US1353132A - Well construction - Google Patents

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US1353132A
US1353132A US33023019A US1353132A US 1353132 A US1353132 A US 1353132A US 33023019 A US33023019 A US 33023019A US 1353132 A US1353132 A US 1353132A
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well
water
gravel
strata
casing
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Percy E Vaughan
Stanley M Halstead
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Percy E Vaughan
Stanley M Halstead
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    • 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
    • E21B37/00Methods or apparatus for cleaning boreholes or wells

Description

P. E. VAUGHAN AND S. M. HALSTEAD.

WELL CONSTRUCTION.

APPLICATION FILED OCT. 13. 1919.

Patented Sept. 14, 1920.

UNITED STATES PATENT orifice.

' rnncy n. VAUGHAN AND s'raunnvm. nans'rmn, or salt JOSE, CALIFORNIA.

WELL cons'mucrron. I

Specification of Letters Patent. Pa',tented Sept. 14, 1920.

Application filed October 18, 1919. Serial No. 880,230.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that we, Pnnor E. VAUGHAN and STANLEY M. HALSTEAD citizens of the United States, residing at an Jose, in the county of Santa Clara and State of California, have invented new and useful Improvements in Well' Construction, of which the following is a specification.

' This invention relates to well construction, and,1fiore especially to the preparation of a well to receive a gravel envelop or lining, such as set forth in our Patent No.

1,289,320, dated Dec. 31st, 1918.

It has become the best practice in deep well drilling in arid and semi-aridregions' to use the rotary flush drilling method which consists in supplying a stream of. Water or other freely flowing liquid under fluid which has the effect of preventing caving of the walls in diflicult ground. The discharge is carried off at the top of the well in sluices or ditches and empties into a sump from which, after the solid particles have settled, it is pumped back into the well. Practically unlimited depths are thus attained, 500 to 1,000 feet being quite common in some of the Western States. Should the fluid be not heavy enough to support the walls, or, in case the Water filters through and escapes 'too fast through the porous seams, mud or clay is added thereto. On the other hand, if the ,fiuid becomes too thick to permit operation of the drill, the

mud may be removed by the addition of clear water. Clear water weighs 62.5 pounds per cubic foot and exerts a pressure of 43 pounds per square inch, per 100 feet of depth. A good mud weighs 78 pounds per cubic foot and exerts a pressure of 53 pounds per square inch, per 100 feet of depth.

Water is supplied to the well by means of a pump coupled to the drill pipes and passes out at or near the rotary bit. This water or other liquid is under considerable pressure and has a decided erosive effect on the loose strata, such as sand and gravel. This action, combined with the natural caving tendencies of such loose formations, proweeks, its sides pockets chambers therein.

eter can be restored by runmng a full gage bit through the well are' heavily plastered with mud, clay, 'etc., which plaster attains its eatest thickness at the porous seams or oose strata on accountof the Tpresence of his coating Wlll often reduce the diameter of the bore several inches. Of course, the normal diamreaming out, that is,

after the drilling is completed. This reaming out step will permit the well casing to be installed, but it will have no effect on the pockets or chambers formed in the loose strata and which are filled and coated with an utterly impervious clay or mud. These I strata being the water-bearing strata, it is obvious that removal of the coating is necessary before water can enter the ll. pressure to a rotary bit whereby to carry off the detritus in solution or suspension. The bore is thus kept filled with'a thick muddy The object then of the present invention is to remove the practically impervious deposits or coatings from the walls of the porous strata /and pockets adjoining the 'same and substitute therefor a lining or envelop of gravel or other porous material, whereby to insure free passage of water from such strata and the entrance of the] reaming process as applied to our invention,

In the drawings, 1 is the bore of required dimenslons passing downwardly through strata of varying density, 2 indicatin strata of loose material and 3 the more fixe strata not materially eroded by the action of the flowing water. At 4 are shown annular chambers of various sizes formed in the loose strata 2' by the action of the wash water, the bore 1 and chamber 4 having deposited thereon a layer of fine sand and clay as 5 and 6 respectively.

This clay and fine sand-bearing water flowing through the well during its construction gradually deposits upon the wall of'the well and the walls of the said chambers -a more or less thick coating of compact material, the coating upon the chamber walls being somewhat thicker than upon the wall of the well proper because of the eddy formed therein by the flowing water and because of the fact that the water penetrates the loose formation of the walls of the chambers a distance and deposits its load 'on said walls as it passes through. In other words,

ourse, upon the nature of the formation and upon the len th of time required to complete the bore. Since these chambers are to be filled with gravel and are to act as receivers for the water in the strata in which they are formed, it is clear that the coating of line clay, etc. must be removed before the gravel is installed in order that the said chambers may function properly and efficiently. Throughout this portion of the construction of the well it is permeated with this thickened fluid constantly building up the walls thereof by depositing material thereon. y

In order to secure the full size of the original bore the deposit 5 is reamed out by afull-gaged bit 7, as shown at 8, preparatory to installing the casing, so that when the casing 9 is ositioned in the well the space 10 between 1t and the wall of the well will be as originally designed to permit the'passage of gravel therethrough to the lower parts without the formation of keys or arches while the gravel is being fed therethrough. After the bore has been reamed and the casing 9 placed in position the deposits in the chambers 4 are removed in the following manner. -A plunger 11 is fitted to the drill rod 12 and operated vertically by means of a power mechanism not shown, the idea being to lift the plunger to a considerable height and allow it to drop by gravity. This operation is 'started near the top of the well and results in agitatingor churning the water both within the casing and between it and the wall of the well, and

in the said chambers," thereby stirring up the fine deposit hereinbefore described and equalizing the density of the water by equally distributing this resuspended matter throughout the agitated water. As the plunger works progressively downwardly the walls of all of the chambers are succeswater through the drill rod to the bottom of the well, the result of this thinning-up process being seen in the discharge at the top of the well. Since, however, an appreciable length of time is required for the water to noticeably affect the character of the discharge liquid, it results that alower chamber may be washed with comparatively clear water while gravel is being fed into it through the thicker liquid between it and the top of the well whereby a comparatively proper consistency for sage of the gravel theret rough at a desired .to so control the character of the liquid in the well that it can be maintained at the ermitting the passrate of speed to insure its uniform distribution without jamming, and at the same time to mamtam a fairly clear body of liquid at the portion of the well in whichthe gravel is being deposited. We also prefer to operate the plunger at successively ascending intervals as the gravel is being fed into the well in order to agitate the water in which the gravel is settling thereby securing a more equal distribution of the gravel in the said chambers and connecting spaces-and assisting in preventing the formation of keys and arches. At the same time the clear water will insure the removal of objectionable deposits from the porous or loose strata. The plunger is herein shown in one position at 11. Several successive descending positions are indicated at A-B-CD and E respectively, and several successive ascending positions are indicated at F-GH-I and J respectively.

It will be understood that the purpose of the equalization process or step thoroughly equalize the fluid throughout the form a solution of equal density throughout to dissolve and carry off in'suspension the deposits formed in thechambers adjacent to the loose strata. Simultaneous with the is. to-

zoo

equalization step clear water may be intro-,

the well and the mixture is thoroughly equalized the thinning up or washing out process begins. This consists of introducing. v I

clear water through the drill pipe and into the bottom of the well.- The distinctive action of clear water compared to that of aparticles and layers between or amidst argillaceous strata; a thick mud will rather Clear water will produce the opposite effect and tend to plaster up the porous seams.

Preferably the plunger is reciprocated during the admission of clear water with 95 depth of the well, and to some extent carry the result that any deposits of mud or clay remaining in the chambers 4- or otherwise.

. serving to coat the porous seams will be thoroughly washed out.

portion'of the well is thinned or washed out the aveling step may be started at once. though the upper portion of the well may at this time contain a very muddy.

' fluid, it is safe to assume that the bottom of the well where the clear water has been admitted is thorou hly washed and ready to receive gravel. uring the washing out and the introduction of the gravel the plunger is agitated, working progressively from bottom to top as the levelof the gravel rises. Suchagitation has the e'fiect, in addition to washing the walls of the bore, of

causing the gravel to settle properly and preventing theformation of keys or arches.

by the gravel between the casing and the walls of the bore. 'Itis advantageous to keep the fluid above the level of the gravel as heavy as possible, inasmuch as it prevents the, walls from caving adjacent the loose strata, and,-by reason of its greater specific gravity, this heavy fluid will, in a way, control the downward movement of the gravel and impart sufiicient movement thereto to dislodge any keys or arches formed thereby.

It will be. noted that we carryout the equalization step by agitating the fluid in the well starting at the top and working progressively downward. By so doing, any solid material dislodged near the top and falling to the bottom will later be dissolved or carried off in suspension when the plunger reaches the bottom. If the-procedure were reversed and the agitation begun at the bottom, then such solid? material as might later be dislodged near the top of the well would fall to the bottom, perhaps to remain there and mix ,with the gravel.

- Moreover, by carrying on-the agitation from top to bottom at this time the washing out and graveling steps can be started immediately when the plunger reaches the bottom of the well, and thereby we reduce the number of strips of the plunger from top to bottom, and vice versa. This is of some considerable importance from a standpoint of labor saving when it is remembered that these wells approach great depths and to couple and uncouple the necessary number of heavy pipesin attaining such depths is a matter requiring no little time and labor. As at present carried on, the plunger makes one round trip starting at the top and moving progressively down to equalize the mixture, and thereafter working progressively upward when the thinning out and graveling steps are being carried on.

It Wlll be understood that owing to varying conditions under which wells are drilled and constructed the process or method herein described will undergo various changes When the lowertaneously.

to suit these conditions, Therefore we do not limit ourselves to the exact method here- 'in' described and which at present constitutes the preferred method," but reserve to ourselves the right to vary the method within the scopeof the appended claims.

Owing to the'additional quantity of ,Water necessary to be'obtained from modern walls for irrigation purposes, the localities in which this quantity of water can be "obtained from one'stratum are restricted, To overcome this limitation it has become'more or less common practice to continue drilling until a number of different strata have been penetrated, and .then connect these up together so that when pumping-you get the benefit of the pressure in a series of strata.

While the present method of construction can easily handle one stratum, it was primarily designed to handle a multiplicity of strata, and the great stumbling block in the way of otherexperimenters to date has been to handle successfully a multiplicity of strata with the mud process and at the same time try and fill all voids in the lower strata with a pervious material without breaking down the walls of the upper strata and allowing them to cave in against the casing and defeat the end of properly preparing the lower strata. It would, naturally be assumed that had one worked out a dependable ,method of handling one stratum, the operation of handling a multiplicity of strata would be merely a repetition of the details used in handling the individual stratum, but such is not the case in actual practice in this particular method. Prior methods can successfully'handle one stratum with a good roof overhead in numerous cases, as, by using a cone on the bottom of the casing and allowing the wall of gravel surrounding the casing to help shove this casing to position.

There are numerous other successful methods which it is unnecessary to mention. But

the point which has apparently been the greatest obstacle in adapting perforated casing in a gravel filter to successful applicationwhere numerous strata have been encountered has been the fact that after the bore has beenmade to the proper size and whilev the clay is still in suspension in the well this clay must be removed before the ing this clay the void or vacany must be filled with a pervious material almost simul- Owing to the law of gravitation, whatever sand stratum or gravel stratum in the well that first breaks down of its own accord, or

is brokendown by outside means, will naturally filter down on the outside of the casing and combine with the clay and mud solution in the lower cavities and usually becomes almost impossible of removal. For instance, if there are five strata in a deep well, and the water can be allowed to enter, and in removstratum nearest the surface broke in first, the formation from this stratum would filter down on the" outside of the casing and either bridge ormix in with the mud and clay in the cavities in the lower strata. and defeat the successful development of water production in any quantity from these lower strata. Another natural law which has to be pro vided against is the fact that the finer the particles of .which the stratum is composed, and the higher percentage of voids in the stratum, the easier this stratum will break down and disintegrate. Therefore, should one encounter a stratum of fine sanhprolific in water content, and a number of feet below encounter a stratum of good water-bearing gravel, but considerably larger in size and possibly mixed with some fine sand, in developing a wellof this type by ordinary means the fine stratum (which in this instance would be'the, upper stratum) would break down first and this material would filter down on the outside of the casing and either mix with the clay solution in the lower strata (which in this instance are composed of coaiiser material%1 and deiieat th? end of pro er y ttin t e rave enve op surrou ding t li e cas ing at his point and filling the cavities properly. This has always been the greatest drawback to the successful application of prior patented screens of a vathe high cost of this type of screen, it is always endeavored to use as few lineal feet as possible to obtain the desired results, and owing to the fact that this screen depends entirely on its own construction to. properly filter the water from the strata from varying degrees of fineness, it has always been customary to order this screen for each stratum of the most suitable size mesh, bearing in mind at all times to obtain the largest mesh possible for a given stratum. Owing to this method of application, should one use a coarse mesh screen for a' lower stratum of coarse water-bearing material, and a fine mesh screen for the upper stratum of fine water-bearing material, and then break down the walls of the upper material first, 5b in developing the Well, the fine material would filter down on the outside of the casing and come in through the mesh in the lower coarser screen, making a sandy well which it would be almost impossible to re air. f V p aving thus described our invention,-what we claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is: v

'1. In deep-well construction of the type wherein the bore is kept filled with a thick fluid throughout the drilling operation and wherein a casin of less diameter than the bore is employe and a filling of gravel or like porous material placed between, the method of preparing the well for the admisriable mesh type in rotary wells. Owing to- "sion of gravel which consists in agitating said fluid throughout the depth of the well whereby to thoroughly equalize the fluid and 'take' up in solution or suspension deposits of non po'rous material formed on the walls of the bore and in the cavities surrounding the loose strata, said agitation being carried on progressivelyfrom top to bottom of the well.

2. In deep well construction of the type -wherein the bore is'kept filled with a thick take up 1n solution or suspension deposits of non-porous material formed on the wallsof the bore and the cavities surrounding the loose strata and thereafter admitting clear water under pressure to thin up the fluid and. wash out any. remaining deposits of non-porous material covering the loose strata, said agitation being carried on progressively from top to bottom of the well and the thinning-up and washing out step being carried on progressively from bottom to top of the well and timing the admission of gravel so that as soon as a space is cleaned out it will immediately be filled with gravel.

3. The method of constructing a well which consists in drilling the well, removing detritus therefrom by hydraulic means, positioning therein a casing of less diameter than the well, agitating the water in the well at descending intervals to remove deposits from the walls thereof, thinning the resulting fluid by the addition of water from the exterior of the well, introducing gravel into the space between said casing and the wall of the well, and agitating the thinned fluid at ascending intervals corresponding to the rising level of the gravel.

4.-The method of constructing a well which consists in drilling the well, removing detritus therefrom by hydraulic means, reaming the wall of the well to remove deposits therefrom, positioning therein a casing of less diameter than the well, agitating the water in the well at descending intervals to more thoroughly cleanse the walls thereof,-thinning the resulting fluid by the addition of water from the exterior of the well, introducing gravel into the space hetween'the casing and the wall of the well, and agitating the thinned fluid at ascending intervals corresponding to the rising level of the gravel.

5. The method of constructing a well which consists in drilling the well, removing detritus therefrom by hydraulic means,

reaming the wall of the well to remove dedensity by hydraulic means,- agitating the water in the well and in said casing at dewas:

osits therefrom, positioning therein a perorated casing of less diameter than the. well, forming chambers in the strata of least density by hydraulic means, agitating the water in the well at descending intervals to.

remove deposits from said chambers and equalize the density. of said water, thinning the resulting fluid by the addition of water from the exterior of the well, introducing gravel into said chambers and connecting spaces, and agltating the water in which posits therefrom, positioning therein a perforated casing of less diameter than the well, forming chambers in the strata of least scending intervals to remove deposits from said chambers and equalize'the density of- C said water by means of a plunger operated 1 said. casing, t

by the addition oi Water-from the. exterior'o'f the well, introducing gravel into said cham-" inning the j resulting fluid bers and connecting spaces, and agitating the water in which'said'gravel isplaced.

-7. The method of constructing a well which consists in drilling thewell', removing detritus therefrom by hydraulic means,

positioning therein a casingoflessgdiameter than the well, agitating the water in the well at descending intervals andthen at ascending intervals, and introducing gravel' 'into the well between the said casing and the Wall of the well during the. 'second-men tioned agitation of the water therein. In testimony whereof; they have hereunto set their hands in the presence of two subscribing witnesses. v

PERCY V1 UGH N; STANLEY 'HALSTEAD;

Witnesses: l

N. CALL,

.0. moms;

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Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2602516A (en) * 1949-05-02 1952-07-08 Gray David Paxton Method and apparatus for removing oil sands from oil wells
US2687774A (en) * 1949-12-20 1954-08-31 Sun Oil Co Method of preparing wells for production

Cited By (2)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US2602516A (en) * 1949-05-02 1952-07-08 Gray David Paxton Method and apparatus for removing oil sands from oil wells
US2687774A (en) * 1949-12-20 1954-08-31 Sun Oil Co Method of preparing wells for production

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