US20090000787A1 - Inflow control device - Google Patents

Inflow control device Download PDF

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Publication number
US20090000787A1
US20090000787A1 US11/769,020 US76902007A US2009000787A1 US 20090000787 A1 US20090000787 A1 US 20090000787A1 US 76902007 A US76902007 A US 76902007A US 2009000787 A1 US2009000787 A1 US 2009000787A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
body
fluid
control device
end
annulus
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Abandoned
Application number
US11/769,020
Inventor
Bunker Hill
Mark Fraker
Qing Yao
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Schlumberger Technology Corp
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Schlumberger Technology Corp
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Priority to US11/769,020 priority Critical patent/US20090000787A1/en
Assigned to SCHLUMBERGER TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION reassignment SCHLUMBERGER TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: HILL, BUNKER, FRAKER, MARK, YAO, QING
Publication of US20090000787A1 publication Critical patent/US20090000787A1/en
Application status is Abandoned legal-status Critical

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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
    • E21B43/00Methods or apparatus for obtaining oil, gas, water, soluble or meltable materials or a slurry of minerals from wells
    • E21B43/12Methods or apparatus for controlling the flow of the obtained fluid to or in wells
    • 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
    • E21B43/00Methods or apparatus for obtaining oil, gas, water, soluble or meltable materials or a slurry of minerals from wells
    • E21B43/02Subsoil filtering
    • E21B43/08Screens or liners
    • 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
    • E21B43/00Methods or apparatus for obtaining oil, gas, water, soluble or meltable materials or a slurry of minerals from wells
    • E21B43/32Preventing gas- or water- coning phenomena, i.e. the formation of a conical column of gas or water around wells

Abstract

An inflow control device is disclosed for use in controlling the flow of fluid into a production tubing in a subterranean wellbore. The device is especially adapted for use with sand screen apparatus, but is modular in that it is manufactured separately from the sand screen apparatus. An inflow control device according to the present invention contains an orifice having an opening which is adjustable in size and which is disposed in the device to permit communication of fluid from one end of the body to the other. An inflow control device according to the present invention may be utilized with multiple sand screen assemblies.

Description

    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to an inflow control device for use in regulating the flow of fluid in a horizontal subterranean wellbore.
  • 2. Description of the Prior Art
  • In long horizontal wellbores, water or gas coning has a tendency to develop near the heel of the wellbore, because of the buildup of frictional pressure loss towards the toe in the base pipe. The total oil recovery from the well may be significantly reduced as coning results in a much lower oil production rate, which, if allowed to continue, eventually makes the well unprofitable.
  • Inflow control devices are used to regulate the amount of fluid flowing into the base pipe to avoid coning and to achieve a preferential production of profile. One type of input control device may be deployed via the sand screen assembly. A sand screen joint is usually between 35 and 40 feet long and one inflow control device may be fabricated as part of that joint. Typically, the inflow control device comprises a nozzle through which production fluid may pass. On the upstream side of the nozzle, a plurality of openings are formed in the base pipe, and the number and size of the openings dictate the level of flow of production fluid through that joint.
  • The anticipated pressure profile for the well is used in designing the sand screen/inflow control device joints in a production string, with the number and size of the openings in the base pipe being greater at a joint near the toe than at a joint near the heel of the production tubing. The number and configuration of sand screen/inflow control device combinations in a given wellbore are thus different from one another and are the result of a unique design effort for each wellbore. Sand screen/inflow control device combinations have typically been designed and manufactured at one location and shipped to the wellbore site where they are assembled. The joints must then be assembled in a particular order at the well site in accordance with the design criteria. The drawbacks from using this technique are that errors in assembly may occur at the well site and substantial time and money are required to design and fabricate a production string unique to each wellbore.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • In accordance with the present invention, an inflow control device is provided for use in controlling the flow of fluid into a production tubing in a subterranean wellbore. The input control device comprises a body with two ends comprising inner and outer concentric tubular members with an annulus between the members, where the annulus is closed at one end of the body and open at the other end of the body. An opening is formed in the inner tubular member proximate the end of the body which is closed, and a wall is disposed in the annulus between the first and second ends of the body. An orifice is disposed in the wall in the annulus to permit communication of fluid from one of the body to other.
  • In accordance with the present invention, the orifice has an opening which is variable in size. Thus, a given production tubing may be implemented using an inflow control device whose flow control characteristics may be adjusted in the field. In one embodiment of the present invention, the orifice comprises a variable pressure control valve while in another embodiment of the invention, the orifice comprises a variable relief valve. In yet a further embodiment of the invention, the adjustable orifice comprises an opening formed in the wall between the first and second ends of the body and the plate for adjusting the size of the opening through which fluid may flow when the inflow control device is part of the production tubing.
  • In accordance with the present invention, apparatus is provided for controlling the flow of fluid from the subterranean wellbore into a production tubing in that subterranean wellbore. The apparatus comprises a plurality of sand screen assemblies which are connected together in tandem. An uninterrupted path exists through the sand screen assemblies for fluid to flow.
  • An inflow control device is coupled to the upstream end of the plurality of sand screen assemblies for controlling the flow of fluid into the production tubing.
  • In one embodiment of the present invention, the aforesaid apparatus includes an inflow control device as described above.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • In the accompanying drawings:
  • FIG. 1 is a schematic diagram in cross-section of apparatus in accordance with the present invention being utilized in conjunction with a sand screen assembly.
  • FIG. 2 is a schematic diagram in cross-section of an alternative embodiment of the apparatus of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram in cross-section of a single inflow control apparatus according to the present invention being utilized with a plurality of sand screen assemblies.
  • DESCRIPTION OF THE SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS
  • It will be appreciated that the present invention may take many forms and embodiments. In the following description, some embodiments of the invention are described and numerous details are set forth to provide an understanding of the present invention. Those skilled in the art will appreciate, however, that the present invention may be practiced without those details and that numerous variations and modifications from the described embodiments may be possible. The following description is thus intended to illustrate and not to limit the present invention.
  • With reference to FIG. 1, one embodiment of an inflow control device 101 in accordance with the present invention is illustrated. Inflow control device 101 comprises a body with two ends 101 a and 101 b, and the body comprises inner and outer concentric tubular members 102 and 103, respectively. An annulus 106 is defined between tubular members 102 and 103, with the annulus 106 being closed at end 101 b and being open at end 101 a of inflow control device 101. An opening 107 is formed in inner tubular member 102 proximate end 101 b which is closed.
  • Wall 105 is disposed in the annulus 106 between ends 101 a and 101 b of inflow control device 101, and an orifice, 108 is established in the wall 105 to permit the communication of fluid from one side of the body of inflow control 101 to other. A significant aspect of an input control device in accordance with the present invention is that the size of the opening in orifice 108 is adjustable.
  • In one embodiment of the present invention, the adjustable orifice 108 comprises a variable pressure control valve, while in another embodiment of the invention, the adjustable orifice comprises a variable relief valve. In yet another embodiment of the invention, the adjustable orifice comprises an opening formed in wall 105 and a movable plate for covering a portion of that opening to regulate the flow of fluid through the opening.
  • In operation, the opening in adjustable orifice 108 may be adjusted appropriately based on the position of the inflow control device 101 in the production tubing string. Such adjustment may, for example, be made when the production string is being assembled at the well site. Inflow control device 101 may then be operatively connected to the upstream end of sand screen assembly 115 and to the downstream end of sand screen assembly 116. Such connections may, for example, be effected by using threaded connections.
  • Still referring to FIG. 1, when the production string is installed in a wellbore, production fluid will flow from the wellbore into and through sand screen assembly 115 as indicated by arrows 120 and 121, respectively. The production flow then passes through orifice 108, through opening 107 and into the production tubing, as indicated by arrow 122.
  • With reference now to FIG. 2, an alternative embodiment of the apparatus of FIG. 1 is illustrated. In FIG. 2, the two inflow control devices 101 are coupled to the sand screen assemblies 140, 141 using sealing techniques, such as seals 143. Also each sand screen assembly 140, 141 includes a sealing plug 155 which must be installed in each sand screen assembly in the embodiment of FIG. 2.
  • With reference now to FIG. 3, there is illustrated yet another alternative embodiment of apparatus in accordance with the present invention. The embodiment of FIG. 3 includes two sand screen assemblies 151 and 152 which are connected together in tandem. Each sand screen assembly 151, 152 includes a sealing plug 155, and, when two such tubular members are joined together as illustrated in FIG. 3, the sealing plug from one of the sand screen assemblies, i.e., assembly 151, is removed to provide an uninterrupted fluid flow path through the two sand screen assemblies.
  • Still referring to FIG. 3, inflow control device 101 (as described above) is coupled to the upstream end of sand screen assembly 151 as discussed above, and adjustable orifice 108 may be adjusted prior to installation of the inflow control device into the production tubing in order to regulate the amount of flow through the device into the production flow.
  • While FIG. 3 illustrates two sand screen assemblies 151, 152 joined in tandem with an inflow control device 101, it will be understood that any number of sand screen assemblies may be connected in tandem with inflow control device 101.
  • Further, while the foregoing description has focused on use of the present invention in connection with flow from the wellbore into the production string, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention may also be utilized when injecting fluids into the wellbore. The appended claims are intended to cover all such uses.
  • Several advantages are realized with an inflow control device 101 according to the present invention. First, the openings 107 may be a uniform size for all inflow control devices in the production string, with the flow through a given inflow control device being regulated by the setting of adjustable orifice 108. Having a uniform size for openings 107 reduces the complexity and cost of production. Second, inflow control devices 101 according to the present invention may be mass produced, which also results in less expensive devices. Third, by having the inflow control device be manufactured separately from the sand screens, the sand screens may also be mass produced with an attendant reduction in cost over the cost of prior art devices. Fourth, the operator has the ability to tailor the production from the wellbore at the well site by using the present invention.

Claims (14)

1. An inflow control device for use in controlling the flow of fluid into a production tubing in a subterranean wellbore, comprising:
a body with two ends comprising inner and outer concentric tubular members with an annulus between said members, where the annulus is closed at one end of the body and is open at the other end of the body;
an opening formed in the inner tubular member proximate the end of the body which is closed;
a wall which is disposed in the annulus between the first and second ends of the body; and
an orifice having an opening which is adjustable in size and which is disposed in the wall in the annulus to permit communication of fluid from one end of the body to the other.
2. The inflow control device of claim 1, wherein the adjustable orifice comprises a variable pressure control valve.
3. The inflow control device of claim 1, wherein the adjustable orifice comprises a variable relief valve.
4. The inflow control device of claim 1, wherein the adjustable orifice comprises an opening formed in the wall between the first and second ends of the body and a movable plate for covering a portion of the opening to regulate the flow of fluid through the opening.
5. Apparatus for use in controlling the flow of fluid between a subterranean wellbore and a production tubing in the subterranean wellbore, comprising:
a plurality of sand screen assemblies which are connected together in tandem where an uninterrupted fluid flow path exists through said sand screen assemblies; and
an inflow control device which is coupled to the upstream end of the plurality of sand screen assemblies for controlling flow of fluid between the production tubing and the wellbore.
6. The apparatus of claim 5, wherein the inflow control device comprises:
a body with two ends comprising inner and outer concentric tubular members with an annulus between said members, where the annulus is closed at one end of the body and is open at the other end of the body;
an opening formed in the inner tubular member proximate the end of the body which is closed;
a wall which is disposed in the annulus between the first and second ends of the body; and
an orifice which is disposed in the wall in the annulus ends to permit communication of fluid from one end of the body to the other, said orifice having an opening which is variable in size.
7. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the orifice comprises a variable pressure control valve.
8. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the orifice comprises a variable relief valve.
9. The apparatus of claim 6, wherein the adjustable orifice comprises an opening formed in the wall between the first and second ends of the body and a movable plate for adjusting the size of the opening through which fluid may flow.
10. Apparatus for use in controlling the flow of fluid between a subterranean wellbore and a production tubing in the subterranean wellbore, comprising:
a tubular member which includes sand screen apparatus; and
an inflow control device which is manufactured separately from the tubular member and which coupled to the upstream end of the tubular member for controlling flow of fluid between the wellbore and the production tubing.
11. The apparatus of claim 10, wherein the inflow control device comprises:
a body with two ends comprising inner and outer concentric tubular members with an annulus between said members, where the annulus is closed at one end of the body and is open at the other end of the body;
an opening formed in the inner tubular member proximate the end of the body which is closed;
a wall which is disposed in the annulus between the first and second ends of the body; and
an orifice which is disposed in the wall in the annulus ends to permit communication of fluid from one end of the body to the other, said orifice having an opening which is variable in size.
12. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the orifice comprises a variable pressure control valve.
13. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the orifice comprises a variable relief valve.
14. The apparatus of claim 11, wherein the adjustable orifice comprises an opening formed in the wall between the first and second ends of the body and a movable plate for adjusting the size of the opening through which fluid may flow.
US11/769,020 2007-06-27 2007-06-27 Inflow control device Abandoned US20090000787A1 (en)

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US11/769,020 US20090000787A1 (en) 2007-06-27 2007-06-27 Inflow control device
GB0808508A GB2450589B (en) 2007-06-27 2008-05-12 Inflow control device
CNU2008201170137U CN201269089Y (en) 2007-06-27 2008-06-13 Inflow control means
CN 200810125428 CN101333920A (en) 2007-06-27 2008-06-13 Inflow control device
NO20082731A NO20082731L (en) 2007-06-27 2008-06-18 Innstromningsstyreanordning

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CN201269089Y (en) 2009-07-08
CN101333920A (en) 2008-12-31

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