Title:
APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR STRIPPING SOLIDS AND FLUIDS FROM A STRING USED IN DRILLING OR SERVICING WELLS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus and method is provided for stripping solids and fluids from a string used in the drilling or servicing of a well when the string is removed from the well. The apparatus can comprise two or more pivotally connected arcuate body portions that can be enclosed around the string in a clamshell fashion. The apparatus can further comprise a seal disposed therein to provide a toroidal sealing member around the string when the apparatus encloses the string. A quick release latch mechanism is provided on the apparatus for easy and quick installation on, and removal from, the string. Handles on the apparatus allow personnel to hold the apparatus in a stationary position as the string passes through the apparatus when being raised from the well. In so doing, the sealing member strips solids and fluids from the string.



Inventors:
Holtby, Quinn A. J. (Edmonton, CA)
Application Number:
12/769575
Publication Date:
05/12/2011
Filing Date:
04/28/2010
Assignee:
KATCH KAN HOLDINGS LTD. (Edmonton, CA)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
166/173
International Classes:
E21B37/00; E21B37/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WANG, WEI
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Lambert Intellectual Property Law (Edmonton, AB, CA)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An apparatus for stripping off solids and fluids from a string used in the drilling or servicing of a well, the apparatus comprising: a) two or more arcuate body portions pivotally connected together and configured to form a cylindrical body when closed together; b) one or more handles disposed on the arcuate body portions; and c) one or more sealing members disposed in the cylindrical body, the sealing member forming an opening that forms a toroidal seal around the string when the cylindrical body is enclosed around the string whereby the sealing member strips solids and fluids off of the string when the string passes through the apparatus.

2. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, further comprising a latch mechanism disposed on one or more body portions, the latch mechanism releasably connecting the arcuate body portions together to form the cylindrical body.

3. The apparatus as set forth in claim 2, wherein the latch mechanism comprises an over center latch.

4. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the sealing member comprises a plurality of seal portions, one seal portion for each arcuate body portion.

5. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the arcuate body portions further comprise a groove disposed on an interior surface thereof, the groove removably receiving the sealing member therein.

6. The apparatus as set forth in claim 5, wherein the sealing member is configured to be removably installed in the groove.

7. The apparatus as set forth in claim 1, wherein the sealing member further comprises means for allowing the sealing member opening to expand and contract in diameter.

8. The apparatus as set forth in claim 7, wherein the means further comprises a plurality of cuts in the sealing member extending radially from the sealing member opening.

9. A sealing member to be removably received by an apparatus having two or more arcuate body portions pivotally connected together and forming a cylindrical body when closed together for stripping off solids and fluids from a string used in the drilling or servicing of a well, the sealing member comprising: a) a plurality of seal portions having a top face and a bottom face, one seal portion for each arcuate body portion; and b) the seal portions form an opening that forms a toroidal seal around the string when the cylindrical body is enclosed around the string whereby the sealing member strips solids and fluids off of the string when the string passes through the apparatus.

10. The sealing member as set forth in claim 9, wherein the sealing member further comprises means for allowing the sealing member opening to expand and contract in diameter.

11. The sealing member as set forth in claim 10, wherein the means further comprises a plurality of cuts in the sealing member extending radially from the sealing member opening.

12. The sealing member as set forth in claim 10, wherein the means further comprises a channel between the top face and bottom face of the seal portions, the channel surrounding the sealing member opening.

13. A method for stripping off solids and fluids from a string being removed from a well, the method comprising the steps of: a) providing a hand held pipe wiper, comprising: i) two or more arcuate body portions pivotally connected together and forming a cylindrical body when closed together, ii) one or more handles disposed on the arcuate body portions, and iii) a sealing member disposed in the cylindrical body, the sealing member forming a toroidal seal around the string when the cylindrical body is enclosed around the string whereby the sealing member strips solids and fluids off of the string when the string passes through the pipe wiper; b) enclosing the pipe wiper around the string whereby the sealing member has formed the toroidal seal around the string; and c) holding the pipe wiper in position while the string is being raised out of the well whereby the sealing element strips off solids and fluids from the string.

14. The method as set forth in claim 13, wherein the hand held pipe wiper further comprises a latch mechanism disposed on one or more body portions, the latch mechanism releasably connecting the arcuate body portions together to form the cylindrical body.

15. The method as set forth in claim 14, wherein the latch mechanism comprises an over center latch.

16. The method as set forth in claim 13, wherein the sealing member comprises a plurality of seal portions, one seal portion for each arcuate body portion.

17. The method as set forth in claim 13, wherein the arcuate body portions further comprise a groove disposed on an interior surface thereof, the groove removably receiving the sealing member therein.

18. The method as set forth in claim 17, wherein the sealing member is removably installed in the groove.

19. The method as set forth in claim 13, wherein the sealing member further comprises means for allowing the sealing member opening to expand and contract in diameter.

20. The method as set forth in claim 19, wherein the means further comprises a plurality of cuts in the sealing member extending radially from the sealing member opening.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/173,507 filed Apr. 28, 2009 and to U.S. provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/321,009 filed Apr. 5, 2010, and hereby incorporates the same provisional applications by reference herein in their entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure is related to the field of apparatuses, in particular, hand held pipe wipers and seals for wiping fluids and solids off pipe sections of a string used in the drilling of a well, or in the servicing of a well, as the pipe sections are removed from the well, and methods of using same.

BACKGROUND

As sections of pipe in a string used either on a drilling rig in the drilling of wells or on a service rig in the servicing of wells are removed from or “tripped out” of the well, they are often covered with solids and/or fluids. Before the pipe sections are put back into a storage rack or facility, it is desirable that the solids or fluids be removed or stripped off of the pipe. Known methods for removing solids or fluids from pipe sections being tripped out of a well are cumbersome and can be difficult, if not dangerous, for drilling personnel to use.

Known methods for removing solids or fluids from pipe sections being tripped out of a well include the manual use of rags and gunny sacks which require the hands of drilling personnel to be in close proximity to the drilling fluid. The drilling fluid is often at high temperatures and can burn the hands of drilling personnel. The known methods can result in the wiping device being dropped down into the drill hole.

It is, therefore, desirable to provide a pipe wiper and seal that can wipe or strip off solids from pipe sections being tripped out of a well that is easy to handle by personnel on the well.

SUMMARY

An apparatus and method for stripping solids and fluids from sections of pipe on a string used in the drilling of wells or used in the servicing of wells is disclosed. For purposes of this specification and the claims contained herein, the term “string” is defined to include a drill string comprised of multiple sections of drill pipe joined together and used on a drilling rig for the drilling of wells, a string of pipe comprised of multiple sections of pipe joined together and used on a service rig for the servicing of wells, and coil tubing that is used in the directional drilling of wells in addition to the servicing of wells. For purposes of this specification and the claims contained herein, the term “rig” is defined to include both well drilling rigs and well servicing rigs as well as snubbing units, push/pull rigs, coil tubing units, and other mechanical devices used to insert or remove string from a well.

In one embodiment, an apparatus is provided comprising a hand held pipe wiper. The pipe wiper can be used primarily to strip off solids and fluids from a string when it is being removed from a well. The pipe wiper can be provided with handles so it can be used manually by drilling personnel.

In one embodiment, the pipe wiper can comprise two or more portions that are hinged together so that the pipe wiper can be opened and placed around a string and then closed around the string to form a generally cylindrical body that encloses the string in a clamshell fashion. The pipe wiper can further comprise a releasable latch mechanism that can hold the pipe wiper body portions together. In this manner, the pipe wiper can easily and quickly be connected when installed on a string, and then easily and quickly disconnected and removed from the string when the string has been stripped of solids and fluids.

In another embodiment, the pipe wiper can further comprise a flexible toroidal seal disposed in the pipe wiper body. The seal can have multiple parts, one part for each portion of the hinged body. When the pipe wiper is enclosed around a string, the seal can form a toroidal sealing member having a central opening that can fit tightly around the string. In another embodiment, the seal can be configured to flex and stretch such that the central opening can expand in diameter so that the seal can pass over a connection between sections of pipe as the string is being raised out of a well, and then contract in diameter to the pipe's diameter after the pipe connection has passed through the pipe wiper. In operation, the pipe wiper can be placed and enclosed around a string and can be held in position by drilling personnel on the rig floor by gripping the handles to ensure stabilization of the pipe wiper as the string is being raised out of the well. As the string is raised, it passes through the pipe wiper and the sealing member in the pipe wiper strips off solids and fluids from the exterior surface of the string, the solids and fluids falling onto the rig floor.

In a further embodiment, the seal can be removably installed in the pipe wiper so as to provide a variety of seals having differently sized openings to accommodate strings of different diameters, or to be able to easily replace a damaged seal in the pipe wiper.

“Handle” as used herein can include anything know in the art or yet to be developed which will allow a worker to grip the apparatus. The handle can be integrally formed into the body of the apparatus or can be attached separately. The handle can allow for increasing the distance between the hands of drilling personnel and the drilling fluid.

Broadly stated, a hand held pipe wiper is provided for stripping off solids and fluids from a string in the drilling or servicing of a well, comprising: two or more arcuate body portions pivotally connected together and configured to form a cylindrical body when enclosed around the string; a latch mechanism disposed on one or more body portions, the latch mechanism configured to releasably connect the arcuate body portions together to form the cylindrical body; one or more handles disposed on the arcuate body portions; and a sealing member disposed in the cylindrical body, the sealing member configured to form a toroidal seal around the string when the cylindrical body is enclosed around the string whereby the sealing member strips solids and fluids off of the string when the string passes through the pipe wiper.

Broadly stated, a sealing member is provided which can be removably received by an apparatus having two or more arcuate body portions pivotally connected together and configured to form a cylindrical body when closed together for stripping off solids and fluids from a string used in the drilling or servicing of a well, the sealing member comprising: a plurality of seal portions having a top face and a bottom face, one seal portion for each arcuate body portion; and the seal portions configured to form an opening that forms a toroidal seal around the string when the cylindrical body is enclosed around the string whereby the sealing member strips solids and fluids off of the string when the string passes through the apparatus.

Broadly stated, a method is provided for stripping off solids and fluids from a string being removed from a well, the method comprising the steps of: providing a hand held pipe wiper, comprising: two or more arcuate body portions pivotally connected together and configured to form a cylindrical body when enclosed around the string, a latch mechanism disposed on one or more body portions, the latch mechanism configured to releasably connect the arcuate body portions together to form the cylindrical body, one or more handles disposed on the arcuate body portions, and a sealing member disposed in the cylindrical body, the sealing member configured to form a toroidal seal around the string when the cylindrical body is enclosed around the string whereby the sealing member strips solids and fluids off of the string when the string passes through the pipe wiper; enclosing the pipe wiper around the string whereby the sealing member has formed the toroidal seal around the string; and holding the pipe wiper in position while the string is being raised out of the well whereby the sealing element strips off solids and fluids from the string.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top plan view depicting a pipe wiper;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view depicting the pipe wiper of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side cross-section view depicting the pipe wiper of FIG. 2 along section lines A-A;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view depicting the pipe wiper of FIG. 1 installed on a string being raised;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view depicting a sealing member for a pipe wiper;

FIG. 6 is a side elevation view depicting the sealing member of FIG. 5;

FIG. 7 is a cross-section view depicting the sealing member of FIG. 5 along section lines B-B;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view depicting a female seal half of the sealing member of FIG. 5;

FIG. 9 is a side elevation view depicting the female seal half of FIG. 8;

FIG. 10 is a side cross-section view depicting the female seal half of FIG. 8 along section lines C-C;

FIG. 11 is a perspective view depicting a male seal half of the sealing member of FIG. 5;

FIG. 12 is a side elevation view depicting the male seal half of FIG. 11; and

FIG. 13 is a side cross-section view depicting the male seal half of FIG. 11 along section lines D-D.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, an embodiment of pipe wiper 10 is shown. In this embodiment, pipe wiper 10 can comprise body 12 consisting of arcuate or semi-circular body halves 14 and 16 that are pivotally connected together with hinge 18. When body halves 14 and 16 are closed together to meet at seam 19, body 12 defines interior 11 through which a string can be placed and pass through. While this embodiment comprises two semi-circular body halves 14 and 16 to form cylindrical or tubular body 12, it should be understood that three or more arcuate body portions pivotally connected together can be used to form body 12. In other embodiments of pipe wiper 10, body 12 can have a cross-sectional shape that is not circular, such shapes including: triangular, square, rectangular, oval and polygonal cross-sectional shapes. For the purposes of this specification and the claims contained herein, the terms “arcuate”, “semi-circular”, “cylindrical”, “tubular” and any other like terms are hereby defined to include both circular and non-circular cross-sectional shapes of body 12 and parts therefor, including a sealing member that is disposed in body 12 and discussed in further detail below.

Body 12 can further comprise handle 20 disposed on body half 14 and handle 22 disclosed on body half 16 so as to enable a person to grasp and hold onto pipe wiper 10 when a string is raised through it. Pipe wiper 10 can further comprise latch mechanism 24 to hold body halves 14 and 16 together when pipe wiper 10 is being used. In the illustrated embodiment, latch mechanism 24 can comprise fixed hinge member 28 disposed on body half 14 that can be pivotally connected to movable latch member 30, which, in turn, can be pivotally connected to handle 26. Handle 26 can be further configured to engage a keeper or stay member disposed on body half 16 (not shown) to hold body halves 14 and 16 together when handle 26 is rotated towards body 12 whereby latch mechanism 24 can operate as an “over center latch.” To open pipe wiper 10, handle 26 can be pulled and rotated away from body half 16 to disengage the keeper disposed thereon whereby handle 26 and latch member 30 can be rotated further away from body half 16 so as to enable the removal of pipe wiper 10 from a pipe section. It should be apparent that any suitable latching mechanism can be used in substitution of the illustrated latch mechanism 24 to couple body halves 14 and 16 together.

Referring to FIG. 3, a cross-sectional view of pipe wiper 10 is shown, namely, the interior view of body half 16. As shown in this embodiment, the interior surface of body half 16 can comprise groove 32 disposed thereon where a sealing element can be removably placed. A corresponding groove 32 can also be disposed on the interior surface of body half 14 (not shown). Groove 32 enables the easy installation and removal of sealing elements in body halves 14 and 16 so that the sealing element can be replaced when it becomes damaged or when a sealing element for a different diameter pipe is required.

Referring to FIG. 4, pipe wiper 10 is shown installed on pipe 36 as it is being raised through pipe wiper 10. In this embodiment, pipe wiper 10 is shown comprised of semi-circular body halves 14 and 16 each having arcuate seal members 34 and 35 disposed therein, respectively. When pipe wiper 10 is installed around pipe 36, as shown, seal members 34 and 35 meet at seam 40 to form opening 39 that, in turn, forms a toroidal seal around pipe 36. Seal members 34 and 35 can be configured to be removably placed or installed in grooves 32 disposed in body halves 14 and 16. Seal members 34 and 35 can be made of any suitable elastomeric material that enables seal members 34 and 35 to flex and stretch so as to maintain contact with the external surface of pipe 36 due to any irregularities to the cross-sectional shape of pipe 36 or to the contour of the pipe's external surface and, in addition, to allow opening 39 to expand in diameter so as to enable any joint connection between two sections of pipe to pass through seal members 34 and 35 as a joint connection can have a larger diameter than the diameter of the pipe itself. Suitable examples of the elastomeric material for seal members 34 and 35 can include natural rubber, neoprene rubber, foam rubber, silicone-based rubber, nitrile rubber and any other material that is suitable for use as a seal that can be used to strip petroleum-based substances from a string. The elastomeric material for seal members 34 and 35 can also be a low weight material which would allow seal members 34 and 35 to float on the drilling fluid if seal members 34 and 35 were dropped into well.

In another embodiment, seal members 34 and 35 can further comprise means for allowing opening 39 to expand and contract in diameter. In one embodiment, the means can comprise a plurality of relief cuts 38 disposed thereon to allow opening 39 to expand in diameter when a joint connection between two pipe sections are passed through pipe wiper 10, and to contract in diameter when the joint connection has passed through pipe wiper 10. In the illustrated embodiment, relief cuts 38 are shown as straight cuts in a radial configuration extending outwardly from opening 39. The relief cuts 38 can be of any other suitable configuration on seal members 34 and 35 so as to allow opening 39 to expand and contract in diameter as a pipe joint connection passes through seal members 34 and 35.

In a representative embodiment, body 12, handles 20 and 22, and latch mechanism 24 can be made of a polymer plastic material so as to minimize the weight of pipe wiper 10 and still maintain the necessary structural strength required for a tool of this nature. However, it should be understood that other materials can be used in the construction in pipe wiper 10, such as metal, metal alloys or any other suitable construction material.

Referring now to FIGS. 5-13, a further embodiment of a sealing member for use with pipe wiper 10 is shown as seal insert 42. Seal insert 42 can include a female seal half 44 and a male seal half 46. Outer edge 48 of seal insert 42 can be configured such that seal insert 42 can be removably placed or installed in body halves 14 and 16. Seal insert 42 can include a top face 50 and bottom face 52. Seal grooves 56 can be used to removably place seal insert 43 into groove 32 on the interior surface of body half 16 and the interior surface of body half 14. Groove 32 can enable the easy installation and removal of seal halves 44 and 46 in body halves 14 and 16 so that the seal insert 42 can be replaced when it becomes damaged or when a seal insert 42 for a different diameter pipe 36 (as shown in FIG. 3) is required.

Female seal half 44 and a male seal half 46 can be made of any suitable elastomeric material that enables female seal half 44 and a male seal half 46 to flex and stretch so as to maintain contact with the external surface of pipe 36 due to any irregularities to the cross-sectional shape of pipe 36 or to the contour of the pipe's external surface and, in addition, to allow seal insert opening 54 to expand in diameter so as to enable any joint connection between two sections of pipe to pass through seal insert opening 54 as a joint connection can have a larger diameter than the diameter of the pipe 36 itself. Suitable examples of the elastomeric material for female seal half 44 and a male seal half 46 can include natural rubber, neoprene rubber, foam rubber, silicone-based rubber, nitrile rubber and combinations thereof or any other material suitable for use as a seal that can be used to strip petroleum-based produced substances from a string. The elastomeric material for female seal half 44 and a male seal half 46 can also be a low weight material which would allow female seal half 44 and a male seal half 46 to float on the drilling fluid if female seal half 44 and a male seal half 46 were dropped into well.

Referring to FIGS. 8, 9, and 10, female seal half 44 can have notch 58 for receiving a tongue disposed on seal half 46. Referring to FIGS. 11, 12, and 13, male seal half 46 can have tongue 60 that can be inserted into notch 58 so that female seal half 44 and male seal half 46 can be brought together to form seal insert 42 which, in turn, can form a toroidal seal around pipe 36 (as shown in FIG. 3).

In another embodiment, seal insert 42 can also include channel 62 disposed between the top face 50 and bottom face 52 of seal insert 42. Channel 62 can allow for a pipe joint or irregularity on pipe 36 to pass through seal insert opening 54 while allowing seal insert 42 to still strip pipe 36 of solids and fluids collected on the outside surface of pipe 36.

Although a few embodiments have been shown and described, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that various changes and modifications might be made without departing from the scope of the invention. The terms and expressions used in the preceding specification have been used herein as terms of description and not of limitation, and there is no intention in the use of such terms and expressions of excluding equivalents of the features shown and described or portions thereof, it being recognized that the scope of the invention is defined and limited only by the claims that follow.