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Patent Searching and Data


Title:
CONNECTOR SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/109143
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A system including a connector system configured to couple a first tubular (24) to a second tubular (22), including a sleeve (50) configured to couple to an exterior surface of the first tubular (24), wherein the sleeve (50) comprises a coupling feature (62), a lock ring (52) configured to couple to the exterior surface of the second tubular (22) and radially engage the coupling feature (62) on the sleeve (50), and a support ring (54) configured to energize the lock ring (52) into engagement with the sleeve (50).

Inventors:
NGUYEN, Dennis P. (1333 West Loop South, Suite 1700Houston, Texas, 77027, US)
Application Number:
US2015/064831
Publication Date:
July 07, 2016
Filing Date:
December 09, 2015
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
CAMERON INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION (1333 West Loop South, Suite 1700Houston, Texas, 77027, US)
International Classes:
F16L25/00; E21B33/038; F16L37/15
Foreign References:
US20100183360A12010-07-22
US5259459A1993-11-09
US4681166A1987-07-21
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SWANSON, Tait R. et al. (P.O. Box 692289, Houston, Texas, 77269, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A system, comprising:

a connector system configured to couple a first tubular to a second tubular, comprising:

a sleeve configured to couple to an exterior surface of the first tubular, wherein the sleeve comprises a coupling feature;

a lock ring configured to couple to the exterior surface of the second tubular and radially engage the coupling feature on the sleeve; and

a support ring configured to energize the lock ring into engagement with the sleeve.

2. The system of claim 1 , wherein the lock ring comprises one or more protrusions configured to engage the sleeve.

3. The system of claim 1 , wherein the coupling feature comprises one or more grooves configured to receive the lock ring.

4. The system of claim 1 , wherein the lock ring rests within an annular groove on the second tubular.

5. The system of claim 1 , wherein the sleeve comprises a first radial aperture that enables the tool to couple to the sleeve.

6. The system of claim 5, wherein the sleeve comprises a second radial aperture that enables the tool to extend through the sleeve and couple to the support ring.

7. The system of claim 1 , wherein the sleeve and the first tubular are a one- piece structure.

8. The system of claim 1 , wherein the support ring comprises a first angled surface and the lock ring comprises a second angled surface, and the first and second angled surfaces form an angled interface.

9. The system of claim 1 , wherein the coupling feature comprises first threads and the lock ring comprises second threads, and the first and second threads engage one another to engage the first tubular to be compressed against the second tubular.

10. The system of claim 1 , wherein the support ring comprises a first portion configured to contact and drive the lock ring and a second portion configured to couple to a tool.

1 1. A system, comprising:

a mineral extraction system, comprising:

a first tubular;

a second tubular; and

a connector system configured to couple the first tubular to the second tubular, comprising:

a sleeve configured to couple to a first tubular, wherein the sleeve comprises a coupling feature;

a lock ring configured to radially engage the coupling feature on the sleeve; and

a support ring configured to energize the lock ring into engagement with the sleeve.

12. The system of claim 11 , wherein the coupling feature comprises one or more grooves configured to receive the lock ring.

13. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein the lock ring rests within an annular groove on the second tubular.

14. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein the sleeve comprises a first radial aperture that enables the tool to couple to the sleeve.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein the sleeve comprises a second radial aperture that enables the tool to extend through the sleeve and couple to the support ring.

16. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein the support ring comprises a first angled surface and the lock ring comprises a second angled surface, and the first and second angled surfaces form an angled interface.

17. The system of claim 1 1 , wherein the support ring comprises a first portion configured to contact and drive the lock ring and a second portion configured to couple to a tool.

18. A method comprising:

landing a first tubular and a second tubular;

coupling a tool to a sleeve and to a support ring; and

driving a support ring axially with the tool to couple the first tubular to the second tubular.

19. The system of claim 18, wherein driving the support ring axially with the tool to couple the first tubular to the second tubular comprises driving a lock ring into contact with the sleeve coupled to the first tubular.

20. The system of claim 18, comprising rotating the first tubular with respect to the second tubular or the second tubular with respect to the first tubular to compress the first and second tubulars against one another.

Description:
CONNECTOR SYSTEM

BACKGROUND

[0001] This section is intended to introduce the reader to various aspects of art that may be related to various aspects of the present invention, which are described and/or claimed below. This discussion is believed to be helpful in providing the reader with background information to facilitate a better understanding of the various aspects of the present invention. Accordingly, it should be understood that these statements are to be read in this light, and not as admissions of prior art.

[0002] Drilling and production systems use various pipes, spools, etc. to support the flow of fluids in and out of a well. The pipes, spools, etc. may be coupled together to extend length, form strings of tubing, etc. to enable various flows in and out a well. The connections between the pipes, spools, etc. benefit from strength and stability, to support high loads and stress in harsh operating environments.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0003] Various features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood when the following detailed description is read with reference to the accompanying figures in which like characters represent like parts throughout the figures, wherein:

[0004] FIG. 1 is a block diagram of an embodiment of a mineral extraction system with a connector system;

[0005] FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional side view of an embodiment of a connector system with a first tubular axially separated from a second tubular;

[0006] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of an embodiment of a connector system with a first tubular landed on a second tubular; [0007] FIG. 4 is a partial cross-sectional side view of an embodiment of an unenergized connector system coupled to a tool;

[0008] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of an embodiment of a connector system in an energized state coupling the first tubular to the second tubular;

[0009] FIG. 6 is a detail view within line 6-6 of FIG. 5, illustrating an embodiment of the connector system in a locked or energized position;

[0010] FIG. 7 is a detail view within line 6-6 of FIG. 5, illustrating an embodiment of the connector system in a locked or energized position;

[0011] FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of a hydraulic system in a first position; and

[0012] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of a hydraulic system in a second position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS

[0013] One or more specific embodiments of the present invention will be described below. These described embodiments are only exemplary of the present invention. Additionally, in an effort to provide a concise description of these exemplary embodiments, all features of an actual implementation may not be described in the specification. It should be appreciated that in the development of any such actual implementation, as in any engineering or design project, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made to achieve the developers' specific goals, such as compliance with system-related and business-related constraints, which may vary from one implementation to another. Moreover, it should be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking of design, fabrication, and manufacture for those of ordinary skill having the benefit of this disclosure.

[0014] The disclosed embodiments include a connector system that enables hydrocarbon extraction system components to couple together. For example, the connector system may form a strong and stable connection between a tubing spool and a casing spool. As will be explained in detail below, the exemplary connection system includes a sleeve coupled to a first tubular that engages a lock ring on a second tubular. For example, the sleeve may include a coupling feature that enables a lock ring to couple to the sleeve, blocking axial movement of the sleeve. The lock ring is energized by a support ring that drives the lock ring radially outward and into engagement with the sleeve, while simultaneously blocking retraction of the lock ring. For example, the support ring may move radially inside the lock ring, which blocks the lock ring from moving radially inward. In some embodiments, the coupling feature on the sleeve and the lock ring may be threaded to facilitate preloading of the first and second tubular. For example, after connecting the tubular with the connection system, the first tubular, the second tubular, or both tubulars may be rotated to increase the tension on the connector system, increasing the strength of the connection or coupling.

[0015] FIG. 1 is a block diagram that illustrates a hydrocarbon extraction system 10 (e.g., mineral extraction system) that can extract various minerals and natural resources, including hydrocarbons (e.g., oil and/or natural gas), from the earth. The hydrocarbon extraction system 10 may be land-based (e.g., a surface system) or subsea (e.g., a subsea system). The system 10 includes a wellhead 12 coupled to a mineral deposit 14 via a well 16, wherein the well 16 includes a wellhead hub 18 and a well-bore 20. The wellhead hub 18 includes a large diameter hub at the end of the well-bore 20 that enables the wellhead 12 to couple to the well 16. The wellhead 12 typically includes multiple components that control and regulate activities and conditions associated with the well 16. For example, the wellhead 12 includes a casing spool 22 (e.g., tubular), a tubing spool 24 (e.g., tubular), a hanger 26 (e.g., a tubing hanger or a casing hanger), a blowout preventer (BOP) 28, and a "Christmas" tree to control the flow of fluids into and out of the well. As will be explained in detail below, the hydrocarbon extraction system 10 includes a connection system 30 that facilitates coupling of various components within the hydrocarbon extraction system 10. For example, the connection system 10 may enable the casing spool 22 to couple to the tubing spool 24.

[0016] FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional side view of an embodiment of the connector system 30. The connector system 30 includes a sleeve 50, a lock ring 52 (e.g., c-ring), and a support ring 54 (e.g., c-ring). As illustrated, the sleeve 50 includes threads 56 on an inner surface 58 (e.g., inner annular surface or circumference) that engage threads 60 on an outer surface 62 (e.g., outer annular surface or circumference) of the tubing spool 24. In some embodiments, the sleeve 50 and tubing spool 24 may be a one-piece structure. In other embodiments, the sleeve 50 may be part of or coupled to the casing spool 22. The sleeve 50 includes a sleeve coupling feature 62 (e.g., an annular groove, annular grooves and protrusions, etc.) that enables the lock ring 52 to couple to the sleeve 50. For example, the coupling feature 62 may include a series of annular protrusions 64 and annular recesses 66 (e.g., threads) that engage a corresponding lock ring coupling feature 68 with annular recesses 70 and annular protrusions 72 (e.g., threads, or teeth). In some embodiments, the coupling feature 62 may be a groove that receives the lock ring 52. The sleeve 50 may also include various tool apertures 74 that enable a tool to couple to and energize the connector system 30. For example, the sleeve 50 may include a first aperture 76 that enables a tool to couple to the support ring 54 through the sleeve 50, while a second aperture 78 enables the tool to couple to the sleeve 50.

[0017] As illustrated, the lock ring 52 and the support ring 54 rest within a groove 80 on the casing spool 22. The groove 80 enables the sleeve 50 to slide axially over the casing spool 22 in direction 82 to align the coupling feature 62 on the sleeve 50 with the coupling feature 68 on the lock ring 52. Once aligned, the support ring 54 energizes the lock ring 52 by moving in axial direction 84. The support ring 54 contacts the lock ring 52 along an angled interface 86 (e.g., curved annular interface or conical interface) formed by a support ring angled surface 88 and a lock ring angled surface 90. The angled interface 86 enables the support ring 54 to slide past the lock ring 52, driving the lock ring 52 radially outward in directions 92 and 94. In some embodiments, the support ring 54 may include an interface section 96 (e.g., annular extension portion) with the angled surface 88, and a base portion 98 (e.g., annular flange portion) that interacts with a tool. As illustrated, the base portion 98 may include an aperture 100 that enables the tool to couple to the support ring 54. In operation, the tool couples to the aperture 100 in order to drive the support ring 54 in axial direction 84 into a position circumferentially within the lock ring 52.

[0018] FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional side view of an embodiment of the connector system 30 with the tubing spool 24 landed on the casing spool 22. In this position, the coupling features 62 and 68 on the respective sleeve 50 and lock ring 68 align in axial direction 82 along axis 148. Moreover, the aperture 76 aligns with the support ring 54 in the axial direction 82, thereby providing the tool access to the aperture 100. FIG. 4 is a partial cross-sectional side view of the tool 120 coupled to the connector system 30 in accordance with certain embodiments. The tool 120 couples to the connector system 30 with a first stud 122 and a second stud 124. As illustrated, the first stud 122 couples to the aperture 100 in the support ring 54 by extending through the first aperture 76 in the sleeve 50. The second stud 124 couples to the sleeve 50 by entering the second aperture 78. As illustrated, the first and second studs 122, 124 are linked with a threaded bolt 126 that extends through first and second blocks 128, 130. Connected to first and second ends 132, 134 of the threaded bolt 126 are first and second nuts 136, 138. In operation, the first nut 136 rotates driving the first block 128 in axial direction 84. Movement of the first block 128 in axial direction 84 in turn drives the stud 122 in direction 84, which then drives the support ring 54 in axial direction 84. As the support ring 54 moves in axial direction 84, the angled surface 88 slides past the angled surface 90, driving the lock ring 52 radially outward in directions 92, 94 coupling the lock ring 52 to the sleeve 50. In other words, the support ring 54 moves from a position axially offset from the lock ring 52 to an axially overlapping position in which the rings 52, 54 are partially or entirely overlapping in the axial direction (e.g., partially or entirely concentric). In some embodiments, the first stud 122 may not be threaded to facilitate assembly and disassembly of the tool 120. In other embodiments, the first stud 122 may be partially threaded or completely threaded enabling the first stud 122 to threadingly couple to the support ring 54, the first block 128, or both. The second stud 124 may also be threaded to provide a stable connection to the sleeve 50 and the second block 130.

[0019] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view of an embodiment of a connector system 30 in an energized state. In the energized state, the support ring 54 retains the lock ring 52 in the coupling feature 62 by blocking radial movement of the lock ring 52 in directions 140 and 142. In this position, the casing spool 22 and tubing spool 24 are coupled together with the connector system 30. In some embodiments, after actuation of the connector system 30, the tubing spool 24 or casing spool 22 may be rotated in either direction 144 or 146 about the axis 148 to preload the casing spool 22 and the tubing spool 24 (e.g., increase contact stress between the casing spool 22 and the tubing spool 24). As explained above, the coupling feature 62 may include threads that engage threads on the lock ring 52. Accordingly, as the tubing spool 24 or casing spool 22 rotates, the threads preload the connector system 30 between the tubing spool 24 and casing spool 22.

[0020] FIG. 6 is a detail view within line 6-6 of FIG. 5 of an embodiment of the connector system 30 in a locked or energized position. As illustrated, the lock ring 52 is forced radially into contact with the coupling feature 62 on the sleeve 50. In some embodiments, the lock ring 52 may include protrusions 160 (e.g., axially spaced annular protrusions or teeth) on the inner surface 162 (e.g., inner annular surface or circumference) of the lock ring 52. The protrusions 160 may create additional force or friction between the surface 162 of the lock ring 162 and the surface 164 (e.g., outer annular surface or circumference) on the support ring 54 that resists movement of the lock ring 52 in direction 140 and movement of the support ring 54 in direction 82.

[0021] FIG. 7 is a detail view within line 6-6 of FIG. 5 of an embodiment of the connector system 30 in a locked or energized position. As illustrated, the lock ring 52 has a different cross-sectional shape (e.g., square, rectangular, etc.) that engages a coupling feature 62 in the form of a groove 166 (e.g., annular groove). Moreover, the support ring 54 may include the protrusions 160 (e.g., axially spaced annular protrusions or teeth); instead of the lock ring 52. As explained above, these protrusions 160 may remove a gap between the surface 162 of the lock ring 162 and the surface 164 on the support ring 54, and/or increase pressurized contact between the lock ring 52 and the support ring 54 to resist movement of the lock ring 52 in direction 140 and movement of the support ring 54 in direction 82.

[0022] FIG. 8 is a cross-sectional view of an actuation system 168 in a first position. As illustrated, the actuation system 168 may use a fluid (e.g., hydraulic fluid) to drive the shaft 169 of FIGS. 2-4 between first and second axial positions. The actuation system 168 may include a hydraulic housing 170 with a hydraulic cavity 172 (e.g., cylinder) that receives an end portion 174 of the shaft 169. The end portion 174 (e.g., annular piston) divides the hydraulic cavity 172 into a first chamber 176 (e.g., cylinder portion) and a second chamber 178 (e.g., cylinder portion). For example, the end portion 174 may include one or more grooves 180 (e.g., 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, or more annular grooves) that receive one or more gaskets 182 (e.g., 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5 or more gaskets or seals) that block fluid flow between the first chamber 176 and the second chamber 178. In operation, hydraulic fluid is pumped into the chambers 176 and 178 to drive the shaft 169 (e.g., piston 174) in axial directions 82 and 84. For example, when fluid is pumped into the chamber 178, through the control line 84, the fluid pressure drives the shaft 169 (e.g., piston 174) in axial direction 84 enabling the shaft 169 to drive the first stud 122 in axial direction 84, which energizes the connector system 30. In order to maintain hydraulic pressure within the chamber 178, the hydraulic housing 170 may include one or more gaskets 186 (e.g., 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, or more annular grooves) that rest within one or more grooves 188 (e.g., 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, or more annular grooves) around the outlet 190. The gasket(s) 186 form a seal around the shaft 169 as the shaft 169 moves axially within the hydraulic housing 170. [0023] FIG. 9 is a cross-sectional view of an actuation system 168 in a second position. As illustrated, the actuation system 168 may also drive the first stud 122 in axial direction 82 to uncouple the connector system 30, by pumping hydraulic fluid into the first chamber 176. The pressure of the hydraulic fluid drives the shaft 169 (e.g., piston 174) in axial direction 82, moving the support ring 54 in axial direction 82. As the support ring 54 moves in axial direction 82, the lock ring 52 may retract in radial directions 140 and 142 enabling the tubing spool 24 (e.g., tubular) to separate from the casing spool 22 (e.g., tubular).

[0024] While the invention may be susceptible to various modifications and alternative forms, specific embodiments have been shown by way of example in the drawings and have been described in detail herein. However, it should be understood that the invention is not intended to be limited to the particular forms disclosed. Rather, the invention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the following appended claims.