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Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SAMPLING FORMATION FLUID
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/067552
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
Formation fluid (FF) sampled from within a wellbore (12) is separated into gas and liquid fractions while downhole and in the wellbore (12). A separator vessel (38) is used to isolate the gas and liquid fractions from one another. Baffles (54) are arranged in a staggered formation (14) within the separator vessel (38) and in the path of the flow of the sampled formation fluid (FF). Contact with the baffles (54) perturbs the flow of sampled formation fluid (FF), which promotes escape of the gas fraction from the fluid. The gas fraction is ported from an upper end of the separator vessel (38) to a sample bottle (42) for analysis. The liquid fraction collects in a lower end of the separator vessel (38) and is discharged into the wellbore (12).

Inventors:
AL-AMLKI BANDER (SA)
SARWI FAISAL (SA)
Application Number:
PCT/US2020/053730
Publication Date:
April 08, 2021
Filing Date:
October 01, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
SAUDI ARABIAN OIL CO (SA)
ARAMCO SERVICES CO (US)
International Classes:
E21B43/38; E21B49/08; E21B49/10
Foreign References:
US20100089569A12010-04-15
US9322267B22016-04-26
US20100095758A12010-04-22
US20140361155A12014-12-11
US5794697A1998-08-18
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RHEBERGEN, Constance, Gall (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

What is claimed is.

1. A downhole tool 10 for use in a wellbore 12 comprising: a housing 30; a probe member 32 that radially extendable from the housing 30 and has an end that is selectively in communication with formation fluid FF disposed in a formation 14 around the wellbore 12; characterized by, a separator tank 38 in the housing 30 coupled with the probe member 32, and which selectively receives a flow of formation fluid FF from the probe member 32; a liquid drain line 44 having an inlet end in fluid communication with liquid L inside the separator tank 38, and an exit end that projects outside of the housing 30 and is in selective communication with the wellbore 12; and a sample bottle 42 in communication with gas G inside the separator tank 38 through a vent line 40.

2. The downhole tool 10 of Claim 1, further characterized by a pump 46 disposed in the liquid drain line 44.

3. The downhole tool 10 of Claims 1 or 2, further characterized by a valve 34 disposed in the probe member 32.

4. The downhole tool 10 of Claim 3, further characterized by an actuator 36 coupled to the valve 34.

5. The downhole tool 10 of any of Claims 1 - 4, further characterized by baffles 54 disposed in the separator tank 38 that are strategically disposed in an interfering path of the flow of formation fluid FF.

6. The downhole tool 10 of Claim 5, further characterized by openings in the baffles 54 that receive gas G released from the formation fluid FF flowing in the separator tank 38.

7. The downhole tool 10 of Claim 5, characterized in that the baffles 54 are arranged at different azimuthal locations within the separator tank 38.

8. A downhole tool 10 for use in a wellbore 12 comprising: a housing 30; a separator tank 38 in selective communication with a flow of formation fluid FF sampled from a formation 14 surrounding the wellbore 12; characterized by, planar baffles 54 mounted at different elevations in the separator tank 38 and strategically arranged in a projected path of the flow of fluid inside the separator tank 38; and a gas vent line 40 connected to the separator tank 38 and that selectively contains an amount of gas G released from contact of the flow of formation fluid FF with a one of the baffles 54.

9. The downhole tool 10 of Claim 8, further characterized by a liquid discharge line 48 having an end in fluid communication with liquid L from the flow of formation fluid FF, and an opposing end outside of the housing 30 and in direct communication with the wellbore 12, and where a flow of the liquid L from the flow of formation fluid FF flows through the liquid discharge line 48 from the separator tank 38 and directly into the wellbore 12.

10. The downhole tool 10 of Claims 8 or 9, further characterized by a sample bottle 42 in communication with an end of the gas vent line 40 distal from the separator tank 38, and which selectively contains an amount of the gas G released from the flow of formation fluid FF.

11. The downhole tool 10 of any of Claims 8 - 10, further characterized by a probe member 32 that projects radially from the housing 30 and with opposing ends in selective communication with formation fluid FF in the formation 14 and the separator tank 38.

12. The downhole tool 10 of Claim 11, further characterized by arms 31 that are selectively deployed radially away from the housing 30 on a side opposite the probe member 32.

13. A method of downhole operations in a wellbore 12 comprising: separating a flow of formation fluid FF sampled from a formation 14 that is around the wellbore 12 into a gas fraction and a liquid fraction; characterized by, containing at least a portion of the gas fraction; and removing the portion of the gas fraction from the wellbore 12; and directing substantially all of the entire liquid fraction into the wellbore 10.

14. The method of Claim 13, characterized in that the step of separating comprises directing the flow of fluid into a separator tank 38, and impinging the flow of fluid into interfering contact with a series of strategically arranged baffles 54 in the separator tank 38 that cause the gas fraction to escape from the flow of formation fluid FF.

15. The method of Claims 13 or 14, characterized in that the step of directing the entire liquid fraction into the wellbore comprises pumping the liquid fraction.

16. The method of any of Claims 13 - 15, further characterized by collecting the flow of fluid from the formation 14 by deploying a probe member 32 from a side of a downhole tool 10 and into intersecting contact with the formation 14.

17. The method of any of Claims 13 - 16, characterized in that prior to being removed from the wellbore 12 the gas fraction is contained in a sample bottle 42 that is disposed in a housing 30 of a downhole tool 10.

18. The method of any of Claims 13 - 17, further characterized by analyzing the flow of formation fluid FF with an optical analyzer 60 prior to the step of separating.

19. The method of any of Claims 13 - 18, characterized in that the liquid fraction back is discharged into the wellbore 12 to increase a static head of a liquid column in the wellbore 12.

Description:
PCT PATENT APPLICATION

SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR SAMPLING FORMATION FLUID

BACKGROUND

1. Field

[0001] The present disclosure relates to obtaining samples of gas within subterranean formation fluid. More specifically, the present disclosure relates to obtaining a formation fluid sample downhole, separating the sample into gas and liquid fractions, and collecting the gas fraction and discharging the liquid fraction into a wellbore

2. Description of Prior Art

[0002] Information about a formation surrounding a wellbore is sometimes analyzed based on fluid in the formation. One manner of sampling formation fluid involves inserting a tubular probe member into the formation from inside the wellbore, and drawing formation fluid through the probe member into a sampling tool disposed in the wellbore. Typical sampling tools are sonde like members with an outer housing. Vessels are usually mounted inside the housing for storing the sampled formation fluid. Also in the housing are controls and actuators for deploying the probe member into contact with the formation, and for drawing the fluid into the probe member and the vessel. Types of information available from an analysis of the sampled formation fluid include constituents within the formation fluid, ratios of gas, oil, and water, as formation pressure.

[0003] It is usually necessary that the sample of fluid drawn from the formation be substantially free of filtrate, mudcake, and other solids that sometimes introduce impurities which reduce reliability of data from the sampled fluid. Sampled fluid deemed to contain an unacceptable amount of impurities is often discharged into the wellbore, but not back into the formation. In some instances the gas content of the sampled fluid is sufficient to reduce hydrostatic head of a mud column inside the wellbore by an amount that affects pressure control.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] Disclosed is an example of a downhole tool for use in a wellbore, and which includes a housing, a probe member that radially extendable from the housing and has an end that is selectively in communication with fluid disposed in a formation around the wellbore, a separator tank in the housing coupled with the probe member, and which selectively receives a flow of formation fluid from the probe member, a liquid drain line having an inlet end in fluid communication with liquid inside the separator tank, and an exit end that projects outside of the housing and is in selective communication with the wellbore, and a sample bottle in communication with gas inside the separator tank through a vent line. In alternate embodiments the downhole tool further includes a pump disposed in the liquid drain line, a valve disposed in the probe member which in an optional embodiment includes an actuator coupled to the valve. In one example, baffles are also included which are disposed in the separator tank and are strategically disposed in an interfering path of the flow of formation fluid. In an alternative to this example, openings are in the baffles that receive gas released from the formation fluid flowing in the separator tank. Further optionally, the baffles are arranged at different azimuthal locations within the separator tank.

[0005] Another example of a downhole tool for use in a wellbore is disclosed, which includes a housing, a separator tank in selective communication with a flow of fluid sampled from a formation surrounding the wellbore, planar baffles mounted at different elevations in the separator tank and strategically arranged in a projected path of the flow of fluid inside the separator tank, and a gas vent line connected to the separator tank and that selectively contains an amount of gas released from contact of the flow of fluid with a one of the baffles. In an example, the downhole tool further includes a liquid discharge line having an end in fluid communication with liquid from the flow of fluid, and an opposing end outside of the housing and in direct communication with the wellbore, and where a flow of the liquid from the flow of fluid flows through the liquid discharge line from the separator tank and directly into the wellbore. A sample bottle is optionally included that is in communication with an end of the gas vent line distal from the separator tank, and which selectively contains an amount of the gas released from the flow of fluid. Also optionally included is a probe member that projects radially from the housing and with opposing ends in selective communication with fluid in the formation and the separator tank. In an alternative, arms are provided that are selectively deployed radially away from the housing on a side opposite the probe member.

[0006] Also included is an example of a method of downhole operations in a wellbore, and which includes separating a flow of fluid sampled from a formation that is around the wellbore into a gas fraction and a liquid fraction, containing at least a portion of the gas fraction in the wellbore, and removing the portion from the wellbore, and directing the entire liquid fraction into the wellbore. In an embodiment, the step of separating involves directing the flow of fluid into a separator tank, and impinging the flow of fluid into interfering contact with a series of strategically arranged baffles in the separator tank that cause the gas fraction to escape from the flow of fluid. Optionally, pumping the liquid makes up the step of directing the entire liquid fraction into the wellbore. In an example, the method further includes collecting the flow of fluid from the formation by deploying a probe member from a side of a downhole tool and into intersecting contact with the formation. The gas fraction is optionally maintained in a sample bottle that is disposed in a housing of a downhole tool. In an alternative, the method further includes analyzing the flow of fluid with an optical analyzer prior to the step of separating. Discharging the liquid fraction back into the wellbore alternatively increases a static head of a liquid column in the wellbore.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[0007] Some of the features and benefits of the present invention having been stated, others will become apparent as the description proceeds when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0008] Figure 1 is a side partial sectional view of an example of a downhole tool deployed in a wellbore.

[0009] Figure 2 is a side partial sectional view of an example of the downhole tool of Figure 1 used to sample formation fluid.

[0010] Figure 3 is a side partial sectional view of an example of a separation tank for use with the downhole tool of Figure 1.

[0011] Figures 4A and 4B are axial sectional views of examples of the separation tank for Figure 3 taken along lines 4A-4A and 4B-4B respectively.

[0012] While the invention will be described in connection with the preferred embodiments, it will be understood that it is not intended to limit the invention to that embodiment. On the contrary, it is intended to cover all alternatives, modifications, and equivalents, as may be included within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INVENTION

[0013] The method and system of the present disclosure will now be described more fully with reference to the accompanying drawings in which embodiments are shown. The method and system of the present disclosure may be in many different forms and should not be construed as limited to the illustrated embodiments set forth here; rather, these embodiments are provided so that this disclosure will be thorough and complete, and will fully convey its scope to those skilled in the art. Like numbers refer to like elements throughout. In an embodiment, usage of the term “about” includes +/- 5% of a cited magnitude. In an embodiment, the term “substantially” includes +/- 5% of a cited magnitude, comparison, or description. In an embodiment, usage of the term “generally” includes +/- 10% of a cited magnitude.

[0014] It is to be further understood that the scope of the present disclosure is not limited to the exact details of construction, operation, exact materials, or embodiments shown and described, as modifications and equivalents will be apparent to one skilled in the art. In the drawings and specification, there have been disclosed illustrative embodiments and, although specific terms are employed, they are used in a generic and descriptive sense only and not for the purpose of limitation.

[0015] Shown in a side partial sectional view in Figure 1 is an example of a downhole tool 10 disposed in a wellbore 12. As shown, the wellbore 12 intersects a subterranean formation 14, and in an embodiment provides a conduit for producing fluids from the formation 14. In the embodiment illustrated, the downhole tool 10 is deployed and supported on a wireline 16; an end of wireline 16 opposite downhole tool 10 is spooled onto a reel 18 shown mounted on a service truck 20. The service truck 20 is on surface 22 above an opening of the wellbore 12; and in an example provides transportation for the reel 18 and wireline 16, and power for operating the reel 18. An optional controller 24 is schematically depicted, in embodiments of which the controller 24 is in communication with downhole 10 via wireline 16; and alternatively generates command signals for operation of the downhole tool 10. In an example, an information handling system (“IHS”) is included in controller 24; which selectively generates command or communication signals, as well as receiving communication from downhole tool 10. In further examples, IHS stores recorded data as well as processing the data into a readable format. The controller 24 as well as IHS are alternatively disposed at the surface 22, in the wellbore 12, in the service truck 20, or partially above and below the surface 22. In one example, components of the IHS include a processor, memory accessible by the processor, nonvolatile storage area accessible by the processor, and logics for performing each of the steps above described. Further included in the illustrated example is a communication means 26 for facilitating communication between controller 4 and downhole tool 10; example communication means 26 include conductive wire, fiber optics, transmitters and receivers of wireless signals, and combinations thereof. In the illustrated example, a wellhead assembly 28 is shown mounted over the opening of the wellbore 12, and through which wireline 16 is inserted.

[0016] In Figure 2, a more detailed example of the downhole tool 10 is schematically illustrated in side partial sectional view in wellbore 12. In this example, downhole tool 10 includes a housing 30 having a sonde like shape; and arms 31 that as depicted selectively project radially outward from a side of the housing 30 and into contact with sidewall SW of the wellbore 12. A probe member 32 is shown projecting from housing 30 on a side of housing 30 distal from arms 31. In this example, probe member 32 is an annular member having an inner bore which provides fluid communication between opposing ends of probe member 32. In the example, a force is generated onto housing 30 by contacting arms 31 against the sidewall SW; which urges housing 30 in a direction away from arms 31. An actuating means (not shown) is optionally provided within tool for radially deploying and/or stowing arms 31, examples of a power source for the actuating means include electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical. The force urging housing 30 is also exerted onto probe member 32, and which causes probe member 32 to penetrate into formation 14 and past sidewall SW of wellbore 14. As illustrated, injecting probe member 32 into formation 14 puts a free end of probe member 32 distal from housing 30 into fluid communication with formation fluid FF trapped inside the formation.

[0017] As described in more detail below, a sample of the formation fluid FF is collected via the probe member 32. Further in the example of Figure 2, a valve 34 is provided with probe member 32, which is an example is selectively opened, closed, or throttled to control a flow of the formation fluid FF through the probe member 32. An actuating means 36 is schematically illustrated that in an alternative provides energy or a driving force for actuating the valve 34. Shown in the example of Figure 2 valve 34 and actuating means 36 are within housing 30, and alternatives exist where valve 34 and/or actuating means 36 are disposed outside of housing 30. An end of probe member 32 opposite its free end connects to a separator tank 38, which in the example is shown in housing 30. In one embodiment, separator tank 38 is a vessel like member that selectively contains and/or handles fluids within. In the described embodiment, fluid communication between separator tank 38 and formation 14 is established by probe member 32. In an example, a vent line 40 is shown having an end mounted onto separator tank 38, vent line 40 of Figure 2 is an elongate member having an inner bore that is in communication with separator tank 38. An end of vent line 40 distal from separator tank 38 is in shown connected to and in fluid communication with a sample bottle 42. In an embodiment, sample bottle 42 is a sealable container in which fluids (such as gas) are stored and which are obtainable from within sample bottle 42; such as by opening a valve (not shown) to release the fluids from within. Also shown in the example of Figure 2, is a drain line 44 connected to and in fluid communication with separator 38; and that terminates at a suction inlet to a pump 46. An example of a discharge line 48 is schematically shown having an inlet end connected to an exit of pump 36, and an outlet end set outside of housing 30 and in wellbore 12. In the illustrated example, fluid communication is generated between inside of separator tank 38 and directly to wellbore 12 via drain line 44, pump 46, and discharge line 48. In an alternative, drain line 46 projects through housing 30 and alone provides fluid communication between separator tank 38 and directly to wellbore 12. An optional electric module 49 is included with downhole tool 10 and mounted to an end of housing 30. In the embodiment shown, an end of electric module 49 opposite housing 30 couples with wireline. Alternatively, a cable head (not shown) is provided with electric module 49 and which facilitates connectivity (structural, electrical, and communications) between electric module 49 and wireline 16.

[0018] Referring now to Figure 3, an example of separator tank 38 and associated hardware are schematically shown in a side partial sectional view. In this example, separator tank 38 includes a housing 50, which provides for containment and handling of formation fluid FF sampled from the formation 14. In a non-limiting example of operation, the formation fluid FF sampled by insertion of probe member 32 into formation 14 flows through probe member 32 and enters separator tank 50 as a flow of sampled fluid 52; which is shown entering separator tank 38 in a direction substantially perpendicular to axis A38 of separator tank 38. In the illustrated example are baffles 541-8 shown strategically arranged within separator tank 38 which interfere with the flow of sampled fluid 52 within separator tank 38; and direct the flow of sampled fluid 52 along a tortuous path P inside separator tank 38. In an example, baffles 54i_s are generally planar members that are semi-circular such that each baffle 541-8 has a portion of its outer periphery that is curved, and another portion of an outer periphery of each baffle 54i_s is straight. As illustrated, the baffles 54I- 8 are anchored to the inner surface of the separator tank 38 along their curved portions so that the straight or linear portion extends radially opposing sidewall surfaces of the separator tank 38. In the example shown, portions of each of the baffles 54i_s proximate axis A38 of the separator tank 38 are axially offset from portions radially distal from axis A38. Which tilts the baffles 54i_s in a direction towards where drain line 44 connects to separator tank 38; and when drain line 44 is in a direction of a gravity source, causes liquid deposited on the baffles 54i_s to flow off of the straight line ends and towards the drain line 44.

[0019] Further in this example of Figure 3, baffles 54i_s are at different axial locations inside separator tank 38; with baffles 541 , 3 , 5, 7 sequentially arranged axially along an azimuthal location inside of housing 50, and baffles 54 2,4, 6,8 sequentially arranged axially along an azimuthal location substantially opposite baffles 54i , 3 , 5 , 7. Also in this example, each of baffles 54i , 3 , 5, 7 are axially staggered from each of baffles 54 2, 4 , 6,8 . Alternatively, portions of each of the baffles 54i_s are intersected by axis A38 so that each there is some superposition of a portion of each axially spaced apart baffle 54i-s. The tortuous path P experienced by the flow of fluid sampled 52 when introduced into the separator tank 38 with the baffles 54i_s as described above directs the flow of fluid sampled 52 into contact with each of the baffles 54i_s inside the separator tank 38. Not to be bound by theory, but it is believed that impinging the flow of sampled fluid 52 with one or more of baffles 54i_s introduces a perturbation to the flow of sampled fluid 52 that releases gas G from the flow of sampled fluid 52; and by directing the flow of fluid sampled 52 onto baffles 541-8 and along the tortuous path P, substantially separates all gas G from the flow of fluid sampled 52. Further in this example, separating gas G from the flow of sampled fluid 52 forms fractions of gas G and liquid L inside separator tank 38; which due to their different densities and the force of gravity cause the fractions to flow in different directions.

[0020] In a non-limiting example of operation, downhole tool 10 (Figure 1) is deployed within wellbore 12 on wireline 16 and to a depth in wellbore 12 where information about formation 14 or formation fluid FF (Figure 2) within formation 14 is to be obtained. Arms 31 are then deployed to urge downhole tool 10 radially within wellbore 12 so that probe member 32 projects into formation 14 a distance for sampling formation fluid FF. Designating the distance for inserting probe member 32 into formation 14 is within the capabilities of one skilled in the art. Alternatively, probe member 32 is itself deployed and moved radially outward with respect to housing 30. Formation fluid FF is urged into probe member 32, either by a pressure differential between formation 14 and inside probe member 32; or by a pump (not shown) in fluid communication with inside of probe member 32. Prior or contemporaneous with urging formation fluid FF into probe member 32, valve 34 is put into a flow control position to allow fluid communication through probe member 32; example flow control positions include fully open, or partially opened an amount to regulate or control a designated rate of flow of fluid. A closed position of valve 34 blocks fluid communication through probe member 32. Referring back to Figure 3, an optional actuator 56 is schematically illustrated which provides a motive force for putting valve 34 into a designated position or configuration. Actuator 34 is energized by actuating means 36; which in an example includes a hydraulic power section (not shown) or an electrical power source. One embodiment of the hydraulic power section includes an atmospheric chamber, an equalizer, and a source of pressurized hydraulic fluid; which in one example is made up of an electric motor that drives a hydraulic pump that pressurizes the hydraulic fluid. In an example, line 58 conveys pressurized hydraulic fluid to actuator 56. Embodiments exist where actuator 56 includes any device in which energy from a pressurized hydraulic fluid or an electrical power source is converted into a mechanical force. Further in this non-limiting example of operation, with valve 34 in a fluid communication configuration, an optical analyzer 60 is used to obtain information about formation fluid FF directed into probe member 32. Formation fluid FF exiting from an end of probe member 32 opposite formation 14 defines a flow of sampled fluid 52 shown being directed into housing 30 of sample tank 38. The flow of sampled fluid 52 is directed along the tortuous path P where it impinges the baffles 54i_s, and during which gas G is released from the flow of sampled fluid 52 to form a gas fraction. All or a part of the gas fraction is directed through vent line 40, and collected within sample bottle 42 (Figure 2). Liquid L of the liquid fraction is shown collected in an end of separation tank 38 proximate drain line 44. Further in this example, liquid L is removed from separation tank 38 by flowing into drain line 44 and routed to a suction end of pump 46, which pressurizes the liquid L and urges it into discharge line 48. The liquid L directed into discharge line 48 is deposited directly into wellbore 12. The liquid L is substantially gas free, and examples exist where static head of a column of well fluid WF inside the wellbore 12 is increased or maintained at the same magnitude by addition of the liquid L after being deposited into the wellbore 12. An advantage of the present disclosure is that when formation fluid FF is being sampled and a portion of the formation fluid FF is subsequently deposited into a wellbore, a downhole incident is avoided by removing a gas fraction of the formation fluid FF before depositing the portion.

[0021] Figure 4A is an overhead view of an example of separator 38 taken along lines 4A-4A of Figure 3. This view axially intersects baffle 54 2 so that a portion of baffle 54 2 distal from axis A38 is not shown. Similar to baffles 54i_s of Figure 3, baffles 54 2, 3, 4 have semi-circular shapes with portions of their outer peripheries that are curved engaging an inner surface of housing 50, and the straight line portions (shown in dashed outline for baffles 54 3,4 ) proximate axis A38. Shown in this view are optional openings 62 provided axially through baffles 54 2, 3, 4 and adjacent the sidewalls of housing 50. Which as depicted in Figure 3 provide a pathway for gas G on a side of any of the 54 I-8 opposite vent line 40 to pass through baffles 54i_s and make its way to vent line 40. Referring to Figure 4B, shown in overhead view is an alternate example of separator tank 38A taken along lines 4B-4B of Figure 3, and where baffles 54Ai , 2, 3 are staggered vertically and also azimuthally from one another. Similarly, alternate examples of baffles for use with the separator tank 38 of the present disclosure exist having different shapes and configurations, and which define a tortuous path P for a sampled flow of fluid for segregation into gas and liquid fractions.

[0022] That described here, is well adapted to carry out the objects and attain the ends and advantages mentioned, as well as others inherent there. While a presently preferred embodiment has been given for purposes of disclosure, numerous changes exist in the details of procedures for accomplishing the desired results. These and other similar modifications will readily suggest themselves to those skilled in the art, and are intended to be encompassed within the spirit of the present disclosure and the scope of the appended claims.