Title:
ROLLED TUBULAR CENTRALIZER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of forming a centralizer where a flat plate is created into a tubular where the flat plate is typically rolled so that two sides of the plate contact one another and are then linked, typically by welding. Openings are then created in the tubular such that there are no corners or other points that stress cracks may originate. Once the openings are created the remaining material between adjacent openings forms ribs. The openings created in the tubular are generally aligned with the long axis of the tubular. The material at the upper and lower end of the flat plate where openings were not created serve as circumferential collars. The ribs may be radially outwardly expanded in order to provide adequate stand-off. In many instances the ribs will also be hardened by heat treating or other hardening processes.



Inventors:
Buytaert, Jean (Mineral Wells, TX, US)
Plucheck, Clayton (Tomball, TX, US)
Kubiak, Jeffrey (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
14/283947
Publication Date:
09/11/2014
Filing Date:
05/21/2014
Assignee:
Antelope Oil Tool & Mfg. Co., LLC (Mineral Wells, TX, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
29/428
International Classes:
E21B19/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
WALTERS, RYAN J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MH2 TECHNOLOGY LAW GROUP, LLP (TYSONS CORNER, VA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for manufacturing a centralizer, comprising: rolling a plate such that first and second sides of the plate are adjacent; attaching together the first and second sides, such that a seam is formed where the first and second sides are attached together; and after rolling the plate, removing one or more portions from the plate, such that two or more ribs are defined extending between two or more end collars.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein removing the one or more portions of the plate occurs after attaching together the first and second sides.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein removing the one or more portions comprises removing at least a portion of the seam.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein removing the one or more portions comprises forming one or more openings that do not intersect the seam.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein removing the one or more portions comprises forming one or more openings that extend substantially parallel to the seam.

6. The method of claim 5, wherein the seam is defined along one of the two or more ribs.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein removing the one or more portions comprises forming two or more openings between which the two or more ribs are defined, the two or more openings being substantially oval-shaped.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein the seam comprises a non-linear shape selected from the group consisting of: one or more smooth curves, one or more jagged curves, or one or more zig-zag shapes.

9. The method of claim 1, wherein attaching together the first and second sides comprises welding the first and second sides together, without overlapping.

10. The method of claim 1, wherein: rolling the plate comprises spiral winding the plate; the seam extends along a helical path; and removing the one or more portions comprises forming one or more openings that intersect the seam at least once.

11. The method of claim 1, wherein: the plate comprises a first plate segment and a second plate segment, the first plate segment providing the first side and the second plate segment providing the second side; and rolling the plate comprises forming each of the first and second plate segments into an arcuate shape.

12. A centralizer, comprising: a tubular body comprising a first side and a second side, the first and second sides extending axially along the tubular body, wherein the tubular body defines at least first and second axially-offset end collars and a plurality of ribs extending between the first and second end collars, the plurality of ribs being integral with the first and second end collars; and a seam connecting the first side and the second side together, wherein the seam is formed along at least a portion of the first end collar and along at least a portion of the second end collar, such that the first and second sides are connected together to form the first and second end collars without overlapping the first and second sides.

13. The centralizer of claim 12, wherein the seam is circumferentially aligned with an opening defined between two of the plurality of ribs.

14. The centralizer of claim 12, wherein the seam extends parallel to and along an entirety of at least one of the plurality of ribs.

15. The centralizer of claim 12, wherein the plurality of ribs are elongated in an axial direction, and wherein the seam extends at a non-zero angle to the axial direction and is defined on at least one of the plurality of ribs.

16. The centralizer of claim 15, wherein the seam is defined on at least two of the plurality of ribs.

17. The centralizer of claim 15, wherein the seam extends in a partial helix along the body.

18. The centralizer of claim 12, wherein the first and second sides each define one or more curves.

19. The centralizer of claim 12, wherein the first and second sides are connected end-to-end without overlap.

20. The centralizer of claim 12, wherein the tubular body further comprises third and fourth sides, and the centralizer further comprises a second seam connecting together the third and fourth sides.

21. A centralizer, comprising: a first end collar comprising a first seam portion extending axially across the first end collar; a second end collar that is axially offset from the first end collar and comprises a second seam portion extending axially across the second end collar; and a plurality of ribs extending between the first and second end collars and being integral therewith, at least one of the plurality of ribs comprising a third seam portion.

22. The centralizer of claim 21, wherein the first end collar and the second end collar are free from overlapping regions.

23. The centralizer of claim 21, wherein the first and second seam portions are circumferentially aligned.

24. The centralizer of claim 21, wherein the first, second, and third seam portions form a continuous seam.

25. The centralizer of claim 21, wherein the plurality of ribs are elongated in an axial direction, and wherein the third seam portion extends at a non-zero angle with respect to the axial direction.

26. The centralizer of claim 25, wherein the first, second, and third seam portions together extend along a helical path.

27. The centralizer of claim 21, wherein at least two of the plurality of ribs define the third seam portion.

28. A method for manufacturing a centralizer, comprising: rolling a substantially linear plate such that first and second sides of the plate are adjacent; attaching together the first and second sides, such that a first seam portion, a second seam portion and a third seam portion are formed; and removing one or more portions from the plate, such that two or more ribs are defined extending between two end collars.

29. The method of claim 28, wherein the first, second, and third seam portions form a continuous seam

30. The method of claim 28, wherein the two end collars include the first and second seam portions, respectively.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation of to U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/957,016, filed on Aug. 1, 2013, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/191,074, filed on Jul. 26, 2011. The entirety of both of these applications is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF INVENTION

Embodiments of the present invention generally relate to methods and apparatuses a downhole operation. More particularly, the invention relates to methods and apparatuses for centralization in wellbores or tubulars.

BACKGROUND

In the course of drilling and producing oil and gas wells, it has been found be beneficial to keep the tubular, which may be drill pipe, casing, production pipe, or screens, generally centered in the well. In certain instances it may be desirable to center one tubular within another. By keeping the tubular generally centered in the well a substantially uniform annular area between the wellbore wall and the tubular is maintained. In certain instances, such as cementing the tubular into the well, centralization to provide a substantially uniform annular area is imperative. By having a substantially uniform annular area the cement is better able to fill all voids between the tubular and the well thereby forming a better bond with both the wellbore wall and the tubular.

A common type of centralizer is a bow spring centralizer. A bow spring centralizer typically includes a number of bows attached to a collar on the upper end of the bow and on the lower end of the bow. The bow typically curves radially outward between the two collars. In its simplest form the bow spring centralizer slides over a tubular joint and is restricted only by the tubular couplings at either end of the tubular joint. In some situations, when the bow spring centralizer is pushed into a wellbore on a tubular string the leading collar may be stopped by a restriction that will cause the bows to longitudinally compress thereby radially expanding the bows radially outwards ultimately causing the bow to fail as the tubular string continues to move down into the well. The problem is compounded due to the thickness of the bow spring centralizer's collars and ribs. Usually the collars and the ribs had the same thickness however the thickness of the centralizer as a whole centralizer was effectively doubled because the ribs were welded on top of the collar. In the event that a rib was welded edge to edge to the collar a generally weaker collar to rib interface is created and stress points are created by both the welding process and the remaining corners or other sharp points.

One solution has been to attach at least one of the collars of the bow spring centralizer so that the centralizer will be pulled into the wellbore rather than pushed into the wellbore.

SUMMARY

In order to minimize any potential stress points created by either welding or by having any sharp points or corners, it was envisioned that a centralizer is fabricated wherein a planar material having an upper end, a lower end, a first side, and a second side is formed into a tubular such that the planar material first side contacts the planar material second side. The planar material first side may be linked with the planar material second side. An elongated opening is then created in the tubular. The tubular has a long axis and the opening has a long axis having a first end and a second end such that the opening first end is adjacent the planar material upper end and the opening second end is adjacent the planar material lower end. Typically the opening does not have any corners and may be an oval, or a rectangle. Preferably the rectangle has rounded corners. In most instances the opening long axis is parallel to the long axis of the tubular although in some cases the opening long axis is not parallel to the long axis of the tubular. Typically the planar material first side is linked to the planar material second side by welding.

In another embodiment of fabricating a centralizer, a planar material having an upper end, a lower end, a first side, and a second side may be formed into a tubular such that the planar material first side contacts the planar material second side. The planar material first side is linked with the planar material second side. A number of elongated openings are then created in the tubular. The tubular has a long axis and each of the plurality of openings has a long axis having a first end and a second end such that the opening first end is adjacent the planar material upper end and the opening second end is adjacent the planar material lower end. While usually the planar material is rolled into a cylinder where the rolling is parallel to one side in some instances the planar material may be rolled into a cylinder by spiral winding process where the rolling is not parallel to either side. In such instances a long tubular may be formed without stopping. Typically the plurality of openings do not have corners. While usually the plurality of openings are ovals the openings may be rectangles although in most instances the rectangles have rounded corners. Typically the plurality of openings long axis are parallel to the long axis of the tubular although in some cases the plurality of openings long axis are not parallel to the long axis of the tubular. Usually the planar material first side is linked to the planar material second side by welding. In most instances the openings are created within the tubular structure that was formed from the planar material. The material in the tubular structure both above and below the openings define circumferential collars. The material in the tubular structure between the openings define ribs that are disposed between the upper collar and lower collar. Typically the ribs are expanded radially outward where the expansion process typically, but not always, plastically deforms the ribs. Typically the ribs and in many instances the entire centralizer may be heat-treated, hardened, cured, or any other process known to one skilled in the art to allow the ribs to elastically deflect after the ribs are expanded. However, in certain instances the ribs or the entire centralizer may be heat-treated, hardened, cured, or any other process known to one skilled in the art.

In another embodiment of fabricating a centralizer a first planar material having an upper end and a lower end, a first side, and a second side and at least a second planar material having an upper end, a lower end, a first side, and a second side may be formed into a tubular such that the first planar material first side contacts second planar material second side and the first planar material second side contacts the at least second planar material first side. The first planar material first side may be linked with the at least second planar material second side and the first planar material second side may be linked with the second planar material first side. A number of elongated openings are then created in the tubular. The tubular has a long axis and each of the plurality of openings has a long axis having a first end and a second end such that the opening first end is adjacent the planar material upper end and the opening second end is adjacent the planar material lower end. While usually the planar material is rolled into a cylinder where the rolling is parallel to one side in some instances the planar material may be rolled into a cylinder by spiral winding process where the rolling is not parallel to either side. In such instances a long tubular may be formed without stopping. Typically the plurality of openings do not have corners. While usually the plurality of openings are ovals the openings may be rectangles although in most instances the rectangles have rounded corners. Typically the plurality of openings long axis are parallel to the long axis of the tubular although in some cases the plurality of openings long axis are not parallel to the long axis of the tubular. Usually the planar material first side is linked to the planar material second side by welding. In most instances the openings are created within the tubular structure that was formed from the planar material. The material in the tubular structure both above and below the openings define circumferential collars. The material in the tubular structure between the openings define ribs that are disposed between the upper collar and lower collar. Typically the ribs are expanded radially outward where the expansion process typically, but not always, plastically deforms the ribs. The ribs may be heat-treated, hardened, cured, or any other process known to one skilled in the art before or after the expansion or forming of the ribs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

So that the manner in which the above recited features of the present invention can be understood in detail, a more particular description of the invention, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to embodiments, some of which are illustrated in the appended drawings. It is to be noted, however, that the appended drawings illustrate only typical embodiments of this invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, for the invention may admit to other equally effective embodiments.

FIG. 1 depicts a generally flat material.

FIG. 2 depicts the generally flat material rolled into a tubular.

FIG. 3 depicts a first and a second generally flat material each formed into a portion of the tubular.

FIG. 4 depicts the first and the second generally flat piece of material each formed into a portion of the tube of FIG. 3 linked together.

FIG. 5 depicts a generally flat piece of material having a length substantially greater than its width.

FIG. 6 depicts the generally flat piece of material of FIG. 5 formed into a tubular by spiral winding.

FIG. 7 depicts a generally flat piece of material having a nonlinear first side and a mirrored nonlinear second side.

FIG. 8 depicts the generally flat piece of material of FIG. 7 rolled into a tubular so that the nonlinear first side and mirrored nonlinear second side mate together.

FIG. 9 depicts a rolled tubular with openings created therein that are parallel to the long axis of the tubular.

FIG. 10 depicts a rolled tubular with openings created therein that are not parallel to the long axis of the tubular.

FIG. 11 depicts a rolled tubular where the first side and second side are partially linked.

FIG. 12 depicts the rolled tubular of FIG. 11 where at least one opening is created across the unlinked portions between the first side and second side.

FIG. 13 depicts a rolled tubular having ribs that have been radially expanded.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The description that follows includes exemplary apparatus, methods, techniques, and instruction sequences that embody techniques of the inventive subject matter.

FIG. 1 depicts a generally flat material 10 having an upper end 12, a lower end 14, a first side 18 and a second side 16. Typically the process of forming a tubular begins with the generally flat material 10 where the generally flat material 10 does not have any openings or notches in the material. When forming the generally flat material 10 into the tubular, the generally flat material 10 may be rolled by a plate roll, may be hydraulically formed, hydro-dynamically formed, stamped, or any other process known for forming flat material into a roll. While it is anticipated that the generally flat material 10 will typically be a steel or other ferrous material, any material may be used including most metals, plastics, or fiber reinforced materials such as carbon fiber polymers and epoxies.

FIG. 2 depicts the generally flat material 10 from FIG. 1 after the generally flat material 10 has been rolled into a tubular 20 so that the first side 18 and the second side 16 are in contact with one another along their length. With the first side 18 in the second side 16 in contact with one another the sides 16 and 18 may be linked. In some instances the sides 16 and 18 may be linked one to the other by welding, crimping, pinning, gluing, epoxy or any other linking process known in the industry.

In some instances multiple generally flat materials may each be partially formed into a tubular such that when their sides come into contact with one another and are linked to multiple generally flat materials will form the tubular. FIG. 3 depicts a first curved piece of material 30 and a second curved piece of material 40 that were formed from two pieces of generally flat material. In this instance, the first curved piece of material 30 has an upper end 32, a lower end 34, a first side 36, and a second side 38. The second curved piece of material 40 has an upper end 42, a lower end 44, a first side 46, and the second side 48.

FIG. 4 depicts the curved pieces of material 30 and 40 respectively that have been aligned such that the first side 36 of the first curved piece of material 30 and the second side 48 of the second curved piece of material 40 are in contact with one another along their length while the second side 38 of the first curved piece of material 30 and the first side 46 of the second curved piece of material 40 are also in contact with one another along their length. With the first curved piece of material 30 and the second curved piece of material 40 in contact with one another, the curved pieces of material may be linked together to form a tubular 50.

In other instances a generally flat material may be spiral wound such that its first side and the second side come into contact with one another. FIG. 5 depicts an elongated piece of generally flat material 60 where a length 63 is substantially greater than a width 61. The generally flat material 60 has an upper end 62, a lower end 68, a first side 64, and the second side 66. As depicted in FIG. 6, the generally flat material 60 has been formed into a tubular 70. The generally flat material 60 was rolled or otherwise formed into the tubular 70 at an angle that was not parallel to the upper end 62, the lower end 68, the first side 64, or the second side 66. The tubular 70 may be curved by a spiral winding process such that the first side 64 and the second side 66 may be linked to one another.

In certain instances, as depicted in FIG. 7, a generally flat material 80 has an upper end 82, a lower end 84, a first side 88, and a second side 86 where the first side 88 and the second side 86 are nonlinear reflections of one another. FIG. 8 depicts the generally flat material 80 from FIG. 7 after the generally flat material 80 has been formed into a tubular 90 so that the first side 88 and the second side 86 are in contact with one another along their length. With the first side 88 in the second side 86 in contact with one another the two sides 86 and 88 may be linked to form a nonlinear seam between the sides 86 and 88. In those instances where the sides 86 and 88 are nonlinear reflections of one another the two sides may take any form such as a smooth curve, a jagged curve, zig-zags, or any other form.

FIG. 9 depicts the tubular 20 of FIG. 2 where the first and the second sides 16 and 18 are linked together and with openings 102 created through the tubular 20. Generally the long axis of the tubular 20 is parallel to the seam created by linking first and second sides 16 and 18 although in some cases such as when the tubular is formed by spiral winding the seam will not be parallel to the long axis of the tubular. Each opening 102 has an upper end 104, a lower end 106, and a long axis 108 where the long axis 108 is generally parallel to the long axis of the tubular 20. Ribs 112 are created by the material of the tubular 20 that remains between the openings 102 after the openings 102 are created in the tubular 20. A first collar 114 and a second collar 116 are created by the material of the tubular 20 that remains above the upper end 104 of the openings 102 and below the lower end 106 of the openings 102 after the openings 102 are created in the tubular 20. To prevent failure in the ribs 112 as the ribs 112 are being moved downhole, the ribs 112 are created from the tubular 20 thereby eliminating the potential stress point such as when the ribs in the prior art are welded onto their collars. Additionally the openings 102 are created preferably as ovals to minimize stress points in the ribs 112 that may remain after the openings 102 are created in the tubular 20 although any shape that avoids sharp corners or points may be used. The openings 122 may be formed through the tubular 50, 70, and 90 in a similar manner.

In certain instances such as when the material used to form the tubular is thick enough or is not hardened, heat treated, or cured to obtain spring-like properties, each rib 112 will have the ability to plastically deform when subjected to sufficient side load. In such cases, the centralizer will act like a rigid type centralizer that has the ability to give when inserted through a tight restriction. When the material is not as thick as in the case of a rigid centralizer described above and when the material is heat treated, hardened, or cured to provide spring-like properties, each rib 112 will have spring-like properties and the centralizer will act as a bow type centralizer.

FIG. 10 depicts a tubular 120 having an upper end 121, a lower end 123, and openings 122 created through the tubular 120. Each opening 122 has an upper end 124, a lower end 126, and a long axis 128 where the long axis 128 is generally not parallel to the long axis of the tubular 120. Ribs 132 are created by the material of the tubular 120 that remains between the openings 122 after the openings 122 are created in the tubular 120. A first collar 134 and the second collar 136 are created by the material of the tubular 120 that remains above the upper end 124 of the openings 122 and below the lower end 126 of the openings 122 after the openings 122 are created in the tubular 120. The openings 122 may be formed through the tubular 20, 70, and 90 in a similar manner.

FIG. 11 depicts the generally flat material 10 from FIG. 1 after the generally flat material 10 has been rolled into the tubular 20 so that the first side 18 and the second side 16 are in contact with one another along their length. With the first side 18 and the second side 16 in contact with one another a portion of the two sides 16 and 18 may be linked. For instance the two sides may be linked along the contact portion of the two sides 18 and 16 from the upper end 12 to any desired point such as point 19 and from the lower end 14 to any desired point such as point 17 leaving the contact portion of the two sides between point 19 and point 17 unlinked.

FIG. 12 depicts the tubular 20 from FIG. 11 having the upper end 12, the lower end 14, and at least one opening 150 created through the tubular 20.

When creating the opening 150 the material between the upper end 152 and the lower end 154 of the tubular where the first side 18 and second side 16 are adjacent, whether linked or not, is removed. The upper end 152 of the opening 150 may be located at point 19, between point 19 and the upper end 12 of the tubular 20, or between points 19 and 17. The lower end 154 of the opening 150 may be located at point 17, between point 17 and the lower end 14 of the tubular 20, or between points 17 and 19. Ribs 160 are created by the material of the tubular 20 that remains between the openings 150 after the openings 150 are created in the tubular 20. A first collar 162 and the second collar 164 are created by the material of the tubular 20 that remains above the upper end 152 of the openings 150 and below the lower end 154 of the openings 150 after the openings 150 are created in the tubular 20. While only the tubular with linear sides is depicted any created tubular may be used. The opening 150 may be formed through tubular 50 in a similar manner.

FIG. 13 depicts a tubular 140 having an upper end 142, a lower end 144, openings 146, ribs 148, opening upper end 152, opening lower end 154, and upper collar 156, and a lower collar 158. The ribs 148 have been expanded radially outward so that each of the ribs 148 will have at least one portion, an apex 161 of each of the ribs 148 that extends further radially outward than other portions of each the ribs 148 or of the tubular 140. So that a portion of each of the ribs 148, typically the apex 161 of each rib 148, will contact the wellbore or other tubular wall (not shown). In many instances at least a portion of each of the ribs 148 will be treated to enhance the ability of each of the ribs 148 to elastically deform. Any treatment process such as heat treating, cold treating, curing, or any other process known in the industry may be used to enhance the ability each of the ribs 148 to elastically deform.

In practice it is generally understood that the tubular 140 (i.e. a centralizer) as depicted in FIG. 13 is placed on a separate tubular so that the collar 158, collar 156, and ribs 148 are generally coaxial with the separate tubular and that each collar 158 and 156 has a reasonably tight fit on the separate tubular. The centralizer may be allowed to slide up or down the separate tubular within the limits of couplings that are typically attached at either end of the separate tubular although more preferably at least one of the collars 158 or 156 are attached to the separate tubular. Collars 158 or 156 may be attached to the separate tubular by any attachment system known in the industry. For instance the collars 158 or 156 may be attached to the separate tubular as disclosed by U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 11/749,544, 12/042,989, 12/756,173, 13/019,084, 13/476,807, and 12/913,495 which are each incorporated by reference herein. The tubular 20, 50, 70, 80, or 90 placed on a separate tubular so that the collars and the ribs may be generally coaxial with the separate tubular. The tubular 20, 50, 70, 80, or 90 may be a centralizer in a similar manner as described in relation to FIG. 13.

Bottom, lower, or downward denotes the end of the well or device away from the surface, including movement away from the surface. Top, upwards, raised, or higher denotes the end of the well or the device towards the surface, including movement towards the surface. While the embodiments are described with reference to various implementations and exploitations, it will be understood that these embodiments are illustrative and that the scope of the inventive subject matter is not limited to them. Many variations, modifications, additions and improvements are possible.

Plural instances may be provided for components, operations or structures described herein as a single instance. In general, structures and functionality presented as separate components in the exemplary configurations may be implemented as a combined structure or component. Similarly, structures and functionality presented as a single component may be implemented as separate components. These and other variations, modifications, additions, and improvements may fall within the scope of the inventive subject matter.

While the foregoing is directed to embodiments of the present invention, other and further embodiments of the invention may be devised without departing from the basic scope thereof, and the scope thereof is determined by the claims that follow.