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Apparatus For Installing Foam Wiper Balls Into Drillpipe

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000183350D
Publication Date: 2009-May-19
Document File: 5 page(s) / 300K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

The use of foam wiper balls in the oil industry has become very common. The flexible and resilient nature of foam technology makes foam balls ideal for fluid separation and wiping of tubular with different inside diameters. However, the loading or installation of these foam wiper balls into the tubing has proven to be quite difficult. A new foam ball loading apparatus is described below that allows foam wiper balls, which are typically very difficult to install, to be easily installed into tubular with pneumatic pressure. The apparatus described allows installation of the ball on a drilling rig floor or other shop environment is a way that is safe to personnel and equipment.

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APPARATUS FOR INSTALLING FOAM WIPER BALLS INTO DRILLPIPE

Abstract

    The use of foam wiper balls in the oil industry has become very common. The flexible and resilient nature of foam technology makes foam balls ideal for fluid separation and wiping of tubular with different inside diameters. However, the loading or installation of these foam wiper balls into the tubing has proven to be quite difficult. A new foam ball loading apparatus is described below that allows foam wiper balls, which are typically very difficult to install, to be easily installed into tubular with pneumatic pressure. The apparatus described allows installation of the ball on a drilling rig floor or other shop environment is a way that is safe to personnel and equipment.

Background

    The present invention relates to an apparatus and method for installing foam wiper balls into drillpipe, tubing, or other tubulars.

    In the construction of oil and gas wells, drillpipe, tubing, and other tubulars (cumulatively referred to as "workstring" herein) are used to displace various fluids while performing numerous procedures. Many of these procedures involve using rubber darts, specifically designed for the task at hand, as well as to separate fluid and wipe the inside of the workstring clean of cement, fluids, or debris. However, when a specialized dart is not required, foam wiper balls are often used to separate fluids and to wipe the workstring clean. These balls are economical and can easily pass internal upset restrictions that may be a part of the workstring, and multiple balls can be pumped if necessary.

    Since foam wiper balls are quite large relative to the inside diameter of the workstring, a large force is required to install these balls into the workstring. Currently, installation tools are primitive, such as broom handles, metal bars, etc. These primitive tools can present safety concerns to those installing the balls and increase the risk of damage to the balls themselves. Considering the frequency at which foam wiper balls are used, there is a need for a purpose-built apparatus to facilitate the installation process.

Summary of the Invention

    The present invention provides an apparatus (Figure 1) and method for facilitating the installation of foam wiper balls into a workstring. Referring to Figure 2, the apparatus includes a chamber in which a foam wiper ball is installed by hand, a cap and o-ring to seal one end of the chamber subsequent to installing the ball, protrusions (alignment rods) to center the apparatus between two pieces of the work string (Figure 3), and a receptacle for a pneumatic line. After installing the cap, a clasping bar (Figure 2) is installed through the chamber thereby securing the cap to the chamber.

    With the ball assembled into the chamber...