adapter sub 12. The adapter sub 12 houses a spring 13 which, in turn, encircles a mandrel 14. The spring 13 abuts at its upper end on the shoulder 15 of the adapter sub 12 and rests at its lower end on the upper portion 16 ofa check valve 17. Threads 18 connect the lower end of the adapter sub 12 to a check valve sub 19. The check valve sub 19 provides at its upper end a valve seat 20 for normal closure and connection with the check valve 17. The check valve sub 19 is connected at threads 21 and secured by a set screw 22 to a bottom sub 23 which retains in place a ball valve cage 24, a ball 25 and a ball seat 26. The O-rings 28, 29, 30, 31, 32 and 33 serve to prevent escape of fluid at their respective positions. Fluid may enter the interior of the tool through a passageway 34 for inflation of the inflatable packing element 9. The increased pressure in the passageway 34 will outwardly expand the inflatable packing element 9 and will maintain it in sealing en-. gagement in the well.

Subsequent to inflation of the inflatable packing element 9, the fluid is discharged through an exit 36 to passageway 35 between the mandrel 14 and the valve seat 20 of the check valve sub 19. As fluid enters the passageway 35, the check valve 17 is urged upwardly to an open position against the resistance afforded by the spring 13 and the fluid enters a passageway 37 between the check valve 17 and the adapter sub 12. The spring 13 is pre-loaded so that the check valve 17 will not open until a predetermined amount of pressure is applied thereto. The pressure in passageway 34 will outwardly expand inflatable packing element 9 and maintain it in sealing engagement in the well. The fluid exists the apparatus 1 through an exit 38 in the adapter sub 12. Ball valve cage 24 has ports 39 between vertical ribs 40, permitting flow of fluid when the ball 25 is raised to a stopper 41 (having a flow passage 42) by the flow of fluid from the lower end 43 of the apparatus 1 through passageway 34 during reverse circulation or while the apparatus 1 is being inserted in the hole.

OPERATION OF THE APPARATUS FIG. 2 shows the packer apparatus 1 within a bore hole 44 having casing 45 and production 46 within the casing. The packer apparatus 1 is shown with the inflatable packing element 9 extended to anchorably and sealably position the packer apparatus 1 within the production tubing 46.

When the packer apparatus 1 is in the predetermined position (the apparatus 1 shown in FIG. 2 being within the production tubing 46), the inflatable packing element 9 is inflated and outwardly extended from the packer apparatus 1 until sealingly affixed against the production tubing 46 at the wall 47, such that the packer apparatus 1 is anchored in a stable position. The inflation and extension of the inflatable packing element 9 is accomplished by increasing at the surface of the well the pressure within the packer apparatus 1 through the tubing 3. The pressure is maintained within the packer apparatus 1 by the closed position of the check valve 17 on the valve seat 20 and the lowered position of the ball 25. As the pressure is increased, the inflatable packing element 9 will expand outwardly. At a predetermined pressure, the inflatable packing element 9 will become sealingly affixed against the production tubing wall 47, so that a pack off" will occur. Additionally, when the predetermined pressure is obtained, the check valve 17, which has been maintained in closed position by pre-compression of the spring 13,

will be urged upwardly as the pressure within the packer apparatus 1 gradually exceeds the pressure required to fully inflate the inflatable packing element 9 to obtain a sealing pack off in the well, and the fluid within the packer apparatus 1 travels through the exit 36 and the passageway 35. As the check valve ,17 opens, the fluid travels through the passageway 37 and the exit 38 for ultimate injection in the production tubing 46, or the like.

As fluid travels through the exit 38, the inflatable packing element 9 will maintain its extendedand inflated position since the pressure within the apparatus is still greater than the pressure on the exterior of the apparatus 1, either above or below it.

The inflatable packing element 9 is deflated simply by releasing the pressure within the tubing 47 and the packer apparatus 1. The release of the pressure allows the packing element 9 to return inherently to its retracted position illustrated in FIG. 1. After releasing the pressure, the packer apparatus 1 may be repositioned and the inflatable packing element 9 reactivated any number of times by repeating the above described procedure. It is not necessary to retrieve the packer apparatus 1 to the top of the well to reset the apparatus or replace any parts for subsequent insertion into the well for reactivation.

It should be noted that as pressure within the packer apparatus 1 is released, the check valve 17 will return to its initial and closed position on the valve seat 20 of the check valve sub 19. It is this feature which enables the inflatable packing element 9 to be subsequently ret inflated without utilizing mechanical means, such as push-pull techniques or rotation of the packer apparatus 1 or parts thereof. The ball 25, is shown within the ball valve cage 24 and on the ball seat 26. Fluid may not flow downwardly past the ball but can flow upwardly simply by lifting the ball from its seat. Thus, this check valve assembly permits reverse circulation to be established at any time.

Although the invention has been described in terms of specified embodiments which are set forth in detail,

it should be understood that this is by illustration only and that the invention is not necessarily limited thereto, since alternative embodiments and operating techniques will become apparent to those skilled in the art in view of the disclosure. Accordingly, modifications are contemplated which can be made without departing from the spirit of the described invention.

I claim: 1. An hydraulically resettable packer apparatus comprising:

a. I-Iydraulically inflatable packing means for scalable engagement in a well bore; and b. Valve means retaining pressure within the apparatus during inflation of the packing means, said valve means releasing pressure greater than the pressure maintaining the packing means in scalable engagement, said valve means further resisting exit of fluid through said valve means and below said I packing means upon retraction of the packing.

means. 2. An hydraulically resettable packer apparatus comprising: I

a. I-Iydraulically inflatable packing means for scalable engagement in a well bore; and b. Valve means comprising a spring loaded check valve for retaining pressure within the apparatus during inflation of the packing means and for release of pressure greater than the pressure maintaining the packing means in scalable engagement, said valve means further resisting exit of fluid through said valve means below said packing means upon retraction of the packing means.

3. An hydraulically resettable packer apparatus comprising:

a. Hydraulically inflatable packing means for sealable engagement in a well bore; and

b. Valve means for retaining pressure within the apparatus during inflation of the packing means and for release of pressure greater than the pressure maintaining the packing means in sealable engagement, said valve means further resisting exit of fluid through said valve means upon retraction of the packing means; and

c. Means at the lower end of said apparatus for reverse circulation of fluid.

4. An hydraulically resettable packer apparatus comprising:

Hydraulically inflatable packing means for sealable engagement in a well bore; and

b. Valve means for retaining pressure within the apparatus during inflation of the packing means and for release of pressure greater than the pressure maintaining the packing means in sealable engagement, said valve means further resisting exit of fluid through said valve means upon retraction of the packing means; and

0. means comprising a ball check valve at the lower end of said apparatus for reverse circulation of fluid.

5. A method of setting and releasing a hydraulically resettable packer in a well having a wall wherein the packer is provided with an inflatable packing means and valve means for retaining pressure within the apparatus during inflation of the packing means and for release of pressure greater than the pressure maintaining the packing means in sealable engagement with the wall, said valve means being in position to resist exit of fluid through the valve means upon retraction of the packing means, comprising the steps of:

a. Positioning the packer in the well at a predetermined location;

b. Injecting fluid pressure into the packer to inflate the packing means to sealing engagement with the wall;

c. Increasing fluid pressure in excess of the amount required to fully inflate the packing means, such that the valve means is urged openly by the increased fluid pressure and fluid travels through and out of the apparatus below the packing means while the packing means remains sealingly engaged with the wall; and

d. Reducing fluid pressure to less than the amount required to fully inflate the packing means such that the packing means becomes disengaged from the wall and the valve means is closed.

6. A fluid actuated packer apparatus to be lowered in a well bore for setting against a surrounding wall in the well bore, comprising:

a. Tubular supporting means connectible to a tubular string;

b. Inflatable packing means carried by said supporting means and adapted to be inflated against the surrounding wall by subjecting a fluid medium in said supporting means and packing means to pressure, the packing means and supporting means permitting the fluid medium to flow therewithin in both directions; and

. Valve means carried by said supporting means said valve means having an outlet and including a valve member and actuating means urging said valve member to a position closing said outlet to confine the fluid medium in said packing means and enable the pressure of the fluid medium to be increased to inflate the packing means into sealing engagement with the surrounding wall, said actuating means permitting said valve member to be shifted to a position opening said outlet upon the pressure of the fluid medium exceeding a predetermined value greater than the pressure required to maintain said packing means in sealing engagement with the surrounding wall to permit flow of the fluid medium through said outlet, said actuating means shifting said valve member to a position reclosing said outlet upon the pressure of the fluid medium decreasing below said predetermined value.

7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein said actuating means comprises a spring urging said valve member to outlet closing position.

8. The apparatus of claim 6 additionally comprising downwardly closing and upwardly opening valve means carried by said supporting means below said other valve means to permit upward flow of fluid through said supporting means.

9. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein said actuating means comprises a spring urging said valve member to outlet closing position, and downwardly closing and upwardly opening valve means carried by said supporting means below said other valve means to permit upward flow of fluid through said supporting means.

10. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein said tubular supporting means includes a tubular mandrel below said packing means and into which the fluid medium can flow, said valve means surrounding said mandrel, said mandrel having an exit through which the fluid medium can flow and then flow through said outlet when said valve member is in position opening said outlet.

11. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein said tubular supporting means includes a tubular mandrel below said packing means and into which the fluid medium can flow, said valve means surrounding said mandrel, said mandrel having an exit through which the fluid medium can flow and then flow through said outlet when said valve member is in position opening said outlet; and downwardly closing and upwardly opening valve means carried by said supporting means below said exit to permit upward flow of fluid through said supporting means and its tubular mandrel.

12. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein said tubular supporting means includes a tubular mandrel below said packing means and into which the fluid medium can flow, said valve means surrounding said mandrel, said mandrel having an exit through which the fluid medium can flow and then flow through said outlet when said valve member is in position opening said outlet; said actuating means comprising a spring urging said valve member to outlet closing position.

13. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein said tubular supporting means includes a tubular mandrel below said packing means and into which the fluid medium can flow, said valve means surrounding said mandrel, said mandrel having an exit through which the fluid medium can flow and then flow through said outlet when said valve member is in position opening said outlet; and downwardly closing and upwardly opening valve means carried by said supporting means below said exit to permit upward flow of fluid through said supporting means and its tubular mandrel; said actuating means 7 comprising a spring urging said valve member to outlet closing position.

14. A fluid actuated packer apparatus to be lowered in a well bore for setting against a surrounding wall in the well bore, comprising:

a. Upper tubular supporting means connectible to a tubular string;

b. Lower tubular supporting means below and spaced from said upper means;

c. Inflatable packing means extending between and secured to said upper and lower tubular supporting means and adpated to be inflated against the sur rounding wall by subjecting a fluid medium in said packing means to pressure;

d. Valve means carried by said lower supporting means, said valve means having an outlet and including a valve member and actuating means urging said valve member to a position closing said outlet to confine the fluid medium in said packing means and enable the pressure of the fluid medium to be increased to inflate the packing means into sealing engagement with the surrounding wall, said actuating means permitting said valve member to be shifted to a position opening said outlet upon the pressure of the fluid medium exceeding a predetermined value greater than the pressure required to maintain said packing means in sealing engagement with the surrounding wall to permit flow of the fluid medium through said outlet, said actuating means shifting said valve member to a position reclosing said outlet upon the pressure of the fluid medium decreasing below said predetermined value.

15. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein said actuating means comprises a spring urging said valve member to outlet closing position.

16. The apparatus of claim 14 additionally comprising downwardly closing and upwardly opening valve means carried by said lower supporting means below said other valve means to permit upward flow of fluid through said lower supporting means, packing means, and upper supporting means.

17. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein said actuating means comprises a spring urging said valve member to outlet closing position, and downwardly closing and upwardly opening valve means carried by said lower supporting means below said other valve means to permit upward flow of fluid through said lower supporting means, packing means, and upper supporting means.

18. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein said lower tubular supporting means includes a tubular mandrel below said packing means and into which the fluid medium can flow, said valve means surrounding said mandrel, said mandrel having an exit through which the fluid medium can flow and then flow through said outlet when said valve member is in position opening said outlet.

19. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein said lower tubular supporting means includes a tubular mandrel below said packing means and into which the fluid medium can flow, said valve means surrounding said mandrel, said mandrel having an exit through which the i bular supporting means includes a tubular mandrel.

below said packing means and into which the fluid medium can flow, said valve means surrounding said man-. drel, said mandrel having an exit through which the fluid can flow and then flow through said outlet when said valve member is in position opening said outlet;

said actuating means comprising a spring urging said valve member to outlet closing position.

21. The apparatus of claim 14 wherein said lower tubular supporting means includes a tubular mandrel below said packing means and into which the fluid medium can flow, said valve means surrounding said man drel, said mandrel having an exit through which the fluid medium can flow and then flow through said outlet when said valve member is in position opening said outlet; and downwardly closing and upwardly opening valve means carried by said lower supporting means below said exit to permit upward flow of fluid through said lower supporting means, its tubular mandrel, packing means, and upper supporting means; said actuating means comprising a spring urging said valve member to outlet closing position.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2177601 *Jan 15, 1937Oct 24, 1939George P VerrettCasing packer
US2196658 *May 5, 1939Apr 9, 1940Baker Oil Tools IncCementing, washing, and acidizing retainer for oil wells
US2942667 *Mar 7, 1957Jun 28, 1960Jersey Prod Res CoAdvancing type well packer
US3524503 *Sep 5, 1968Aug 18, 1970Halliburton CoCementing tool with inflatable packer and method of cementing
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5094294 *Mar 30, 1987Mar 10, 1992Otis Engineering Corp.Well pump assembly and packer
US5343956 *Dec 30, 1992Sep 6, 1994Baker Hughes IncorporatedCoiled tubing set and released resettable inflatable bridge plug
US6202747Aug 31, 1999Mar 20, 2001Schlumberger Technology CorporationHydraulic well packer and method
US7044231 *Jun 6, 2003May 16, 2006Baker Hughes IncorporatedExpandable packer with anchoring feature
US7096938 *May 20, 2003Aug 29, 2006Baker-Hughes IncorporatedSlip energized by longitudinal shrinkage
US7140447 *Nov 6, 2003Nov 28, 2006Schlumberger Technology CorporationSubsurface annular safety barrier
US7367390Mar 29, 2006May 6, 2008Baker Hughes IncorporatedSlip energized by longitudinal shrinkage
US7543652 *Sep 19, 2006Jun 9, 2009Schlumberger Technology CorporationSubsurface annular safety barrier
US20040129433 *Nov 6, 2003Jul 8, 2004Peter KrawiecSubsurface annular safety barrier
US20040231838 *May 20, 2003Nov 25, 2004Carmody Michael A.Slip energized by longitudinal shrinkage
EP2003286A2 *Jun 12, 2008Dec 17, 2008Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.Hydraulic coiled tubing retrievable bridge plug
Classifications
U.S. Classification166/387, 166/187
International ClassificationE21B33/127, E21B33/12
Cooperative ClassificationE21B33/127
European ClassificationE21B33/127