CA2537511A1 - Mobile snubbing system - Google Patents

Mobile snubbing system Download PDF

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Publication number
CA2537511A1
CA2537511A1 CA 2537511 CA2537511A CA2537511A1 CA 2537511 A1 CA2537511 A1 CA 2537511A1 CA 2537511 CA2537511 CA 2537511 CA 2537511 A CA2537511 A CA 2537511A CA 2537511 A1 CA2537511 A1 CA 2537511A1
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CA
Canada
Prior art keywords
platform
snubbing
pipe
tubulars
loading
Prior art date
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Granted
Application number
CA 2537511
Other languages
French (fr)
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CA2537511C (en
Inventor
Steve Folk
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
HIGH ARCTIC ENERGY SERVICES Inc
Original Assignee
Precision Drilling Corp
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Filing date
Publication date
Application filed by Precision Drilling Corp filed Critical Precision Drilling Corp
Priority to CA 2537511 priority Critical patent/CA2537511C/en
Priority claimed from US11/677,561 external-priority patent/US7469749B2/en
Publication of CA2537511A1 publication Critical patent/CA2537511A1/en
Application granted granted Critical
Publication of CA2537511C publication Critical patent/CA2537511C/en
Active legal-status Critical Current
Anticipated expiration legal-status Critical

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Classifications

    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B19/00Handling rods, casings, tubes or the like outside the borehole, e.g. in the derrick; Apparatus for feeding the rods or cables
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B19/00Handling rods, casings, tubes or the like outside the borehole, e.g. in the derrick; Apparatus for feeding the rods or cables
    • E21B19/14Racks, ramps, troughs or bins, for holding the lengths of rod singly or connected; Handling between storage place and borehole
    • E21B19/15Racking of rods in horizontal position; Handling between horizontal and vertical position
    • E21B19/155Handling between horizontal and vertical position
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B7/00Special methods or apparatus for drilling
    • E21B7/02Drilling rigs characterized by means for land transport with their own drive, e.g. skid mounting or wheel mounting
    • E21B7/023Drilling rigs characterized by means for land transport with their own drive, e.g. skid mounting or wheel mounting the mast being foldable or telescopically retractable
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21BEARTH DRILLING, e.g. DEEP DRILLING; OBTAINING OIL, GAS, WATER, SOLUBLE OR MELTABLE MATERIALS OR A SLURRY OF MINERALS FROM WELLS
    • E21B7/00Special methods or apparatus for drilling
    • E21B7/02Drilling rigs characterized by means for land transport with their own drive, e.g. skid mounting or wheel mounting
    • E21B7/026Drilling rigs characterized by means for land transport with their own drive, e.g. skid mounting or wheel mounting having auxiliary platforms, e.g. for observation purposes

Abstract

A mobile snubbing system and method of operation transports a snubbing unit to a wellhead on a mobile platform. The snubbing unit is supported by a frame pivotable about a wellhead end of the platform for aligning the snubbing unit with the wellhead. A pipe handler boom is operable between a platform position for loading and off-loading tubulars at an open side of th e platform and a second snubbing position for loading and off-loading tubulars at the top end of the snubbing unit. The boom can be telescopic for extending t o the top of the snubbing unit and can be automated after learning tubular manipulation at the wellhead. Pipe racks can be deployable from the open sid e of the platform and an indexer and kicker in the platform enables loading an d off- loading tubulars at the pipe handler.

Description

2
3 FIELD OF THE INVENTION
4 The present invention relates to standalone snubbing units and snubbing operations requiring minimum equipment, personnel and incorporating 6 safety aspects including BOP stack testing and repositioning personnel out of 7 harms way.

Snubbing units are known in the oil and gas industry for facilitating 11 access to a well which is under pressure including, for example, well operations 12 such as well completions. A snubbing unit manipulates various tubular 13 components such as pipe, tubing, and bottom hole assemblies (BHA) in and out 14 of a well while controlling the well under pressure. Wellhead components are not conventionally equipped to deal with the manipulation of tubular components 16 therethrough. Therefore, additional hardware in cooperation with the snubbing 17 unit provides additional sealing and physical handling components which are 18 required to handle tubular components, which may be either heavy tubular 19 components which tend to fall into the well, termed "pipe heavy", or which can be upwardly energized for ejection from the well under pressure, termed "pipe light".
21 Generally, a snubbing unit employs stationary (lower) and traveling (upper) slip 22 assemblies, opposingly oriented, to releasably and controllable shift tubulars into 1 and out of the well through a wellhead despite the possibility of either heavy 2 tubular loads which urge the pipe to fall into well or the pressure-generated 3 forces on the tubulars which urge the tubular out of the well. The snubbing unit 4 is installed above an existing wellhead seal and incorporates its own seals to seal the tubulars as they are introduced or removed from the wellhead.

6 Snubbing units are rigged up to perform their required operation 7 and rigged out thereafter. Most conventional snubbing units fall into either rig-8 assist or standalone units. Stand-alone units are typically framed all-inclusive 9 snubbing units transported to site on a truck and a separate crane unit lifts them into position over the wellhead. Rig-assist are typically snubbing units pivotally 11 mounted to a truck and are assisted by an onsite service rig so as to winch them 12 upright, pivoting from the truck, to a snubbing position over the wellhead.
In 13 both instances, Rig-assist and Standalone, a variety of other site equipment is 14 required including catwalks, pipe tubs, and pipe-handlers. All of the required equipment results in a large capital equipment cost, a large footprint onsite, extra 16 crew and larger operating cost.

17 Further, conventional snubbing operations require personnel to be 18 positioned adjacent the area for tubing connections, placing personnel at the 19 highest risk should there be an upset or release.

There is a demonstrated need for a system utilizing a minimum of 21 equipment, personnel and increased safety for those personnel operating 22 snubbing units.

3 Figure 1 is a side view of an embodiment of a free-standing 4 snubbing unit in travel mode with the snubbing unit pivoted to the horizontal position within the maximum road height, width, length, and weight allowance;

6 Figure 2 is a perspective view the embodiment of Fig. 1 viewed 7 from the open side with the pipe racks stowed, being positioned for rig up;

8 Figure 3 is a perspective view of the embodiment of Fig. 1 viewed 9 from the open side with the snubbing unit being shown in various incremental stages of being raised into snubbing position over a wellhead;

11 Figure 4A is a plan view of the invention in snubbing mode with the 12 snubbing unit in place over the wellhead and the pipe racks extended and with 13 the pipe arm in place in various incremental stages of Fig. 5;

14 Figure 4B is a plan view of the invention of Fig. 4A with the pipe arm removed for clarity;

16 Figure 5 is a side view of the embodiment of Fig. 4 with the pipe 17 arm being shown in various incremental stages of raising a tubular from the bed 18 to above the snubbing unit;

19 Figure 6 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the free-standing snubbing unit in transport mode illustrating the auxiliary equipment side;
21 Figure 7 is a perspective view of Fig. 6 illustrating the open side for 22 handling tubulars;

1 Figure 8 is a front view illustrating the shipment within maximal 2 permissible roading dimensions and the stowed pipe racks on the open side.
3 The rear pipe rack is shown with the pivot end extended to clear the wheels in 4 preparation for pivoting out;

Figure 9 is a rear view illustrating the snubbing unit with pressure 6 testing flange and nubbin bolted in place for pressure test and transport mode.
7 As in Fig. 9, the rear pipe rack is shown with the pivot end extended to clear the 8 wheels in preparation for pivoting out ;

9 Figure 10 is a partial side view illustrating the snubbing unit over the tridem drive and raising actuators;

11 Figure 11A is a partial side view illustrating the snubbing unit over 12 the tridem drive from the open side and illustrating the rearward pivoted pipe 13 rack and removable truss components shown removed for clearing the wheels;
14 Figure 11 B is a partial side view of Fig. 11 A with the rear pipe rack pivot extended for clearing the wheels and the removable truss components 16 installed;

17 Figure 12 is a perspective birds-eye view of the free-standing 18 snubbing unit from the open side of the bed with the pipe racks extended and the 19 pipe arm handling a tubular over the snubbing unit;

Figure 13 is a perspective birds-eye view of Fig. 12 from the closed 21 side;

22 Figure 14 is a plan view of Fig. 12;

1 Figure 15 is a side elevational view of Fig. 12 from the closed side -2 the ground being omitted to show the casing and tubing extending through the 3 casing;

4 Figure 16 is a rear view of Fig. 12;

Figure 17 is a perspective view illustrating the L-frame and 6 actuators and the pipe arm with the carriage and a tubular stabbed above and 7 into the travelling slips;

8 Figure 18A is a partial perspective view of the L-frame with the 9 transverse beam member illustrated in the shipping/raising position (the tongs in shown in light lines);

11 Figure 18B is a partial perspective view of the transverse beam 12 member of Fig. 18A with the pin released and the beam being pivoted to the 13 open position;

14 Figure 18C is a partial perspective view of the transverse beam member of Fig. 18A in the open position;

16 Figure 18D is a partial perspective view of the other side of the 17 transverse beam member of Fig. 18A;

18 Figure 19 is a side elevational view of the rear of the unit for 19 illustrating the actuators for the L-frame and pipe arm (wellhead omitted);

Figure 20 is a partial side elevational view of the pipe arm shown 21 gripping a tubular above the snubbing unit, about to be stabbed in;

22 Figure 21A is a cross-sectional rear view illustrating the pipe racks;
5 1 Figure 21B is a cross-sectional partial rear view illustrating the 2 indexer and the pipe arm clamp closed;

3 Figure 21C is a cross-sectional partial rear view illustrating the 4 indexer lever selecting a tubular and with the pipe arm clamp open to receive the tubular of Fig. 12B;
6 Figures 21 D and 21 E are cross-sectional partial rear views
7 illustrating the kicker removing a tubular from the pipe arm;
8 Figure 22 is a partial rear elevational view with the reavel levelling
9 stand lower to engage the ground (ground omitted);

Figure 23A is a perspective view of an embodiment of a pipe arm 11 having a boom and carriage with spaced tubular gripping and guide actuators 12 (opened);

13 Figure 23B is a perspective view of an embodiment of Fig. A from 14 another viewpoint;

Figure 24 is a partial close up perspective view illustrating the 16 actuators for the L-frame;

17 Figure 25 is a partial perspective view of the truck bed and L-frame 18 with the rearward pipe rack extended and the removable sections re-installed, 19 the pipe rack supporting tubulars and outrigger stands supporting the ranks;

Figure 26 is a close up of Fig. 25 illustrating the telescoping rear 21 rack pivot and installed removable sections;

1 Figure 27 is a close up of pivoting connection of the front pipe rack 2 to the open side;

3 Figure 28 illustrates a partial cutaway cross-sectional perspective 4 view of the primary BOP of the snubbing unit with the nubbin and dummy testing flange installed;

6 Figure 29 is a view of an embodiment of the snubbing unit in 7 isolation for detailing the preferred components; and 8 Figures 30A and 30B are operational views of the snubbing unit of 9 Fig. 29 illustrating the actuators stroking operation with the travelling plate raised, and lowered respectively.

2 As shown in Figs. 1- 30 an embodiment of the snubbing system of 3 the present invention comprises a mobile transport platform having substantially 4 all of the equipment mounted thereon as required for snubbing operations.
The system comprises a snubbing structure pivotally mounted at the rear of the 6 equipment bed of a truck. The truck comprises the equipment and a truck cab 7 arrangement which aids in maximizing the bed area length and also aids in 8 providing front-loaded counterweight to the bed load. The truck is preferably a 9 tridem drive and tandem steer with the cab in front of the steering wheels or to one side so as to meet dimensional and weight requirements for road transport.
11 The bed can comprise a dual rail frame supporting the snubbing 12 structure, ground engaging levelling and stabilization jacks, pipe racks, an 13 indexing and kickout assembly and a pipe handler including programmable 14 robotic, pivoting pipe-lifting arm and automated tongs. Automation of the pipe handling and tongs permits the operators to be located away front the release 16 point for well fluids or pipe. A telescoping pipe arm enables greater range of 17 motion required to adapted between a truck of limited length and the heights 18 required for snubbing.

19 The transport further comprises onboard hydraulics and hydraulic tanks. A pressure integrity testing system is also provided comprising test 21 pumps, a test plug and flange, and environmentally safe antifreeze supply as 22 test fluid.

1 In operation, a system of the present embodiment, and preferably 2 an additional truck bearing generator set and dog house for personnel comfort.
3 The rear of the truck bed is positioned adjacent a wellhead for rig up. At some 4 point, the snubbing structure is pressure tested before erecting, as described later. The stabilization jacks are deployed and the subbing structure is erected 6 or raised, pivoting about the rear of the bed to align over the wellhead.
The 7 snubbing structure is supported for pivotal actuation upon two beams, each of 8 which is pivotally connected at their proximal end to the bed and whose distal 9 ends are releasably bridged with a bridge member for raising and lowering but which can be displaced or removed to form an open side for the handling of 11 pipes therethrough. The pipe racks, which are shipped supported parallel and 12 adjacent along one side of the bed, are pivotally connected at a proximal end to 13 the bed and are pivotally deployed to a substantially perpendicular arrangement 14 with respect to the bed. Jacks, such as hydraulic-actuated jacks at distal ends of the racks can introduce a small slope towards the bed for urging pipe to roll to 16 the bed or a small slope away form the bed for uploading pipe. In the bed, the 17 indexer/kicker stores about 7 lengths of tubing at deck level and kicks one at a 18 time up into the pipe arm for running in pipe. When running in pipe, the pipe arm 19 grabs the pipe from the bed and raises it to the top of the snubbing unit.
Once ready the operator starts the second program where the pipe arm robotically 21 stabs the pipe into the collar of the previous joint of pipe. The pipe connection is 22 then made up remotely with the power tongs. Once the connection is made, the 1 pipe arm is released and it automatically returns to the bed and retrieves the 2 next joint of pipe and the process is repeated. If tripping out pipe, the pipe arm 3 grabs the joint of pipe at the top of the snubbing unit and holds it while the tongs 4 rotate out the joint. The arm then lays it down on the bed where the kicker send it off the bed on the racks.

7 Truck Bed and Pige Arm 8 In more detail, the truck has a frame having a center axis, a driver's 9 cab over the front tandem steering wheels and a truck bed or deck extending rearwardly therefrom. A maximum road allowance length can be most usefully 11 exploited in this format. A hydraulic reservoir is mounted offset from the axis and 12 positioned about or over the steering wheels. Pumps can be located under the 13 frame in the vicinity of the hydraulic tanks. Preferably, a variety of pumps are 14 used, some of which have multiple functions. For example, actuating hydraulics for the tongs and slips might be powered by a pump which is also temporarily 16 employed to raise the snubbing unit on rig-up. Separate accumulators are used 17 to separate the primary BOP operation from accumulators provided for other 18 operations such as snubbing BOP.

19 A variety of auxiliary equipment (discussed below) is also mounted off-axis, as shown in the embodiments as being on the driver's side, leaving one 21 side of the truck bed open (Fig. 2) to accept lengths of pipe from the bed's open 22 side. The forward spacing of the cab-over arrangement can enable handling of 1 lengths of pipe which extend from about the steering wheels to the rear of the 2 bed. Similarly a half-cab or side cab can make one side available for a opening 3 up a greater length of the truck for handling tubulars.

4 Along the axis of the bed is a pipe arm rotatably operable between a racking position substantially flush with the bed and a snubbing position above 6 the snubbing unit. The pipe arm comprises a boom pivoted from the truck bed, 7 more preferably at a proximal end of the boom at the rear of the bed. Note that 8 the snubbing unit can require length of tubular to be raised well above the 9 snubbing unit, a distance that is beyond the ability of a conventional pivoting boom to access. Accordingly, not only is the pipe arm provided on the same 11 platform as the snubbing unit, but the pipe arm itself has additional features 12 adapted to the constraints of the length of the truck while also providing the 13 functionality required.

14 A hydraulic actuator is situated between a bracket extending from the boom and the bed for manipulating the boom between the racking and 16 snubbing positions. The boom is telescoping for sweeping tubing from the bed 17 of fixed position compact length and pivoting upwards and telescoping to 18 reaching upwards to greater heights. In one form of the pipe arm, a pipe guide 19 or carriage is pivotably mounted to a distal end of the boom at about a midpoint of the carriage. Spaced along the guide or carriage is a pair of pipe clamps, at 21 least one of which is fitted with teeth so as to be operable to grip and release 22 tubulars and at least one other clamp to guide the pipe. A tilt actuator is 1 operably mounted between the carriage and the boom for varying the angular 2 position of the carriage relative to the boom. As stated, the boom is extendible 3 for raising the tubular higher above the snubbing unit than the pickup from the 4 bed would otherwise permit. Further, the carriage can also be axially manipulated with a stab actuator to further extend the tubing position.
Sensors 6 provide feedback of the position of the carriage relative to the bed and the 7 snubbing unit. For example, sensors can be positioned for measuring axial and 8 angular position of the boom relative to the bed and the position of the carriage 9 relative to the boom.

As shown in Fig. 5, the pipe arm is pivotally actuated and is 11 automated. Using electrical over hydraulic, the pipe arm can be manually or 12 automatically guided to move pipe between the bed and the snubbing unit.
13 Preferably, the pipe arm is manually guided and the movement is learned by the 14 control system. A programmable logic controller (PLC) is implemented to automate pipe handling. Thereafter, the arm movement can be automatic based upon the 16 bed and the snubbing unit position being known and being immovable once 17 positioned. The position of the end of the lower end of the tubulars can be known, 18 or more preferably, the tubulars can be lowered to engage the snubbing unit and 19 feedback confirms the location of the end of the tubing. Further, should the tubular be slightly off-centre, the carriage of the pipe arm can contain biased mounting for 21 enabling a certain pre-loaded displacement to be stored in the carriage so that once 1 aligned, such as when the tongs are engaged, the pre-load can drive the tubular 2 into engagement with the collar of the previous tubular in the snubbing unit.

3 It is expected that an operator would rig up, nipple up and then train 4 the pipe arm with tubulars for each site, thereafter being automated.
Automated tongs preferably complete the automation to make up joints.

6 The truck bed further incorporates pipe racks and an indexing and 7 kicking system for the management of pipes to and from pipe racks and the pipe 8 arm carriage.

9 As shown in Figs. 4A, 4B and 12, a pair of pipe racks are pivotally mounted to the open side of the frame: one mounted adjacent the front end of 11 the bed, and one mounted adjacent the rear of the bed. Each pipe rack is a 12 truss frame, gate-swing mounted to the bed. For roading, each rack is swung 13 parallel with the bed axis and secured to the bed. When on site and rigging up, 14 the frames are swung out perpendicular to the bed and parallel to each other.
Hydraulic stands or actuators are provided adjacent the outboard ends of the 16 racks for supporting the racks and adjusting the angle of the rack relative to the 17 bed. The racks are spaced apart to support the tubulars at support points to 18 minimize pipe sag.

19 As shown in Figs 21A, 21 D, and Figs. 26 and 27, fit to the bed is an automated pipe magazine, indexer and a kicker adjacent about the pivoting 21 connection of each rear and forward pipe rack to the bed. In this embodiment, 22 the magazine can hold 7 tubulars. The magazine can receive lengths of tubing 1 and the indexer presents them one at a time to the pipe arm. The magazine has 2 an actuator to incline the magazine for rolling tubulars to the indexer. For 3 loading tubulars, the magazine holds the plurality of tubulars resting against a 4 stop. An indexing lever is actuated to lift one tubular over the stop while a trailing cam holds back the remaining tubulars. The lifted tubular rolls down the 6 lever to the pipe arm. Once in the pipe arm, the pipe arm clamps close. The 7 kicker can expel a length of tubular from the pipe arm, the tubular rolling down 8 the kicker to the pipe racks.

9 As shown, the rearward-mounted rack is pivotally mounted at about the tridem rear drive wheels. As shown in Fig. 11A, for enabling maximum road 11 width of the wheel track and truck bed, while still accommodating the pipe racks 12 when stowed, this rearward mounted pipe rack preferably includes a breakout 13 portion of the truss at the mounting end to avoid interference with the wheels.
14 For shipping, once the truss section or sections are removed, the remaining rack is hydraulically drawn laterally inward and clearing over the tires for transport 16 mode. With reference to Fig. 11 B, on rig up, the rack is hydraulically forced out 17 beyond the tires and allowing the truss section or sections to be reinserted and 18 fastened into the truss when swung out for operation.

Safety of the snubbing crew 21 With reference to Figs. 12 and 19, automation of the pipe arm and 22 automation of the tongs avoids the conventional practice and need for personnel 1 to be above the "release point", being the point at which wellbore fluids or tubing 2 could exit the well in an upset. As shown, a platform can be provided at the 3 traveling slips for maintenance purposes but there would be no need for 4 personnel to be present during snubbing. In an alternate version, a single platform can be employed which can travel vertically up or down providing a safe 6 working platform for any area along the snubbing unit. This would allow the 7 operators to position themselves below the release point when performing 8 snubbing operations. One approach is to use a rack and pinion drive between 9 the platform and the snubbing unit, such as along the hydraulic actuators.
In the current embodiment, controls for various functions are shown on the top 11 platform. As stated, the controls would more preferably be located on a lower 12 platform as there is no longer a need for personnel to be located at the travelling 13 slip area. Further, at the back of the truck bed is a series of duplicate controls 14 and other controls for raising the L-frame, operating the levelling jacks or stands, the pipe rack stands and the rear pipe rack telescopic actuator.

17 L-frame 18 As shown in Figs. 12 - 19, the snubbing unit is supported by an "L"-19 frame. A pair of parallel, spaced, upside down L-members form the L-frame having legs and arms.

21 In the shipping position, the legs of the L-members form a 22 substantially horizontal carriage. The snubbing unit is supported on one or more 1 supports fit with V-rollers so as to permit the snubbing jack to roll along angle-2 iron tracks extending along the legs. Removable saddle supports (not shown) 3 can be fit to flanges, the annular BOP or other locations such as the plafform 4 structure. Once raised, the supports are no longer engaged with the L-frame.

The L-frame is pivotally mounted at the tip of the leg of each "L" at 6 the rear of the truck bed. The L-frame is rotatable to an elevated position with 7 the snubbing unit upright and the arms extending substantially horizontally.

8 Also referring to Fig. 3, in the raised position, the snubbing unit is 9 suspended thereunder for alignment over the wellhead. Cables extend between the arms of the L-frame and the travelling plate of the snubbing unit for 11 suspending the snubbing unit thereunder. Actuation of the travelling plate 12 manipulates the snubbing unit position under the L-frame. For example, lifting 13 actuation of the travelling plate lowers the stack towards the wellhead.
Once 14 settied on the wellhead and boited on the cables can be disconnected from the travelling plate and tied off out of the way for subsequent snubbing operations.
16 Optionally, once supported on the wellhead, the dead load of the snubbing unit 17 can be relieved from the wellhead using tension devices such as chains and 18 boomers between the snubbing unit and the L-frame. Further, once the 19 snubbing unit is supported on the wellhead, the L-frame can be tipped to reside adjacent the snubbing unit. The snubbing unit can then be secured to the L-21 frame for further stability.

1 As shown in Figs 18A-18D, the legs of the L-frame are secured 2 together during lifting of the snubbing unit through a releasable and movable 3 beam. The movable beam extends laterally across the tips of the arms of the L-4 frame, which ties the arms and legs of the L-members together for increasing structure rigidity of the L-frame. Once the L-frame has been raised upright, and 6 the forces of raising the snubbing unit are reduced, the snubbing unit is 7 hydraulically lowered onto and bolted to the well head as described above.
Once 8 the cables connecting the snubbing unit to the movable beam are removed, the 9 beam can be remotely released at one end and pivoted at the other for opening the L-frame into two upstanding L-members and forming an open side for the 11 passage of tubulars therethrough on the pipe arm, from a horizontal position at 12 the truck bed to a substantially vertical position over the snubbing unit.

13 The movable beam comprises a beam, such as an I-beam, which is 14 pivotally connected at a pivot end to one arm, and which has at the other free end of the beam, a lateral catch and pinned lock connection to the other arm.
16 The lateral catch is formed by the arrangement of an end plate on the free end 17 which engages a catch on one arm so as to secure the L-frame arms lateally 18 together. To prevent pivotal release of the end plate and catch, a pin is 19 releaseably engaged through both arm and the end plate. The movable beam further comprises a pin-release actuator (such as a hydraulic ram) and a beam-21 pivoting actuator. For locking the L-frame, the beam-pivoting actuator is 22 actuated to rotate the beam transverse and substantially perpendicular to the 1 arms of the L-frame. The beam's end plate engages the catch. Sensing 2 engagement, such as through resistance or a pressure increase in a hydraulic 3 actuator, the pin-release actuator is actuated, securing the L-frame as one.
In 4 reverse to release the beam, the pin-release actuator is first actuated to release the pin. Sensing disengagement of the pin or range of motion of the actuator, 6 such as through resistance or a pressure increase in a hydraulic-type actuator, 7 then the beam-pivoting actuator is actuated to swing the beam out of the open 8 side of the L-frame.

9 Best shown in the side view of Fig. 15, along the truck bed are a load levelling and stabilization system of hydraulic jacks and pads for adjusting 11 the snubbing unit over the wellhead and supporting the loads over the wellhead.
12 At the rear end of the truck bed is a ground-engaging beam, actuated adjacent 13 opposing ends by hydraulic jacks to support the truck bed.

Snubbina Unit 16 With reference to Figs. 29 and 30, a side view of the snubbing unit in 17 isolation, the snubbing unit 10 portion comprises a tubular snubbing structure 11 18 adapted for securing atop a wellhead 12 at a lower connection 13 such as an 19 industry standard 3000 or 5000 psi flanged connection. The top of the wellhead 12 is represented by a conventional spool, however those of skill in the art understand 21 that other components may exist, or could be provided as part of the snubbing unit 22 10. The wellhead 12 normally blocks the wellbore of a well (not shown) under 1 pressure. The snubbing structure can be pre-fit with double gate, primary blow out 2 preventers (BOP). The snubbing unit 10 employs a lower, stationary slip assembly 3 14 and an upper, traveling slip assembly 15 for releasably and controllably shifting 4 tubulars along a common axis through the tubular snubbing structure 11 and the wellhead 12 below. The tubular snubbing structure 11 has a working bore which is 6 open to communicate with the wellbore. Typically, the tubular snubbing structure 11 7 also incorporates an annular BOP 16. The travelling slip assembly 15 is supported 8 on a traveling plate 21 which is raised and lowered on at least two hydraulic 9 actuators 30. A pair of hydraulic actuators 30 is shown to impart or receive snubbing loads from the traveling plate 21 to the tubular snubbing structure, and to 11 the wellhead 12. In an alternate version, the travelling plate can be fitted with 12 hydraulic motors and pinion gears which drive the travelling plate up or down rack 13 columns suspended from a mast or derrick.

14 The structure about the travelling plate and travelling slips can also incorporate an accepting cone for guiding the ends of tubulars into the snubbing 16 structure and tongs 17 for making and breaking threaded joints. Additional 17 operational features located between the wellhead 12 and the stationary slip 18 assembly 14 comprise: primary well control BOP's 18, a stripping pipe ram 19, and 19 a working or load spool 20. The height of the load spool 20 is sized to provide working space between the stripping annular BOP 16 above the stripping pipe ram 21 19 for housing and removal of tubulars such as a BHA from the wellhead 12.
Each 22 of the hydraulic actuators 30 comprise a cylinder 31 and a rod 32. The cylinders 31 1 are spaced laterally from and parallel to the common axis of the tubular snubbing 2 structure 11. The cylinders 31 are mounted to load members 60 which extend from 3 the load spool 20 of the tubular snubbing structure 11. The rods 32 are mounted to 4 the traveling plate 21. Hydraulics raise and lower the rods 32 relative to the cylinders 31, thereby raising and lowering the traveling plate and traveling slip 6 assembly 21,15 relative to the stationary slip assembly 14. The cylinders 31 are 7 mounted to the load members 60 somewhere intermediate along their length, and 8 preferably about midway therealong, thereby positioning the traveling slip assembly 9 15 in close proximity to the stationary slip assembly 14 when fully retracted to a lowered position. Further, such spacing enables maximum stroke with a minimum 11 overall height of the snubbing unit 10 while maintaining suitable stability. Hydraulic 12 actuators 30 are operated to reciprocate the traveling slip assembly 15 between a 13 raised position and a lowered position (not shown).

Testing of the BOP Stack 16 With reference to Fig. 28, in another embodiment of the invention, the 17 BOP stack can be pressure tested before nippling up.

18 The truck bed further comprises a fluid reservoir and pumping system.
19 Fluid such as antifreeze can be pumped into the primary BOP stack to simulate annular pressure about dummy tubing inserted in the BOP stack.

21 While the snubbing unit is in the shipping position, a nubbin or blank of 22 dummy tubing sized for the tubing rams in the primary BOP is fit into the BOP stack.

1 The appropriate sized nubbin is secured to a flange, such as being threaded into 2 the flange, and is adapted for connection to the terminal flange at the bottom of the 3 snubbing unit. The flange is connected to the BOP stack for sealing the annular 4 space. The terminal flange of the snubbing unit is the conventional point of connection to a wellhead flange onsite.

6 The dummy flange has an offset port for fluid communication between 7 a fluid pump source and the sealed annular space. Actuation of the various BOP's 8 can be tested with application of pressurized fluid to the annulus. The dummy 9 flange is oriented with the offset port adjacent the bottom and with the extreme radial extent of the annular space so as to enable complete removal of the fluids 11 after the testing is complete.

Claims (36)

1. A mobile snubbing system for manipulating tubulars into and out of a wellhead through a wellhead axis comprising:

a snubbing unit having a snubbing axis, a top end and a bottom end adapted to connect to the wellhead;

a mobile transport platform for delivering the snubbing unit to the wellhead, the platform having a front end and a rear end and an open side;

a frame having a first end mounted pivotally at the rear end of the platform and a second end, the frame being pivotally actuated from the platform and operable between a first shipping position, wherein the snubbing unit is supported by the frame with the snubbing axis generally horizontal, and a second operational position, wherein the frame is pivotally erected about the first end of the frame for aligning the snubbing axis of the snubbing unit with the wellhead axis of the wellhead for connection thereto; and a pipe handler having a boom pivotally mounted at a first end of the boom adjacent the rear end of the platform wherein when the frame is in its second operational position, the boom is operable between a first platform position substantially parallel to the platform for loading and off-loading tubulars at the open side, and a second snubbing position, wherein the boom is pivotally erected for loading and off-loading tubulars at the top end of the snubbing unit.
2. The system of claim 1 wherein a distal end of the boom is telescoping along a boom axis.
3. The system of claim 1 or 2 further comprises a controller for manipulating a guided tubular between the platform and snubbing positions.
4. The system of claim 3 wherein the controller manipulates at least the rotation of the pivoting boom.
5. The system of any one of claims 1 to 4 wherein the pipe handler further comprises a pipe carriage for releasably handling the tubulars, the pipe carriage being mounted pivotally to the distal end of the boom.
6. The system of claim 5 further comprises a controller for manipulating a guided tubular between the platform and snubbing positions, the controller manipulating at least the rotation of the pivoting boom, the extension of the extendible boom and rotation of the pivoting pipe carriage.
7. The system of claim 3 or 4 wherein the controller operates between a first learning state wherein the guided tubular is manually guided between the platform and snubbing positions and a second automatic state, wherein the controller thereafter applies the first learning state for automatically guiding the guided tubular between the platform position and the snubbing position.
8. The system of claim 5 wherein the pipe carriage further comprises at least two automated clamps spaced therealong, at least one of which having gripping teeth to provide a gripping surface for gripping tubulars.
9. The system of claim 8 wherein the at least two pipe clamps can be manipulated along the carriage for manipulating a gripped tubular.
10. The system of any one of claims 1 to 9 further comprising suspending connectors between the snubbing unit and the second end of the frame, wherein when the frame is in its second operational position, the snubbing unit is suspended along the wellhead axis.
11. The system of claim 10 wherein the suspended snubbing unit is vertically movable along the wellhead axis.
12. The system of claim 10 wherein:

the snubbing unit further comprises a vertically actuable traveling plate; and the suspending connectors are connected between the frame and the traveling plate for vertically moving the snubbing unit over the wellhead.
13. The system of claim 12 wherein the traveling plate is vertically actuable using hydraulic actuators.
14. The system of claim 12 wherein the traveling plate is vertically actuable using rack and pinion drive.
15. The system of claim 10, 11 or 12 wherein the frame further comprises:

a least two spaced support members extending from the first end to the second end; and an axis beam member at the second end of the frame and extending between the a least two spaced members, the axis beam member being substantially aligned over the snubbing axis, wherein the suspending connectors are connected between the axis beam member and the snubbing unit.
16. The system of claim 15 wherein the axis beam member further comprises a first end pivotally mounted to one of the a least two spaced members and being operable between a first closed position substantially aligned over the snubbing axis and extending between the a least two spaced members; and a second open position for opening the frame between the a least two spaced members for access to the top end of the snubbing unit.
17. The system of any one of claims 10 to 16 further comprising tension devices extending between at least one of the at least two spaced members at the second end of the frame and the snubbing unit wherein when the axis beam member is in its second open position, the snubbing unit is at least partially supported from the frame.
18. The system of claim 17 wherein the axis beam member is secured in its first closed position by a lock connection at a second end of the axis beam member to one of the at least two support members.
19. The system of claim 18 wherein the pivoting of the axis beam member and lock connection are hydraulically actuated.
20. The system of any one of claims 1 to 19 further comprising pipe racks for loading and off-loading tubulars at the open side of the platform, the pipe racks being operable between a first traveling position stowed parallel to the open side of the platform and a second operational position wherein the pipe racks are substantially perpendicular to the platform.
21. The system of claim 20 wherein the pipe racks load and off-load tubulars at the open side of the platform for the pipe handler.
22. The system of claim 20 or 21 wherein the pipe racks are pivotally mounted at a first end to the platform for swinging between the first traveling position and the second operational position.
23. The system of claim 22 wherein the pipe racks further comprise:

a first pipe rack arm having an outboard end and being pivotally mounted at a mounting end at about a front of the platform, and a second pipe rack arm having an outboard end and being pivotally mounted at a mounting end at about the rear of the platform, wherein, the outboard end of the first pipe rack arm is deployable from the first traveling position at about the rear of the platform, and the outboard end of the second pipe rack arm is deployable from the first traveling position at about the front of the platform.
24. The system of claim 23 wherein the first and second pipe rack arms further comprise actuators at their outboard ends for adjusting the angle of the pipe racks for loading or off-loading tubulars to or from the open side.
25. The system of any one of claims 1 to 24 further comprising an indexer and a kicker and wherein with the pipe handler is in the platform position, the indexer loads tubulars one at a time to the pipe handler and the kicker off-loads tubulars from the pipe handler.
26. The system of any one of claims 1 to 25 wherein:

the snubbing unit further comprises blow out preventor (BOP) gates and a terminal flange at the bottom end;

a nubbin sized to the BOP gates for forming an annular space therebetween when fit to the BOP gates, the nubbin being secured to a testing flange for sealable connection to the terminal flange, wherein application of pressurized testing fluid through the testing flange to the annular space tests the BOP gates.
27. The system of claim any one of claims 1 to 26 wherein said mobile transport platform is a cab-over truck.
28. A method for snubbing a well having a wellhead and a wellhead axis, the method comprising:

supporting a snubbing unit in a frame which is supported by a mobile platform;

transporting the frame and snubbing unit to the wellhead by the mobile platform;

pivoting the frame about a wellhead end of the platform for suspending a snubbing axis of the snubbing unit in alignment with the wellhead axis;

connecting the snubbing unit to the wellhead;

loading and off-loading tubulars from and open side of the platform;
and pivoting a pipe handler from the platform for handling the tubulars between a platform position for loading and off-loading tubulars and a snubbing position for loading and off-loading tubulars at the snubbing unit for snubbing the well.
29. The method of claim 28 wherein the pivoting of the pipe handler further comprises:

controlling the pipe handler comprising manually guiding a tubular between the platform and the snubbing unit for learning a movement of tubulars for snubbing the well;
and thereafter automatically pivoting tubulars between the platform and the snubbing unit for snubbing the well.
30. The method of claim 28 or 29 further comprising:
receiving a tubular presented to the platform;

indexing the presented tubular from the platform to the pipe handler at the platform position; and pivoting the pipe handler from the platform between the platform and the snubbing position for loading the presented tubulars at the snubbing stack for snubbing the well.
31. The method of claim 28, 29 or 30 further comprising:
receiving a tubular presented to the pipe handler at the snubbing position;

pivoting the pipe handler from the snubbing position to the platform position for off-loading the presented tubulars to the platform; and kicking the presented tubular from the pipe handler at the platform position for off-loading the tubular from the platform.
32. The method of any one of claims 28 to 31 wherein the length of the platform is constrained and the pipe handler is telescopic, further comprising:

telescopically constraining the pipe handler to load or off-load a tubular at the platform; and telescopically extending the pipe handler to load or off-load a tubular at the snubbing unit.
33. The method of any one of claims 28 to 32 wherein prior to pivoting the pipe handler for snubbing the well, further comprising:

swinging a front pipe rack from a stowed position on the platform to an operation position substantially perpendicular to the platform;

swinging a rear pipe rack from a stowed position on the platform to an operation position substantially perpendicular to the platform; and loading and off-loading tubulars to and from the platform and pipe handler along the front and rear pipe racks.
34. A mobile snubbing system for manipulating tubulars into and out of a wellhead through a wellhead axis comprising:

a snubbing unit having a snubbing axis, a top end and a bottom end adapted to connect to the wellhead;

a mobile transport platform for delivering the snubbing unit to the wellhead, the platform having a front end and a rear end;

a frame having a first end mounted pivotally at the rear end of the platform and a second end, the frame being operable between a first shipping position, wherein the snubbing unit is supported by the frame with the snubbing axis generally horizontal, and a second operational position, wherein the frame is pivotally erected about the first end of the frame for aligning the snubbing axis of the snubbing unit with the wellhead axis of the wellhead for connection thereto;

a pipe handler having a boom pivotally mounted at a first end of the boom adjacent the rear end of the platform wherein when the frame is in its second operational position, the boom is operable between a first platform position substantially parallel to the platform for loading and off-loading tubulars, and a second snubbing position, wherein the boom is pivotally erected for loading and off-loading tubulars at the top end of the snubbing unit; and a controller for manipulating the pipe handler between the platform and snubbing positions and wherein the controller operates between a first learning state wherein the controller is manually guided between the platform and snubbing positions and a second automatic state, wherein the controller thereafter applies the first learning state for automatically operates the pipe handler between the platform position and the snubbing position.
35. The system of claim 34 further comprising an indexer and a kicker and wherein with the pipe handler is in the platform position, the indexer loads tubulars one at a time to the pipe handler and the kicker off-loads tubulars from the pipe handler.
36. The system of claim 34 or 35 further comprising pipe racks for loading and off-loading tubulars at an open side of the platform, the pipe racks being operable between a first traveling position stowed parallel to the open side of the platform and a second operational position wherein the pipe racks are substantially perpendicular to the platform.
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Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP2025859A1 (en) * 2007-08-17 2009-02-18 BAUER Maschinen GmbH Deep drilling device and method for mounting a deep drilling device
WO2009094765A1 (en) * 2008-01-31 2009-08-06 Nabors Global Holdings Ltd. Pipe-handling apparatus and methods
WO2011103674A1 (en) * 2010-02-26 2011-09-01 Michael James Kallal Wellbore tubular handling system
WO2016157222A1 (en) * 2015-03-30 2016-10-06 Ths Srl Pipe handling apparatus for supplying pipes to snubbing units

Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP2025859A1 (en) * 2007-08-17 2009-02-18 BAUER Maschinen GmbH Deep drilling device and method for mounting a deep drilling device
WO2009094765A1 (en) * 2008-01-31 2009-08-06 Nabors Global Holdings Ltd. Pipe-handling apparatus and methods
WO2011103674A1 (en) * 2010-02-26 2011-09-01 Michael James Kallal Wellbore tubular handling system
US9238947B2 (en) 2010-02-26 2016-01-19 Down Force Technology Inc. Wellbore tubular handling system
WO2016157222A1 (en) * 2015-03-30 2016-10-06 Ths Srl Pipe handling apparatus for supplying pipes to snubbing units

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