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Method to Place Elastomer Seals in Boreholes

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000187169D
Publication Date: 2009-Sep-01
Document File: 4 page(s) / 210K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Swelling rubber elements when combined with a mechanical delivery system can be employed in existing subterranean wellbores to address the loss of mechanical integrity, isolate all or portions of existing flow streams or affect other repairs without removing the normally restrictive production tubing or associated restrictive hardware.

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Abstract:

Swelling rubber elements when combined with a mechanical delivery system can be employed in existing subterranean wellbores to address the loss of mechanical integrity, isolate all or portions of existing flow streams or affect other repairs without removing the normally restrictive production tubing or associated restrictive hardware.

Introduction:

It is not uncommon for subterranean wells to remain viable for multiple decades. Over the course of its life, the well will likely require remedial measures to address issues like:
• Loss of wellbore integrity. Examples are:
o Liner laps that have lost their pressure seal
o Corroded casing
o Cross flow between wellbores through faults or fractures

• Unwanted flow streams. Examples are: o Increased water production
o Increased gas production
o Increased oil production
o Redirect water injection
o Redirect CO2 injection
o Redirect Natural Gas injection

• Repurpose the wellbore
o From a producer to an injector
o From an injector to a producer
o From water injection to CO2 injection

• Temporary Abandonment

A common practice in modern wellbore completion techniques to maintain control of the flow stream and to extend the longevity of the wellbore is to employ production tubing and one or more isolation devices (i.e. packer). The production tubing with packer is inserted into the well and positioned for maximum productivity or injectivity to the reservoir over the life of the well.

When a repair is needed, such as to the wellbore casing external to the production tubing, the production tubing and packer often become a hindrance to affecting the repair. The most common practice to make the repair is to remove the tubing and packer. This requires a rig to be over the well and often many days of rig work to remove the downhole hardware so the repair can be attempted. Once the repair effort has concluded (successfully or not), if the wellbore is to be utilized again, the production tubing and packer (and other downhole hardware) must be redeployed into the wellbore.

Obtaining a pressure seal in a large pipe or open hole environment where the sealing mechanism must first pass through a restriction such as a smaller pipe presents a limitation to the current art. Improvements can be obtained by placing swellable elastomers (Swell Packers) on the outside of expandable casings as well as inflatable packers, but this still presents a limitation in the sense that a maximum diameter obtainable by the combined expanded pipe and expanded elastomer may still be insufficient.

Proposed Sealing Mechanism :

This improvement generally involves placing an elastomer on an outer sleeve or mandrel ("The Device") in such a manner that it can be mechanically compressed and thus forced into an annulus as shown in the figures (1,2 and 3) below. This attribute can be applied to any wellb...