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Title:
ELECTRO-HYDRAULIC ACTUATION SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/223158
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An electro-hydraulic actuator includes a housing having an interior portion a first opening and a second opening, a transducer is arranged in the interior portion. The transducer includes a sensor operatively coupled to a signal source at the first opening. A selectively activatable valve component is arranged at the second opening. The selectively activatable valve component maintains a desired pressure in the interior portion of the housing. An actuator is operatively coupled to the transducer and operable to activate the selectively activatable valve component exposing the interior portion to a volume of fluid in response to a signal from the transducer to activate a downhole system.

Inventors:
STOLBOUSHKIN, Eugene (17021 Aldine Westfield, Houston, Texas, 77073, US)
SMITH, James A. (17021 Aldine Westfield, Houston, Texas, 77073, US)
TURICK, Daniel J. (17021 Aldine Westfield, Houston, Texas, 77073, US)
Application Number:
US2017/038465
Publication Date:
December 28, 2017
Filing Date:
June 21, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
BAKER HUGHES INCORPORATED (17021 Aldine Westfield, Houston, Texas, 77073, US)
International Classes:
E21B23/04; F15B15/14
Domestic Patent References:
WO2014055074A12014-04-10
Foreign References:
US20120037360A12012-02-16
US20160145958A12016-05-26
US8616276B22013-12-31
US8776896B22014-07-15
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DUPHORNE, Darin et al. (BAKER HUGHES INCORPORATED, 14990 Yorktown Plaza DriveHouston, Texas, 77040, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS :

1. An electro-hydraulic actuator (120) comprising:

a housing (130) having an interior portion (135) a first opening (140) and a second opening (146);

a transducer (210) arranged in the interior portion (135), the transducer (210) including a sensor operatively coupled to a signal source at the first opening (140);

a selectively activatable valve component (161 ) arranged at the second opening, the selectively activatable valve component (161) maintaining a desired pressure in the interior portion (135) of the housing (130); and

an actuator (180) operatively coupled to the transducer (210) and operable to activate the selectively activatable valve component (161) exposing the interior portion (135) to a volume of fluid in response to a signal from the transducer (210) to activate a downhole system (40).

2. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 1 , wherein the transducer (210) comprises a pressure transducer (212).

3. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 2, wherein the actuator (180) includes an actuator member (194) and a biasing member (205) operable to shift the actuator member (194) toward the selectively activatable valve component (161).

4. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 3, wherein the biasing member (205) comprises a spring (207).

5. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 3, wherein the biasing member (205) comprises a hydraulic force.

6. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 2, wherein the selectively activatable valve component (161) comprises a membrane (165).

7. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 6, wherein the actuator (194) comprises a piercing member (198) operable to pierce the membrane (165).

8. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 3, wherein the actuator (194) includes a collet (192).

9. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 1 , wherein the desired pressure (274) comprises atmospheric pressure.

10. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 1 , wherein the transducer (210) is sealed to the housing (130) at the first opening (140).

1 1. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 1 , further comprising: a circuit assembly (220) arranged in the interior portion and operatively connected to the transducer (210) and the actuator (180).

12. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 1 1 , further at least one power source (224, 225) operatively coupled to the circuit assembly (220).

13. The electro-hydraulic actuator (120) according to claim 1 , wherein the downhole system (40) includes a plurality of dogs (98).

Description:
ELECTRO-HYDRAULIC ACTUATION SYSTEM

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U. S. Application No. 15/192529, filed on June 24, 2016, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Downhole systems employ various tools that operate to treat wellbores, extract fluids, introduced fluids and the like into a formation. Many such tools operate due to axial force that comes from pressure, load applied from the surface or another source. The axial force may take the form of a tool being moved into or out of the wellbore, or based on signals sent downhole from the surface. Signals may take the form of electronic signals and/or pressure pulses. The signals may embody a particular pattern that actuates a downhole tool.

SUMMARY

[0003] An electro-hydraulic actuator includes a housing having an interior portion a first opening and a second opening, a transducer is arranged in the interior portion. The transducer includes a sensor operatively coupled to a signal source at the first opening. A selectively activatable valve component is arranged at the second opening. The selectively activatable valve component maintains a desired pressure in the interior portion of the housing. An actuator is operatively coupled to the transducer and is operable to activate the selectively activatable valve component exposing the interior portion to a volume of fluid in response to a signal from the transducer to activate a downhole system.

[0004] A method of actuating a downhole system includes receiving a signal with a transducer arranged in an electro-hydraulic actuator housing, triggering an actuator based on the signal, operating a valve with the actuator allowing a volume of fluid to enter the actuator housing creating reduction in a volume of fluid exterior to the actuator housing, and activating a downhole system based on the reduction in the volume of fluid.

[0005] A resource exploration system includes a surface portion, and a downhole portion including a plurality of tubulars. At least one of the plurality of tubulars includes a downhole system and an electro-hydraulic actuator operable to activate the downhole system. The electro-hydraulic actuator includes a housing having an interior portion a first opening and a second opening, and a transducer arranged in the interior portion. The transducer includes a sensor operatively coupled to a signal source at the first opening. A selectively activatable valve component is arranged at the second opening. The selectively activatable valve component maintains a desired pressure in the interior portion of the housing. An actuator is operatively coupled to the transducer and is operable to activate the selectively activatable valve component exposing the interior portion to a volume of fluid in response to a signal from the transducer to activate the downhole system.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] Referring now to the drawings wherein like elements are numbered alike in the several Figures:

[0007] FIG. 1 depicts a resource exploration system including an electro-hydraulic actuation system, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment;

[0008] FIG. 2 depicts a partial cross-sectional view of a tubular including the electro- hydraulic actuation system of FIG. 1 prior to activation;

[0009] FIG. 3 depicts a partial cross-sectional view of a tubular including the electro- hydraulic actuation system of FIG. 2 after actuation;

[0010] FIG. 4 depicts a partial cross-sectional view of the electro-hydraulic actuation system of FIG. 2;

[0011] FIG. 5 depicts a partial cross-sectional view of an actuator portion of the electro -hydraulic actuation system, in accordance with another aspect of an exemplary embodiment;

[0012] FIG. 6 depicts a partial cross-sectional view of an actuator portion of the electro -hydraulic actuation system in a non-actuated state, in accordance with yet another aspect of an exemplary embodiment; and

[0013] FIG. 7 depicts a partial cross-sectional view of the actuator portion of FIG. 6 in an actuated state.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0014] A resource exploration system, in accordance with an exemplary embodiment, is indicated generally at 2, in FIG. 1. Resource exploration system 2 should be understood to include well drilling operations, resource extraction and recovery, CO2 sequestration, and the like. Resource exploration system 2 may include a surface portion 4 operatively connected to a downhole portion 6. Surface portion 4 may include pumps 8 that aid in completion and/or extraction processes as well as fluid storage 10. Fluid storage 10 may contain a gravel pack fluid or slurry (not shown) that is introduced into downhole portion 6. [0015] Downhole portion 6 may include a string 20 formed from a plurality of tubulars, one of which is indicated at 21 that is extended into a borehole 24 formed in formation 26. Borehole 24 includes a surface 28. One of tubulars 21 may include a selectively deployable downhole system 40 such as a valve 44. It is to be understood that the particular type, nature, and components of selectively deployable downhole system 40 may vary.

[0016] As shown in FIG. 2, selectively deployable system 40 may include an outer housing 48 having an outer surface 54 and an inner surface 56 that defines a passage 57. A first annular projection 59 extends radially inwardly from inner surface 56. Outer housing 48 includes a first annular projection 59 is provided with an O-ring 60. It is to be understood that outer housing 48 may be provided with various types of seals such as chevron stacks, metal-to-metal seals, elastomeric seals and the like. Outer housing 48 also includes a second annular projection 61 that extends from inner surface 56. First projection 59 defines, in part, a valve recess 63. Outer housing 48 also includes an activation recess 66 defined between first and second annular projections 59 and 61. Activation recess 66 is filled, at the surface, with a volume of fluid.

[0017] Downhole system 40 may also include a spring mandrel 80 having an outer surface portion 82, and an inner surface portion 84 that defines a central passage portion 86. Spring mandrel 80 may include an annular flange 89 that supports a biasing element 91 in valve recess 63. Biasing element 91 may take the form of a Bellville spring stack 93. It is to be understood that biasing element 91 may take on various forms including coil springs, gas pressure, and the like. Spring mandrel 80 may support one or more dogs 98 that selectively engage annular projection 61. Specifically, dogs 98 maintain spring mandrel 80 in a non- deployed position against a biasing force provided by Bellville stack 93.

[0018] In a deployed position, spring mandrel may activate and/or deactivate valve 44. A piston 108 extends about spring mandrel 80 and abuts dogs 98. Piston 108 includes one or more seals 109 shown in the form of O-rings, one of which is indicated at 110. O- rings 110 ensure that the fluid in activation recess 66 does not flow toward dogs 98. As will be detailed below when positioned downhole, piston 108 is positioned against dogs 98 by the volume of fluid present in activation recess 66. A change in the volume of fluid in activation recess 66 enables piston 108 to shift allowing dogs 98 to retract and release spring mandrel 80 as shown in FIG. 3. It is to be understood that the exemplary embodiments may also be employed in connection with packers, shear joints and other axially actuated devices. Thus, in addition to operating dogs, the exemplary embodiment may also be associated with collets, shearable members and the like as will be understood below.

[0019] In accordance with an exemplary embodiment, downhole system 40 includes an electro-hydraulic actuator 120 depicted in FIG. 4 that selectively increases a volume of activation recess 66 allowing dogs 98 to retract and release spring mandrel 80. As seen in FIG. 3, electro-hydraulic actuator 120 includes a housing 130 having a first end 132, a second end 133 and an interior portion 135 that is maintained at a desired pressure as will be discussed below. In accordance with an aspect of an exemplary embodiment, the desired pressure within interior portion 135 is less than pressure external to housing 130 developed in the fluid present in activation recess 66. In accordance with an aspect of an exemplary embodiment, the desired pressure may be atmospheric pressure. However, it is to be understood that the desired pressure may vary.

[0020] First end 132 incudes a first opening 140. A portion of first opening 140 may be surrounded by a plurality of threads 142. Second end 133 includes a second opening 146 that may be defined, at least in part, by a cap member 148. Housing 130 includes an inner wall 153. An annular flange element 156 extends radially inwardly from inner wall 153. A valve chamber 159 may be defined between annular flange element 156 and cap member 148. A selectively activatable valve component 161 is arranged in valve chamber 159.

Selectively activatable valve component 161 may include a valve support portion 163 including one or more O-rings (not separately labeled) that abut inner wall 153. Valve support portion 163 retains a puncturable membrane 165 having a first surface 167 and a second, opposing surface 168. First surface 167 may be is exposed to pressure external to housing 130. Second surface 168 may be exposed to the desired pressure within housing 130. As such, second surface 168 defines a convex surface as the pressure external to housing 130 is greater than the desired pressure within housing 130. It is to be understood that the desired pressure may be greater than the pressure external to housing 130 thereby forming a concave surface depending upon actuation techniques being employed.

[0021] In further accordance with an exemplary embodiment, electro-hydraulic actuator 120 includes an actuator 180 that is operable to open selectively activatable valve component 161. Actuator 180 includes a support collar 183 having a first end section 185 and a second end section 186. An annular flange section 188 extends radially inwardly adjacent second end section 186. A collet 192 may be supported by annular flange section 188. As will be detailed more fully below, collet 192 selectively releases an actuator member 194 to open selectively activatable valve component 161. Actuator member 194 includes a retention portion 196 that may be engaged by collet 192 and a piercing member portion 198 that may be directed through membrane 165. Actuator member 194 may include a neck section 200 that supports a biasing member 205. More specifically, biasing member 205, which may take the form of a spring 207, may be supported between annular flange element 156 and neck section 200.

[0022] In still further accordance with an exemplary embodiment, electro-hydraulic actuator 120 may include a transducer 210 arranged at first end 132 of housing 130.

Transducer 210 may take the form of a pressure transducer 212 having a sensor in the form of a sensing surface 214 exposed at first opening 140. Sensing surface 214 may receive pressure pulses directed from a signal source (not shown) to selectively actuator 180. It is to be understood that transducer 210 may take on a variety of forms and need not be limited to pressure sensing. It is also to be understood that the signals may be provided from various sources and should not be limited to originating uphole or at the surface. Transducer 210 is arranged in housing 130 through plurality of threads 142. Plurality of threads 142 may engage with corresponding threads (not separately labeled) on transducer 210 to form a metal-to-metal seal.

[0023] In still further accordance with an exemplary embodiment, transducer 210 may be operatively coupled to a circuit assembly 220 arranged within housing 130.

Additionally, a first power source 224 and a second power source 225 may reside within housing 130. First power source 224 may provide power to circuit assembly 220 and second power source 225 may be coupled to circuit assembly 220 and provide power to activate collet 192.

[0024] In accordance with an aspect of an exemplary embodiment, one or more pressure pulses may be sent to transducer 210 from the uphole signal source. The one or more pressure pulses may possess a particular magnitude or pattern that is interpreted by circuit assembly 210 as a release signal. In response, circuit assembly 210 fires or opens collet 192 releasing actuator member 194 with spring 207 driving piercing member portion 198 through membrane 165 allowing a portion of the volume of fluid in activation recess 66 to pass into housing 130. A change in the volume of fluid in activation recess 66 allows piston 108 to shift and release dogs 98. Upon releasing dogs 98, spring mandrel 80 may be shifted by biasing element 91 to activate valve 44.

[0025] Reference will now follow to FIG. 5 in describing an actuator 230 in accordance with another aspect of an exemplary embodiment. Actuator 230 includes a housing 232 having a wall 233 provided with one or more openings 234 that may be exposed to fluid at downhole pressures. A support collar 236 is arranged within housing 232. Support collar 236 includes a first end section 238, and a second end section 239. An outer surface

241 extends between first end section 238 and second end section 239. Also, an inner surface

242 extends between first end section 238 and second end section 239. Inner surface 242 defines a central bore 243. One or more passages 244 may extend through support collar 236 from outer surface 241 to inner surface 242. A first O-ring 246 is arranged at outer surface 241 and a second O-ring 247 is arranged at outer surface 241 spaced from first O-ring 246. First and second O-rings 246 and 247 are arranged on opposing sides of passages 244 and one or openings 234 creating a high pressure zone 248 within housing 232.

[0026] A collet 249 may be supported at second end section 239. Collet 249 selectively retains an actuator member 255 within central bore 243. Actuator member 255 includes a retention portion 258 that may be engaged by collet 249 and a piercing member portion 260 that is operatively coupled to retention portion 258 through a connector portion 264. Connector portion 264. A first O-ring 270 may extend between connector portion 264 and piercing member portion 260, and a second O-ring 272 may extend between connector portion 264 and support collar 236. First and second O-rings 270 and 272 may reside on opposing sides of passages 244 so as to further define high pressure zone 248. A desired pressure zone 274 may exist axially outwardly of piercing member portion 260. Desired pressure zone 274 may be at atmospheric pressure or another pressure that is lower than pressures externally of housing 232 or pressure within high pressure zone 248.

[0027] In a manner similar to that described above, one or more pressure pulses may be sent to transducer 210. The one or more pressure pulses may possess a particular magnitude or pattern that is interpreted by circuit assembly 210 as a release signal. In response, circuit assembly 210 fires or opens collet 249 releasing actuator member 255 allowing high pressure fluid within high pressure zone 248 to deliver a hydraulic force driving piercing member portion 260 through membrane 165 creating a pressure differential at housing 232. A portion of the volume of fluid may pass from activation recess 66 into desired pressure zone 274 of housing 232 allowing piston 108 to shift and release dogs 98. Upon releasing dogs 98, spring mandrel 80 may be shifted by biasing element 91 to activate valve 44.

[0028] Reference will now follow to FIG. 6, wherein like numbers represent corresponding parts in the respective views in describing an electro-hydraulic actuator 300 in accordance with yet another aspect of an exemplary embodiment. Electro-hydraulic actuator 300 includes an actuator 308 that is operable to expose interior portion 135 of housing 130 to downhole pressure. Actuator 308 includes a support collar 312 having a first end section 314 and a second end section 315. An annular flange section 320 extends radially inwardly of support collar 312. A collet 324 may be supported at second end 316. As will be detailed more fully below, collet 324 selectively releases an actuator member 334 to expose interior portion 135 to downhole pressure. Actuator member 334 includes a retention portion 338 that may be engaged by collet 324 and a support portion 340 that supports support collar 312 against downhole pressure. Actuator member 334 may include a neck section 350 that supports a biasing member 355. More specifically, biasing member 355, which may take the form of a spring 357, may be supported between annular flange element 320 and neck section 350.

[0029] In accordance with an aspect of an exemplary embodiment, one or more pressure pulses may be sent to transducer 210 from the signal source. The one or more pressure pulses may possess a particular magnitude or partem that is interpreted by circuit assembly 210 as a release signal. In response, circuit assembly 210 fires or opens collet 324 releasing actuator member 334 with spring 357 driving support portion 340 toward second end 316 of support member 312. Once moved, downhole pressure may act on support member 312 through openings 360 formed in housing 135. Without the support provided by support member 340, support member 312 may buckle, bend, break tear, fracture, and/or lose pressure bearing capability at openings 360 as shown in FIG. 7 creating pathway for a portion of the volume of fluid in activation recess 66 to enter into housing 130. A change in the volume of fluid in activation recess 66 allows piston 108 to shift and release dogs 98. Upon releasing dogs 98, spring mandrel 80 may be shifted by biasing element 91 to activate valve 44.

[0030] Embodiment 1. An electro-hydraulic actuator comprising: a housing having an interior portion a first opening and a second opening; a transducer arranged in the interior portion, the transducer including a sensor operatively coupled to a signal source at the first opening; a selectively activatable valve component arranged at the second opening, the selectively activatable valve component maintaining a desired pressure in the interior portion of the housing; and an actuator operatively coupled to the transducer and operable to activate the selectively activatable valve component exposing the interior portion to a volume of fluid in response to a signal from the transducer to activate a downhole system.

[0031] Embodiment 2. The electro-hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, wherein the transducer comprises a pressure transducer. [0032] Embodiment 3. The electro-hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, wherein the actuator includes an actuator member and a biasing member operable to shift the actuator member toward the selectively activatable valve component.

[0033] Embodiment 4. The electro-hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, wherein the biasing member comprises a spring.

[0034] Embodiment 5. The electro-hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, wherein the biasing member comprises a hydraulic force.

[0035] Embodiment 6. The electro-hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, wherein the selectively activatable valve component comprises a membrane.

[0036] Embodiment 7. The electro-hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, wherein the actuator comprises a piercing member operable to pierce the membrane.

[0037] Embodiment 8. The electro-hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, wherein the actuator includes a collet.

[0038] Embodiment 9. The electro-hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, wherein the desired pressure comprises atmospheric pressure.

[0039] Embodiment 10. The electro -hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, wherein the transducer is sealed to the housing at the first opening.

[0040] Embodiment 11. The electro -hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, further comprising: a circuit assembly arranged in the interior portion and operatively connected to the transducer and the actuator.

[0041] Embodiment 12. The electro -hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, further at least one power source operatively coupled to the circuit assembly.

[0042] Embodiment 13. The electro -hydraulic actuator according to any prior embodiment, wherein the downhole system includes a plurality of dogs.

[0043] Embodiment 14. A method of actuating a downhole system, comprising: receiving a signal with a transducer arranged in an electro-hydraulic actuator housing; triggering an actuator based on the signal; operating a valve with the actuator allowing a volume of fluid to enter the actuator housing creating reduction in a volume of fluid exterior to the actuator housing; and activating a downhole system based on the reduction in the volume of fluid.

[0044] Embodiment 15. The method of any prior embodiment, wherein operating a valve includes piercing a membrane. [0045] Embodiment 16. A resource exploration system comprising: a surface portion; and a downhole portion including a plurality of tubulars, at least one of the plurality of tubulars including a downhole system and an electro-hydraulic actuator operable to activate the downhole system, the electro-hydraulic actuator comprising: a housing having an interior portion a first opening and a second opening; a transducer arranged in the interior portion, the transducer including a sensor operatively coupled to a signal source at the first opening; a selectively activatable valve component arranged at the second opening, the selectively activatable valve component maintaining a desired pressure in the interior portion of the housing; and an actuator operatively coupled to the transducer and operable to activate the selectively activatable valve component exposing the interior portion to a volume of fluid in response to a signal from the transducer to activate the downhole system.

[0046] Embodiment 17. The resource exploration system according to any prior embodiment, wherein the transducer comprises a pressure transducer.

[0047] Embodiment 18. The resource exploration system according to any prior embodiment, wherein the actuator includes an actuator member and a biasing member operable to shift the actuator member toward the selectively activatable valve component.

[0048] Embodiment 19. The resource exploration system according to prior embodiment, wherein the selectively activatable valve component comprises a membrane and wherein the actuator member comprises a piercing member operable to penetrate the membrane.

[0049] Embodiment 20. The resource exploration system according to any prior embodiment, wherein the desired pressure comprises atmospheric pressure.

[0050] The teachings of the present disclosure may be used in a variety of well operations. These operations may involve using one or more treatment agents to treat a formation, the fluids resident in a formation, a wellbore, and/or equipment in the wellbore, such as production tubing. The treatment agents may be in the form of liquids, gases, solids, semi- solids, and mixtures thereof. Illustrative treatment agents include, but are not limited to, fracturing fluids, acids, steam, water, brine, anti-corrosion agents, cement, permeability modifiers, drilling muds, emulsifiers, demulsifiers, tracers, flow improvers etc. Illustrative well operations include, but are not limited to, hydraulic fracturing, stimulation, tracer injection, cleaning, acidizing, steam injection, water flooding, cementing, etc.

[0051] While one or more embodiments have been shown and described,

modifications and substitutions may be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, it is to be understood that the present invention has been described by way of illustrations and not limitation.