Title:
Mud saver mat for rig floors and other areas
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Mats, pipe stands, and/or other structures, and methods for receiving fluid drained from one or more oilfield tubulars are described. Usable mats can include a base member at least partially impermeable to fluid from the oilfield tubulars, a first plurality of support arms secured to the top surface of the base member, and a second plurality of support arms intersecting the first plurality of support arms. The intersection between the pluralities of support arms defines openings through which fluid from oilfield tubulars supported on top of the support members or within the openings can drain, such that fluid from the tubulars does not spread on a rig floor or other surface beneath the base member. The base member and/or support arms are provided with a height and/or thickness adapted to support the weight of one or more oilfield tubulars placed thereon.



Inventors:
Gibbens, Robert (Kingwood, TX, US)
Arp, David (Fort Collins, CO, US)
Clements, Francis Paul (Houma, LA, US)
Application Number:
12/924399
Publication Date:
03/29/2012
Filing Date:
09/27/2010
Assignee:
GIBBENS ROBERT
ARP DAVID
CLEMENTS FRANCIS PAUL
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
166/81.1
International Classes:
E21B23/00; E21B19/00
View Patent Images:



Other References:
For the American Heritage Dictionary definition: over. (n.d.) The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. (2003). Retrieved May 1 2013 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/over
Primary Examiner:
WANG, WEI
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
TED M. ANTHONY (LAFAYETTE, LA, US)
Claims:
1. A mat for preventing fluid from one or more oilfield tubulars from spreading on a rig floor, the mat comprising: a base member at least partially impermeable to fluid from the tubulars; a first plurality of support arms secured to the top surface of the base member along a first side and having a second side spaced from the first side; and a second plurality of support arms intersecting at least one of the first plurality of support arms to define a plurality of openings to allow movement of fluid from the tubulars through the plurality of openings to the base member, thereby preventing the fluid from spreading on the rig floor.

2. The mat of claim 1, wherein the first plurality of support arms are generally parallel to a first side of the base member, and wherein the second plurality of support arms are generally parallel to a second side of the base member.

3. The mat of claim 1, wherein the second plurality of support arms intersect the first plurality of support arms in a generally perpendicular relationship.

4. The mat of claim 1, wherein the second plurality of support arms intersect the first plurality of support arms to provide at least one of the plurality of openings with a square shape, a rectangular shape, a triangular shape, a round shape, a honeycomb shape, or combinations thereof.

5. The mat of claim 1, wherein the base member comprises a bounded region extending beyond the first plurality of support arms and the second plurality of support arms, wherein the bounded region comprises an open top for facilitating removal of fluid therefrom.

6. A method for receiving fluid from one or more oilfield tubulars, the method comprising the steps of: placing at least one oilfield tubular containing fluid on a mat adapted to receive the fluid, wherein the mat is disposed over the rig floor, and wherein the mat supports a weight of said at least one oilfield tubular; orienting said at least one oilfield tubular in a position such that the fluid from said at least one oilfield tubular flows toward the mat; and permitting the fluid to pass through openings of the mat, wherein the mat prevents the fluid from spreading on the rig floor.

7. The method of claim 6, wherein the step of placing said at least one oilfield tubular containing fluid on the mat comprises placing said at least one oilfield tubular on a plurality of support arms of the mat spaced apart from a base member of the mat, and wherein fluid that passes through the openings of the mat contacts the base member and is prevented from spreading on the rig floor.

8. The method of claim 6, wherein the step of placing said at least one oilfield tubular containing fluid on the mat comprises placing an end of said at least one oilfield tubular within at least one of the openings, wherein fluid that flows toward the mat contacts a base member of the mat and is prevented from spreading on the rig floor.

9. The method of claim 6, wherein the step of orienting said at least one oilfield tubular in a position such that the fluid from said at least one oilfield tubular will flow in a downward direction comprises placing said at least one oilfield tubular in a generally vertical orientation.

10. The method of claim 6, wherein the step of permitting the fluid to pass through the openings of the mat comprises permitting the fluid to drain from said at least one oilfield tubular to contact a base member disposed beneath the openings of the mat, wherein the base member comprises a material at least partially impermeable to the fluid and prevents the fluid from spreading on the rig floor.

11. The method of claim 6, further comprising the steps of moving the fluid to a bounded region of the mat comprising an open top and removing the fluid through the open top of the bounded region.

12. The method of claim 6, further comprising the step of placing the mat within a depression in the rig floor such that a top surface of the mat is generally flush with the rig floor.

13. A mat for receiving fluid one or more oilfield tubulars supported thereon while at least partially supporting a weight of said oilfield tubulars, the mat comprising: a base member having a top surface comprising a material at least partially impermeable to the fluid from said oilfield tubulars; a plurality of first structural arms secured to the top surface of the base member, wherein the first plurality of support members comprise a first height adapted to support the weight of said oilfield tubulars, and wherein the first plurality of support members each comprise a plurality of notches formed therein; a second plurality of structural arms secured to the plurality of first structural arms, wherein the second plurality of support arms comprise a second height adapted to support the weight of said oilfield tubulars, wherein the second plurality of structural arms are disposed within the plurality of notches of the first plurality of structural arms, and wherein the second plurality of structural arms are secured in a generally perpendicular relationship with respect to the first plurality of structural arms, thereby defining a plurality of openings for permitting passage of fluid from said oilfield tubulars through the plurality of openings to contact the base member, thereby preventing the fluid from spreading on the rig floor.

14. The mat of claim 13, further comprising at least one side opening for facilitating emptying of the mat.

15. The mat of claim 13, wherein the base member comprises a bounded region extending beyond the first plurality of support arms and the second plurality of support arms, wherein the bounded region comprises an open top for facilitating removal of fluid therefrom.

Description:

FIELD

The present invention relates, generally, to mats, pipe stands, and/or similar structural containers and methods for receiving fluid from one or more oilfield tubulars to prevent the fluid from collecting and/or spreading on a rig floor.

BACKGROUND

While drilling and/or performing other operations within a well, drilling mud and other viscous fluids are flowed through various oilfield tubulars, which can include drill pipe, casing, and similar conduits usable within the well. After use, the disassembled oilfield tubulars can retain drilling mud and other thick and/or viscous fluids that adhere to the inner surface. Conventionally, these disassembled tubulars are placed in an unused area of a rig floor and allowed to slowly drain over time. This process causes drilling mud or other fluids contained within the tubulars to spill on to the rig floor, and often spread undesirably to areas of the rig floor that will be trafficked, creating a safety hazard. The draining process also requires significant remedial and/or clean up operations once the tubulars have drained, such as by washing the area of the rig floor used to store the disassembled tubulars. Furthermore, conventional draining processes fail to reclaim used drilling mud from the interior of the disassembled tubulars for reuse.

A need exists for methods and mats or other similar apparatuses that support the weight of one or more oilfield tubulars during the draining process while collecting the fluid that drains therefrom, thereby preventing the drained fluid from being spread on the rig floor to prevent accidents from slipping and falling, or similar events, while enabling the drained fluid to be reclaimed, or alternatively, discarded when desired.

The present invention addresses these needs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

In the detailed description of the embodiments of the invention presented below, reference is made to the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 depicts an isometric view of an embodiment of a mat or similar structural container or mat usable within the scope of the present disclosure.

FIG. 2A depicts a top view of the mat of FIG. 1.

FIG. 2B depicts a side view of the mat of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 depicts an isometric view of an alternate embodiment of a mat or similar structural container usable within the scope of the present disclosure.

FIG. 4A depicts a top view of the mat of FIG. 3.

FIG. 4B depicts a side view of the mat of FIG. 3.

The depicted embodiments of the invention are described below with reference to the listed Figures.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE EMBODIMENTS

Before explaining the disclosed embodiments of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the particular embodiments depicted or described, and that the invention can be practiced or carried out in various ways.

The present invention relates, generally, to mats, pipe stands, and/or structural containers, and methods for receiving fluid from at least one oilfield tubular and preventing the fluid from spreading on or otherwise undesirably contacting a rig floor. In an embodiment of the invention, a mat can be provided, having a base member at least partially impermeable to fluid from one or more oilfield tubulars, a first plurality of support members or arms secured to the top surface of the base member along one side, with a second side spaced from the first, and a second plurality of support members or arms intersecting the first plurality of support members or arms. The first and second pluralities of support members or arms intersect one another, such as in a perpendicular orientation, to define openings for permitting movement of fluid from the oilfield tubulars therethrough, to contact the base member below. Each of the support members or arms and/or the base member can be provided with a height and/or other dimensions adapted to support the weight of one or more oilfield tubulars placed thereon. In an embodiment of the invention, an end of one or more of the oilfield tubulars can be placed within an opening of the mat to provide lateral support to the tubulars during the draining process.

In use, one or more oilfield tubulars are placed on top of the mat, or within one of the openings, as described above, in a generally vertical orientation or other selected position, such that fluid from the oilfield tubulars will flow through the openings within the mat to contact the base member. The fluid is thereby prevented from contacting and/or spreading undesirably on the rig floor and can be easily collected and/or cleaned from the mat.

Referring now to FIG. 1, an embodiment of a mat (10) usable within the scope of the present disclosure is shown. The mat (10) is shown having a base member (12), which is depicted as a continuous, flat, generally rectangular segment of at least partially liquid-impermeable material able to be positioned over a section of a rig floor within which one or more oilfield tubulars can be retained while fluid is drained therefrom. In selected embodiments of the invention, the mat (10) can be placed in a depression or similar recessed area of the rig floor to enable the top surface of the mat (10) to be generally flush with the rig floor. While the shape and dimensions of the base member (12) can vary depending on the number and type of oilfield tubulars to be retained thereon, and the corresponding shape and dimensions of other portions of the mat (10), in an embodiment of the invention, the base member (12) can have a length of approximately 22 inches, a width of approximately 13 inches, and a thickness of approximately one inch. Additionally, while the base member (12) can be formed from any generally rigid, durable material able to withstand the weight of one or more oilfield tubulars, exposure to drilling mud and other fluids, and exposure to ambient weather or other environmental conditions, in various embodiments of the invention, the base member (12) can be formed from steel, one or more other metals or alloys, plastic, rubber, one or more composites, one or more polymers, or combinations thereof. In a further embodiment of the invention, the base member (12) can be formed from a plastic material similar to that used within thread protectors and/or similar plugs or caps for oilfield tubulars, readily able to withstand the structural weight of oilfield tubulars. In selected embodiments of the invention, the base member (12) and/or other portions of the mat can include a generally flexible material.

A first plurality of support arms (14) are shown secured to the top surface of the base member (12). The means by which the first support arms (14) are secured to the base member (12) can include any manner of bolts, screws, rivets, clamps, or other types of fasteners, adhesives, or similar types of securing known in the art. Additionally, in an embodiment of the invention, the base surface (12) can be provided with one or more grooves or notches sized to receive the first support arms (14). While the number, spacing, orientation, shape, and dimensions of each of the first support arms (14) can vary depending on the shape and dimensions of the base member (12) and the number and type of oilfield tubulars to be retained thereon, FIG. 1 depicts seven, generally rectangular first support arms (14), evenly spaced across the length of the base member (12), in a generally parallel relationship to a first side of the base member (12) and to one another. Though the size and shape of the first support arms (14) can vary, as described previously, in an embodiment of the invention, each of the first support arms (14) can have a length equal to the width of the base member (12), a width of approximately one inch, and a height of approximately four inches.

FIG. 1 also depicts a second plurality of support arms (16) secured to the first plurality of support members (14). Specifically, FIG. 1 shows five, generally rectangular second support arms (16) evenly spaced across the width of the base member (12), in a generally parallel relationship to a second side of the base member and to one another, such that each second support arm (16) intersects each of the first support arms (14) in a generally perpendicular relationship. While any manner of securing known in the art can be used to secure the second support arms (16) to the first support arms (14), FIG. 1 depicts each of the first support arms (14) having a plurality of grooves or notches (18) disposed therein, sized to receive one of the second support arms (16). Additionally, FIG. 1 depicts a plurality of bolts or rivets, of which rivet (20) is labeled, that are usable to secure the second support arms (16) to the first support arms (14). Though the size and shape of the second support arms (16) can vary, as described previously, in an embodiment of the invention, each of the second support arms (16) can have a length equal to the length of the base member (12), a width of approximately one inch, and a height of approximately two inches.

While the first and second support arms (14, 16) can be formed from any generally rigid, durable material able to withstand the weight of one or more oilfield tubulars, exposure to drilling mud and other fluids, and exposure to ambient weather or other environmental conditions, in various embodiments of the invention, the support arms (14, 16) can be formed from materials similar to those from which the base member (12) is formed, including plastic materials similar to those used within thread protectors and/or similar plugs or caps for oilfield tubulars.

The intersection between the first and second pluralities of support arms (14, 16) defines a plurality of openings, of which opening (22) is labeled, through which fluid from one or more oilfield tubulars can pass to contact the base member (12) below. While FIG. 1 depicts the first and second pluralities of support arms (14, 16) disposed in a generally perpendicular relationship to one another, defining generally square or rectangular openings (22), it should be noted that other intersecting arrangements are also usable. In various embodiments of the invention, the support arms (14, 16) can be shaped and/or arranged to define triangular openings, round openings, and/or a honeycomb shape or structure.

FIG. 1 also depicts a plurality of side openings, of which side opening (24) is labeled, defined at their upper and lower bounds by the outermost second support arms (16) and the base member (12), respectively, and at their lateral bounds by adjacent first structural arms (14). It should be noted that while FIG. 1 depicts six side openings (24), embodiments of the structural container or mat (10) can include single side opening for use as a drain hole or similar access opening for capturing and/or removing fluid, cleaning the mat (10), or other similar undertakings.

Referring now to FIGS. 2A and 2B, a top view and a side view of the mat (10) of FIG. 1 are shown, respectively. The first plurality of support arms (14) are visible secured to the base member (12), while the second plurality of support arms (16) are shown secured to the first plurality of support arms (14) in a generally perpendicular relationship using one or more rivets (20) or similar fasteners. The plurality of openings (22) therethrough are thereby defined. FIG. 2B also depicts multiple side openings (24), as described previously.

Referring now to FIG. 3, an alternate embodiment of a structural container or mat (10) usable within the scope of the present disclosure is shown. In a similar manner to the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the depicted embodiment includes a base member (12) having a first plurality of support arms (14) secured thereto, and a second plurality of support arms (16) secured to the first plurality of support arms (14), using one or more rivets (20) or similar fasteners. A plurality of openings (22) are thereby defined, through which fluid from one or more oilfield tubulars can drain when the tubulars are placed above the support arms (14, 16) or within the openings (22), as described previously. FIG. 3 also depicts one or more side openings (24), usable for emptying of the mat (10), as described previously.

FIG. 3 further depicts a bounded region (26) having an open top, lacking support arms above. The bounded region (26) is enclosed from below by a portion of the base member (12), from two sides by the outermost of the first support arms (14), and from the side opposite the support arms (14, 16) by a back wall (28). The bounded region (26) is usable to receive drilling mud or other fluids that have been pushed, rinsed, or otherwise moved from beneath the support arms (14, 16), enabling ready access to the fluid for vacuuming or other methods of removal and/or collection due to the open top of the bounded region (26).

Referring now to FIGS. 4A and 4B, a top view and a side view of the mat (10) of FIG. 3 are shown, respectively. The first plurality of support arms (14) are visible secured to the base member (12), while the second plurality of support arms (16) are shown secured to the first plurality of support arms (14) in a generally perpendicular relationship using one or more rivets (20) or similar fasteners. The plurality of openings (22) therethrough are thereby defined. FIG. 2B also depicts multiple side openings (24), as described previously. The bounded region (26), enclosed by the outermost of the first support arms (14) and the back wall (28) is also depicted.

Embodiments of the present invention thereby provide methods and structural containers or mats that support the weight of one or more oilfield tubulars while receiving fluid that drains from the interior of such tubulars, preventing the drained fluid from contacting a rig floor and creating a potentially hazardous situation, and/or a situation that will require significant remedial or clean-up operations. Collected fluid can then be reclaimed or discarded.

While the present invention has been described with emphasis on certain embodiments, it should be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the present invention can be practiced other than as specifically described herein.