US20140116688A1 - Downhole water detection system and method - Google Patents

Downhole water detection system and method Download PDF

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Publication number
US20140116688A1
US20140116688A1 US14/148,045 US201414148045A US2014116688A1 US 20140116688 A1 US20140116688 A1 US 20140116688A1 US 201414148045 A US201414148045 A US 201414148045A US 2014116688 A1 US2014116688 A1 US 2014116688A1
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United States
Prior art keywords
water
chemical element
detectable chemical
detectable
formation
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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
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US14/148,045
Inventor
Dario Casciaro
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Baker Hughes Inc
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Baker Hughes Inc
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Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US12/981,083 priority Critical patent/US8668019B2/en
Application filed by Baker Hughes Inc filed Critical Baker Hughes Inc
Priority to US14/148,045 priority patent/US20140116688A1/en
Publication of US20140116688A1 publication Critical patent/US20140116688A1/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
    • E21B44/00Automatic control systems specially adapted for drilling operations, i.e. self-operating systems which function to carry out or modify a drilling operation without intervention of a human operator, e.g. computer-controlled drilling systems; Systems specially adapted for monitoring a plurality of drilling variables or conditions
    • 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
    • E21B33/00Sealing or packing boreholes or wells
    • E21B33/10Sealing or packing boreholes or wells in the borehole
    • E21B33/12Packers; Plugs
    • E21B33/1208Packers; Plugs characterised by the construction of the sealing or packing means

Abstract

A downhole water detection system configured to detect presence of water in an underground location. The system includes a chemical sensor disposable within a tubular in a borehole; and a first water detection body including a first detectable chemical element surrounded by water soluble glass. Wherein the first water detection body is locatable within a fractured formation wherein the chemical sensor is arranged to sense the first detectable chemical element when formation water dissolves the water soluble glass. Also included is a method of detecting water in a formation.

Description

    CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a divisional application of U.S. Non Provisional Application Ser. No. 12/981,083 filed Dec. 29, 2010, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
  • BACKGROUND
  • While drilling and producing wells for the recovery of petroleum and other subsurface deposits, it is often necessary to close off or plug a tubular conduit, such as a string of tubing extending from the well surface to a subterranean location, at a chosen point along the length of the conduit. Subsequently, it is necessary to be able to re-open the conduit for flow therethrough. A plug used to close off the tubing during setting of a well tool, such as a packer, may then be released so that fluid may be circulated through the tubing.
  • Certain types of plugs are designed to be permanently installed, and they must be drilled or milled to be removed, which can be labor intensive. Other types of plugs are designed to be retrieved when the purpose for which the plug has been installed has been accomplished. Retrievable plugs generally employ some form of releasable anchoring device by which the plug may be secured to the internal bore of the well pipe and which may then be released to enable the plug to be withdrawn. One disadvantage of this prior art arrangement is that a restriction in the internal diameter of the tubing string often accompanies the design. Also, the prior art plugs were often retrieved on a wireline and the retrieval operation was complicated in the case of deviated well bores. Debris that sometimes accumulates on the top of the retrievable plug can also cause issues in the wellbore.
  • Another prior art plug design involves the incorporation of a plug of expendable material and an actuating device used to dislocate or fracture the plug upon receipt of a triggering signal. The potential for remaining and problematic debris from the plug in the tubing string or wellbore must be carefully monitored in such devices. Sand plugs, for instance, have been provided for zonal isolation within wellbores, however the integrity of such sand plugs can be inconsistent and remaining particulates must be dealt with.
  • Also while producing wells for the recovery of petroleum and other subsurface deposits, unexpected formation water leads to increased, and often undesirable, water handling requirements and costs.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY
  • A downhole water detection system configured to detect presence of water in an underground location, the system includes: a chemical sensor disposable within a tubular in a borehole; and a first water detection body including a first detectable chemical element surrounded by water soluble glass, wherein the first water detection body is locatable within a fractured formation; wherein the chemical sensor is arranged to sense the first detectable chemical element when formation water dissolves the water soluble glass.
  • A method of detecting water in a formation, the method includes directing a first water detection body including a first detectable chemical element embedded within water soluble glass to an underground location of a formation.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The following descriptions should not be considered limiting in any way. With reference to the accompanying drawings, like elements are numbered alike:
  • FIG. 1 depicts a schematic view of a well bore completion showing an exemplary embodiment of a dissolvable plug;
  • FIG. 2 depicts a cross sectional view of an exemplary embodiment of the dissolvable plug of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 depicts a cross sectional view of another exemplary embodiment of the dissolvable plug of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 4 depicts a cross-sectional view of an exemplary embodiment of a dissolution advancement system;
  • FIGS. 5A-5C depict various embodiments of a protective oil-based layer on the dissolvable plug of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 6 depicts a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of a chemical employing system for removing the protective oil-based layer of FIGS. 5A-5C;
  • FIG. 7 depicts a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of a mechanical device for removing the protective oil-based layer of FIGS. 5A-5C;
  • FIG. 8 depicts a schematic view of an exemplary embodiment of a system for detecting formation water;
  • FIG. 9 depicts a circuit diagram for use with a chemical sensor within the exemplary system of FIG. 8; and,
  • FIG. 10 depicts a circuit diagram of an exemplary embodiment of a closure device.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • A detailed description of one or more embodiments of the disclosed apparatus and method are presented herein by way of exemplification and not limitation with reference to the Figures.
  • Referring to FIG. 1, a wellbore 10 is shown lined with a casing 12, also known as a tubular, tubular housing, string, etc. A tubing mounted valve 14 may be located within the string of casing 12. A packer 16 isolates an annular region 18 between the casing 12 and the wellbore 10. According to exemplary embodiments of the present invention, a dissolvable plug 20 initially closes off flow from a perforated zone 100 up the internal bore 22 of the casing 12 to the well surface 24. The dissolvable plug 20 forms a portion of the well tool 26, and may, in one exemplary embodiment, have an outer diameter which is approximately equal to an internal diameter of the casing 12 forming the flow path to the well surface 24 where the plug 20 is seated. Thus, the plug 20 advantageously need not require any significant constructions or devices that restricts an internal diameter of the internal bore 22 of the casing 12, however, as shown in FIG. 2, a small seat 30 such as seating device or shoulder or other protrusion may be provided to ensure that the plug 20 does not slide out of place. In an exemplary embodiment, the seating device 30 may be made from the same dissolvable material as the plug 20.
  • In an alternative exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 3, in lieu of seating device 30, the casing 12 may include a section 36 have an internal diameter in an area for receiving the plug 20 that is larger than an internal diameter of a remainder of the internal bore 22 of the casing 12. In this case, the plug 20 may be formed with the casing 12 prior to positioning the tubing in the wellbore 10.
  • The plug 20 may be formed and pre stressed within a section of the tubing string or casing 12 to provide sufficient strength against pressure within the tubing. In an alternative exemplary embodiment, the plug 20 may first be formed as a separate element and then secured within the casing 12 using an adhesive component such as, but not limited to, the same dissolvable material as the plug 20.
  • In these exemplary embodiments, the plug 20 is made of water soluble glass, which is made from silica and soda. Soda reduces the melting point of silica, which makes it easier to create glass, and soda also renders the glass water soluble. The most prevalent type of glass is soda-lime glass, also called soda-lime-silica glass, where the lime is added to restore insolubility. In one exemplary embodiment of the plug 20, made from soda and silica and without lime, the water soluble glass plug 20 will dissolve when in contact with water or steam. Some samples have been shown to dissolve at a rate of about 0.0001″ per minute at about 180° F., however the solubility rate is temperature sensitive to the water that it is dissolved in, and salt water has been shown to dissolve the water soluble glass at a slower rate. In a non aqueous environment, the material remains intact at high temperatures, such as about 1500° F. to about 2000° F. As another important feature, the plug 20 is insoluble to oil and petroleum based liquids and this feature may be advantageously employed in the present invention.
  • In one exemplary embodiment, the plug 20 is formed using water soluble glass with dimensions and content suitable for its intended applications. By varying and balancing both the thickness of the plug and the content of soda in the glass matrix, the solubility can be modulated. For example, the thickness and soda content of a plug 20 can be adjusted such that a wellbore tool 26, such as a packer, remains plugged until the required operation is carried out.
  • While the plug 20 may be installed in the casing 12 using conventional methods, the removal of the plug 20 may be determined based on intended use. In one exemplary embodiment, the plug 20 is installed in the wellbore tool 26 in a conventional manner and may be allowed to begin dissolving while the operation is being carried out, so long as the plug 20 is not completely dissolved until after the operation is completed. In another exemplary embodiment, the thickness of the plug 20 may be sufficiently thick and the soda content sufficiently low such that the plug 20 barely dissolves even in the presence of water to guarantee that a required operation is completed before dissolution.
  • In an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 4, to advance the dissolution of the plug 20, at least one fluid port 40, or a plurality of fluid ports 40 may be provided in an area circumferentially surrounding the plug 20. Water or heated water may be provided to the plug 20 at a time when the plug 20 is to be dissolved. The temperature of the water and the time the plug 20 is exposed to the water may both be selected to dissolve the plug 20 in a desired amount of time. The fluid ports 40 may be arranged such that the water or heated water is directed towards a portion of the plug 20 that is desired to be dissolved first.
  • In yet another exemplary embodiment, as shown in FIGS. 5A-5C, the plug 20 includes a protective oil-based layer 50 deployed on at least one surface of the plug 20 to prevent the plug 20 from coming into contact with water, thereby retaining its initial structure until the layer 50 is removed and water is introduced to the plug 20. In an exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 5A, the layer 50 is deployed on an upper surface 52 of the plug 20, such as a surface facing an uphole direction of the wellbore 10. In another exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 5B, the lower surface 54 of the plug 20 includes a protective oil-based layer 50, such as a surface facing a downhole direction of the wellbore 10, and in yet another exemplary embodiment shown in FIG. 5C, at least both the upper and lower surfaces 52, 54 of the plug 20 include a protective oil-based layer 50, such as all surfaces of the plug 20.
  • Removal of the oil-based layer 50 may be accomplished using a mechanical device and/or chemical means. To chemically remove the oil-based layer 50, surfactants, such as emulsifiers, detergents, etc., may be used to break the bonds holding the molecules of the oil together so that the oil molecules can be separated and rinsed away. As shown in FIG. 6, the chemical introduction may occur using fluid ports 40 that direct the oil removing chemical substance towards the oil-based layer 50. These may be the same ports 40 that direct water or heated water to the plug 20 for dissolution of the plug 20. The fluid ports 40 may also be used to vacuum the oil removing chemical substance and oil-based layer 50 away from the plug 20. While certain chemical removal embodiments are described, other devices to chemically remove the layer from the plug would be within the scope of these embodiments.
  • As shown in FIG. 7, to mechanically remove the oil based layer 50 from the plug 20, a mechanical device 56 may extend from the casing 12, such as a scraper or brush which may be used to at least partially remove the protective layer. The scraper or brush may be a single blade used to wipe off the oil, matter used to absorb the oil, a series of bristles, etc. The mechanical device 56 may be actuated using known downhole tool actuators and may rotate along an interior of the casing 12 to wipe off the layer 56. The mechanical device may also includes elements made of water soluble material, such as water soluble glass, such that it can also be dissolved in the presence of water. While certain mechanical removal embodiments are described, other devices to mechanically remove the layer from the plug would be within the scope of these embodiments.
  • Although the plug 20 has been described as being removed by dissolving with water, in yet another exemplary embodiment, the plug may be removed by first breaking the glass structure of the plug 20. Breaking the glass structure of the plug 20 may be accomplished by using any known fracturing technique. By fracturing the plug 20 and introducing water to interior surfaces of the plug 20, the plug 20 will quickly dissolve and be absorbed by the wellbore fluid.
  • The exemplary embodiments disclosed thus far have provided a glass water soluble plug 20 for use in plugging a tool 26 until removal of the plug 20 is warranted. Alternative exemplary embodiments of designs and methods for employing the water soluble glass material within the wellbore 10 will now be described.
  • In one exemplary embodiment for employing water soluble glass in a wellbore 10, as shown in FIG. 8, the water soluble glass is used as a carrier for long term curing chemicals, which are embedded in the glass matrix, for fracturing/stimulating operations. The glass body 104, when sent down the well bore 10 or into perforations 100 would be able to store chemicals underground and release them only when exposed to formation water. When the glass body 104 is dissolved by formation water, the chemicals are released and enter the casing 12 through openings 108 in tool 110 and they may then be sensed by a chemical sensor 106, which in turn may send a communication signal that indicates the presence of formation water, may actuate a downhole tool such as opening or closing a sleeve, or may increase a count on a counter.
  • Similar to the above-described exemplary embodiment, in another exemplary embodiment for employing water soluble glass in a wellbore 10, different detectable chemical elements are embedded in the glass matrix and glass bodies 112 including the different detectable chemical elements are pumped in multi-layered fractured formations. That is, a glass body or bodies 104 containing a first detectable chemical element may be pumped or otherwise directed into a first layer or perforation 100 of the well, while a glass body or bodies 112 containing a second detectable chemical element, different than the first detectable chemical element, is pumped into a second layer or perforation 102 of the well which is distanced from the first layer or perforation 100. First and second chemical sensors 106, 114 may be positioned within the casing 12 for detecting the existence of the corresponding chemicals, and may trigger the appropriate response as described above. While only two different detectable chemical elements and layers are described, it would be within the scope of these embodiments to include multiple different chemical elements for detecting formation water from any number of layers. Thus, it is possible to detect from what specific layer formation water is coming from depending on which chemical sensor is activated. While two chemical sensors have been described, it would also be within the scope of these embodiments to employ a single chemical sensor, which reacts differently, depending on which chemical is detected.
  • An exemplary embodiment of chemical sensor 106 is shown in FIG. 9. Sensor 106 is communicatively connected to and triggers switch 116 closing a circuit to battery 118 and powering actuation mechanism 120.
  • In yet another exemplary embodiment, the water soluble glass is used as an inexpensive override system to actuate a downhole tool. In one such exemplary embodiment, the water soluble glass may be used to shut down a non-deepset safety valve. In a condition where the chamber becomes flooded by water, replacing oil initially present, a passive dissolvable part made with the water soluble glass may then initiate a process that leads to the final closure of a flapper. The process may be completely mechanical, such as by the passive dissolvable part releasing a latch. Alternatively, as represented by FIG. 10, the dissolvable part 122 may include an electrode and when a water soluble glass covering of the part 122 is dissolved by water, the electrode is ground to the casing 12 or to the wellbore fluids and completes the circuit. Dissolving the encapsulated electrode completes the circuit and allows power to flow across the actuator mechanism 126 to actuate the downhole tool.
  • While the invention has been described with reference to an exemplary embodiment or embodiments, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes may be made and equivalents may be substituted for elements thereof without departing from the scope of the invention. In addition, many modifications may be made to adapt a particular situation or material to the teachings of the invention without departing from the essential scope thereof. Therefore, it is intended that the invention not be limited to the particular embodiment disclosed as the best mode contemplated for carrying out this invention, but that the invention will include all embodiments falling within the scope of the claims. Also, in the drawings and the description, there have been disclosed exemplary embodiments of the invention and, although specific terms may have been employed, they are unless otherwise stated used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for purposes of limitation, the scope of the invention therefore not being so limited. Moreover, the use of the terms first, second, etc. do not denote any order or importance, but rather the terms first, second, etc. are used to distinguish one element from another. Furthermore, the use of the terms a, an, etc. do not denote a limitation of quantity, but rather denote the presence of at least one of the referenced item.

Claims (20)

1. A downhole water detection system configured to detect presence of water in an underground location, the system comprising:
a chemical sensor disposable within a tubular in a borehole; and
a first water detection body including a first detectable chemical element surrounded by water soluble glass, wherein the first water detection body is locatable within a fractured formation;
wherein the chemical sensor is arranged to sense the first detectable chemical element when formation water dissolves the water soluble glass.
2. The system of claim 1, further comprising a second water detection body including a second detectable chemical element surrounded by water soluble glass, the second detectable chemical element different than the first detectable chemical element.
3. The system of claim 2 wherein the chemical sensor is a first chemical sensor, and further comprising a second chemical sensor disposable within the tubular and configured to sense the second detectable chemical element when formation water dissolves the water soluble glass of the second water detection body.
4. The system of claim 3 wherein the first chemical sensor is longitudinally distanced from the second chemical sensor.
5. The system of claim 2, wherein the chemical sensor determines a location of formation water based on which detectable chemical element is sensed.
6. The system of claim 1, further comprising the tubular, wherein the tubular includes at least one opening configured to receive the first detectable chemical element there through if the water soluble glass of the first water detection body is dissolved by water.
7. The system of claim 1, wherein the first water detection body is seated within a fractured formation until the water soluble glass dissolves and the first detectable chemical element enters the tubular.
8. The system of claim 1, further comprising a communication signal sent by the chemical sensor upon sensing of the first detectable chemical element, the communication signal indicating presence of formation water.
9. The system of claim 1, wherein the first detectable chemical element is a curing chemical.
10. The system of claim 1 wherein the chemical sensor includes a circuit which closes upon detection of the first detectable chemical element to power an actuation mechanism.
11. A method of detecting water in a formation, the method comprising:
directing a first water detection body including a first detectable chemical element embedded within water soluble glass to an underground location of a formation.
12. The method of claim 11, further comprising conducting one of a fracturing and stimulating operation prior to directing the first water detection body to the location.
13. The method of claim 11 further comprising reacting to presence of water, subsequent dissolution of the water soluble glass and release of the first detectable chemical element, by sensing the first detectable chemical element.
14. The method of claim 13, further comprising disposing a sensor within a casing, the sensor reactive to the first detectable chemical element.
15. The method of claim 13, wherein reacting to the presence of water further includes, subsequent sensing the first detectable chemical element, triggering an actuating device to close a wellbore.
16. The method of claim 13, wherein reacting to the presence of water further includes, subsequent sensing the first detectable chemical element, triggering an actuating device to close a sleeve.
17. The method of claim 11, further comprising directing a second water detection body including a second detectable chemical element different than the first detectable chemical element within a second body of water soluble glass, to a different underground location or different fractured formation than the first water detection body.
18. The method of claim 17, further comprising determining a location of formation water by sensing one of the first and second detectable chemical elements released from dissolved water soluble glass.
19. The method of claim 18, further comprising, subsequent determining a location of formation water, closing a sleeve at the location of formation water.
20. The method of claim 16, further comprising disposing first and second chemical sensors at longitudinally displaced locations within a tubular, the first and second chemical sensors reactive to the first and second detectable chemical elements, respectively.
US14/148,045 2010-12-29 2014-01-06 Downhole water detection system and method Abandoned US20140116688A1 (en)

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US12/981,083 US8668019B2 (en) 2010-12-29 2010-12-29 Dissolvable barrier for downhole use and method thereof
US14/148,045 US20140116688A1 (en) 2010-12-29 2014-01-06 Downhole water detection system and method

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US14/148,045 US20140116688A1 (en) 2010-12-29 2014-01-06 Downhole water detection system and method

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