US3606924A - Well tool for use in a tubular string - Google Patents

Well tool for use in a tubular string Download PDF

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Publication number
US3606924A
US3606924A US3606924DA US3606924A US 3606924 A US3606924 A US 3606924A US 3606924D A US3606924D A US 3606924DA US 3606924 A US3606924 A US 3606924A
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Prior art keywords
means
element
body
end
bore
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Billy C Malone
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Lynes Inc
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Lynes Inc
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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
    • E21B21/00Methods or apparatus for flushing boreholes, e.g. by use of exhaust air from motor
    • 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
    • E21B21/00Methods or apparatus for flushing boreholes, e.g. by use of exhaust air from motor
    • E21B21/10Valves arrangements in drilling fluid circulation systems
    • 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
    • E21B33/127Packers; Plugs with inflatable sleeve

Abstract

A WELL TOOL INCORPORATING A REINFORCED INFLATABLE ELEMENT WHICH IS CARRIED BY THE DRILL STRING IN THE WELL BORE AND REMAINS DEFLATED DURING ROTARY DRILLING OPERATIONS WHICH CAN BE INFLATED TO SEAL OFF THE WELL BORE TO ENABLE VARIOUS OPERATIONS TO BE PERFORMED IN THE WELL BORE AND THE ELEMENT THEREAFTER DEFLATED AND ROTARY DRILLING OPERATIONS RESUMED. THIS OPERATION MAY BE REPEATED AS OFTEN AS DESIRED.

Description

Sept. 21; 1971 a. c. MALONE 3,505,924

I WELL TOOL FOR USEIN A TUBULAR STRING Filed Jan 28, 1969 a Sheets-Sheet 1 4.9 5/ 52a so 0/. I Z 43c 3 f 52 43a 4; 43 Z I s l l 45 01 y 4 37a i a A A9 INVENTOR E/Y/g C Ma/one B Y Magda MaHlewL IITTORNE YS Sept. 21, 1971 B. c. MALONE 3,505,924

WELL TOOL FOR USE IN A TUBULAR STRING Filed Jan. 28. 1969 a Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR flf/{y C Ma/one Magda lume! HAW L MaHLewA HTTORNE YS Sept 1, 1971 B. c. MALONE 3,606,924

WELL TOOL FOR USE IN A TUBULAR STRING Filed Jan. 28, 1969 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 ATTORNEYS p 21, 1971 B. c. MALONE 3,606,924

WELL TOOL FOR USE IN A TUBULAR STRING Filed Jan. 28, 1969 8 Sheets-Sheet 4 INVENTOR 5/ C Ala/o0 a Magda new! & MaHLewA ATTORNE YS P 21, 1971 B. c. MALONE 3,606,924

WELL TOOL FOR USE IN A TUBULAR STRING Filed Jan. 28 1969 8 Sheets-Sheet 5 INI EN TOR .15 C Ma/an e Ma da hone! Willem (L Matthew 14 TTOR N E YS Sept. 21, 1971 B. c. MALONE WELL TOOL FOR USE IN ATUBULAR STRING 8 Sheets-Sheet 6 Filed Jan. 28, 1969 ID 7 J M a 5 3 f f f fi 11111 w n huwuv W .m I- 44 5 lNl ENTOR .B/// 9 C. Ma/one #11 1101 rmuef MAW 6 MaHLewA flTTORNE YS Sept. 21, 1971 WELL TO Filed Jan. 28, 1969 B. c. MALONE 3,606,924

0L FOR USE IN A TUBULAR STRING 8 Sheets-Sheet '7 INVENTOR .45/'/@ (T Mar/006 Magda pmwef Wibrm & MGHLQW 14 T'I'OR NE YS United States Patent Oflice 3,606,924 WELL TOOL FOR USE IN A TUBULAR STRING Billy C. Malone, Houston, Tex., assignor to Lynes, Inc. Filed Jan. 28, 1969, Ser. No. 794,682 Int. Cl. E21b 33/127 US. Cl. 166-187 42 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A well tool incorporating a reinforced inflatable element which is carried by the drill string in the well bore and remains deflated during rotary drilling operations, which can be inflated to seal off the well bore to enable various operations to be performed in the well bore and the element thereafter deflated and rotary drilling operations resumed. This operation may be repeated as often as desired.

' CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION The present invention illustrates one form of tool which may be employed in practicing the method disclosed and claimed in my copending application for Method of Testing, Treating and Isolating Formations During Drilling, filed Dec. 13, 1968, and bearing Ser. No. 790,501.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION (1) Field of the invention The field of the present invention relates to tools incorporating a reinforced inflatable element for running as an integral part of a rotary drill string for a well bore, mine shaft, opening in a conduit to be drilled out, or in other environments. The reinforced inflatable element is mounted so as to remain deflated and it may be inflated when desired to seal off with a surrounding wall opening to enable various operations to be performed in the well opening therebelow. For example, during Well bore drilling operations it may be desired to test a particular formation encountered and the present invention permits this. It also relates to the problem of treating blowouts by pumping material down the drill string into the blowout zone after inflation of the element. The device could also be used to pump lost circulation material into a serious thief zone.

It relates to the field which enables other operations to be also performed and then the element can be deflated and desired drilling operations resumed.

(2) Description of the prior art Applicant is familiar with the patent to J. H. Hughes No. 2,862,562; the patent to M. E. True No. 2,978,046; the patent to R. H. Blood et al. No. 2,942,667; two patents issued to A. Boynton Nos. 2,229,635 and 2,301,190; the patent to A. Barry et al. No. 3,134,441; the patent to L. H. Robinson, Jr. et al. No. 3,373,820; the patents to W. D. Mounce Nos. 2,828,823 and 2,827,965; the patent to Sandlin No. 3,003,798; the patent to Jones No. 2,851,- 111; and the patent to G. A. Humason No. 2,633,200.

All of these devices relate to various types of drill stern testing tools or various types of arrangements of inflatable elements on rotary drill strings, particularly for use in well bores. However, all of them are disadvantageous in that they incorporate mechanisms Within the drill string, which may interfere with the drilling operations or with other operations which are to be performed within the well bore, or other opening. Additionally, some of the above patents do not provide an arrangement wherein the reinforced inflatable element is latched, or locked, in position on the drill string in deflated position to inhibit its being torn up during normal rotary drilling operations,

3,606,924 Patented Sept. 21, 1971 but which can be unlocked at one end to permit one end of the element to be moved longitudinally relative to the drill string to inflate it and seal it with the well bore wall, or other opening.

So far as is known to the applicant, none bf the prior art devices has even proven to be useful to the extent that it has been commercially proven.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a body having a longitudinal bore therethrough, which is provided with means to secure it in a drill string and become an integral part thereof. The body carries a reinforced inflatable element which is secured at one end to the body and at its other end it is releasa'bly locked to the body so that during normal rotary drilling operations in any type opening the element will remain elongated thus reducing the possibility of damage to the element as the drill string is rotated or otherwise moved in the opening.

A valve and passage means arrangement in the body cooperate to aid in inflating and deflating the element whereby operations as will be discussed hereinafter may then be carried out within the well bore or other opening without removing the drill string from the well bore or opening, and thereafter the valve and passage means arrangement enables the element to be deflated and normal rotary drilling or cutting operations continued.

All of this can be accomplished with a minimum of effort and with a tool that is relatively simple, yet unique in construction and arrangement. It is also accomplished without removing the drill string from the Well bore or other opening.

By maintaining the inflatable element locked at both ends on the body, one of which locking arrangements is releasable to enable one end to move longitudinally relative to the body so that the element can be inflated when desired, damage or destruction of the inflatable element is substantially reduced, if not completely eliminated when the drill string on which it is carried is rotated or otherwise moved in an opening; however, by incorporating the releasing mechanism for one end of the inflatable element, said inflatable element can be deflated and relatched on the body and rotary drilling or cutting operations resumed until it is desired to perform some other operations within the well bore which requires inflating the element to seal off the well bore or other opening. The spring latch arrangement also includes means to prevent relative rotation between the body and the movable element end, while accommodating longitudinal movement between the body and the movable element end.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a sectional view of a drill string in a well bore with the present invention incorporated therein, and showing a drill bit at the lower end thereof in elevation;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view showing the element on the tool of FIG. 1 inflated to seal against the wall of a surrounding opening;

FIG. 3 is a sectional view, partly in elevation of the tool shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 and the relative position of the components when the tool is used as a testing tool;

FIG. 4 is a sectional view partly in elevation, showing the relationship of the components of the tool when the inflatable element is being deflated;

FIG. 5 is a sectional view somewhat similar to FIG. 1, but shows a one way check valve means immediately above the drill bit;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view showing the tool and a form of closure means for first enabling the inflatable element to receive inflating fluid and thereafter a means for taking a sample from the well bore being drilled;

FIG. 7 is a sectional view and illustrates the flow of fluid during a test when the closure means of FIG. 6 is employed;

FIG. 8 shows the relationship of the components when the invention is employed as shown in FIGS. 5, 6 and 7;

' FIG. 9 is a sectional view partly in elevation, similar to FIG.

FIG. 10 shows another form of closure means for use in connection with the present invention and illustrates it in seated position in the tool;

FIG. 11 shows the closure means of FIG. 10 actuated so that fluid or material may be pumped down the drill string and into the well bore;

FIG. 12 is a sectional view similar to FIG. 8, showing the relationship of the components when the element is to be deflated;

FIG. 13 is an enlarged sectional view showing one arrangement for preventing relative rotation between one end of the reinforced element and the tool body while also accommodating relative longitudinal movement therebetween. This view also shows a form of spring means to aid in preventing premature movement or wading of the inflatable element as the drill string rotates, or as the drill string is lowered into the well bore, such figure being an enlargement of the means which is circled in FIG. 1 and identified by FIG. 13;

FIG. 14 is an elevation of a form of a spring means as well as showing an exploded view of the lug means which is carried between one end of the reinforced inflatable element and body. The lug means fits within keyways formed in the body, and accommodates relative rotational movement therebetween;

FIG. 15 is a sectional view on the line 1414 of FIG. 14 illustrating further details of the latch means which latches or locks the movable element end and body together and which unlatches to accommodate relative longitudinal movement between the element end and the body while preventing relative rotation therebetween;

FIG. 16 is a modification of the arrangement shown in FIG. 13; and

FIG. 17 is another modification of the arrangement shown in FIG. 13.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS Attention is first directed to FIG. 1 of the drawings, wherein the invention is referred to generally by the numeral 30. It is shown as including a housing, or body B, which is provided with an internal bore 31, extending longitudinally therethrough. The body B is provided with threads as illustrated at 32 and 33, for connection in a drill string represented by the letter S so that it becomes an integral part of the drill string.

As shown in FIG. 1, the drill string S, as shown and described herein, is formed of a plurality of joints which are threadedly connected in end to end relation to form a drill string of suitable length; however, it can be appreciated that the drill string S may be formed of a continuous length of tubular member and the invention 30 incorporated therein by suitable means.

It will also be noted that, as shown in FIG. 1 of the drawings, the invention 30 is positioned immediately above the earth cutting member, such as a drill bit 34; however, the invention may be positioned in or above a string of drill collars which may be used in the drilling operations.

The body B supports and carries a reinforced inflatable element referred to generally by the number 37, the reinforcing being diagrammatically represented at 38 and comprises an annular sheath which is suitably impregnated with an elastomeric compound that is yieldable when the inflatable element 37 is inflated as will be described hereinafter. Even when in a fully expanded or inflated position, the annular sheath of reinforcing 38 completely surrounds the inner portion 38a of the ele ment 37 and provides reinforcing.

The upper end 37a of the reinforced inflatable element is secured to the body B while the lower end thereof represented generally by the number 37b is arranged so that it may move longitudinally relative to the body B to accommodate radial expansion of the reinforced inflatable element 37, and the element 37 is also mounted on the body B to prevent relative rotational movement therebetween, so that it will remain in a deflated position during normal drilling operations. It should be noted that the lower end of 37b of the inflatable element 37 is ar ranged on the body B so that it is initially latched or locked in position thereon to prevent premature or undesired longitudinal movement of the end of the packer during normal drilling operations. The latch, or lock means must be first actuated to release the end of 37b of the element relative to the body B so that relative longitudinal movement therebetween may occur.

It will be noted that passage means represented generally by the numeral 40, is provided in the body B which communicates with the bore 31 and the interior of the element to conduct inflating fluid thereto when it is desired to inflate the inflatable element 37.

Valve means, such as the sleeve 42, is mounted within the bore 31 and is supported so that the outer surface of the sleeve adjacent its enlarged end 43 spans the opening of the passage means 40 in the bore 31 which, in cooperation with the seal means 44, on each side of the opening of the passage means 40 in the bore 31, normally seals off the passage means 40 from bore 31 during drilling operations. Spring means 45, which rests on the shoulder 46 of the counterbore formed within the bore 31, abuts the shoulder 47 formed on the lower end of the enlarged end of 43 of the sleeve 42, and retains the sleeve 42 within the position just described.

A second, or additional valve means, such as sleeve means 48, is provided within the bore 31 above the sleeve 42, and it is provided with a plurality of longitudinally extending, circumferentially spaced recesses 49 in the other periphery thereof. Suitable seals, 'as shown at 50 are provided, adjacent each end of the recesses 49 between the body B and the sleeve 48, the seals 50 also being arranged on each side of the port means 51 formed in the body B to communicate with the well bore. The inner end of the port means terminates in the annular groove in the body B as shown in the drawings.

Additional passage means 52 is provided in the body 13, which communicates with the interior of the inflatable element 37. The passage means 52 also communicates with the bore 31 by means of the annular groove 52a in the wall of the bore 31, which groove, coincides with the end of passage means 52. Communication between the port means 51 as well as the groove 52a is normally closed 01f by the seals 50 and outer surface of the sleeve 48 during rotary drilling operations.

In the form shown in FIGS. 1 through 4 inclusive, the sleeve 48- is provided with an enlarged end 48a, forming a seat 4912 on the upper end thereof, and similarly the sleeve 42 is provided with a seat 43a on the upper end of the enlarged portion 43 of the sleeve 42 for a purpose as will be described.

If desired, one way operating spring loaded check valve means as shown at 55, may be provided in the passage means 40 to aid in retaining or locking the fluid in the inflatable element 37 after it has been inflated.

It should also be noted that the outer periphery of the enlarged portion of the sleeve 42 is provided with longitudinally extending, circumferentially spaced recesses 430, for a purpose as will be described shortly.

In rotary drilling operations, a drilling fluid is employed for conveying cuttings to the surface and for other reasons. This fluid may be air, gas or liquid and sometimes, in rotary drilling operations, a formation may be damaged by the drilling fluid invading the formation and what might otherwise be a productive formation, might be indicated as being non-productive.

One advantage of the present invention is that immediately upon the penetration of a prospective zone or formation, it can be tested prior to damage thereto by the drilling fluid that might otherwise give a false indication.

In order to inflate the element, suitable closure means may be dropped down the drill string and in the form of the invention described in FIGS. 1 through 4 inclusive, the closure means is shown as being in the form of a ball 56 which is of a suitable diameter to pass through the opening 490 of the sleeve 48 and seat on the seat 43a of the sleeve 42 as shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings. When the pressure is increased in the drill string, or as a matter of fact, the hydrostatic head of the drilling fluid within the drill string where a liquid is employed may be suflicient to depress the spring means 45 as shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings, whereupon fluid may be conducted as represented by the arrows as shown at 70 through the recesses 43c, and around the upper seal means 44 adjacent the opening of the passage means 40 which communicates with the bore 31 and thereupon be conducted to the interior of the inflatable element 37 to expand it and sealingly engage it With the wall 18 of the well bore 19.

As previously mentioned, the lower end 37b of the reinforced inflatable element 37 and the body B are constructed and arranged so that cooperating latch, or lock means are provided to retain the inflatable element in deflated position during normal drilling operations. Attention is now directed to the FIGS. 13, 14 and 15, which illustrate details of one form of the cooperating lock means formed on the lower end of the reinforced inflatable element heretofore referred to by the numeral 37b, and the portion of the body B adjacent thereto. The latch means also incorporates a spring means referred to generally by the numeral 71. A skirt 37d is connected to, and extends downwardly from the reinforced inflatable element 37 (not shown), and is internally threaded as illustrated at 37e. Threadedly engaged with the threads 37e is the collar 37 the lower end of which forms the spring fingers 37g. The spring fingers 37g are provided in the collar 37 by forming longitudinally extending and radially spaced slots 37h therein, and providing an enlargement 37i which fits within the annular recess 31d formed on the surrounding housing. This arrangement provides a latch, or lock means incorporating spring means between the lower end 37b of the reinforced inflatable element 37 and the body B until a predetermined amount of pressure is exerted to spring the fingers 37g out of the annular recess 31d to enable the reinforced inflatable element 37 to radially expand and seal with the wall of the surrounding opening.

Additional means are provided to accommodate relative longitudinal movement of the lower end of 37b of the inflatable element 37 and the body B, while preventing relative rotation between the body B and lower end 37b of the element, such means being shown as lugs 37j which are received within the openings 37k formed in the collar 37 A plurality of longitudinally extending keyways 31e are provided at circumferentially spaced intervals within the body B within which the lugs 37 slide and the lugs 37 j move upwardly as the inflatable element 37 radially expands. It can be appreciated that since the skirt 37d is connected to the collar 37 and that the lugs are, in turn, carried in the openings 37k of the collar 37 when the inflatable element radially expands, the lugs 37 move upwardly.

In assembling the skirt 37d, collar 37 and lugs 37 the collar 37a and skirt 37d will be threadedly engaged by means of threads 37e. Thereafter, slight relative rotation of the collar 37 can be effected so as to align at least several of the openings 37k with the keyways 31e in the body B to enable the lugs 37 j to be dropped therein. Thereafter, suitable spring means as illustrated at 371 can be positioned in the recess 37m formed in the collar and in the lugs to aid in retaining them in position.

Thereafter, the retaining collar 3711 can be threadedly secured by means of the threads 370 on the collar 37 Suitable seals are provided as illustrated to prevent leakage of fluid from the element 37.

From the foregoing description, it can be appreciated that this latch arrangement enables the lower end 37b of the reinforced inflatable element 37 and the body B to remain latched during normal drilling operations so that no relative longitudinal movement occurs between the lower end (as shown) of the element and the body B. When inflating fluid is conducted to the element, the resulting force eventually moves the enlargements 37i out of the annular groove or recess 31d so that the end of the element and body B may move relative to each other longitudinally while preventing relative rotation therebetween. The arrangement of the projections 371 and cooperating recess 31d prevent premature actuation of the element while lugs 37 and keyways 31e accommodate relative longitudinal movement of the element end and body B after the enlargements have moved out of the recess, but prevent relative radial movement between the element and body B. Should the lower radially projecting portion of the tool 30a strike a ledge or some other projection, the foregoing arrangement prevents premature movement which might tend to wad the lower end of the inflatable element 37. A similar latch arrangement as described with regards to FIGS. 13, 14 and 15 is employed in each form of the invention described herein. In some instances, the arrangement of FIG. 16 may be employed to assure relatching of the enlargements 37i in recess or annular groove 31d upon deflation of the element. The structure shown in FIG. 16 contains all of the elements of FIG. 13 which are provided with numbers corresponding to those of FIG. 13.

The lower inner end 37q projects radially inwardly from the annular inner surface 371', as shown. A spring 37s rests on the end or ledge 37q and abuts the ring 371 at its other end. The ring 37t may be formed in two half portions, and these are seated in groove 37;! formed in the body B. Thereafter, collar 37n is positioned as shown and abuts the outer surface of the ring 37t to retain it in position. The spring 37s tends to urge the element end toward reseating position as shown in FIG. 16.

Therefore, when the element is being deflated, the spring 37s will urge the element end longitudinally until enlargements 37i are reengaged in groove 31d. The spring 37s always urges the element toward extended position. Also, the equalization of pressure within the element and the Well bore aids in extending the packer to re-position it in latched position.

FIG. 17 shows another modification of the arrangement illustrated in FIG. 13. In this form the spring fingers 37g on collar 37 are eliminated, and the collar terminated as represented at 37f. A groove 37, similar to groove 3711 is formed in the body adjacent the end 37 of collar 37 A ring member 371" is held in groove 37a in the same manner as ring 37t of FIG. 16. A spring 37s rests on the end or ledge 37: and abuts the ring 37t at its other end. Thus in this form, the spring fingers 37g and annular groove 31d are eliminated, and the modification of FIG. 17 takes their place as a locking or latching means to aid in preventing premature release of the element end as well as wadding of the element. The spring 37s also aids in returning the element to extended position upon deflation. The other portions of the structure of FIG. 17 which are similar to FIG. 16 and FIG. 13 have identical numbers.

After the inflatable element 37 has been set as shown in FIG. 2 of the drawings, the desired formation may be tested by permitting it to flow upwardly through the drill bit 34 through the bore 31 of the body B and up around the closure ball means 56 as represented by the arrows 56a. As will be seen in FIG. 3, the sleeve 42 has reassumed its original position as illustrated in FIG. 1 of the drawings, and after the test of the desired formation has been completed, it is then desirable to unset the in flatable element 37 and continue normal rotary drilling operations. This permits the test to be accomplished without removing the drill string from the well bore and conducting a conventional test by some other means Well known in the art.

In order to unset the inflatable element 37, from engagement with the well bore wall 18 as shown in FIG. 3, an additional closure means as represented at 56b is lowered through the drill string to rest on the seat 4% whereupon suitable pressuring within the drill string moves the sleeve 48 downwardly whereupon the inflating fluid within the inflatable element 37 is conducted through the passage 52 and to the annular groove 52a which is now in communication with the recesses 49 on the outer periphery of sleeve 48. The recesses 49 communicate the groove 52a with the annular groove on the inner end of the port means 51 in body B, thus enabling the inflating fluid to discharge to the wellbore as represented by the arrows 51c whereupon the reinforced inflatable element 37 resumes its initial position and the cooperating latch means on the lower end of 37b of the element 37 and the body B are engaged in a manner as previously described so that normal drilling operations may resume.

In FIG. 5 the invention 30 is similar to that previously described and it is shown as connected into a drill string S in a manner previously described. In this arrangement, however, it will be noted that a spring loaded one way check valve 80 is employed immediately above the drill bit 34, such one way check valve being of a well known construction and forming no part of the present invention. During normal drilling operations, as drilling fluid is pumped down through the drill string, the spring loaded check valve is forced to the open position as shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings.

FIG. 6 shows the form of closure means that is employed when a check valve 80 is used in the drill string such closure means being represented generally by the numeral 90. The closure 90 includes an elongated tube 90a which extends through the bore 31 in the body B and projects beneath the check valve 80 as shown in FIG. 6. The hollow tube 90a thereby retains the check valve 80 in open position and on the upper end of the hollow tube 90a there is formed a hollow housing 90b in which is carried check valve means in the form of the ball 900 which seats at 90d at the juncture of the upper end of the tube 90a and the lower end of the housing 90b for closing off fluid through the drill string and the bore 31 in the body B. It should be noted that in this form of the invention the spring supported sleeve 42 is provided with an internal groove 42a which terminates short of the upper end of the sleeve 42 thereby providing the inwardly projecting edge 42b. Also, in this form of the invention, the enlarged end portion 43 of sleeve 42 is eliminated, as is the enlarged end 48a on sleeve 48. The upper end of the housing 90b includes an elongated neck 90d on which is slidably carried the fishing neck 92 that fits within the groove 90c formed on the neck 90d, the fishing neck having an inwardly projecting portion 92a which fits within the groove 90c, the limit of travel of the fishing neck 90 being determined by engagement of the projection 92a with the ends of the annular groove 90e for a purpose to be stated.

It will be noted that the fishing neck 92 also includes a skirt 92b which is spaced radially outwardly relative to 90b to provide a space 92c as shown. The skirt 92b is provided with a plurality of circumferentially spaced projections 92d for pivotally supporting the dogs 92:: thereon. The dogs 92e extend outwardly through the skirt 92b by means of slots formed therein (not shown) and provide an arrangement for pivotally mounting the dogs 92e so that when the fishing neck 92 and neck 9001 are in the position shown in FIG. 6 of the drawings, the dogs 92e extend outwardly into the annular groove 42a of the sleeve 42 to hold the closure means of the FIG. 6 form of the invention in position within the sleeve 42.

FIG. 7 shows the form of the invention and its closure means as illustrated in FIG. 6 in position when a test of a formation is being conducted. It will be noted that the housing b is provided with circumferentially spaced slots 90 at the lower end of the upwardly projecting extension 90d and when a test of the formation is desired, fluid will flow upwardly through the tube 90a and unseat the ball 90c and flow into the neck 90d above the ball 90c and into the drill string as represented by the arrows at 93 in FIG. 7. Of course, at this time, the inflatable element 37 has been inflated by means of pressuring the drill string so that the ball 900 is seated as shown in FIG. 6 to enable the sleeve 42 to be moved down to conduct inflating fluid to the interior of the inflating element 37.

It will be noted that during the flow test, as shown in FIG. 7, the tube 90a has moved up slightly so that the dogs 92a engage the ridge 4217, thus holding the closure means in position during the flow test within the sleeve 42.

When it is desired to unseat the inflatable element 37 after the desired operations within the well bore have been conducted, a closure means such as a go-devil, illustrated at 94 in FIG. 8, is lowered into the well bore to seat on the seat 49b of sleeve 48. Upon increasing the pressure within the drill string, the sleeve 48 is moved down and the passage means 52 again conducts fluid from the interior of the inflatable element through the annular groove 52a in the body B and through the annular recesses 49 to the port means 51 in the body B to the exterior of the well bore as represented by the arrows 51c.

Prior to the time that the go-devil closure means 94 has been lowered into the drill string S, the closure means 90 shown in FIG. 6 is retrieved from the Well bore by engaging the fishing neck whereupon the projection 92a moves upwardly within the groove 90a so that the dogs 92e may pivotally retract from the annular recess or groove 42a, and the closure means 90 then withdrawn from the drill string S. Thereafter, normal drilling operations may be resumed.

The form of the invention shown in FIG. 9 is similar to that previously described with regard to FIGS. 6 through 8 inclusive, and shows the relationship of the components of the invention when it is mounted on the drill string S during normal drilling operations. Also it will be noted that the sleeve 42 and the sleeve 48 are constructed in the manner as shown with regard to the form of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 6 through 8.

A different form of closure means is employed when the invention is used in the manner as illustrated in FIGS. 10 through 12 inclusive, such closure means being referred to generally by the numeral 100. It includes an annular ring 101 which seats on one end of the recess 42a in sleeve 42 as shown.

The closure also includes an elongated stem 102 which extends through the ring 101 and is secured thereto by the shear pin means 103. It will be noted that the stem extends above the ring as shown in the drawings and is provided with circumferentially spaced radial projections 104 which are vertically spaced in relation to the upper edge of ring 101 as shown in FIG. 10 of the drawings. When pressure is increased in the drill string, the closure means 100 as shown in FIG. 10 moves the sleeve 42 downwardly against the spring 45 which supports it so that the fluid may be conducted through the passage means 40 to the interior of the inflatable element 37 to inflate it to engage it with the well bore wall 18 as shown in FIG. 10 of the drawings. This closes oil? the well bore below the packer from that portion of the well bore above the packer.

After the packer has been seated, the pressure within the drill string is increased to shear the pin 103 as represented in FIG. 11 of the drawings so that the stem may move downwardly relative to the ring 101 and is supported thereon by the radial projections 4 engaging the top edge of the ring. Since the stem 102 is smaller in diameter adjacent the lugs 104, an annular flow space 105 is formed through the closure means when the lugs rest on the upper edge of ring 101 so that suitable material as represented by the arrows at 106 may be pumped down through the drill string and out through the drill bit into the well bore. After the desired operation has been completed, the fishing neck 107 on the closure means 100 may be engaged and the device retrieved from the drill string whereupon the go-devil as represented at 94, which is similar in construction to the go-devil disclosure described with regard to FIG. 8 is pumped, or dropped, through the drill string to rest on the seat 4% of the sleeve 48 so that the passage means 52 may conduct the fluid from the interior of the inflatable element to the annular groove 52a and then by means of the recesses 49 to the port 51 in the body B to discharge it to the well bore, thereby collapsing the inflatable element 37 to relatch the end 37b with the body B so that normal drilling operations may continue.

In the form of the invention described with regard to FIGS. 9 through 12, it has particular application where it is desired to pump some substance down into the well bore to a formation to accomplish any one of several purposes. For example, in those formations where lost circulation problems are expected, that is where it may be expected that there is some formation which is a thief zone, that is, one which takes the drilling fluid from the well bore during normal drilling operations, it may be desirable to seal off such formation by cement or some other lost circulation material. This can be accomplished by using the form of the tool as described with regard to FIGS. 10 through 12 and the material may be pumped down into the well bore and into the formation and after the operation has been completed, the inflatable element can be deflated and normal operation continued.

In the other forms of the tool where it is employed as a test tool, it is run as in integral part of the drill string and enables a particular formation or formations to be tested as the Well bore is being drilled. For example, in those formations where water, air or foam or liquid is being used as the drilling fluid, and the pressure of the zone to be tested would exceed the hydrostatic pressure of the drilling fluid, the tool may be set by inflating the packer as described herein. The drill pipe is filled with water, air or nitrogen or some fluid that is lighter than the pressure in the formation to be tested and thereupon the zone is allowed to flow or blow back into the drill string in order that a sample may be collected. After the test has been conducted, the inflatable element may be deflated as described hereinbefore and normal drilling operations continued. Where a closure means in the form of a ball is employed, after the element 37 has been deflated, it may be pumped out by reversing the circulation, that is, by pumping down the well bore and into the drill bit 34 and then upwardly through the bore 31 to pump the ball closure means out of the drill string.

In some situations gas pockets are encountered during drilling operations and the present tool could be set and would permit the gas pocket to be bled off through the drill string whereupon normal drilling operations could then resume.

The invention has many uses, for example, the tool could be used to determine the disposal characteristics of a formation. For example, in such operations the form of the invention as described in FIGS. 10 through 12 would be employed and the pumping pressure for various flow rates with desired fluid into the formation could be determined, which would in turn indicate the characteristic of the formation as a disposal zone, thereupon the material to be pumped into the waste disposal zone could be pumped down the drill string, and into the formation. Similarly, the same operation could be used for repressuring a formation by gas, or using a formation for gas storage, or other suitable fluid storage, or the same operation could be used for a water flooding operation. Also, a similar operation could be used for charging a formation for subsidence control.

Only some of the uses and applications of the present invention are given by way of illustration, and not by way of limitation.

It should be noted also that the sleeve 42 is provided with an opening in order that fluid pressure may escape from the counterbore 46 in which the string means 45 is mounted.

The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention is illustrative and explanatory thereof and various changes in size, shape, and materials, as well as in the details of the illustrated construction, may be made within the scope of the appended claims without departing from the spirit of the invention.

What is claimed is:

1. A tool for connection in a tubular string to seal off a portion of the well bore while the tubular string remains in the well bore including:

(a) a body having a bore therethrough;

(b) a reinforced inflatable element carried by said body;

(c) means securing one end of said element to said body; and

(d) cooperating latch means on said body and the other end of said element being so constructed and arranged to restrain longitudinal movement of the other element end relative to said body; to release for relative longitudinal movement between said body and the other element end as said element is inflated; and for re-engaging when said element is deflated.

2. A tool for connection in a tubular string to seal off a portion of the well bore while the tubular string remains in the well bore including:

(a) a body having a bore therethrough;

(b) a reinforced inflatable element carried by said body;

(0) means securing one end of said element to said body; and

(d) cooperating means on said body and the other end of said element being so constructed and arranged to restrain longitudinal movement of the other element end relative to said body; to release for relative longitudinal movement between said body and the other element end as said element is inflated; and for re-engaging when said element is deflated.

3. A tool for connection in a tubular string to seal off a portion of the well bore While the tubular string remains in the well bore including:

(a) a body having a bore therethrough;

(b) a reinforced inflatable element carried by said body;

(c) means securing one end of said element to said body; and

(d) cooperating means on said body and the other end of said element being so constructed and arranged to release for relative longitudinal movement between said body and the other element end as said element is inflated and for re-engaging when said element is deflated to restrain relative longitudinal movement between said body and the other end of said element.

4. A tool for connection in a tubular string to seal off a portion of the well bore while the tubular string remains in the well bore including:

(a) a body having a bore therethrough;

(b) a reinforced inflatable element carried by said body;

(c) means securing one end of said element to said body; and

(d) cooperating spring means on said body and the other end of said element restraining longitudinal 1 1 movement of the other element end relative to said body.

5. The invention of claim 1 wherein said cooperating latch means includes means for inhibiting relative rotation between said body and the other element end.

6. The invention of claim 2 wherein said cooperating means includes means for inhibiting relative rotation between said body and the other element end.

7. The invention of claim 3 wherein said cooperating means includes means for inhibiting relative rotation between said body and the other element end.

8. The invention of claim 4 wherein said cooperating spring means includes means for inhibiting relative rota tion between said body and the other element end.

9. The invention of claim 1 including passage means in said body communicating at one end with said bore and at its other end with the interior of said reinforced element for conducting inflating fluid therein, and valve means carried by said body normally closing off communication through said passage means to maintain said reinforced element deflated on said body.

10. The invention of claim 2 including passage means in said body communicating at one end with said bore and at its other end with the interior of said reinforced element for conducting inflating fluid therein and valve means carried by said body normally closing off communication through said passage means to maintain said reinforced element deflated on said body.

11. The invention of claim 3 including passage means in said body communicating at one end with said bore and at its other end with the interior of said reinforced element for conducting inflating fluid therein, and valve means carried by said body normally closing off communication through said passage means to maintain said reinforced element deflated on said body.

12. The invention of claim 4 including passage means in said body communicating at one end with said bore and at its other end with the interior of said reinforced element for conducting inflating fluid therein, and valve means carried by said body normally closing off communication through said passage means to maintain said reinforced element deflated on said body.

13. The invention of claim 9 including means to actuate said valve means for opening said passage means whereby inflating fluid may pass to the interior of said element for inflation thereof.

14. The invention of claim 10 including means to actuate said valve means for opening said passage means whereby inflating fluid may pass to the interior of said element for inflation thereof.

15. The invention of claim 11 including means to actuate said valve means for opening said passage means whereby inflating fluid may pass to the interior of said element for inflation thereof.

16. The invention of claim 12 including means to actuate said valve means for opening said passage means whereby inflating fluid may pass to the interior of said element for inflation thereof.

17. The invention of claim 13 including one-way acting check valve means in said passage means to retain said inflating fluid in said element.

18. The invention of claim 14 including one-way acting check valve means in said passage means to retain said inflating fluid in said element.

19. The. invention of claim 15 including one-way acting check valve means in said passage means to retain said inflating fluid in said element.

20. The invention of claim 16 including one-way acting check valve means in said passage means to retain said inflating fluid in said element.

21. The invention of claim 13 including additional passage means in said body communicating at one end with the interior of said element and at its other end with said bore, said body having port means for communicating with the Well bore, and additional valve means carried 12 by said body for normally closing off communication between said additional passage means and said port means.

22. The invention of claim 14 including additional passage means in said body communcating at one end with the interior of said element and at its other end with said bore, said body having port means for communicating with the well bore, and additional valve means carried by said body for normally closing off communication between said additional passage means and said port means.

23. The invention of claim 15 including additional passage means in said body communicating at one end with the interior of said element and at its other end with said bore, said body having port means for communicating with the well bore, and additional valve means carried by said body for normally closing off communication between said additional passage means and said port means.

24. The invention of claim 16 including additional passage means in said body communicating at one end with the interior of said element and at its other end with said bore, said body having port means for communicating with the well bore, and additional valve means carried by said body for normally closing off communication between said additional passage means and said port means.

25. The invention of claim 21 including means to actuate said additional valve means to communicate said additional passage means with said port means whereby the inflating fluid in said element may be discharged to the well bore for deflation of said element.

26. The invention of claim 22 including means to actuate said additional valve means to communicate said additional passage means with said port means whereby the inflating fluid in said element may be discharged to the Well bore for deflation of said element.

2.7. The invention of claim 23 including means to actuate said additional valve means to communicate said additional passage means with said port means whereby the inflating fluid in said element may be discharged to the well bore for deflation of said element.

28. The invention of claim 24' including means to actuate said additional valve means to communicate said additional passage means with said port means whereby the inflating fluid in said element may be discharged to the well bore for deflation of said element.

29. The invention of claim 1 wherein said cooperating latch means includes an annular groove in said body and spring fingers on said other element end and each of said fingers having a projection which fits in said annular groove to restrain relative longitudinal movement between said body and other element end.

30. The invention of claim 1 including longitudinal groove means formed in said body and lug means carried by said other element end and fitting within said groove means whereby relative rotation between said body and other element end is prevented.

31. The invention of claim 10 including spring means for said valve means to normally close off said passage means in said body.

32. The invention of claim 14 wherein said valve actuating means comprises a closure for the bore in said body so that fluid pressure may be applied thereagainst to move said valve means longitudinally of said body and open said passage means to said element.

33. The invention of claim 29 wherein said cooperating latch means also includes spring means to aid in returning said fingers to engagement in said groove when said element is deflated.

34. The invention of claim 2 wherein a drill bit is connected on the lower end of the drill string and a oneway spring loaded check valve is mounted in the drill string between said bit and said element, said one-way check valve normally being urged to close off flow upwardly from said bit and into the drill string.

35. The invention of claim 32 wherein a drill bit is connected on the lower end of the drill string and a oneway spring loaded check valve is mounted in the drill string between said bit and said element, said one-way check valve normally being urged to close off flow upwardly from said bit and into the drill string, and wherein said closure includes projection means for engaging and opening said one-way check valve means.

36. The invention of claim including closure means for seating on said valve means, a drill bit connected on the lower end of the drill string, a one-way spring loaded check valve mounted in the drill string between said bit and element, said one-way check valve normally being urged to close off flow upwardly from said bit and into the drill string, said closure means including projection means for engaging and opening said one-way check valve means, said closure means constructed and arranged for conducting fluid flow from the well bore through said bit and into the drill string above said valve means, but inhibiting flow from said drill string above said valve means down through said bit.

37. The invention of claim 36 wherein said closure means includes means to latch with said valve means.

38. The invention of claim 37 wherein said closure means includes means to unlatch said closure means from said valve means for retrieving said closure means from the drill string.

39. The invention of claim 14 wherein said means to actuate said valve means includes closure means, said closure means including:

(1) means to seat on said valve means, said means having an opening therethrough;

(2) stem means extending through and closing said opening;

(3) shear pin means securing said stem means to said means which seats on said valve means whereby said stem may move longitudinally relative to said means with which it is connected by said shear pin means when said shear pin means is sheared to thereby open said opening in said closure means for fluid flow therethrough; and

(4) additional means on said stem for engaging and supporting said stem on said means which seats on said valve means.

40. A formation testing tool for connection in a drill string having a check valve above the drill bit which prevents flow from the well bore upwardly through the drill string comprising:

(a) a tubular body with a bore longitudinally therethrough having means at each end for connecting the body in the drill string;

(b) a reinforced inflatable element carried by said body;

(c) means securing one end of said element to said body;

(d) said body having passage means which communicate the bore in said body with the interior of said inflatable element whereby fluid may be conducted from the bore to inflate said inflatable element;

(e) a sleeve within the bore of said body;

(if) spring means supporting said sleeve in position in said bore to block fluid flow through said passage means from said bore to said inflatable element during normal drilling operations;

(g) seat means on said sleeve;

(h) closure means for seating on said sleeve, said closure means including:

(1) an elongated tube for extending through said body and engaging the check valve in the drill string to open it;

(2) a housing on the upper end of said tube;

(3) check valve means within said housing and responsive to fluid pressure in the drill string thereabove to close olf said tube and force said housing and sleeve downwardly to enable fluid to flow to and inflate said inflatable element to seal oif the well bore; and

(4) said housing having passage means therein to permit fluid to flow from the well bore and around said check valve means into the drill string thereabove to test a formation.

41. The invention of claim 40 including cooperating releasable latch means to latch said housing and sleeve together, and a fishing neck positioned on the upper end of said housing to aid in releasing said latch means from said sleeve and removing said closure means from the drill string.

42. A tool for scaling 011? a well bore for inserting a desired substance in the well bore While the drill string is in the well bore and thereafter releasing to continue drilling operations comprising:

(a) a tubular body with a bore longitudinally therethrough having means at each end for connecting the body in the drill string;

(b) a reinforced inflatable element carried by said body;

(0) means securing one end of said element to said body;

(d) said body having passage means which communicate the bore in said body with the interior of said inflatable element whereby fluid may be conducted from the bore to inflate said inflatable element;

(e) a sleeve valve within the bore of said body;

(f) spring means supporting said sleeve in position in said bore to block fluid flow through said passage means from said bore to said inflatable element during normal drilling operations; and

(g) closure means for seating on said sleeve valve, said closure means including:

(1) an annular ring;

(2) a stem extending therethrough and secured to said ring by shear means;

(3) said stem and ring closing off flow through the bore so that fluid pressure in the drill string thereabove forces said sleeve valve downwardly to enable said element to be inflated by fluid from the well bore to seal off the well bore, and said shear means being shearable upon increasing the pressure in the drill string above the closure means so that said stem drops, whereby the well bore and drill string beneath said inflated element may be communicated.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,422,673 1/1969 Lebourg 166l87 3,427,651 2/1969 Beilstein et al 166187 3,460,624 8/ 1969 Aitken et al. 166-1'87 JAMES A. LEPPINK, Primary Examiner U.S. Cl. X.R.

US3606924A 1969-01-28 1969-01-28 Well tool for use in a tubular string Expired - Lifetime US3606924A (en)

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US4349204A (en) * 1981-04-29 1982-09-14 Lynes, Inc. Non-extruding inflatable packer assembly
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US4823882A (en) * 1988-06-08 1989-04-25 Tam International, Inc. Multiple-set packer and method
US4832120A (en) * 1987-12-28 1989-05-23 Baker Hughes Incorporated Inflatable tool for a subterranean well
US4889199A (en) * 1987-05-27 1989-12-26 Lee Paul B Downhole valve for use when drilling an oil or gas well
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US4108257A (en) * 1975-11-24 1978-08-22 Otis Engineering Corporation Apparatus for controlling a well during drilling operations
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US4349204A (en) * 1981-04-29 1982-09-14 Lynes, Inc. Non-extruding inflatable packer assembly
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US5143154A (en) * 1990-03-13 1992-09-01 Baker Hughes Incorporated Inflatable packing element
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