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Method and apparatus to deploy shape memory materials in downhole environments.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000216333D
Publication Date: 2012-Mar-30

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A method and apparatus is described that enables the rapid and efficient activation of shape memory material enabled downhole tools and systems such as the Shape memory foam sand screen sand control system or Shape Memory Packers that run along the length of a completion string. The apparatus consists of a tubular heating unit that is connected to the surface either via wireline or coiled tubing. The heating system is designed in such a way as to efficiently convert energy delivered from the surface into the thermal energy required to heat the fluid in the annulus between the outer surface of the apparatus and the inner surface of the completion. Another primary component of the system is the annulus sealing systems that are deployed when the heating system is activated. These sealing systems, or wipers, trap the annular fluid around the heating system and are designed in such a way as to continue to seal while the apparatus is moved along the completion, thereby focusing the thermal energy generated by the apparatus and enabling its efficient and controlled application to targeted thermally activated completion systems. Another important feature of the apparatus is a venting system that connects the annular regions above and below the sealing systems via a channel that runs through the apparatus. The purpose of the venting system is to provide a flow path for the annular fluids that are not being heated while the apparatus and the fluids contained in the annulus by the sealing systems are moved along the completion. A method and apparatus is described that enables the rapid and efficient activation of shape memory material enabled downhole tools and systems such as the Shape memory foam sand screen sand control system or Shape Memory Packers that run along the length of a completion string. The apparatus consists of a tubular heating unit that is connected to the surface either via wireline or coiled tubing. The heating system is designed in such a way as to efficiently convert energy delivered from the surface into the thermal energy required to activate component completion systems by directly heating the fluid in the annulus between the outer surface of the apparatus and the inner surface of the completion, and via heat conduction, the adjoning tubular bodies and completion components. Another primary component of the system is the annulus sealing systems that are deployed when the heating system is activated. These sealing systems, or wipers, trap the annular fluid around the heating system and are designed in such a way as to continue to seal while the apparatus is moved along the completion, thereby focusing the thermal energy generated by the apparatus and enabling its efficient and controlled application to the targeted thermally activated completion component systems. Another important feature of the apparatus is the venting system that connects the annular regions above and below the sealing systems via a channel that runs through the apparatus. The purpose of the venting system is to provide a flow path for the annular fluids that are not being heated while the apparatus and the fluids contained in the annulus by the sealing systems are moved along the completion. Methods: One method of using the Thermal Activating Apparatus would be to run the apparatus down hole attached to the toe of the completion. When the completion is ready for thermal activation of its individual components, wireline or coiled tubing could be run down to the apparatus and then latched in to the apparatus via appropriate connector. The sealing components are then deployed, trapping the fluid with the annulus between the seal systems. Energy is then added to the heating element from the surface for a prescribed period of time and then the apparatus is pulled out of the hole at the rate required to activate the thermal activated components along the completion.. Another method would be to run the system in from the surface on wireline or coiled tubing after the completion is set and then deploy the seal systems, heat and the pull, per the description above. The heating system used in apparatus could be made up from a variety of constructions, the simplest being an electrical resistor based system that converts electrical energy, which is transmitted via cable/wireline from the surface to the heater, into thermal energy. A second construction of the heating system could be a radiator based system that converts thermal energy contained in hot fluid or gases pumped from the surface via coiiled tubing,through radiator system in the heating element and then back up to the surface via the coiled tubing or along the outer annulus of the completion. A third method of heat generation would be to have rotating part in the heating element that converts flow energy of fluids pumped from the surface via coiled tubing into heat energy at the heating element.