Title:
Module For Use With Completion Equipment
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In general, module is lowered to a position in a well to communicate with completion equipment in the well for performing a check of a downhole condition. According to a result of the check, the module is used to actuate a component of the completion equipment. In further examples, a string is lowered into the well, where the string has a first coupler portion and a contraction joint. The contraction joint is used to align the first coupler portion on the string with a second coupler portion that is part of completion equipment in the well.



Inventors:
Algeroy, John (Houston, TX, US)
Kotsonis, Spyro (Missouri City, TX, US)
Application Number:
13/357679
Publication Date:
03/28/2013
Filing Date:
01/25/2012
Assignee:
SCHLUMBERGER TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION (Sugar Land, TX, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
166/66, 166/318
International Classes:
E21B47/00; E21B34/00; E21B43/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
BUTCHER, CAROLINE N
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHLUMBERGER ROSHARON CAMPUS (Houston, TX, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method comprising: lowering a module to a position in a well to communicate with completion equipment in the well for performing a check of a downhole condition; and according to a result of the check, using the module to actuate a component of the completion equipment.

2. The method of claim 1, further comprising: establishing communication between the module and the completion equipment to perform the check of the downhole condition.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein establishing the communication comprises establishing the communication using a first coupler portion that is part of the module and a second coupler portion that is part of the completion equipment.

4. The method of claim 3, wherein each of the first and second coupler portions is selected from the group consisting of: an inductive coupler portion, an electrical wet connect portion, an optical coupler portion, and a hydraulic coupler portion.

5. The method of claim 3, wherein the module is part of equipment that further includes a contraction joint, the method further comprising using the contraction joint to align the first inductive coupler portion with the second inductive coupler portion.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein performing the check comprises performing a check of a downhole environmental condition in the well.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein performing the check comprises performing a status check of the completion equipment.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein performing the check includes the module querying a sensor in the completion equipment or the module querying for a setting of a component of the completion equipment.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein using the module to actuate the component comprises using the module to mechanically actuate the component.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein using the module to actuate the component comprises using the module to electrically actuate the component.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein using the module to actuate the component comprises using the module to hydraulically actuate the component.

12. A system comprising: a module to be lowered into a well; and a completion equipment for installation in the well, where the module is to communicate with the completion equipment in the well for performing a check of a downhole condition, and where the module is to, according to a result of the check, actuate a component of the completion equipment.

13. The system of claim 12, wherein the module includes a first coupler portion, and the completion equipment includes a second coupler portion to communicate with the first coupler portion when the first and second coupler portions are brought into alignment.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein each of the first and second coupler portions is selected from the group consisting of: an inductive coupler portion, an electrical wet connect portion, an optical coupler portion, and a hydraulic coupler portion.

15. The system of claim 13, wherein the module further includes a ball-release mechanism to release a ball to actuate the component.

16. A method comprising: lowering a string into a well, wherein the string has a first coupler portion and a contraction joint; and using the contraction joint to align the first coupler portion on the string with a second coupler portion that is part of completion equipment in the well.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein the coupler portion is selected from the group consisting of: an inductive coupler portion, an electrical wet connect portion, an optical coupler portion, and a hydraulic coupler portion.

18. The method of claim 16, further comprising setting weight on the string to shear a shear element of the contraction joint.

19. The method of claim 16, further comprising providing a mechanism in the contraction joint to actuate the contraction joint between different stroke positions.

20. A module comprising: a body; an electrical cable connected to the body to allow for electrical communication; and a ball-release mechanism having a ball and a release member for releasing the ball in response to an input stimulus.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/538,471, entitled “MODULE FOR USE WITH COMPLETION EQUIPMENT,” filed Sep. 23, 2011, which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

A well can be drilled into a subterranean structure for the purpose of recovering fluids from a reservoir in the subterranean structure. Examples of fluids include hydrocarbons, fresh water, or other fluids. Alternatively, a well can be used for injecting fluids into the subterranean structure.

Once a well is drilled, completion equipment can be installed in the well. Examples of completion equipment include a casing or liner to line a wellbore. Also, flow conduits, flow control devices, and other equipment can also be installed to perform production or injection operations.

SUMMARY

In general, according to some implementations, a module is lowered to a position in a well to communicate with completion equipment in the well for performing a check of a downhole condition. According to a result of the check, the module is used to actuate a component of the completion equipment. In further implementations, a string is lowered into the well, where the string has a first coupler portion and a contraction joint. The contraction joint is used to align the first coupler portion on the string with a second coupler portion that is part of completion equipment in the well.

Other or additional features will become apparent from the following description, from the drawings, and from the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Some embodiments are described with respect to the following figures:

FIGS. 1A-1E illustrate example arrangements of equipment according to some implementations;

FIG. 2 is a side partial cross-sectional view of a portion of completion equipment, in accordance with some implementations;

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of equipment including a contraction joint according to some implementations; and

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of completion equipment according to further implementations.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

As used here, the terms “above” and “below”; “up” and “down”; “upper” and “lower”; “upwardly” and “downwardly”; and other like terms indicating relative positions above or below a given point or element are used in this description to more clearly describe some embodiments. However, when applied to equipment and methods for use in wells that are deviated or horizontal, such terms may refer to a left to right, right to left, or diagonal relationship as appropriate.

Completion equipment can be installed in a well to allow for various operations to be performed, including fluid production and/or injection operations. As examples, the completion equipment can include a casing or liner, fluid conduits (e.g. tubings, pipes, etc.), flow control devices, sand control elements, pumps, sealing elements (e.g. packers), sensors, and so forth.

The well can be a vertical well, a deviated well, a horizontal well, or a well that has multiple lateral branches. After completion equipment is installed in a portion of the well, it may be desirable to actuate at least one component of the completion equipment. For example, the installed completion equipment can include a packer that is to be set to provide fluid isolation for a portion of the well. As another example, the completion equipment can include a flow control device that is to be opened or closed to control fluid flow. There can be other examples of components that can be actuated downhole.

Prior to actuation of a component (or components) of the completion equipment, it may be desirable to check a downhole condition in the well, where the downhole condition can refer to an environmental condition of a portion of the well or a status of the completion equipment. As examples, an environmental condition can include downhole pressure, downhole temperature, fluid content in the well portion, or other environment condition. Examples of a status of the completion equipment include positions of components relative to other components, settings of components (e.g., settings of motors, settings of packers, etc.), and so forth. The check of the downhole condition can be performed to verify that the downhole condition meets a predefined criterion (or predefined criteria). For example, the check can confirm that a downhole pressure does not exceed a particular pressure threshold, or that the downhole temperature does not exceed a particular temperature threshold. The check can also confirm that one or more components (e.g. a motor, a pump, etc.) of the completion equipment is operating properly or has a proper setting.

If a component of the completion equipment is actuated without performing the check to verify that the downhole condition meets the predefined criterion (or criteria), then a well operator may have to reverse the actuation when the well operator later detects that the completion equipment is not function properly or detects some other fault condition. It may be time-consuming to reverse the actuation of a component in the completion equipment, since the well operator may have to run an intervention tool into the well.

To perform various downhole operations, communication is performed between different completion equipment sections. In some implementations, the communication can include electrical communication, and an inductive coupler can be used to allow for communication between the different communication sections. An inductive coupler can include a first inductive coupler portion on a first completion equipment section, and a second inductive coupler portion on a second completion equipment section. When the first and second inductive coupler portions are brought into alignment close to each other, then the inductive coupler portions can communicate using inductive coupling.

An inductive coupler performs communication using induction. Induction involves transfer of a time-changing electromagnetic signal or power that does not rely upon a closed electrical circuit, but instead performs the transfer wirelessly. For example, if a time-changing current is passed through a coil, then a consequence of the time variation is that an electromagnetic field will be generated in the medium surrounding the coil. If a second coil is placed into that electromagnetic field, then a voltage will be generated on that second coil, which is referred to as the induced voltage. The efficiency of this inductive coupling generally increases as the coils of the inductive coupler are placed closer together.

In other examples, other types of communications can be performed, including optical communication, hydraulic communication, and so forth. Optical communication can be accomplished using an optical fiber (or optical fibers) through which optical signals can be propagated. Hydraulic communication can be performed using hydraulic control lines through which hydraulic pressure can be applied for controlling a component. To allow for optical communication between separate completion equipment sections, optical coupler portions can be employed. As examples, optical coupler portions can include optical lenses and other optical elements to allow for communication of optical signals between the optical coupler portions once they are brought into alignment with respect to each other. If hydraulic communication is performed, then hydraulic coupler portions can be provided on the separate completion equipment sections, which can include hydraulic ports and hydraulic fluid passageways that are sealingly engaged to each other once the hydraulic coupler portions on the separate completion equipment sections are brought into alignment.

In further examples, coupler portions can include electrical wet connect portions can take the form of tough logging condition (TLC) wet connect portions, such as those described in U.S. Ser. No. 12/897,043, entitled “Active Integrated Completion Installation System and Method,” filed Oct. 4, 2010 (Attorney Docket No. 68.0983); U.S. Pat. No. 4,484,628; U.S. Pat. No. 5,871,052; U.S. Pat. No. 5,967,816; and U.S. Pat. No. 6,510,899, all the contents of which are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety. Electrical wet connect portions establish actual electrical contact between electrical mating connectors of separate completion equipment sections. This form of wet connect technology may be used to allow communication and power to be supplied to completion equipment, such as by use of a logging cable. Typical tough logging conditions may be found in wells with high deviation or long horizontal sections where traditional logging activities with cable cannot be used.

A challenge of communicating using coupler portions (e.g. inductive coupler portions, optical coupler portions, hydraulic coupler portions, or electrical wet connect portions) on separate completion equipment sections is that it can be difficult to align the coupler portions with respect to each other to allow for corresponding communication (e.g. inductive coupling, optical coupling, or hydraulic coupling).

In accordance with some embodiments, as discussed in further detail below, a contraction joint can be used to perform alignment of coupler portions.

In the ensuing discussion, reference is made to inductive coupler portions. Note, however, that techniques or mechanisms according to some implementations can also be applied in examples that employ optical coupler portions, and/or hydraulic coupler portions, and/or electrical wet connect portions.

In accordance with some implementations, relatively convenient techniques or mechanisms are provided to allow for a check of a downhole condition to be performed prior to actuation of a component (or components) in completion equipment. In accordance with some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 1A, a module 110 can be lowered into a well 104 to communicate with lower completion equipment 102 installed (possibly in multiple sections) in the well 104. In some implementations, the module 110 can receive data from downhole sensors, such that the module 110 can be used for performing a check of a downhole condition. The received sensor data can be communicated by the module 110 to an uphole location, such as a controller in earth surface equipment 112. In other examples, the module 110 can be used to communicate commands sent by an uphole controller to a downhole electrical component (e.g. commands to actuate a flow control device, commands to set a packer, commands to activate a pump, etc.).

At least a portion of the well 104 can be lined with casing or liner. Note that although reference is made to checking for a downhole condition, such reference is intended to also cover situations where multiple different types of downhole conditions are checked.

The module 110 can be lowered on a carrier structure 108, which can include a cable (e.g. wireline) or other type of carrier structure (e.g. coiled tubing). The carrier structure 108 includes a communications medium or communications media (e.g. electrical conductor(s), fiber optic cable(s), hydraulic control line(s), etc.) that allows the module 110 to communicate with the surface equipment 112 located at an earth surface 114 above a subterranean structure 116 into which the well 104 is formed.

In some examples, the module 110 is lowered into an inner bore 118 of a drill pipe 106 (or other workstring) that is used to deploy at least a section of the lower completion equipment 102. In the ensuing discussion, although reference is made to the drill pipe 106, it is noted that the described mechanisms or techniques can be applied with other types of workstrings. In other examples, the drill pipe 106 can be omitted. In such other examples, the module 110 can be lowered into the well 104 through another conduit, such as a casing, a liner, a tubing, and so forth.

The module 110 has a communications mechanism for engaging with a corresponding communications mechanism of a downhole receiving element 120 (which can be part of the drill pipe 106, or in a different example, part of the lower completion equipment 102). In some implementations, the communications mechanism of the module 110 includes an inductive coupler portion for communicating with a corresponding inductive coupler portion at the downhole receiving element 120. In other implementations, the communications mechanism of the module 110 can include an electrical wet connect portion for electrical connection with a corresponding electrical wet connect portion at the downhole receiving element 120. In yet other examples, the communications mechanism of the module 110 can include an optical coupler portion and/or a hydraulic coupler portion for optical and/or hydraulic communication with a corresponding optical coupler portion and/or hydraulic coupler portion at the downhole receiving element 120.

In some examples, the drill pipe 106 and/or the lower completion equipment 102 can be provided with additional coupler portions to allow for communication between components of the drill pipe 106 and/or the lower completion equipment 102.

Some example applications are discussed below. In a first application (Application 1), the drill pipe 106 can be used to install the lower completion equipment 102 into the well 104. The lower completion equipment 102 can include inductive coupler portions that are electrically connected to sensors and other electrical components (e.g. packers, flow control devices, etc.). By using the inductive coupler portions of the drill pipe 106 and the lower completion equipment 102, electrical communication between the module 110 and the sensors and other electrical components of the completion equipment 102 is possible.

In another example application (Application 2), the lower completion equipment 102 can include a sand control system. In implementations where the module 110 includes an inductive coupler portion to allow for communication between the module 110 and the lower completion equipment 102 (including sensors and other electrical components), a relatively large inner diameter is provided through the module 110 to allow for flow of gravel-related fluids (e.g. gravel slurry, return fluids, etc.) during a gravel pump operation to pump gravel to the sand control system.

In a further example application (Application 3), the well 104 can include lateral branches in which respective completion equipment can be installed. The module 110 can also be used to establish communication with the completion equipment (which can include sensors and other electrical components) installed in such lateral branches.

Although various example applications are noted above, techniques or mechanisms according to some implementations can be used in other applications.

An example well with lateral branches is shown in FIG. 1B, which has lateral branches 130 and 132 with respective lateral completion equipment in the lateral branches 130 and 132. The module 110 of FIG. 1A (lowered through the drill pipe 106 of FIG. 1B) can also be used to establish communication with the lateral completion equipment in the lateral branches 130 and 132, and also to actuate respective components in the lateral branches 130 and 132. A tubing string 140 is coupled to the drill pipe 106. The tubing 140 is able to establish fluid communication with the lateral completion equipment in the lateral branches 130 and 132.

FIG. 1C shows an enlarged view of a portion of the arrangement depicted in FIG. 1B. FIG. 1C shows communication using inductive coupler portions between the drill pipe 106 and the tubing string 140. In the example according to FIG. 1C, the downhole receiving element 120 shown in FIG. 1A is part of the drill pipe 106. As noted above, this downhole receiving element 120 has a communications mechanism (e.g. inductive coupler portion 148) to communicate with an inductive coupler portion of the module 110 that is lowered into the inner bore of the drill pipe 106. In addition, FIG. 1C further shows that the drill pipe 106 has another inductive coupler portion 150, which is electrically connected to the inductive coupler portion 148 in the downhole receiving element 120. The inductive coupler portion 150 on the drill pipe 106 is arranged to align with a corresponding inductive coupler portion 152 that is mounted to a liner 154 that lines a portion of the well shown in FIG. 1C. When aligned, the inductive coupler portions 150 and 152 can communicate using inductive coupling.

The inductive coupler portion 152 is electrically connected to a cable 156. The cable 156 extends outside of the liner 154 (along an outer wall of the liner 154) to further downhole locations, as shown in FIG. 1D. In other examples, the cable 156 can be embedded in the wall of the liner 154. In examples where other types of coupler portions (e.g. optical or hydraulic coupler portions) are used, then the cable 156 can be replaced with another type of control line, such as an optical cable or a hydraulic control line.

The electrical cable 156 that runs outside the liner 154 extends to a lower inductive coupler portion 158 that is mounted to the liner 154. The lower liner inductive coupler portion 158 is located near the junction between the main wellbore and the lateral branches 130 and 132. As shown in FIG. 1D, the inductive coupler portion 158 is aligned with an inductive coupler portion 160 that is part of lateral branch equipment 162 that extends into the lateral branch 130. In this manner, the inductive coupler portions 158 and 160 can be used to allow for communication between an uphole location and components (e.g. sensors, flow control devices, etc.) in the lateral branch equipment 162.

Although not shown in FIG. 1D, the electrical cable 156 can further extend to another inductive portion mounted to the liner 154, for positioning adjacent lateral branch equipment 164 in the lateral branch 132. This allows for communication between an uphole location and components of the lateral branch equipment 164.

FIG. 1E illustrates a different example arrangement for use in a multilateral well. The completion equipment provided in the multilateral well of FIG. 1E includes upper completion equipment 170, lateral completion equipment 172 provided in a lateral branch 173, and lateral completion equipment 174 provided in lateral branch 175.

A lower portion of the upper completion equipment 170 has an inductive coupler portion 176, which is aligned with an inductive coupler portion 177 mounted to liner 178. As shown in FIG. 1E, an electrical cable 179 is connected to the inductive coupler portion 176 mounted to the upper completion equipment 170. The electrical cable 179 extends to an uphole location, such as to earth surface equipment.

The inductive coupler portion 177 mounted to the liner 178 is connected to an electrical cable 181, which runs outside the liner 178 for connection with inductive coupler portions 180 and 182 that are positioned adjacent junctions to lateral branches 173 and 175, respectively. The liner inductive coupler portions 180 and 182 are mounted to the liner 178. The liner inductive coupler portion 180 is positioned adjacent inductive coupler portion 183 that is part of the lateral branch equipment 172 that extends into the lateral branch 173. As shown in FIG. 1E, an electrical cable 184 connects the inductive coupler portion 173 to electrical components 185 in the lateral branch equipment 172.

The liner inductive coupler portion 182 is aligned with an inductive coupler portion 186 that is part of the lateral branch equipment 174 that extends into the lateral branch 175. The inductive coupler portion 186 is connected to an electrical cable 187 that is connected to various electrical components 188 arranged along the length of the lateral branch equipment 174.

FIG. 2 shows details of a portion of completion equipment according to further examples. In FIG. 2, an isolation packer 202 can be arranged on the drill pipe 106. The isolation packer 202 can be set in the wellbore to provide hydraulic isolation in between portions above and below the packer 202. In the example arrangement of FIG. 2A, the packer 202 when set can engage casing 204 that lines the well. The drill pipe 106 has an inductive coupler portion 206 mounted to the drill pipe 106. The drill pipe 106 has an inner conduit 208 through which a tool (such as a tool including the module 110 of FIG. 1A) can be provided. This module 110 can be positioned adjacent the inductive coupler portion 206 to allow for inductive coupling between an inductive coupler portion that is part of the module 110 and the inductive coupler portion 206 on the drill pipe 106.

The drill pipe 106 further has another inductive coupler portion 210 below the inductive coupler portion 206. The inductive coupler portions 206 and 210 on the drill pipe 106 can be interconnected by a cable 207. The lower inductive coupler portion 210 is positioned adjacent an inductive coupler portion 212 that is part of a lower completion equipment 213 that extends into a lower wellbore portion 214, which in some examples is an unlined (open) lower well portion. The inductive coupler portion 212 is connected to a cable 215, which extends to various points (having sensors or other electrical components, for example) along the lower completion equipment 213.

As depicted in FIG. 2, the lower completion equipment 213 has various isolation packers 216 that can be set to define respective isolated zones in the lower well portion 214. The isolation packers 216 are arranged on a tubing 218 defining an inner conduit through which fluid flow can occur (injection fluid flow or production fluid flow).

To perform electrical communication from an uphole location (such as the earth surface equipment 112 depicted in FIG. 1A), the module 110 is lowered into the drill pipe 106 for communicative engagement with the inductive coupler portion 206. In this way, communication can occur between the uphole component and a component (or components) in the lower completion equipment 102, through the inductive coupler portions of the module 110 and the inductive coupler portions 206, 210, and 212, as well as interconnecting cables 207 and 215.

The arrangement of FIG. 2 can be used to perform Applications 1 and 2 noted above. For Application 3, a similar type of connectivity from the earth surface can be accomplished by using the module 110. However, for Application 3, the inductive coupler on a lower completion string connects to a corresponding inductive coupler portion in a casing or liner.

FIG. 3 is a schematic diagram of completion equipment according to further implementations. In FIG. 3, the drill pipe 106 is provided in casing 300. The module 110 is lowered into the inner bore of the drill pipe 106 on the carrier structure 108. In FIG. 3, the module 110 includes an inductive coupler portion 302 to communicate with a corresponding inductive coupler portion 304 on the drill pipe 106. The inductive coupler portion 304 is electrically connected by an electrical cable 303 to another inductive coupler portion 306 on the drill pipe 106. The other inductive coupler portion 306 is aligned with an upper inductive coupler portion 308 of the casing 300. The upper casing inductive coupler portion 308 is electrically connected over an electrical cable 314 to a lower inductive coupler portion 310 mounted to the casing 300. The lower casing inductive coupler portion 310 communicates with an inductive coupler portion 312 of a lower completion equipment 316. The inductive coupler portion 312 is connected to sensors and/or other electrical components of the lower completion equipment 316.

In accordance with some embodiments, a shearable contraction joint 320 is provided to allow proper alignment of the drill pipe inductive coupler portion 306 and the upper liner inductive coupler portion 308. In some examples, the contraction joint 320 can include concentrically arranged tubular members that are longitudinally movable with respect to each other to provide an expanded state and contracted state of the contraction joint 320.

The contraction joint 320 of FIG. 3 allows for space-out when landing in the lower completion equipment 316. The upper portion of the contraction joint 320 is sealably engaged to the drill pipe 106 (using a stroke lock mechanism 326 that has a sealing element). The lower portion of the contraction joint 320 is connected to a packer 322 that can be set to isolate the well region below the packer 322.

The contraction joint 320 allows for the drill pipe 106 to continue downward movement until the drill pipe inductive coupler portion 306 is aligned with the upper casing inductive coupler portion 308. This downward movement is provided by setting down weight on the drill pipe 106 to cause a shear mechanism (e.g. shear pin) in the contraction joint 320 to shear. Shearing of the shear mechanism allows the tubular members of the contraction joint 320 to move relative to one another. The contraction joint 320 has seals to ensure pressure integrity when setting a packer 322 in the lower completion equipment 316.

During installation, the lower inductive coupler portions 310 and 312 are aligned using a selective landing nipple or other alignment profile (not shown) in the casing 300. By continuing to set down weight on the drill pipe 106, the shearing mechanism in the sealed contraction joint 320 shears. The downward movement of the drill pipe 106 continues until an alignment profile 324 of the drill pipe 106 lands in a corresponding profile 325 (e.g. nipple profile) in the casing 300, such that the inductive coupler portions 306 and 308 are aligned. Once landed, the module 110 can be lowered into the drill pipe 106, and the module 110 can land inside a corresponding profile of the drill pipe 106, to be aligned with the upper drill pipe inductive coupler portion 304.

The contraction joint 320 in some implementations can have the following additional features. In the event that the lower inductive coupler (310, 312) has not fully engaged, pulling up on the drill pipe 106 will stroke open the contraction joint 320 to its expanded state. In some examples, a J-slot mechanism (part of the stroke lock mechanism 326 in FIG. 3) included in the contraction joint 320 will shift, hence maintaining the contraction joint in the open position (expanded state) when setting down weight. This will allow for additional downward force to be applied to fully engage with the lower inductive coupler.

Upward pulling will stroke the J-slot again, and this time allow the contraction joint to close (contracted state). Downward movement of the drill pipe 106 will move the inductive coupler portion 306 down until engaged in the corresponding casing inductive coupler portion 308, due to engagement of the engagement profiles 324 and 325.

The J-slot mechanism allows for continued operation until full engagement of the inductive couplers are achieved. In other implementations, other mechanisms for actuating or stroking the contraction joint between the expanded state (or expanded stroke position) and the contracted state (or contracted stroke position) can be used. For example, an electrically-controlled, pressure-actuated, hydraulic-actuated, or other type mechanism can be used for actuating or stroking the contraction joint between its different states.

After the lower completion is landed, but prior to setting the packer 322, the operation includes a check of the state of the equipment in the lower completion before setting the packer 322, using the module 110 and inductive couplers as discussed above.

FIG. 4 shows the module 110 according to further examples. The module 110 has a body 402 (having an outer housing) that defines an inner chamber 404. As discussed above, the module 110 has the inductive coupler portion 302, which is arranged to align with the inductive coupler portion 304 on the drill pipe 106.

The module 110 further includes a ball release mechanism 406, which has a ball 408 positioned in a receptacle 408 of a release member 410 in the ball release mechanism 406. The release member 410 is arranged to open in response to applied pressure against the ball 408. In other examples, the release member 410 is arranged to open in response to another input stimulus. The release member 410 is pivotably connected to the body 402 of the module 110 by a hinge mechanism 412, in some examples. The ball 408 is held against the receptacle 408 by a protruding portion 414 inside the module 110. In other examples, other types of ball release mechanisms can be employed.

The module 110 has inlet ports 416 to allow for fluid pressure to be applied from outside the module 110 to the inner chamber 404 of the module 110.

In operation, the module 110 is lowered through the drill pipe 106 on the carrier structure 108. Once the module 110 is positioned in place, such that the inductive coupler portions 302 and 304 are aligned, communication can be established using the module 110 to allow for a status check to be performed, as discussed above. For example, measurement data from a sensor can be communicated through the various inductive couplers discussed herein, and communicated through the module 110 over the carrier structure 108 to an uphole location.

Once the well operator determines that the well can be operated, pressure can be applied inside the drill pipe 106 to cause fluid pressure to be created inside the inner chamber 404 of the module 110. If sufficient pressure is applied, the differential pressure across the ball 408 will cause a shear mechanism 418 that attaches the release member 410 to the housing 402 to shear, which allows the release member 410 to pivot open to allow the ball 408 to drop.

Dropping the ball 408 can be used to set the packer 302, once the ball 408 reaches a setting mechanism of the packer 302. In some examples, when the ball 408 is set against the packer 302, applied pressure against the ball 408 in the setting mechanism of the packer 302 will cause increased pressure against the packer 302 such that packer setting can be achieved.

In other examples, instead of using the ball release mechanism 406 in the module 110, a separate ball can be dropped into the drill pipe 106 after the module 110 is retrieved, where this ball can be engaged in the setting mechanism of the packer 302 to set the packer.

As yet other examples, instead of using a ball setting mechanism, the packer 302 can be set using other techniques, such as in response to a signal (electrical signal, optical signal, hydraulic pressure, etc.) from the earth surface.

In other examples, the module 110 can be used in other applications, such as during gravel packing operation. In such other examples, the module 110 has an inner conduit that allows gravel slurry to be flowed through the inner conduit of the module 110. The module 110 can be used to monitor the efficiency of the gravel packing using sensors placed in a sand control system that is part of the completion equipment.

In the foregoing description, numerous details are set forth to provide an understanding of the subject disclosed herein. However, implementations may be practiced without some or all of these details. Other implementations may include modifications and variations from the details discussed above. It is intended that the appended claims cover such modifications and variations.