Title:
Novel Wireline-Tool Adapter Sleeve
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system and method for adapting a wireline tool to operate in environments for which it was not designed is disclosed. The system includes a pressure housing within which a wireline tool may be secured between a first connector subassembly mated to one end of the pressure housing and a second connector subassembly mated to the other end of the pressure housing. The first connector subassembly includes an electrical connector subassembly by which the wireline tool may be electrically connected to the wireline. The method includes disposing a wireline tool within a pressure housing between a first connector subassembly mated to one end of the pressure housing and a second connector subassembly mated to the other end of the pressure housing and electrically connecting the wireline tool to an electrical connector subassembly in the first connector subassembly, by which the wireline tool may be electrically connected to the wireline.



Inventors:
Perkins, Billy Dewayne (Midland, TX, US)
Application Number:
15/083772
Publication Date:
10/06/2016
Filing Date:
03/29/2016
Assignee:
BPE, LTD. (Odessa, TX, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E21B17/02; E21B47/01
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CARROLL, DAVID P.
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
D. Tiller Law PLLC (Fort Worth, TX, US)
Claims:
The invention claimed is:

1. An apparatus for adapting a wireline tool having two ends and an electrical connector to operate in environments for which the wireline tool was not designed, the apparatus comprising: (a) a pressure housing having two ends; (b) a first connector subassembly adapted to mate to one end of the pressure housing, the first connector subassembly comprising: (i) a first electrical connector subassembly compatible with the electrical connector of the wireline tool; and (ii) a first chassis; and (c) a second connector subassembly adapted to mate to the other end of the pressure housing, the second connector subassembly comprising a second chassis; (d) wherein the pressure housing, the first connector subassembly, and the second connector subassembly define a space within which the wireline tool may be securely disposed when the first connector subassembly is mated to one end of the pressure housing and the second connector subassembly is mated to the other end of the pressure housing.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a liner shaped to be disposed between the wireline tool and the pressure housing.

3. The apparatus of claim 2 wherein the liner is a Dewar flask.

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the first electrical connector subassembly comprises: (a) a line conductor; (b) a wireline-tool conductor; and (c) a switch operable to electrically connect the line conductor to the wireline-tool conductor.

5. The apparatus of claim 4 wherein the switch is operable by application of a predetermined voltage on the line conductor.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the second connector subassembly further comprises a second electrical connector subassembly electrically connected to the first electrical connector assembly.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein: (a) the second connector subassembly further comprises a second electrical connector subassembly; and (b) the first electrical connector assembly comprises: (i) a line conductor; (ii) a wireline-tool conductor; and (iii) a switch selectively operable to electrically connect the line conductor either to the wireline-tool conductor or to the second electrical connector subassembly.

8. The apparatus of claim 7 wherein the switch is selectively operable through application of a predetermined voltage on the line conductor.

9. An adapted wireline-tool apparatus comprising: (a) a pressure housing having two ends; (b) a first connector subassembly mated to the first end of the pressure housing, the first connector subassembly comprising: (i) a first electrical connector subassembly; and (ii) a first chassis; (c) a second connector subassembly mated to the second end of the pressure housing, the second connector subassembly comprising a second chassis; and (d) a wireline tool having two ends and an electrical connector; (e) wherein the wireline tool is disposed within the pressure housing between the first connector subassembly and the second connector subassembly such that one end of the wireline tool is secured by contact with the first chassis and the other end of the wireline tool is secured by contact with the second chassis; and (f) wherein the first electrical connector subassembly is electrically connected to the wireline tool's electrical connector.

10. The adapted wireline-tool apparatus of claim 9 further comprising a liner disposed within the pressure housing between the wireline tool and the pressure housing and between the first connector subassembly and the second connector subassembly.

11. The adapted wireline-tool apparatus of claim 10 wherein the liner is a Dewar flask.

12. The adapted wireline-tool apparatus of claim 9 wherein: (a) the wireline tool further comprises a second electrical connector; and (b) the second connector subassembly further comprises a second electrical connector subassembly electrically connected to the wireline tool's second electrical connector.

13. The adapted wireline-tool apparatus of claim 9 wherein the first electrical connector subassembly comprises: (a) a line conductor; (b) a wireline-tool conductor electrically connected to the wireline tool's electrical connector; and (c) a switch operable to electrically connect the line conductor to the wireline-tool conductor.

14. The adapted wireline-tool apparatus of claim 13 wherein the switch is operable by application of a predetermined voltage on the line conductor.

15. The adapted wireline-tool apparatus of claim 9 wherein the second connector subassembly further comprises a second electrical connector subassembly electrically connected to the first electrical connector subassembly.

16. The adapted wireline-tool apparatus of claim 9 wherein: (a) the second connector subassembly further comprises a second electrical connector subassembly; and (b) the first electrical connector subassembly comprises: (i) a line conductor; (ii) a wireline-tool conductor electrically connected to the wireline tool's electrical connector; and (iii) a switch selectively operable to electrically connect the line conductor either to the wireline-tool conductor or to the second electrical connector subassembly.

17. The adapted wireline-tool apparatus of claim 16 wherein the switch is selectively operable through application of a predetermined voltage on the line conductor.

18. A method of adapting a wireline tool to operate in environments for which the wireline tool was not designed, the method comprising: (a) providing a pressure housing having two ends; (b) providing a first connector subassembly comprising: (i) a first electrical connector subassembly; and (ii) a first chassis; (c) providing a second connector subassembly comprising a second chassis; (d) disposing a wireline tool having two ends and an electrical connector within the pressure housing between the first connector subassembly and the second connector subassembly such that one end of the wireline tool is secured by contact with the first chassis and the other end of the wireline tool is secured by contact with the second chassis; and (e) electrically connecting the first electrical connector subassembly to the wireline tool's electrical connector.

19. The method of claim 18: (a) wherein the first electrical connector subassembly comprises: (i) a line conductor; (ii) a wireline-tool conductor; and (iii) a switch operable to electrically connect the line conductor to the wireline-tool conductor; and (b) wherein the step of electrically connecting the first electrical connector subassembly to the wireline tool's electrical connector comprises electrically connecting the wireline-tool conductor to the wireline tool's electrical connector; and (c) further comprising operating the switch to connect the line conductor to the wireline-tool conductor.

20. The method of claim 19 wherein the step of operating the switch comprises applying a predetermined voltage to the line conductor.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 62/143,462, filed on Apr. 6, 2015, the entirety of which is hereby incorporated by reference.

BACKGROUND

This invention pertains to systems and methods for adapting wireline well-logging tools (“wireline tools”) to operate in environments or in combinations for which the wireline tools were not designed.

The use of wireline tools to take in-situ measurements of various aspects of the borehole environment is well known. Typically, one or a few active or passive sensors are combined in a wireline tool. The wireline tool is disposed within a borehole on the end of a wireline and the sensors are operated to collect information about the borehole environment at various depths within the borehole. A surface system is connected to the wireline tool through a conductor or conductors in the wireline. The surface system may provide power to the wireline tool, send commands to the wireline tool to control the sensors and data acquisition, and receive information from the wireline tool to store and analyze. In a single-conductor wireline, power and telemetry are carried on the same conductor.

Different wireline tools use different sensors to measure different characteristics of the borehole environment. For example, a wireline tool utilizing acoustic transducers may collect information about the formation surrounding the borehole, about the condition of the casing in a borehole, or about the condition of the cement in the annulus between the casing and the formation. Information about such wireline tools can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 3,729,705, U.S. Pat. No. 4,685,092, U.S. Pat. No. 4,740,928, and U.S. Pat. No. 5,377,160. And a wireline tool utilizing accelerometers and gyros may collect information about the direction and inclination of the borehole. Information about such wireline tools can be found in U.S. Pat. No. 3,862,499, U.S. Pat. No. 4,437,243, and U.S. Pat. No. 4,987,684.

Different wireline tools are specifically designed to operate in different environments. For example, a wireline tool may be specifically designed to operate: in a small-diameter borehole, in a high-pressure environment, in a high-temperature environment, as a stand-alone wireline tool, as a combinable wireline tool, or with a particular surface system. Wireline tools designed to operate in one environment are often incapable of operating in another environment. For example, a wireline tool designed to operate in a borehole having a hydrostatic pressure of no more than 6,000 psi and a temperature not more than 300° F. is not safely operated in a borehole having a hydrostatic pressure of 10,000 psi and a temperature of 400° F. Similarly, a wireline tool designed to run alone may be mechanically or electrically incapable of operating in combination with other wireline tools. And a wireline tool designed to run in combination with certain wireline tools may be mechanically or electrically incapable of operating in combination with certain other wireline tools otherwise designed to run in combination.

Because different wireline tools are designed to run in different environments, a wireline service provider often has to make multiple runs in the borehole. For example, a service provider may have to make two runs to acquire: (1) cement bond information with an acoustic wireline tool and (2) borehole directional information with a gyro wireline tool.

The greater the number of runs to complete the logging operation, the costlier the operation. More runs take longer to complete. This increased time imposes a cost on the service provider by, for example, increasing labor costs and limiting the number of operations it can complete in a given time period. The increased time may also impose a cost on the provider's customer, who may be paying for equipment and personnel that are idle during the logging operation.

Requiring multiple runs may also adversely impact safety. For example, setting up the wireline tools for the logging operation, and retrieving the wireline tools once the operation is complete, poses certain dangers to personnel. The more times that such set up and retrieval must be accomplished, the more opportunity for an accident that may injure personnel or equipment. For some logging operations, multiple runs means there is an increased risk that hazardous material will escape from the borehole or be lost in the borehole.

Performing the operation in multiple runs also poses the risk that changes in the borehole environment from run to run may adversely affect interpretation of the well-log information.

Because different wireline tools are designed to run in different borehole environments, a wireline service provider often has to carry different versions of the same wireline tool. For example, a provider may need to keep multiple gamma-ray wireline tools or gyro-directional wireline tools for operation in different borehole diameters, pressures, or temperatures. The need to carry otherwise duplicative equipment imposes a significant increased expense on the provider.

Thus, there is a need for a system and method for adapting wireline tools to operate in borehole environments or in combinations for which they were not designed.

SUMMARY

The present invention is directed to a system and method that satisfies the need for adapting a wireline tool to operate in an environment for which it was not designed.

In one aspect of the invention, a wireline-tool adapter sleeve has a pressure housing, a first connector subassembly having a chassis, and a second connector subassembly having a chassis. The first connector subassembly is adapted to mate to one end of the pressure housing. The second connector subassembly is adapted to mate to the other end of the pressure housing. The pressure housing, the chassis of the first connector subassembly, and the chassis of the second connector subassembly define a space within which a wireline tool can be securely disposed when the first connector subassembly is mated to one end of the pressure housing and the second connector subassembly is mated to the other end of the pressure housing. The first connector subassembly includes a first electrical connector subassembly, by which a wireline tool secured in the sleeve may be electrically connected to a wireline attached to the adapter sleeve. In another aspect of the invention, the wireline-tool adapter sleeve has a first electrical connector subassembly that includes a line conductor, a wireline-tool conductor, and a switch that can electrically connect the line conductor to the wireline-tool conductor, by which a wireline tool secured in the sleeve may be selectively electrically connected to a wireline attached to the adapter sleeve. In another aspect of the invention, the switch is operable by application of a predetermined voltage on the line conductor, by which a wireline tool secured in the sleeve may be selectively electrically connected to a wireline attached to the adapter sleeve by application of a predetermined voltage on the wireline. In another aspect of the invention, the wireline-tool adapter has a second connector subassembly that includes an electrical connector subassembly electrically connected to the electrical connector subassembly of the first connector subassembly, by which a wireline tool connected to the second connector subassembly may be electrically connected to a wireline attached to the adapter sleeve. In another aspect of the invention, the wireline-tool adapter sleeve includes a liner that is configured to fit between the outer surface of a wireline tool secured within the sleeve and the inner surface of the pressure housing. In another aspect of the invention, the liner is a Dewar flask.

In another aspect of the invention, an adapted wireline-tool apparatus includes a wireline tool disposed within a pressure housing mated on one end to a first connector subassembly having a chassis and on the other end to a second connector subassembly having a chassis. The pressure housing, the chassis of the first connector subassembly, and the chassis of the second connector subassembly define a space within which the wireline tool is securely disposed. The first connector subassembly includes a first electrical connector subassembly electrically connected to the secured wireline tool, by which the secured wireline tool may be electrically connected to a wireline. In another aspect of the invention, the adapted wireline-tool apparatus has a first electrical connector subassembly that includes a line conductor, a wireline-tool conductor, and a switch that can electrically connect the line conductor to the secured wireline tool through the wireline-tool conductor, by which the secured wireline tool may be selectively electrically connected to a wireline. In another aspect of the invention, the switch is operable by application of a predetermined voltage on the line conductor, by which the secured wireline tool may be selectively electrically connected to a wireline by application of a predetermined voltage on the wireline. In another aspect of the invention, the adapted wireline-tool apparatus has a second connector subassembly that includes an electrical connector subassembly electrically connected to the electrical connector subassembly of the first connector subassembly, by which a wireline tool connected to the second connector subassembly may be electrically connected to a wireline. In another aspect of the invention, the adapted wireline-tool apparatus includes a liner between the outer surface of the secured wireline tool and the inner surface of the pressure housing. In another aspect of the invention, the liner is a Dewar flask.

In another aspect of the invention, a method for adapting a wireline tool to operate in environments or in combinations for which the wireline tool was not designed includes securing the wireline tool within a pressure housing between, on one end, a first connector subassembly having a chassis, and on the other end, a second connector subassembly having a chassis, and electrically connecting the wireline tool to an electrical connector subassembly of the first connector subassembly. The wireline tool is secured by contact on one end with the chassis of the first connector subassembly and contact on the other end with the chassis of the second connector assembly. In another aspect of the invention, the method for adapting the wireline tool includes operating a switch in the electrical connector subassembly of the first connector subassembly to electrically connect the wireline tool to a line conductor in the electrical connector subassembly, by which the wireline tool may be selectively electrically connected to a wireline. In another aspect of the invention, operating the switch is done by applying a predetermined voltage on the line conductor, by which the secured wireline tool may be selectively electrically connected to a wireline by application of a predetermined voltage on the wireline.

Through the practice of the various aspects of the invention, a wireline tool can be adapted to operate in environments and can be operated in environments for which it was not designed. For example, the wireline tool may be adapted to operate in combination with other wireline tools or in borehole environments otherwise outside of the wireline tool's designed operating parameters.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will be become better understood with reference to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1a illustrates a well-logging system as known in the art.

FIG. 1b is a top sectional view of a portion of a wireline tool disposed within a borehole as known in the art.

FIG. 2 illustrates two wireline tools stacked in combination as known in the art.

FIGS. 3a-3f illustrate various configurations of wireline tools as known in the art.

FIG. 4a illustrates an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve securing a wireline tool, connecting the wireline tool to a wireline cable head, and connecting to a second wireline tool.

FIG. 4b is a top sectional view of a portion of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve securing a wireline tool.

FIG. 4c is a top sectional view of another portion of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve securing a wireline tool.

FIG. 5a is an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an uphole connector subassembly configured as a component of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve.

FIG. 5b is a top sectional view of a portion of an exemplary embodiment of an uphole connector subassembly configured as a component of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve.

FIG. 5c is an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of a downhole connector subassembly configured as a component of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve.

FIG. 5d is a top sectional view of a portion of an exemplary embodiment of a downhole connector subassembly configured as a component of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve.

FIG. 5e is a top sectional view of another portion of an exemplary embodiment of a downhole connector subassembly configured as a component of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve.

FIG. 6a is an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of an uphole connector subassembly configured as a component of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve.

FIG. 6b is a top sectional view of a portion of an exemplary embodiment of an uphole connector subassembly configured as a component of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve.

FIG. 6c is an illustration of an exemplary embodiment of a downhole connector subassembly configured as a component of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve.

FIG. 6d is a top sectional view of a portion of an exemplary embodiment of a downhole connector subassembly configured as a component of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve.

FIG. 6e is a top sectional view of another portion of an exemplary embodiment of a downhole connector subassembly configured as a component of an exemplary embodiment of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve.

FIG. 7a illustrates a well-logging system incorporating an exemplary wireline-tool adapter sleeve securing a wireline tool.

FIG. 7b is a top sectional view of a portion of a wireline tool secured within an exemplary wireline-tool adapter sleeve and disposed within a borehole.

DESCRIPTION

In the summary above, and in the description below, reference is made to particular features of the invention in the context of exemplary embodiments of the invention. The features are described in the context of the exemplary embodiments to facilitate understanding. But the invention is not limited to the exemplary embodiments. And the features are not limited to the embodiments by which they are described. The invention provides a number of inventive features which can be combined in many ways, and the invention can be embodied in a wide variety of contexts.

The terms “comprising,” “comprises,” “including,” “includes,” “having,” “haves,” and their grammatical equivalents are used herein to mean that other components or steps are optionally present. For example, an article comprising A, B, and C, includes an article having only A, B, and C as well as articles having A, B, C, and other components. And a method comprising the steps A, B, and C includes methods having only the steps A, B, and C as well as methods having the steps A, B, C, and other steps.

Except as explicitly defined otherwise, the words and phrases used herein, including terms used in the claims, carry the same meaning they carry to one of ordinary skill in the art as ordinarily used in the art.

Except as otherwise stated herein or as is otherwise clear from context, the inventive methods comprising or consisting of more than one step may be carried out without concern for the order of the steps.

“Uphole,” as used herein, means the direction in the borehole directed along the borehole's longitudinal axis toward the surface.

“Downhole,” as used herein, means the direction in the borehole directed along the borehole's longitudinal axis away from the surface.

Except as otherwise stated herein or as is otherwise clear from context, the term “or” is used herein in its inclusive sense. For example, “A or B” means “A or B, or both A and B.”

An exemplary logging system is shown in FIG. 1. A wireline tool 10 is disposed within a borehole 30 to collect information about the borehole environment. The borehole 30 penetrates an earth formation 32. The borehole may be cased with a concentric casing 38 or the borehole 30 may be left open without any casing. In a cased hole, the annulus defined by the outside diameter of the casing 38 and the borehole wall 34 may be filled with cement 36. The borehole 30 is filled with fluid (e.g., air, water, mud). The borehole may be capped with a pressure-control system 60. In the event that the borehole fluid pressure at the surface is greater than the atmospheric pressure at the surface, the pressure-control system 60 is meant to prevent borehole fluid from escaping to the surface during the logging operation. The pressure-control system typically comprises a wireline valve 62, a riser 64, and a control head 66. The wireline valve 62 is attached to a wellhead 70 (which includes a pressure control valve).

The wireline tool 10 typically comprises a pressure housing 13, at least one sensor 16, 17, an electronics package 15, and an uphole connector subassembly 12. The wireline tool may also have a downhole connector subassembly 14. The sensors 16, 17 and electronics package 15 are secured in the pressure housing 13. The sensors 16, 17 and electronics package 15 are coupled together and the electronics package 15 is coupled to a cable head 58 by way of an electrical connector subassembly of the uphole connector subassembly 12. The downhole connector subassembly 14 (if present) may be sealed with a pressure cap 18 or, as shown in FIG. 2, it may connect to an uphole connector subassembly 112 of a second wireline tool 100.

The wireline tool 10 is suspended and positioned in the borehole by way of a wireline cable 56. One end of the wireline cable 56 is mechanically and electrically connected to the wireline tool 10 by way of the cable head 58. The other end of the wireline cable 56 terminates at a winch 50. The wireline is coupled to a surface system 40 through slip rings 48. The surface system 40 typically comprises a computer 42, a transceiver 44, and a power supply 46. The wireline cable 56 extends from the cable head 58 through the pressure-control system 60 (if present), around an upper sheave 54, around a lower sheave 52, and then to the winch 50.

Wireline tools come in many varieties. For example, a number of variants are shown in FIGS. 3a-3f. Differences include, for example, diameter, length, pressure rating, temperature rating, vibration rating, connector-subassembly standard, electrical requirement, and sensor type. A first wireline tool 10, shown in FIG. 3a, may be configured as described above. A second wireline tool 200, shown in FIG. 3b, comprising a pressure housing 213, sensors 216, 217, an electronics package 215, an uphole connector subassembly 212, and a downhole connector subassembly 214 may be identical to the first wireline tool 10 except that the second wireline tool's pressure housing 213 is of a smaller diameter than the first wireline tool's pressure housing 13 such that second wireline tool 200 is designed to operate in a smaller diameter borehole and at lower pressures than the first wireline tool 10. A third wireline tool 300, shown in FIG. 3c, comprising a pressure housing 313, sensors 316, 317, an electronics package 315, and an uphole connector subassembly 312 may be identical to the second wireline tool 200 except that it lacks a downhole connector subassembly such that the third wireline tool 300 is not designed to operate in combination with a wireline tool connected downhole. A fourth wireline tool 100, shown in FIG. 3d, comprising a pressure housing 113, sensors 116, 117, an electronics package 115, an uphole connector subassembly 112, and a downhole connector subassembly 114 may be identical to the first wireline tool 10 except that the fourth wireline tool 100 has sensors 116, 117 different than the sensors 16, 17 of the first wireline tool 10 such that the fourth wireline tool 100 is designed to collect different information than the first wireline tool 10. Or the fourth wireline tool 100 may have an electronics package 115 that differs from the electronics package 15 of the first wireline tool 10 such that the fourth wireline tool 100 is designed to receive power from a surface power supply 46 different than the power received by the first wireline tool 10 or such that the fourth wireline tool 100 is designed to communicate with a surface transceiver 44 according to a protocol that differs from the protocol used by the first wireline tool 10. A fifth wireline tool 400, shown in FIG. 3e, comprising a pressure housing 413, sensors 416, 417, an electronics package 415, and an uphole connector subassembly 412 may be identical to the fourth wireline tool 100 except that it lacks a downhole connector subassembly such that the fifth wireline tool 400 is not designed to operate in combination with a wireline tool connected downhole. And a sixth wireline tool 500, shown in FIG. 3f, comprising a pressure housing 513, sensors 516, 517, an electronics package 515, an uphole connector subassembly 512, and a downhole connector subassembly 514 may have a different uphole connector subassembly 512 and downhole connector subassembly 514 than the uphole connector subassembly 112 and downhole connector subassembly 114 of the fourth wireline tool 100 such that the sixth wireline tool 500 is designed to connect to a different cable head than the cable head 58 used by the fourth wireline tool 100. These and other differences in the various designs of wireline tools are known in the art.

The specific wireline tool used to collect the information is a function of both the kind of information sought and the operational environment. Whether a wireline tool 10 is appropriate to acquire the desired information is a function of the sensors 16, 17. For example, acoustic transducers acquire different information than gyroscopes, accelerometers, radiation detectors, or radio-frequency or microwave antennas. And the wireline tool 10 must be able to reach and operate at the target depths. For example, the wireline tool 10 must be able to withstand the pressure and temperature at the target depth. And it must fit—the diameter of wireline tool 10 defined by the outer surface of the pressure housing 13 must be less than the diameter of the borehole 30 defined by the inside wall of the casing 38 in a cased hole or by the borehole wall 34 in an open hole. Other operational-environment constraints are known in the art. Embodiments of the present invention can be used to adapt a wireline tool to operate in environments for which the wireline tool was not designed.

The logging operation can be understood with reference to FIG. 1. The logging operation begins by configuring the various components as shown in FIG. 1. Typically, this “rig up” proceeds as follows: Once all the necessary equipment is located at the well site, the wireline personnel will place the cable head 58 and wireline 56 through the lower sheave 52 and through the upper sheave 54 and then position the sheaves 52, 54 so that the upper sheave 54 is suspended above the borehole 30 and the lower sheave 52 is secured some distance away from the borehole 30 such that it will not rise beyond some fixed distance from the surface so that it is always below the upper sheave 54. The cable head 58 is then attached to the wireline tool 10 at uphole connector subassembly 12 and the winch is operated first to lift the wireline tool 10 so that it is positioned above the borehole 30 and then to lower the wireline tool 10 into the borehole. The upper sheave 54 is positioned and held through use of equipment such as a mast unit, a crane, or a rig. This rig up is time-consuming and dangerous as it involves manually positioning heavy equipment in often dangerous conditions. For example, the wireline personnel may have to rig up on an icy or muddy well site, under conditions of extreme cold, heat, or wind, or under risk of exposure to extremely flammable or poisonous gas.

The rig up is more complicated when a pressure-control system 60 is present. Such a rig up typically proceeds as follows: The wireline personnel will place the cable head 58 and wireline 56 through the lower sheave 52 and through the upper sheave 54 and then place the cable head 58 and wireline 56 through the control head 66 and riser 64. The cable head 58 is then attached to the wireline tool 10 and the cable head 58 and wireline tool 10 are then placed in the riser 64. Then, at the same time the sheaves 52, 54 are positioned as described above, the riser 64, control head 66, and wireline tool 10 are positioned above the wellhead 70. At that point, the riser 64 is attached to a wireline valve 62 (which was previously attached to the wellhead 70). The wellhead 70, wireline valve 62, and control head 66 are operated in concert to allow the wireline tool 10 to be positioned at various depths in the borehole 30 while still containing the borehole fluid in the borehole. The addition of the pressure-control system 60 exacerbates the time-consuming and dangerous nature of the rig up. Not only is the pressure-control system 60 heavy and difficult to maneuver, there is the added danger of a failure allowing borehole fluid—potentially including extremely flammable or poisonous gas—to escape.

Once the various components are in the configuration shown in FIG. 1, the logging operation typically proceeds as follows: A logging application compatible with the wireline tool 10 is run on the computer 42. The wireline tool 10 is selectively positioned at target depths in the borehole 30 through operation of the winch 50. The electronics 15 and sensors 16, 17 are controllably powered through power supply 46. And the logging application controls and communicates with the electronics 15 and sensors 16, 17 by way of transceiver 44. In this way, information about the borehole environment is acquired by the electronics 15 and sensors 16, 17 and collected by the logging application on the computer 42, where it is analyzed and stored.

When the desired information is collected from all the depths of interest, the wireline tool 10 is retrieved to the surface and removed from the borehole 30. The winch 50 is operated to lift the wireline tool 10 out of the borehole 30, wireline personnel then physically position the wireline tool 10 so that it can be lowered away from the borehole 30, then they detach the cable head 58 from the wireline tool 10. When a pressure-control system 60 is present, retrieval of the wireline tool 10 requires operating the winch 50 to position the wireline tool in the riser 64 and then operating the wellhead 70, wireline valve 62, and control head 66 in concert to allow the riser 64 to be detached from the wireline valve 62 without releasing borehole fluid. The wireline personnel then physically position the riser 64, control head 66, and wireline tool 10, so that they can be lowered away from the borehole 30 and the cable head 58 can be detached from the wireline tool 10. Once the wireline tool 10 is lowered away from the borehole 30 and the cable head 58 is detached, the wireline personnel may rig up and position another wireline tool as required.

The time and risk of repeated rig-up and tool-retrieval cycles can be avoided if two or more wireline tools can be combined for a single run in the borehole. It is known in the art that two or more compatible wireline tools may be combined as shown in FIG. 2 and simultaneously positioned in a borehole 30. Such a combination is possible only if the downhole connector subassembly 14 of the uphole wireline tool 10 is compatible with the uphole connector subassembly 112 of the downhole wireline tool 100, or a suitable converter (cross over) is placed between the wireline tools. Each wireline tool in such a combination further must: (1) be able to withstand the operational environment at the target depths, (2) have sufficient strength to withstand the increased stress and strain due to the other wireline tools in the combination, and (3) be electrically compatible such that operation of one wireline tool in the combination will not hinder or harm any other wireline tool in the combination. Embodiments of the present invention can be used to adapt a first wireline tool to operate in combination with at least one other wireline tool when the first wireline tool was not designed to operate in combination with the other wireline tool.

An exemplary embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 4a-4c. A wireline-tool adapter sleeve 600 comprises an uphole connector subassembly 602, a pressure housing 604, a liner 606, and a downhole connector subassembly 610. The wireline-tool adapter sleeve 600 is configured to secure a wireline tool 200 in the pressure housing 604 and to mechanically and electrically connect to a wireline 56 through a cable head 58. The uphole connector subassembly 602 includes an electrical connector subassembly that is further configured to electrically couple the wireline tool 200 to the wireline 56 through the cable head 58. In this fashion, the adapter sleeve 600 can be used to effectively adapt the wireline tool 200 to operate in environments or in combinations for which the wireline tool 200 was not designed. While the wireline-tool adapter sleeve 600 is described in the context of a secured wireline tool 200, a cable head 58, and a wireline 56, the secured wireline tool 200, cable head 58, and wireline 56 define aspects of the intended environment of the wireline-tool adapter sleeve 600. The particular configuration of the wireline-tool adapter sleeve 600 depends on the specifics of the wireline tool 200 it is configured to secure and on the specifics of the cable head 58 and wireline 56 to which it is configured to connect. The wireline-tool adapter sleeve 600 is configured to define a space within which the wireline tool 200 may be securely disposed. The secured wireline tool 200, cable head 58, and wireline 56 are not components of the wireline-tool adapter sleeve 600.

The uphole connector subassembly 602 is configured to electrically and mechanically connect to a cable head 58 and comprises components customarily found in an uphole connector subassembly of a wireline tool. For example, the uphole connector subassembly 602 may comprise a single box GO (1 3/16″ unified national standard class 2), but other connector subassemblies compatible with the cable head may also be used in the same manner those connector subassemblies are used in the art to connect wireline tools to a single-conductor or a multi-conductor wireline through a variety of cable heads. The uphole connector subassembly 602 is configured to electrically couple the wireline 56 to the wireline tool 200 secured within the adapter sleeve 600 through an electrical connector assembly. The uphole connector subassembly 602 is further configured to secure the uphole end of the wireline tool 200.

An exemplary uphole connector subassembly 602 is shown in FIGS. 5a-5b. A threaded box 620 is configured to accept and mate with the threaded pin of cable head 58. A conductor-pin receptacle 621 is configured to accept and mate with a conductor-pin of cable head 58 wherein the conductor-pin is electrically connected to a wireline conductor as is known in the art. The conductor-pin receptacle is electrically connected to a connector 626 through a conductor 622. The conductor 622 is insulated from a chassis 629 by way of an insulator 624. The connector 626 is electrically connected to a conductor-pin-connector 630 through a conductor 628 which runs through a channel 631 in the chassis 629. The conductor-pin-connector 630 is configured to mate with a conductor-pin receptacle in the wireline tool's uphole electrical connector (not shown) in the uphole connector subassembly 212 of the secured wireline tool 200. While the uphole connector subassembly 602 is shown with a threaded box 620, a threaded pin may be used instead to mate with a cable head 58 that has a threaded box instead of a threaded pin. Similarly, the conductor-pin receptacle 621 may be replaced with a conductor-pin so as to mate with a cable head 58 that has a conductor-pin receptacle instead of a conductor-pin. The conductor-pin-connector 630 may be replaced with any electrical connector compatible with the electrical connector of the uphole connector subassembly 212 of the secured wireline tool 200. For example, the conductor-pin-connector 630 may be replaced with a pin-receptacle-connector so as to mate with a secured wireline tool 200 that has an uphole connector subassembly 212 with a conductor-pin instead of a conductor-pin receptacle. The chassis 629 is shown as a single piece, but it may itself be an assembly of components.

The exemplary uphole connector subassembly 602 shown in FIG. 5a is further configured to mate with a pressure housing 604 to form a mechanical joint that is pressure tight and sufficiently strong enough to handle the stress and strain of the logging operation. This mating can be accomplished as is known in the art by, for example, threading the uphole connector subassembly 602 into the pressure housing 604, securing the relative positions of the uphole connector subassembly 602 and the pressure housing 604 through use of a fastener 632, such as a pin or a screw, and sealing the joint with an o-ring 634. The mating may be accomplished through other methods, such as welding, press fitting, or bonding, as is known in the art.

Returning to the exemplary embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 4a-4c. The liner 606 is configured to secure a wireline tool 200 in the adapter sleeve 600 by substantially filling the annulus defined by the outside surface of the pressure housing 213 of secured wireline tool 200 and the inside surface of pressure housing 604. The liner 606 may comprise a solid. For example, the liner 606 may be an aluminum or plastic tube. The liner may alternatively comprise an assembly of components. For example, the liner may comprise a set of nested thin-wall tubes configured to form a Dewar flask or it may comprise a series of rings. The liner 606 is shown as a component separate and discrete from the uphole connector subassembly 602 or the downhole connector subassembly 610, but the liner may be an extension, or integral part, of the uphole connector subassembly 602 or the downhole connector subassembly 610.

In the exemplary embodiment of the wireline tool adapter sleeve 600 shown in FIGS. 4a-4c, the downhole connector subassembly 610 is configured to electrically and mechanically connect to an uphole connector subassembly 112 of a wireline tool 100 and comprises components customarily found in a downhole connector subassembly of a wireline tool. For example, the downhole connector subassembly 610 may comprise a single pin GO (1 3/16″ unified national standard class 2), but other connector subassemblies compatible with a wireline tool's uphole connector subassembly 112 may also be used in the same manner those connector subassemblies are used in the art to connect a first wireline tool to a second wireline tool positioned downhole of the first wireline tool. The downhole connector subassembly 610 includes an electrical connector subassembly that is configured to electrically couple a wireline tool 200 secured within the adapter sleeve 600 to a wireline tool 100 that is positioned downhole of the adapter sleeve 600. Alternatively, the downhole connector subassembly 610 may be configured such that no wireline tool can be connected below. For example, the downhole connector subassembly 610 can terminate in a plug. The downhole connector subassembly 610 is further configured to mechanically secure the downhole end of the wireline tool 200.

An exemplary downhole connector subassembly 610 is shown in FIGS. 5c-5e. A conductor-pin receptacle 641 is configured to accept and mate with a conductor pin of an electrical connector of a downhole connector subassembly 214 of a secured wireline tool 200. The conductor-pin receptacle 641 is electrically connected to a connector 646 through a conductor 642. The conductor 642 is insulated from a chassis 649 by way of an insulator 644. The connector 646 is electrically connected to a conductor-pin-connector 650 through a conductor 648 which is run through a channel 651 in the chassis 649. The conductor-pin-connector 650 is configured to mate with a pin receptacle in an electrical connector of an uphole connector subassembly 112 of a wireline tool 100 connected downhole of the adapter sleeve 600. A threaded pin 640 is configured to mate with a threaded box of an uphole connector subassembly 112 of a wireline tool 100 connected downhole of the adapter sleeve 600. While the downhole connector subassembly 610 is shown with a threaded pin 640, a threaded box may be used instead to mate with a wireline tool 100 that has a threaded pin instead of a threaded box. Similarly, the conductor-pin-connector 650 may be replaced with a pin-receptacle-connector so as to mate with a wireline tool 100 that has a conductor-pin instead of conductor-pin receptacle. And the conductor-pin receptacle 641 may be replaced with any electrical connector compatible with the downhole connector subassembly 214 of secured wireline tool 200. For example, the conductor-pin receptacle 641 may be replaced with a conductor-pin so as to mate with a wireline tool 200 that has a downhole connector subassembly 214 with a conductor-pin receptacle instead of a conductor-pin. The chassis 649 is shown as a single piece, but it may itself be an assembly of components.

The exemplary downhole connector subassembly 610 shown in FIG. 5c is further configured to mate with a pressure housing 604 to form a mechanical joint that is pressure tight and sufficiently strong to handle the stress and strain of the logging operation. This mating can be accomplished as is known in the art by, for example, threading the downhole connector subassembly 610 into the pressure housing 604, securing the relative positions of the downhole connector subassembly 610 and the pressure housing 604 through use of a fastener 652, such as a pin or screw, and sealing the joint with an o-ring 654. The mating may be accomplished through other methods, such as welding, press fitting, or bonding, as is known in the art.

Another exemplary embodiment of the wireline-tool adapter sleeve can be understood with reference to FIGS. 6a-6f. Many of the components may be understood with reference to the above description with the understanding that a component labeled with a number appended with an “a” is similar to the component with the same number in FIGS. 5a-5f. For example, components 620a, 621a, 622a, 624a, and 626a may be understood with reference to the above description of components 620, 621, 622, 624, and 626. An uphole connector subassembly 602a has a connector 626a that is electrically connected to a switch 662a through a line conductor 660a. The switch selectively connects the line conductor 660a to a wireline-tool conductor 666a connected to an uphole pin-connector 630a in the uphole connector subassembly or to a through-sleeve conductor 664a connected to a downhole pin-connector 650a in a downhole connector subassembly 610a.

The switch 662a may be controlled from a surface system 40 while the wireline adapter sleeve 600 is disposed within a borehole 30. Such control can be effected according to methods known in the art using switches known in the art. For example, the switch 662a may be frequency-controlled through signals provided to the switch 662a through a conductor in a wireline 56 such that application of a particular frequency on the line conductor 660a will set the switch 662a to connect the line conductor 660a to either the wireline-tool conductor 666a or to the through-sleeve conductor 664a. Or the switch may be addressable to respond to a command signal provided to the switch 662a through a conductor in a wireline 56 such that in response to the addressed command, the switch 662a selectively connects the line conductor 660a to either the wireline-tool conductor 666a or to the through-sleeve conductor 664a. Or the switch 662a may be voltage dependent such that the switch 662a selectively connects the line conductor 660a to either the wireline-tool conductor 666a or to the through-sleeve conductor 664a depending on the voltage on the line conductor 660a. Other methods and switches may be employed as is known in the art. By use of such an embodiment, the wireline-tool adapter sleeve adapts a wireline tool to combine with a second wireline tool and electrically isolate the wireline tools such that operation of one wireline tool will not harm or hinder the other wireline tool.

In another embodiment, the switch 660a is replaced with a splitter electrically connecting the line conductor 660a to both the wireline-tool conductor 666a and the through-sleeve conductor 664a such that by use of such an embodiment, the wireline-tool adapter sleeve adapts a wireline tool to combine with a second wireline tool and electrically connect the wireline tools such that wireline tools operate in concert.

In the exemplary embodiment of the wireline-tool adapter sleeve shown in FIGS. 6a-6e, the liner 606a is configured with a channel 638a through which the through-sleeve conductor 664a can be run from the switch 662a or from connector 626a to the conductor-pin-connector 650a. The channel may further comprise a conductive tube surrounding the through-sleeve conductor 664a to electromagnetically shield a wireline tool 200 secured in the adapter sleeve 600 from the through-sleeve conductor 664a and to electromagnetically shield the through-sleeve conductor 664a from the wireline tool 200.

Exemplary benefits of the wireline-tool adapter sleeve can be understood with reference to FIG. 7. A first wireline tool 200 is secured within an adapter sleeve 600 and disposed within a borehole 30 to collect information about the borehole environment. The borehole environment is as described with reference to FIG. 1. The downhole connector subassembly 610 of the adapter sleeve 600 may be sealed with a pressure cap 18 or, as shown in FIG. 4, it may be connected to an uphole connector subassembly 112 of a second wireline tool 100. By such a use of a wireline-tool adapter sleeve 600, the first wireline tool 200 is adapted to operate outside of its designed temperature or pressure rating or in combination with the second wireline tool 100 with which it was not designed to operate in combination. This may enable the wireline service provider to log the well without the need to keep and maintain multiple wireline tools of the same type but designed with different pressure or combinability capabilities. This may also enable the wireline service provider to log the well without the need to make multiple logging runs.

For example the logging operation may require both a gyro log and an acoustic cement-bond log in a borehole having a hydrostatic pressure of 10,000 psi. A wireline service provider may have a stand-alone gyro tool with a 6,000 psi pressure rating that it uses to log small-diameter boreholes. With the adapter sleeve, the service provider is able to adapt the 6,000 psi gyro tool for use in a 10,000 psi borehole, thus allowing it to perform the logging operation without the need for a second, 10,000 psi, gyro tool. And using the adapter sleeve, the service provider is able to combine the stand-alone gyro tool with a cement-bond tool, thus allowing it to perform the logging operation without the need for multiple runs in the borehole.

While the foregoing description is directed to the preferred embodiments of the invention, other and further embodiments of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art and may be made without departing from the basic scope of the invention. And features described with reference to one embodiment may be combined with other embodiments, even if not explicitly stated above, without departing from the scope of the invention. The scope of the invention is defined by the claims which follow.