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Swellable packer with confirmed seal functionality

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000223746D
Publication Date: 2012-Nov-27
Document File: 2 page(s) / 22K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

The invention relates to swellable packers that consist of a swellable rubber element with anti-extrusion metal rings on each side. The packer could be bonded or a slip-on type. The rubber element could be oil or water and/or hybrid swelling. In some applications it is difficult to confirm if the swellable packer has sealed and is functional i.e. holding differential pressure. This invention proposes a method to solve this challenge by using a tracer material that is embedded inside the lower anti-extrusion ring of the packer and slowly released over time. Fluid samples taken from the well may be analyzed for the presence of tracer material. Introduction Swellable packers are typically placed in well in order to separate production zones and are normally made up as part of the production tubing and are run in the well along with the production tubing. During run in hole (RIH) the packer starts to swell if it is exposed to a fluid that will swell the rubber element, after some time the packer will seal and eventually hold differential pressure. Other times the packer will not swell before the well is put on production or water starts to break through. Based on input from the well owner, this could be information about well fluids, temperature, completion and hole dimensions, the performance of the packer can be estimated both sealing time and pressure capacity. By nature the information about the well will be somewhat inaccurate and thereby the real behavior of the packer could be different from the estimation. For some applications higher up in the well this could be critical. Description The tracer material could be placed inside of a polymer matrix for example thermoplastic or thermoset material that is gradually dissolved or will start leaching tracer material when exposed to oil or water and/or both. The polymer matrix could for example be a melamine formaldehyde resin filled with a tracer material that could be salts of naphthalene sulfonic acids, salts of amino naphthalene sulfonic acids, fluorescein and fluorinated benzoic acids. 3H-labeled or 14C-labeled tracers of the same kind of components may also be applied. When the polymer matrix is being dissolved it will release the tracer material which will then leach out into the well fluid. If the packer is leaking fluid across the rubber element the tracer material will follow the fluid flow to surface. Fluid samples are taken over time from the well and is analyzed for tracer material. When the tracer material in the fluid sample is close to or zero it indicates that the packer is holding the required differential pressure i.e. the packer is fully functional and is not leaking any more. The same method could be applied to confirm that the packer is functional over the lifetime of the well. The polymer matrix filled with the tracer material could be made into any shape required. For example it could be shaped into a circular rod of a given length. Multiple rods could then be placed in holes made in the anti-extrusion ring. The purpose with the anti-extrusion ring is to protect and the keep the rods in position during RIH, but also making sure that the rods are exposed to the well fluid so the tracer material could be leached out.

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056817

Swellable packer with confirmed seal functionality

Abstract

The invention relates to swellable packers that consist of a swellable rubber element with anti- extrusion metal rings on each side. The packer could be bonded or a slip-on type. The rubber element could be oil or water and/or hybrid swelling.

In some applications it is difficult to confirm if the swellable packer has sealed and is functional


i.e. holding differential pressure. This invention proposes a method to solve this challenge by using a tracer material that is embedded inside the lower anti-extrusion ring of the packer and slowly released over time. Fluid samples taken from the well may be analyzed for the presence of tracer material.

Introduction

Swellable packers are typically placed in well in order to separate production zones and are normally made up as part of the production tubing and are run in the well along with the production tubing. During run in hole (RIH) the packer starts to swell if it is exposed to a fluid that will swell the rubber element, after some time the packer will seal and eventually hold differential pressure. Other times the packer will not swell before the well is put on production or water starts to break through.

Based on input from the well owner, this could be information about well fluids, temperature, completion and hole dimensions, the performance of the packer can be estimated both sealing time and pressure capacity. By nature the information about the well will be somewhat inaccurate and thereby the real behavior of the packer could be different from the estimation. For some applications higher up in the well this could be critical.

Descriptio...