This invention relates to new and useful improvements in methods of recovering elements from well bores.
An important object of the invention is to provide an improved method for recovering and removing pipe, tubing, or the like, from a well bore which contemplates a plurality of steps which are performed in accordance with the particular conditions existing in the well bore from which the pipe is being removed; the method being adaptable to change in the sequence of its steps so as to meet new or varying conditions in the well bore, whereby the pipe may be positively and efficiently removed from said bore.
A particular object of the invention is to provide an improved method, wherein a washing step is first performed to wash the pipe couplings above the lodged portion of the pipe free of any material and debris surrounding the same.
A construction designed to carry out the invention will be hereinafter described, together with other features of the invention.
The invention will be more readily understood from a reading of the following specification and by reference to the accompanying drawings, in which an example of the invention is shown, and wherein: Figure 1 is a schematic view, showing a string of tubing lodged within a well bore, Figure 2 is a schematic view, showing a circulation breaker establishing communication between the tubing and exterior thereof, Figure 3 is a view, partly in section and partly in elevation, of a circulation breaker constructed in accordance with the invention, Figure 4 is a view similar to Figure 3, showing the device in its operating position, Figure 5 is a horizontal cross-sectional view taken on the line 5-5 of Figure 3, Figure 6 is a horizontal cross-sectional view taken on the line 6-6 of Figure 3, Figure 7 is a horizontal cross-sectional view taken on the line 7-1 of Figure 4, Figure 8 is a view, partly in section and partly in elevation, showing how a tool may be run down through the device, Figure 9 is a view. partly in section and partly in elevation, showing how a tool may be pulled up through the device, and Figure 10 is a vertical sectional view, showing the fluid agitating means of the housing. "Stage circulation breakers"'B are provided as shown in Figs. 1 and 2 for use in reestablishing circulation by short stages from the top of the sticking material on down to the bottom of the stuck string of drill pipe or tubing. At times when there are circulation breakers in the string of pipe or tubing, and even when circulation has been reestablished, it will be found that the stuck string cannot be released because the circulation may have channeled around through a crevice or up one side.
Circulation breaker B As pointed out hereinbefore, some type of circulating breaker would be desirable to be placed in a string of drill stem, or of other tubing, when the same is run into a well bore, and, in the event such pipe became stuck within the well bore, it may be possible to free said pipe by operating said circulating breakers. In Figures 3 to 10, inclusive, there has been shown one type of a circulating breaker. The housing 400 is preferably of the same inside and outside diameters as the inside and outside of the tubing and therefore does not produce a reduction or an enlargement within the string. The upper end 401 of the housing 400 is internally screw-threaded, and receives an adapter 402 which has an axial bore 403 therein. This adapter 402, at its upper end, is connected to a section of the drill stem or tubing. The lower portion of said bore is enlarged and forms a shoulder 404. The lower end of the housing 400 is reduced and externally screwthreaded, forming a pin 405 onto which a tool joint box (not shown) or the collar of any ordinary tubing (not shown) may be connected. The housing 400 is provided with an axial bore 406 which is reduced at its lower end and forms an annular slot or shoulder 407. This housing is provided with fluid passageways, and the valves for said passageways are controllable to be opened and closed by the operator from without the well bore. Preferably, the operator will desire to open and close one of said valves before opening another of said valves in a circulation breaker at some lower level in the well bore so as to establish circulation by short stages.
Slidable within the bore 406, of the housing 400, is a valve control used to position a valve, which control includes an elongated sectional sleeve 408. The upper section 409, of the sleeve 408, is screw-threadedly attached to the upper end of the lower section 410. The extreme upper end of the section 409 slides within the enlarged portion of the adapter 402, and may abut the annular shoulder 404. A plurality of slots 411 are provided in the upper end of said section, and normally have their outer surfaces closed by the adapter 402. It is pointed out that said slots are cut at an upwardly extending angle so that fluid passing through said slots must travel in an upward direction. Below the slots 411, the outer circumference of the sleeve 'is provided with a spiral groove 412, said spiral portion of the sleeve 409 is enlarged and slides within the bore 406 of the housing 400. The section 410 is connected at a point opposite the spiral groove, or in close proximity thereto.
The housing 400 is provided with a plurality of openings or fluid passageways 413 which establish communication between the interior and exterior of said housing. Slidable within the bore 406, of the housing 400, and confined between said housing and the section 410 is a sleeve 414 which has its upper end enlarged and slidably engaging both the section 410 and the housing 400. The central portion of the sleeve 414 is provided with slots 415, and said sleeve at this portion is reduced. Riding within the sleeve 414, and screw-threadedly attached to the housing 400, is a stop pin 416, which will obviously limit the vertical movement of the sleeve 414 because the inner end of said pin rides within the slot 415. Below the slots 415, the sleeve 414 is provided with a plurality or a pair of annular grooves 417. The section 410, of the sleeve 408, has its outer circumference reduced, forming an annular seat or shoulder 418.
A retaining ring 419 normally abuts the shoulder 418 and the lower end of the sleeve 414. A similar retaining ring 420 normally rests upon the shoulder 407, of the housing 400, and on the annular seat above the lower end 421 of the section 410. Confined between said retaining rings is a coiled, compressed spring 422. The upper enlarged portion 423 is provided with a plurality of packing rings 424 which normally lie on either side of the openings 413, thereby packing off so that fluid cannot enter or escape through the openings 413. Confined between the lower end of the section 409 and the enlarged portion 423 is a coil spring 425. In the inner surface of the housing 400, and opposite the coil spring 425, there is provided a plurality of enlarged screw threads 426. The section 410 of the sleeve 408, near its lower portion, is provided with a plurality of openings 427, and movably confined within said openings are balls 428 which ordinarily abut the partition between the two annular grooves 417.
It is pointed out that the tool is in the positions shown in Figure 3 when it is inserted in the well, and remains in these positions during normal operations of the well. However, a tool, such as a core barrel, or the like, (not shown) may be run into the well and will strike the balls 428. The core barrel, or the like, by its own weight or by normal pump pressure, will force the sleeve 408 downwardly, and the balls 428 will drop into the lower circular groove, 417, thereby allowing the core barrel or other tool to pass through said circulation breaker. When said core barrel, or other tool, is withdrawn, it strikes the balls 428, moving the sleeve 408 upwardly and allowing the balls to snap into the upper groove 417, and the tool. may then pass up through said circulation breaker.
In the event cuttings or other materials lodge around the pipe, and the pipe becomes stuck in the well, it is desirable to break circulation so as to reestablish circulation and to wash around the outer circumference of the pipe so as to wash the earth or binding material away from the pipe.
In the use of this tool, there may be placed at any suitable intervals within the string of pipe or tubing, circulating breakers. For example, the depth of the well may be 5,000 feet, and one of such circulating breakers could be placed at five-hundred-foot intervals so that there would be five to eight of such circulating breakers in the string of pipe. If while drilling the pipe becomes stuck, the operator usually in such instances does not desire to disconnect the pipe if he can reestablish circulation around the same, thereby freeing it. An example of the method to operate the circulating breaker is to open and close the valve or valves in one or more of these breakers so as to reestablish circulation. There has been shown in the drawings a tool C which is commonly referred to as a "go-devil." As the go-devil strikes the first circulating breaker and comes to rest upon the balls 428, its weight is Just enough to move the parts to the positions shown in Figure 4, thereby moving the sleeve 408 downwardly until the spiral groove 412 is opposite the screw-threaded portion 426 of the housing 400. The purpose of the spiral groove 412 and threads 426 is to set up a turbulence in the fluid stream that may be forced to flow out through the openings 413, and thereby create an extra down thrust on the sleeve 408. This down thrust will be slight unless the volume and rate of flow of the fluid stream is large as it will be when the cuttings are circulated out of the well above the open passageways 413. The screw-threaded portion 426 and the groove 412 will then create a greater turbulent effect, and will act to force said sleeve downwardly. Further, in the event particles of mud, or the like, enter the slots 411, they will be carried down and around the spiral grooves and threads. The spring 425 will move the enlarged portion 423 of the sleeve 414 downwardly as the pressure upon the spiral grooves 412 is increased. It is pointed out that the balls will then enter the lower circular groove 417. All this will move the ring 419 downwardly and compress the spring 422. The tool will now be in the position shown in Figure 8.
The ports 412 have been opened and thereby fluid may pass from the bore of the tubing through the slots 411 and through the annular groove 412 and threads 426, out through the ports 413 and up the outside of the pipe or tubing.
Thus the operator has established circulation around this upper portion of the stuck pipe, and he may now desire to move to the next circulating breaker to establish communication at t at point. In order to do this, it is necessary to'increase the pump pressure and volume which will act .upon the sleeve 408, thereby moving said sleeve downwardly and allowing the balls 428 to move into the lower groove 417, as shown in Figure 8. The enlarged portion 423 is resting upon the pin 416 (Figure 4) and thereby the sleeve 414 cannot be moved down further. Thus the sleeve 408 will move downwardly, allowing the go-devil C to pass through the upper circulating breaker. The go-devil C is moved by gravity down through the fluid to the next circulating breaker, and the steps are repeated until circulation has been established down to the second breaker, and this is repeated until the entire string of tubing has been freed. After the go-devil or a tool has passed through the tool, the springs 422 and 425 expand and return the parts to the positions shown in Figure 3 and the valve closes the passageways 413. In some instances, it may be found desirable to operate the valve in the breaker by other means, and any suitable means may be used. At times it is desirable to retract said go-devil or to run into the well or to remove from the well a core barrel or other device. As the go-devil, or other device, is pulled upwardly, the same will strike the balls 428, and, by an up-ware movement, the pin416 will hold the sleeve 414 and allow the sleeve '08 to move upwardly, thereby allowing the balls 428 to drop into the upper groove 417 and allow said go-devil to be retracted (Figure 9). Thus there is provided a circulating breaker which does not restrict the bore of the tubing and which can be easily and efficiently operated.
This application is a continuation in part, as to common subject matter of my application, Ser.
No. 301,762, filed August 24, 1928, now issued into Patent No. 2,214,550 of September 10, 1940.
What I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent is: 1. In a process of deep well operations involving the removal of pipe and the like in a well bore, the steps of inserting at suitable intervals, circulation breaker joints in a pipe string, lowering and operating said pipe string in the well until said pipe becomes lodged or stuck so fast in the well bore that it cannot be readily withdrawn in its entirety, then selectively opening a passageway in the wall of one of said circulation breaker joints, then circulating fluid out through said open passageway to remove any detritus from above said passageway that might tend to stick and lodge said pipe string above said passageway, then closing the said open passageway so as to prevent the circulation of fluid therethrough, then selectively opening a passageway in the wall of another one of said circulation breaker joints placed at a lower point in said string of pipe, then circulating fluid out through said lower open passageway to remove the detritus from around said string of pipe that was holding said string of pipe against withdrawal.
2. The method of freeing a pipe lodged in a well bore because of sand or other detritus being located about said pipe in such a manner as to stick said pipe, that includes the steps of selectively opening one of a series of valved passageways in said pipe, circulating fluid therethrough to remove any detritus that may be lodged above said open passageway, of closing said passageway, of selectively opening a lower passageway in said pipe, of circulating fluid therethrough to remove the detritus that may be lodged about said pipe and freeing said pipe so as to permit its withdrawal from the well bore.
3. The method of establishing circulation by stages up around a stuck string of pipe and the like in a well bore that includes the steps of circulating fluid down inside the stuck pipe for only a part of its length and up and around the outside of said part that was circulated down on the inside and then of circulating fluid to a point farther down inside the stuck pipe and up and around said stuck pipe from such point farther down in the pipe, to free said pipe so as to permit its withdrawal from the well bore.
CHARLES R. EDWARDS.