Title:
Method and apparatus for installing casing using a top drive drilling rig
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method and apparatus for installing casing with a top drive drilling rig. A first step involves securing a first body to a rotating top head of the top drive drilling unit. A second step involves securing a second body to a length of casing. A third step involves detachably coupling the first body and the second body so that the second body rotates with the first body. This method allows for rapid connection to the top head of the top drive. The process can be further accelerated by using several of the second bodies. While one of the second bodies is being used, another can be secured to the next length of casing in readiness for installation.



Inventors:
Mcallister, Bryon (Kitscoty, CA)
Mcallister, George (Lloydminster, CA)
Mcallister, Kent (Kitscoty, CA)
Mcallister, Neil (Blackfoot, CA)
Mcallister, Leslie (Blackfoot, CA)
Mcallister, Sheldon (Blackfoot, CA)
Application Number:
10/328746
Publication Date:
02/05/2004
Filing Date:
12/23/2002
Assignee:
MCALLISTER BRYON
MCALLISTER GEORGE
MCALLISTER KENT
MCALLISTER NEIL
MCALLISTER LESLIE
MCALLISTER SHELDON
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E21B19/16; (IPC1-7): E21B7/20
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SMITH, MATTHEW J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
CHRISTENSEN O'CONNOR JOHNSON KINDNESS PLLC (Seattle, WA, US)
Claims:

The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:



1. An apparatus for installing casing with a top drive drilling rig, comprising: a first body securable to a rotating top head of the top drive drilling unit; a second body securable to a length of casing; means for detachably coupling the first body and the second body so that the second body rotates with the first body.

2. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the first body has a threaded coupling which is adapted to engage a mating threaded coupling carried by the rotating top head of the top drive drilling rig.

3. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the second body has a threaded coupling which is adapted to engage a mating threaded coupling of the length of casing.

4. The apparatus as defined in claim 1, wherein the means for detachably coupling the first body and the second body includes a first pin receiver on the first body, a second pin receiver on the second body, and a removable pin that is adapted to engage the first pin receiver and the second pin receiver to detachably couple the first body and the second body.

5. The apparatus as defined in claim 4, wherein one of the first pin receiver and the second pin receiver has a single lobe with an aperture and the other of the first pin receiver and the second pin receiver has a pair of spaced lobes each of which have apertures, the single lobe being positionable between the spaced lobes.

6. The apparatus as defined in claim 2, wherein the second body has a receptacle and an insert is provided which carries the threaded coupling, means being provided for detachably securing the insert within the receptacle.

7. The apparatus as defined in claim 6, wherein the second body has pin receiving apertures extending through the receptacle and the insert has pin receiving apertures, the insert being detachably secured within the receptacle by a second removable pin when engages both the pin receiving apertures which extend through the receptacle of the second body and the pin receiving apertures of the insert.

8. An apparatus for installing casing with a top drive drilling rig, comprising: a first body having a first end and a second end, a threaded coupling being positioned at the first end, the threaded coupling being adapted to engage a mating threaded coupling carried by a rotating top head of the top drive drilling rig, a first pin receiver being positioned at the second end; a second body having a first end and a second end, a receptacle being positioned at the second end and a second pin receiver being positioned at the first end; a first removable pin engaging the first pin receiver and the second pin receiver to detachably couple the first body and the second body, such that a rotational force exerted upon the first body by the rotating top head is transmitted to the second body so that the second body rotates with the first body; and an insert which carried a threaded coupling which is adapted to engage a mating threaded coupling on a length of casing, means being provided for detachably non-rotatably securing the insert within the receptacle of the second body, such that a rotational force exerted upon the second body is transmitted to the insert so that the insert rotates with the second body.

9. The apparatus as defined in claim 8, wherein the first body and the second body are adapted to pivot about a first pivot axis provided by the first removable pin.

10. The apparatus as defined in claim 8, wherein the first pin receiver has a single lobe with an aperture and the second pin receiver has a pair of spaced lobes each of which have apertures, the single lobe being positionable between the spaced lobes to engage the first removable pin.

11. The apparatus as defined in claim 8, wherein the second body has pin receiving apertures extending through the receptacle and the insert has pin receiving apertures, the insert being detachably secured within the receptacle by a second removable pin when engages both the pin receiving apertures which extend through the receptacle of the second body and the pin receiving apertures of the insert.

12. A method for installing casing with a top drive drilling rig, comprising the steps of: securing a first body to a rotating top head of the top drive drilling unit; securing a second body to a length of casing; detachably coupling the first body and the second body so that the second body rotates with the first body.

13. The method as defined in claim 12, several of the second bodies being provided, such that while one of the several second bodies is being attached to the first body, used to rotate a length of casing and detached, the other of the several second bodies are being secured to the next lengths of casing to be installed.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a method and apparatus for installing casing using a top drive drilling rig.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The casing installation apparatus currently in use with top drive drilling rigs has a body that has a female threaded connection at a first end and a male threaded connection at a second end. The male threaded connection at the second end is used to engage a length of casing. The female threaded connection at the first end is threaded into a lifting apparatus and lifted by a line up the oil rig derrick to a rig hand. Once at the top of the derrick, the rig hand makes a transfer detaching the female threaded connection from the lifting apparatus and engaging it with a rotating top head of the top drive unit of the drilling rig. Care must be taken during the transfer by the rig hand at the top of the derrick. Care also must be taken when engaging the rotating top head, not to inadvertently loosen the male threaded connection engaging the casing. Once the rotating top head is engaged, the rotating top head is used to spin lengths of casing together. The operation, as described above, tends to be a relatively slow and labour intensive process.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0003] What is required is a method and apparatus for installing casing with a top drive drilling rig which will accelerate the installation process.

[0004] According to one aspect of the present invention there is provided a method for installing casing with a top drive drilling rig. A first step involves securing a first body to a rotating top head of the top drive drilling unit. A second step involves securing a second body to a length of casing. A third step involves detachably coupling the first body and the second body so that the second body rotates with the first body.

[0005] With the method, as described above, the first body remains permanently attached to the top head of the top drive unit. The first body and the second body can be rapidly connected and disconnected, by means of the detachable coupling as will hereinafter be further described. The process can be further accelerated by providing several of the second bodies. While one of the second bodies is being attached to the first body, used to rotate a length of casing and detached; the other of the second bodies placed in readiness by being secured to the next lengths of casing to be installed.

[0006] According to another aspect of the present invention there is provided an apparatus for installing casing with a top drive drilling rig which includes a first body securable to a rotating top head of the top drive drilling unit and a second body securable to a length of casing. Means is provided for detachably coupling the first body and the second body so that the second body rotates with the first body.

[0007] There are various forms of couplings that can be used to secure the first body to the rotating top head of the top drive drilling unit. Beneficial results have been obtained when the first body has a threaded coupling which is adapted to engage a mating threaded coupling carried by the rotating top head of the top drive drilling rig. It will be understood, however, that the coupling need not be a threaded coupling.

[0008] Similarly, there are various forms of couplings that can be used to secure the second body to the length of casing. Beneficial results have been obtained when the second body has a threaded coupling which is adapted to engage a mating threaded coupling of the length of casing. It will be understood, however, that the coupling need not be a threaded coupling.

[0009] It is preferred that the means for detachably coupling the first body and the second body includes a first pin receiver on the first body and a second pin receiver on the second body. This enables a removable pin to be used that is adapted to engage the first pin receiver and the second pin receiver to detachably couple the first body and the second body. It will be understood that although this type of coupling is preferred due to the speed of connection and disconnection, other forms of toque transmitting couplings would also be suitable.

[0010] Although beneficial results may be obtained through the use of the apparatus, as described above, there are several different sizes of casing with which the apparatus must be used. Even more beneficial results may, therefore, be obtained when the second body has a receptacle and an insert is provided which carries the threaded coupling. Means is provided for detachably securing the insert within the receptacle, so that the size of threaded coupling can be changed to suit different sizes of casing and different application requirements.

[0011] It is preferred that the first body and the second body be adapted to pivot about a first pivot axis provided by the first removable pin. This provides for easier alignment of the first body and the second body and, thereby, promotes a more rapid connection.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] These and other features of the invention will become more apparent from the following description in which reference is made to the appended drawings, the drawings are for the purpose of illustration only and are not intended to in any way limit the scope of the invention to the particular embodiment or embodiments shown, wherein:

[0013] FIG. 1 is a side elevation view of an apparatus for installing casing constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the apparatus for installing casing illustrated in FIG. 1, in use in accordance with the teachings of the method.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0015] The preferred embodiment, an apparatus for installing casing using a top drive drilling rig generally identified by reference numeral 10, will now be described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2.

[0016] Structure and Relationship of Parts:

[0017] Referring to FIG. 1, apparatus 10 includes a first body 12 with a first end 14 and a second end 16. A threaded coupling 18 is positioned at first end 14. Referring to FIG. 2, threaded coupling 18 is adapted to engage a mating threaded coupling 20 which is carried by a rotating top head 22 of a top drive drilling rig generally referenced by numeral 24. Referring to FIG. 1, a first pin receiver 26 is positioned at second end of body 12.

[0018] Referring to FIG. 1, a second body 28 is also provided with a first end 30 and a second end 32. A receptacle 34 is positioned at second end 32. A second pin receiver 36 is positioned at first end 30. A first removable pin 38 engages first pin receiver 26 and second pin receiver 36 to detachably couple first body 12 and second body 28. Referring to FIG. 2, a rotational force exerted upon first body 12 by rotating top head 22 is transmitted to second body 28 so that second body 28 rotates with first body 12. First body 12 and second body 28 are adapted to pivot about a first pivot axis 40 provided by first removable pin 38.

[0019] Referring to FIG. 1, in this embodiment, first pin receiver 26 has a single lobe 42 with an aperture 44 and second pin receiver 36 has a pair of spaced lobes 46 each of which have also have apertures 48. Single lobe 42 is positionable between spaced lobes 46 to engage first removable pin 38. Second body 28 has pin receiving apertures 50 which extend through receptacle 34.

[0020] Referring to FIG. 1, an insert 52 is provided which carries a threaded coupling 54. Referring to FIG. 2, threaded coupling 54 is adapted to engage mating threaded coupling 56 on a length of casing 58. Referring to FIG. 1, insert 52 has pin receiving apertures 60. Insert 52 is detachably secured within receptacle 34 by a second removable pin 62 which engages pin receiving apertures 50 that extend through receptacle 34 of second body 28 and pin receiving apertures 60 of insert 52. Insert 52 is non-rotatably engaged within receptacle 34 of second body 28. A rotational force exerted upon second body 28 is transmitted to insert 52 so that insert 52 rotates with second body 28.

[0021] Operation:

[0022] The use and operation of apparatus for installing casing using a top drive drilling rig generally identified by reference numeral 10, will now be described with reference to FIGS. 1 and 2. Referring to FIG. 2, there is illustrated a method for installing casing 58 with top drive drilling rig 24. First body 12, as described above, is secured to rotating top head 22 of top drive drilling unit generally referenced by numeral 24. Second body 28 is secured to length of casing 58. First body 12 and second body 28 are coupled so that second body 28 rotates with first body 12. First body 12 and second body 28 can be rapidly connected by positioning single lobe 42 of first-pin receiver 26 between spaced lobes 46 of second pin receiver 36 and inserting first removable pin 38 through apertures 44 and 48. First body 12 and second body 28 can be just as rapidly disconnected by removal of first removable pin 38. The pivotal attachment along axis 40, enables attachment without precise vertical alignment. More importantly, the pivotal attachment along axis 40 enables attachment to me made with casing 58 laying down at ground level.

[0023] Referring to FIG. 2, it is preferred that several second bodies 28 can be provided. While one of second bodies 28 is attached to first body 12 and used to rotate a length of casing 58 before being detached, another of second bodies 28a can be secured-to the next length of casing 58a to be installed.

[0024] Referring to FIG. 1, in order to adapt apparatus 10 for use with a different size of casing, second removable pin 62 is withdrawn and insert 52 is removed from receptacle 34. A different insert 52 suited for the new size of casing can then be inserted into receptacle 34. The new insert is secured in place by inserting second removable pin 62 back through pin receiving apertures 50 that extend through receptacle 34 of second body 28 and pin receiving apertures 60 of insert 52.

[0025] The above described method and apparatus enables connections to both rotating top head 22 and casing 58 to be done at ground level. Rotating top head 22, to which first body 12 is attached, is able to pick up casing 58, to which second body 28 has been attached, from a position in which casing 58 is laying down at ground level. A connection is made between first body 12 and second body 28 by inserting pin 38. Once pin 58 has been inserted, top drive is able to travel straight up the derrick. Rotating top head 22 is rotated to spin casing 58 to attach it to the casing string and the casing string is lowered into the hole. Second body 28 is then spun out by rotating top head 22 and lowered to ground level. Where second body 28 is disconnected and second body 28a secured to the next length of casing 58a is attached. It will be appreciated that this is a much safer method as the need for a rig hand up the derrick is eliminated, as it the transfer from a lifting apparatus to the rotating top head. It also allows oil rigs that are not equipped with a secondary pick up apparatus to run casing.

[0026] It will be apparent to one skilled in the art the relative speed that the above described method and apparatus provides as compared to the prior art.

[0027] In this patent document, the word “comprising” is used in its non-limiting sense to mean that items following the word are included, but items not specifically mentioned are not excluded. A reference to an element by the indefinite article “a” does not exclude the possibility that more than one of the element is present, unless the context clearly requires that there be one and only one of the elements.

[0028] It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that modifications may be made to the illustrated embodiment without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as hereinafter defined in the claims.