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Title:
ANNULAR FLOW METER WITH A SEALING ELEMENT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/133002
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A system for controlling flow of a fluid into or out of a wellbore having a wellbore wall. The system includes a tubular with a tubular bore and locatable in the wellbore. The system also includes a housing that includes a flow channel in fluid communication with the tubular bore. The housing also includes a sealing element expandable to provide a fluid barrier in an annulus formed between the housing and the wellbore wall. The housing further includes a fluid conduit separate from and radially spaced from the flow channel and in fluid communication with the annulus on both sides of the sealing element such that all fluid in the annulus flows through the conduit as it passes the sealing element. The housing also includes a sensor in fluid communication with the conduit and configured to measure a parameter of the fluid in the conduit.

Inventors:
MINASSA, Lorenzzo B. (11 Hebburn Ct, Tomball, Texas, 77375, US)
EL MALLAWANY, Ibrahim (10 Belcarra Pl, Spring, Texas, 77386, US)
Application Number:
US2017/069121
Publication Date:
July 04, 2019
Filing Date:
December 29, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
HALLIBURTON ENERGY SERVICES, INC. (3000 North Sam Houston Parkway East, Houston, Texas, 77032-3219, US)
International Classes:
E21B43/25; E21B34/06; E21B49/08
Foreign References:
US20150083402A12015-03-26
US5803186A1998-09-08
US20170051605A12017-02-23
US6082455A2000-07-04
US20100212891A12010-08-26
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROSE, Collin A. et al. (Chamberlain, Hrdlicka White, Williams & Aughtry,1200 Smith Street, 14th Floo, Houston Texas, 77002, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A system for controlling flow of a fluid into or out of a wellbore having a wellbore wall and intersecting a subterranean earth formation, comprising:

a tubular comprising a tubular bore and locatable in the wellbore and configured for flowing the fluid into or out of the wellbore;

a housing comprising:

a flow channel in fluid communication with the tubular bore; a sealing element expandable to provide a fluid barrier in an annulus formed between the housing and the wellbore wall;

a fluid conduit separate from and radially spaced from the flow channel and in fluid communication with the annulus on both sides of the sealing element such that all fluid in the annulus flows through the conduit as it passes the sealing element; and

a sensor in fluid communication with the conduit and configured to measure a parameter of the fluid in the conduit.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the parameter comprises at least one of a pressure, a temperature, or a flow rate of the fluid.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the sensor is configured to calculate a flow rate of the fluid based on the measured parameter without obstructing flow through the housing bore.

4. The system of claim 1, wherein the fluid conduit comprises a Venturi tube.

5. The system of claim 1, the housing further comprising an additional conduit separate from and radially spaced from the flow channel in the housing and an additional sensor in fluid communication with the additional conduit and configured to measure an additional parameter of the fluid in the additional conduit.

6. The system of claim 4, wherein the sensor is configured to measure a flow rate of the fluid through the Venturi tube.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the fluid conduit comprises a check valve.

8. The system of claim 1, further comprising a screen section in fluid communication with the tubular bore.

9. The system of claim 8, further comprising an injection system operable to inject fluid into the annulus through the screen section.

10. A method measuring a parameter of a fluid in a wellbore having a wellbore wall and intersecting a subterranean earth formation, comprising:

expanding a sealing element to create a fluid barrier sealing an annulus in a wellbore; receiving fluid from the annulus through a conduit through the fluid barrier, the

conduit being separate from and radially spaced from a bore of a tubular; and measuring a parameter of the fluid using a sensor in fluid communication with the conduit.

11. The method of claim 10, wherein the parameter comprises a pressure of the fluid.

12. The method of claim 10, further comprises calculating a flow rate of the fluid in the conduit using the measured parameter.

13. The method of claim 10, wherein measuring comprises measuring the parameter without obstructing the tubular bore.

14. The method of claim 10, further comprising directing the fluid through a Venturi tube connected along the conduit.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein measuring comprises measuring a flow rate of the fluid through the Venturi tube.

16. The method of claim 10, further comprising:

receiving fluid from the annulus through an additional conduit through the fluid

barrier, the additional conduit being separate from and radially spaced from the bore of the tubular; and

measuring an additional parameter of the fluid using an additional sensor in fluid communication with the additional conduit.

17. The method of claim 10, further comprising injecting fluid from a surface location through the conduit.

18. The method of claim 10, further comprising conveying fluid from the conduit to a surface location through the tubular.

19. A fluid sensing device for sensing a property of a fluid in a wellbore having a wellbore wall and intersecting a subterranean earth formation, comprising:

a housing comprising a flow channel;

a sealing element expandable to provide a fluid barrier in an annulus between the housing and the wellbore wall;

a fluid conduit separate from and radially spaced from the flow channel and in fluid communication with the annulus on both sides of the sealing element such that all fluid in the annulus flows through the conduit as it passes the sealing element; and

a sensor in fluid communication with the conduit and configured to measure a

parameter of a fluid in the conduit.

20. The fluid sensing device of claim 19, wherein flow through the flow channel is unobstructed by the sensor.

Description:
Annular Flow Meter with a Sealing Element

Background

[0001] This section is intended to provide relevant background information to facilitate a better understanding of the various aspects of the described embodiments. Accordingly, it should be understood that these statements are to be read in this light and not as admissions of prior art.

[0002] Oil and gas wells formed in the earth often traverse several formation layers or regions of the earth, which may include one or more hydrocarbon reservoirs. During a multizone completion operation, a tubular string is introduced into a cased wellbore which has been previously perforated and the string is then placed so that production screens are positioned proximate the perforations.

[0003] Production can be stimulated by injection of fracturing fluid, acid, solvents, or other chemicals into the perforations. To accomplish this, stimulation operations are performed in portions of the wells to increase a production rate and/or capacity of hydrocarbons from the formation. As used herein, the terms“stimulate” and“stimulation” refer to a treatment performed to restore or enhance the productivity of a well. Stimulation operations include a procedure known as“hydraulic fracturing” wherein fluid is injected into a formation above the fracture pressure of the reservoir formation to create highly conductive flow paths between reservoir and the formation. Other stimulation operations include acidizing, acid- fracing, etc.

[0004] Where there are multiple desired stimulation locations, sealing elements, such as packers and plugs, are employed to permit each location to be separately stimulated. Each stimulation location within a single formation, or within multiple formations, intersected by a well can be isolated from other stimulation locations, and thus allowing the stimulation operation to be tailored for the specific stimulation location (e.g., type of stimulation fluid, stimulation fluid pressure, and flow rate into the formation).

[0005] During production operations, likewise, it may be beneficial to independently control the flow of fluid from different locations of the reservoir into the tubular string. The flow of fluid from each zone into the tubular string can be controlled by controlling the opening and closing of a valve positioned in the corresponding zone. Various sensors are employed downhole to measure conditions of the fluid flowing in the wellbore such as temperature, pressure, and fluid flow rate, during these production and stimulation operations. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] Embodiments are described with reference to the following figures. The same numbers are used throughout the figures to reference like features and components. The features depicted in the figures are not necessarily shown to scale. Certain features of the embodiments may be shown exaggerated in scale or in somewhat schematic form, and some details of elements may not be shown in the interest of clarity and conciseness.

[0007] FIGS. 1 A and B depict an elevation view of a well system, according to one or more embodiments;

[0008] FIG. 2 depicts an isometric view of an example sensing device, according to one or more embodiments;

[0009] FIGS. 3-5 depict various cross-section views of the sensing device of FIG. 2;

[0010] FIG. 6 depicts a cutaway view of a Venturi tube and sensor of the sensing device of

FIG. 2, according to one or more embodiments; and

[0011] FIG.7 depicts a cross-section view of the sensing device equipped with check valves, according to one or more embodiments.

Detailed Description

[0012] FIG. 1 A shows an elevation view of a well system 100 including a non-intrusive sensing device 150 to measure a parameter of the fluid being produced from the well, in accordance with one or more embodiments. As shown, a wellbore 102 intersects a

subterranean earth formation 104 and is at least partially cemented with a casing string 106. Positioned within the wellbore 102 and extending from the surface is a tubular string 108, which provides a fluid passageway in the form of a tubular bore for formation fluids to travel from the formation 104 to the surface. As further described herein with respect to FIG. 1B, the tubular string 108 may also carry stimulation fluids from the surface to the formation 104.

[0013] The tubular string 108 includes a tubing/annulus ported device (which could be an interval control valve (ICV), screen section, perforated pipe, mechanical slide sleeves, or the like.) 110, which is positioned between a pair of annular barriers depicted as sealing elements 112A, B ( e.g ., expandable packers). The sealing elements 112A-C provide a fluid seal barrier on the casing 106 to form isolation zones 118 A, B along the wellbore. As fluid exits the formation 104 into the isolation zone 118B, pressure builds in the isolation zone 118B and fluid travels through the sensing device 150 to be received into the next isolation zone 118 A. The tubing/annulus ported device 110 may serve to filter particulates and/or control the formation fluid inflow or outflow. The fluid enters the passageway of the tubular string 108 through the tubing/annulus ported device 110 and flows to the surface. The sensing device 150 is equipped with sensing equipment to measure a parameter of the fluid as the fluid passes through the sensing device 150 without obstructing the passageway of the tubular string 108. The measured parameter may include a temperature, pressure, flow rate, water cut, or any physical properties of the production fluid which can be obtained through direct measurements or derivative methods. As the tubular string 108 is free from any obstruction along the length of the sensing device 150, well tools can be run through the tubular string 108 to perform various operations downhole including but not limited to installing other well tools downhole, performing maintenance on such tools, inspecting downhole conditions inside the tubular string, or clearing deposits or obstructions formed on the bore of the tubular string 108.

[0014] Other sensors may also be located in the sensing device 150 or elsewhere along the tubular string 108, including but not limited to a receiver responsive to electromagnetic radiation for measuring formation resistivity, a gamma ray device for measuring formation gamma ray intensity, devices for measuring the inclination and azimuth of the tubular string 108, pressure sensors for measuring fluid pressure, temperature sensors for measuring wellbore temperature, distributed optical sensors, geophones or accelerometers for taking seismic, microseismic, or vibration measurements, a device for measuring fluid composition, etc. The well system 100 may also include a telemetry device 114 that receives data provided by the sensing device 150, and transmits the data to a surface controller 116 via a wired or wireless communication path. The telemetry device 114 may use an optical communication technique to communicate data from the downhole sensors during drilling operations. Other methods of telemetry which may be used without departing from the intended scope of this disclosure include mud pulse telemetry, electromagnetic telemetry, acoustic telemetry, and wired drill pipe telemetry, among others. The sensing device 150 is operably connected to the telemetry device 114. The operable connections between the sensing device 150 and the telemetry device 114 may be implemented using any combination of wired or wireless communication interfaces or protocols. Alternatively, the sensor device 150 can also communicate directly to the surface via, for example, a tubing encased conductor.

[0015] The surface controller 116 can include a computer system for processing and storing the measurements gathered by the sensors, such as the sensing device 150. Among other things, the computer system may include a non-transitory computer-readable medium (e.g., a hard-disk drive and/or memory) capable of executing instructions to process and store the measurements. In addition to collecting and processing measurements, the computer system may be capable of controlling completion, stimulation, and production operations including but not limited to regulating the flow fluid to the surface or the flow fluid injected into the formation. The surface controller 116 may further include a user interface (not shown), e.g., input and output devices, which displays the measurements and allows an operator to monitor and control the conditions downhole and the operation being performed.

[0016] The sensing device 150 may also be used to measure a parameter of a fluid being injected into the formation 104 using an injection system 120 as depicted in FIG. 1B. The injection system 120 may inject pressurized fluid into the formation to stimulate the formation as previously discussed. As fluid exits the tubing/annulus ported device 110 into the isolation zone 118 A, the fluid is forced into the sensing device 150 and bypasses the sealing element 112B. After flowing through the sensing device 150, the fluid enters the next isolation zone 118B and is forced into the formation 104. The sensing device 150 may measure the pressure, temperature, or flow rate of the fluid being injected into the formation. It should be appreciated that the isolation zones depicted in FIGS. 1 A and B are merely provided as examples of isolating the wellbore 102 into independent production or stimulation zones. The well system 100 may be equipped with other isolation zones as is suitable for the reservoir 104.

[0017] The sensing device 150 attaches to the tubular string 108 to provide a measurement conduit that does not obstruct the bore of the tubular string 108. FIG. 2 shows an isometric view of the sensing device 150, according to one or more embodiments. The sensing device 150 includes a flow mandrel or housing 152, a bore or flow channel 154 that travels through the housing 152, a sealing element 112 attached to the exterior of the housing 152, a conduit 156 separate from and radially spaced from the bore and installed inside the flow mandrel 154, and a sensor 158 in fluid communication with the conduit 156. The housing 152 may connect to a tubular string 108 via threaded connections (not shown). Once connected to the tubular string 108, the bore 154 may be in fluid communication with the tubular bore of the tubular string 108. The sensing device 150 may also include more than one conduit 156 as depicted in the cross-sectional view of FIG. 3. The sensor 158 is radially spaced from the housing bore 154 and positioned near one of the conduits 156, and another sensor 158 (not shown) may also be similarly positioned with respect to the other conduit 156. The sensing device 150 may also have more than two conduits 156 to provide additional passageways for fluid to flow through the sensing device 150 as is suitable for the desired flow rate through the sensing device 150. The conduits 156 are radially spaced from the housing bore 154 and run along the longitudinal axis of the housing 154 providing passageways for the fluid to flow through the conduits 156 without obstructing the bore 154. The non-intrusive sensing device 150 does not compromise the diameter of the bore 154 with measurement equipment, and thus, maximizes the amount of fluid that can flow through the bore 154.

[0018] FIG. 4 shows another cross-sectional view of the sensing device 150 depicting the conduits 156 running along the longitudinal axis of the sensing device 150. Although fluid flow is depicted as entering inlets 162 and exiting outlets 164, it should be appreciated that fluid may flow in the opposite direction as depicted in FIG. 1B. The sensing device 150 may also be turned around with the inlets 162 above the sealing element 112. As shown, fluid flows into inlets 162 of the conduits 156 to be measured by the sensor 158 of FIGS. 2 and 3. The fluid is conducted into Venturi tubes 160 positioned along the conduits 156 and carried along the conduits 156 past the sealing element 112, exiting the outlets 164.

[0019] The sealing element 112, as previously discussed, expands or is expanded to engage the casing (or the openhole wellbore wall) and create a fluid barrier in the annulus. The sealing element 112 may include a packer such as an expandable packer actuated

mechanically by manipulating the tubular string, a hydraulic packer that is set using the hydraulic pressure applied through the tubular string, a cup packer, or a swellable packer that relies on elastomers to expand and form an annular seal when immersed in certain wellbore fluids.

[0020] The sensing device 150 is equipped with the sensor 158 of FIGS. 2 and 3 to measure a parameter of the fluid encountered along the Venturi tube 160. The measured parameter may include a temperature, pressure, flow rate, water cut, or any physical properties of the production fluid which can be obtained through direct measurements or derivative methods. The sensor 158 may use the measured parameter to calculate the flow rate of the fluid traveling through the sensing device 150 using Bernoulli’s principle. FIG. 5 shows a cross- section view of the Venturi tube 160 positioned inside the conduit 156. The Venturi tube 160 comprises a tapered inlet section 168, a constricted intermediate section 170, and a tapered outlet section 172. As fluid flows into the inlet 168, the fluid encounters the constricted section 170 and increases its velocity and reduces in pressure along the intermediate section 170 due to Bernoulli’s principle. As the fluid enters the outlet section 172, the fluid reduces its velocity and increases in pressure as exhibited along the inlet section 168. The inlet section 168 and the intermediate section 170 include observation ports 174, which allow fluid to flow into annular channels 176. Each annular channel 176 is sealed from the other by annular seals or O-rings 178 that surround the Venturi tube 166 and engage the conduit 156.

It should be appreciated that when the sensing device 150 is employed for injection operations, i.e., the fluid flow is reversed, the Venturi tube may also be reversed in direction inside the conduit 156 to allow the inlet section 178 to receive the fluid first and measure the pressure drop created by the Venturi tube 160.

[0021] As shown in FIG. 6, the sensor 158 is in fluid communication with the annular channels 176 to measure the parameter of the fluid exhibited in the inlet section 168 and the intermediate section 170. FIG. 6 shows a cutaway view of the Venturi tube 160 positioned in the conduit 156 and next to the sensor 156. Ducts 180 are connected to the sensor 158 and the annular channels 176. The ducts 180 allow the sensor 158 to be in fluid communication with the inlet section 168 and the intermediate section 170 and measure a parameter of the fluid. The sensor 158 may include a temperature sensor, a pressure gauge, or a pressure sensor to measure the temperature or pressure of the fluid in the Venturi tube 160. The sensor 158 may use the measured pressures in the Venturi tube 160 to calculate the flow rate of the fluid in the conduit 156 using Bernoulli’s principle. Measurements may also be used to calculate density, water cut, and oil/gas ratio.

[0022] The measured parameter of the fluid may be transmitted to the surface directly through an encased tubing conductor or via the telemetry device 114 of FIGS. 1 A and B to allow the operator of the well system to evaluate the production or injection operations. Simultaneously, while measuring the parameter of the fluid flowing through the sensing device 150, the operator can conduct downhole tools through the bore 154 of the sensing device 150, which leaves the bore 154 unobstructed for deploying tools. The unobstructed bore 154 also provides more volume to deliver fluid through the sensing device housing 150.

[0023] The sensing device 150 may also be equipped with a check valve to prevent the flow of fluid from reversing direction in a conduit 156 or prevent crossflow between zones in the wellbore. For example, FIG. 7 shows a cross-sectional view of a portion of the sensing device 150 equipped with check valves 166. As shown, the check valves 166 may be positioned downstream from the Venturi tubes 160 in the conduits 156 to allow the fluid to flow into the check valves 166 only in one direction. The check valve 166 may include a ball valve, a diaphragm check valve, or any other suitable check valve. In the case of a production operation, the check valves 166 can serve to prevent fluid from entering a lower pressure zone from a higher pressure production zone. For example, a third isolation zone (not shown) may be positioned along the well depicted in FIG. 1 A and is producing fluid from the formation at a higher pressure than the isolation zone 118B. The check valves 166 would prevent the fluid from the third isolation zone from entering the isolation zones 118A and 118B.

[0024] In addition to the embodiments described above, many examples of specific combinations are within the scope of the disclosure, some of which are detailed below:

Example 1. A system for controlling flow of a fluid into or out of a wellbore having a wellbore wall and intersecting a subterranean earth formation, comprising: a tubular comprising a tubular bore and locatable in the wellbore and configured for flowing the fluid into or out of the wellbore; a housing comprising: a flow channel in fluid communication with the tubular bore; a sealing element expandable to provide a fluid barrier in an annulus formed between the housing and the wellbore wall; a fluid conduit separate from and radially spaced from the flow channel and in fluid communication with the annulus on both sides of the sealing element such that all fluid in the annulus flows through the conduit as it passes the sealing element; and a sensor in fluid communication with the conduit and configured to measure a parameter of the fluid in the conduit.

Example 2. The system of Example 1, wherein the parameter comprises at least one of a pressure, a temperature, or a flow rate of the fluid.

Example 3. The system of Example 1, wherein the sensor is configured to calculate a flow rate of the fluid based on the measured parameter without obstructing flow through the housing bore.

Example 4. The system of Example 1, wherein the fluid conduit comprises a Venturi tube.

Example 5. The system of Example 1, the housing further comprising an additional conduit separate from and radially spaced from the flow channel in the housing and an additional sensor in fluid communication with the additional conduit and configured to measure an additional parameter of the fluid in the additional conduit.

Example 6. The system of Example 4, wherein the sensor is configured to measure a flow rate of the fluid through the Venturi tube.

Example 7. The system of Example 1, wherein the fluid conduit comprises a check valve. Example 8. The system of Example 1, further comprising a screen section in fluid communication with the tubular bore.

Example 9. The system of Example 8, further comprising an injection system operable to inject fluid into the annulus through the screen section.

Example 10. A method measuring a parameter of a fluid in a wellbore having a wellbore wall and intersecting a subterranean earth formation, comprising: expanding a sealing element to create a fluid barrier sealing an annulus in a wellbore; receiving fluid from the annulus through a conduit through the fluid barrier, the conduit being separate from and radially spaced from a bore of a tubular; and measuring a parameter of the fluid using a sensor in fluid communication with the conduit.

Example 11. The method of Example 10, wherein the parameter comprises a pressure of the fluid.

Example 12. The method of Example 10, further comprises calculating a flow rate of the fluid in the conduit using the measured parameter.

Example 13. The method of Example 10, wherein measuring comprises measuring the parameter without obstructing the tubular bore.

Example 14. The method of Example 10, further comprising directing the fluid through a Venturi tube connected along the conduit.

Example 15. The method of Example 14, wherein measuring comprises measuring a flow rate of the fluid through the Venturi tube.

Example 16. The method of Example 10, further comprising: receiving fluid from the annulus through an additional conduit through the fluid barrier, the additional conduit being separate from and radially spaced from the bore of the tubular; and measuring an additional parameter of the fluid using an additional sensor in fluid communication with the additional conduit.

Example 17. The method of Example 10, further comprising injecting fluid from a surface location through the conduit.

Example 18. The method of Example 10, further comprising conveying fluid from the conduit to a surface location through the tubular. Example 19. A fluid sensing device for sensing a property of a fluid in a wellbore having a wellbore wall and intersecting a subterranean earth formation, comprising: a housing comprising a flow channel; a sealing element expandable to provide a fluid barrier in an annulus between the housing and the wellbore wall; a fluid conduit separate from and radially spaced from the flow channel and in fluid communication with the annulus on both sides of the sealing element such that all fluid in the annulus flows through the conduit as it passes the sealing element; and a sensor in fluid communication with the conduit and configured to measure a parameter of a fluid in the conduit.

Example 20. The fluid sensing device of Example 19, wherein flow through the flow channel is unobstructed by the sensor.

[0025] This discussion is directed to various embodiments of the present disclosure. The drawing figures are not necessarily to scale. Certain features of the embodiments may be shown exaggerated in scale or in somewhat schematic form and some details of conventional elements may not be shown in the interest of clarity and conciseness. Although one or more of these embodiments may be preferred, the embodiments disclosed should not be interpreted, or otherwise used, as limiting the scope of the disclosure, including the claims. It is to be fully recognized that the different teachings of the embodiments discussed may be employed separately or in any suitable combination to produce desired results. In addition, one skilled in the art will understand that the description has broad application, and the discussion of any embodiment is meant only to be exemplary of that embodiment, and not intended to suggest that the scope of the disclosure, including the claims, is limited to that embodiment.

[0026] Certain terms are used throughout the description and claims to refer to particular features or components. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, different persons may refer to the same feature or component by different names. This document does not intend to distinguish between components or features that differ in name but not function, unless specifically stated. In the discussion and in the claims, the terms“including” and

“comprising” are used in an open-ended fashion, and thus should be interpreted to mean “including, but not limited to... ” Also, the term“couple” or“couples” is intended to mean either an indirect or direct connection. In addition, the terms“axial” and“axially” generally mean along or parallel to a central axis (e.g., central axis of a body or a port), while the terms “radial” and“radially” generally mean perpendicular to the central axis. The use of“top,” “bottom,”“above,”“below,” and variations of these terms is made for convenience, but does not require any particular orientation of the components.

[0027] Reference throughout this specification to“one embodiment,”“an embodiment,” or similar language means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment may be included in at least one embodiment of the present disclosure. Thus, appearances of the phrases“in one embodiment,”“in an embodiment,” and similar language throughout this specification may, but do not necessarily, all refer to the same embodiment.

[0028] Although the present disclosure has been described with respect to specific details, it is not intended that such details should be regarded as limitations on the scope of the disclosure, except to the extent that they are included in the accompanying claims.