Patent application title: Variable Length Fill Up Tool and Valve
Albert Augustus Mullins (Boling, TX, US)
Matthew J. Hickl (El Maton, TX, US)
Travis Macdonald (Boling, TX, US)
IPC8 Class: AE21B2100FI
Class name: Wells processes operating valve, closure, or changeable restrictor in a well
Publication date: 2015-10-22
Patent application number: 20150300107
A fill up tool has an adjustable length to selectively lengthen the fill
up a tool or retract to be positioned completely above the elevator so
that elevator movement will not interfere with the fill up tool. The seal
is fixed to the tool so that the load caused by the pressurized seal does
not have to be balanced by the operating force of the piston. A full open
valve is operated when the tool is extended to fill up or take flow back.
1. A tubular string fill up and circulation tool assembly for placement
of the string at a subterranean location, comprising: a mandrel having a
base portion and a telescoping portion and a selectively open passage
therethrough; an exterior seal on said base or telescoping portion for
selective insertion into said string.
2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein: said passage comprises a selectively opened valve.
3. The assembly of claim 2, wherein: said valve opens on at least a partial extension of said telescoping portion.
4. The assembly of claim 2, wherein: said valve opens at substantial extension of said telescoping portion.
5. The assembly of claim 2, wherein: said mandrel comprises an upper portion from which said telescoping portion selectively extends; said upper portion comprises a piston, said piston forming a portion of said valve.
6. The assembly of claim 5, wherein: said valve comprises a tubular member fixedly mounted in said upper portion; said piston is connected to said telescoping portion that overlays said tubular member.
7. The assembly of claim 5, wherein: said piston overlays said tubular member.
8. The assembly of claim 7, wherein: said tubular member having at least one lateral port and a closed lower end.
9. The assembly of claim 8, wherein: said lateral port is selectively closed by said telescoping portion.
10. The assembly of claim 9, wherein: said piston having an interior chamber selectively aligned with said port to open flow through said telescoping portion.
11. The assembly of claim 10, wherein: said piston divides said upper potion into an upper annular space defined between said tubular member and a surrounding inside wall of a tubular housing that comprises said upper portion and a lower annular space defined between said telescoping portion and said inside wall.
12. The assembly of claim 11, wherein: said piston moves with a pressure differential in said upper and lower annular spaces.
13. The assembly of claim 11, wherein: said telescoping portion further comprises a cup seal and centralizer.
14. A method of running a tubular string to a subterranean location, comprising: supporting the string below a fill up and circulation tool; initially telescoping a part of the fill up and circulating tool into a top of said string; flowing fluid into said string after said initially telescoping; inserting a seal of said fill up and circulating tool into said string with further telescoping of said fill up and circulating tool or with lowering said fill up and circulating tool; circulating fluid through said string while advancing said string toward the subterranean location.
15. The method of claim 14, comprising: opening a passage through said fill up and circulating tool with said initially telescoping.
16. The method of claim 15, comprising: opening said passage with a valve.
17. The method of claim 16, comprising: moving a portion of said valve with said initial telescoping.
18. The method of claim 17, comprising: moving a piston in a housing for said initial telescoping; aligning at least one lateral port on a stationary tube in said housing that is connected to a fluid source with a chamber within said piston to allow flow through said fill up and circulating tool.
19. The method of claim 18, comprising: opening said passage on initial movement of said piston and retaining said passage open for the remaining movement of said piston in a direction that initially opened said passage.
20. The method of claim 19, comprising: closing said passage when reversing said initial telescoping movement of said fill up and circulation tool.
21. The method of claim 14, comprising: rigidly mounting the fill up and circulating tool in alignment with said string so that upon said initially telescoping said fill up and circulating tool a nose of said fill up and circulating tool goes into the string without intervention.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The field of the invention is a circulation and fill up tool where length can be selectively adjusted to lower into the elevator for fill up
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Fill up tools have been use to transfer fluids into and out of the casing or tubulars being run into the well. These tools generally have a seal to allow a pressurized communication to circulate or take flow back. The use of a spring operated check valve allows fluid to be controlled in both directions. Generally these tools will hang between the bails and hang inside or above the elevators. In general practice the seal is inserted into the tubular only when circulating or taking flow back to help reduce wear on the seal.
 The standard procedure is to position the fill up tool with spacers so that the seal is positioned just above the top of the casing when being run into the well while the valve or nose of the assembly is hanging down below, inside the elevators. With the use of slip type elevators which grab the tubular body, this allows the casing to be filled up while run into the well without inserting the seal. Whenever a sealed connection is desired, the slip type elevators are lowered until the nose of the tool and the seal are inserted into the casing. The slip type elevators then grab the tubular in a lower than normal position to keep the fill up tool from coming out of the top of the casing, and to control the weight of the casing. When a tubular is grabbed lower, the casing cannot be lowered as far into the well. When the casing is handed off from the elevators to the floor spiders, the top of the casing is now higher above the rig floor. Generally a false floor must be used so the rig hands can work around the top of the last joint inserted into the well.
 With the use of single joint elevators below the standard slip-type elevators to position the next joint of casing over the well center, a problem can occur while using the standard fill up tool. When lifting the next joint of casing from the v-door, the weight of the casing being pulled at an angle causes the elevators to be pulled sideways toward the v-door, which misaligns the top-drive and the elevators. With a fill up tool positioned inside the elevators, this creates a huge side load which has been known to bend the fill up tool. Flexible hose have been used to help reduce the side load, but such flexible hose adds to the overall length of the tool. A derrick man is also needed to guide the flexible nose of the tool into the casing. The spring valves also leak and create a back pressure when allowing flow.
 Such standard fill up tools are demonstrated in Patents: U.S. Pat. No. 8,141,642 B2, U.S. Pat. No. 8,141,642 B2, U.S. Pat. No. 6,173,777 B1 and U.S. Pat. No. 6,279,654 B1.
 Some tools are added above the fill up tool to effectively lengthen the entire tool. These tools require long strokes and are limited to circulating pressures due to the area and pressure on the operating piston. Buckling of the tool under a compressive load also become a factor when it is extended. An adjustable length tool is demonstrated in U.S. Pat. No. 5,577,566
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 A fill up tool can be made so that its length can be adjusted, which also operates an internal valve that allows fluid communication through the tool. It can be positioned above the elevators so that any side load on the elevators will not interfere with the tool when it is in the retracted position. The valve is also shut when the tool is retracted. After the fill up tool is aligned with the elevators and casing, it can be extended so the nose of the fill up tool is inserted into the casing for fill up. Once the tool is extended the valve is opened and allows fluid flow through the tool in either direction. It is a full open valve so there is minimal pressure drop when flowing either way through the valve. To circulate or take flow back, the elevators can be lowered which inserts the tool and seal into the casing. The seal has a rigid support to the top drive which will allow for high circulation pressures and resist buckling. The tool is held in the casing by the slip type elevators which are gripping the casing. The tool can be extended to open the valve to allow circulation or flow back. The small differential area exposed to pressure in this design will allow for a low pressure to extend or retract the tool, not found in other adjustable length tools.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a view of the tool as would normally hang from the top drive;
 FIG. 2 is a section view of FIG. 1 in the normal position;
 FIG. 3 is a detail view of the tool in FIG. 2 in the normal position;
 FIG. 3A is a detail view of the valve in FIG. 3 in the closed position;
 FIG. 4 is a view of the tool as it would hang from the top drive in the fill up position;
 FIG. 5 is a section view of FIG. 4 in the fill up position;
 FIG. 6 is a detail view of the tool in FIG. 5 in the fill up position;
 FIG. 7 is a detail view of the valve in FIG. 6 in the open position;
 FIG. 8 is a view of the tool as it would hang from the top drive in the flow back/circulate position;
 FIG. 9 is a section view of FIG. 8 in the flow back/circulate position;
 FIG. 10 is the view of a second valve arrangement in the open position.
 FIG. 11 is a view of the second valve of FIG. 10 in the closed position.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
 In FIG. 1 the fill up tool 4 is hanging from the top drive 2. The bails 1 hold up the elevator 3 which is also supported by top drive 2. The elevators are lowered around casing 17. This is also illustrated with FIG. 2 In this position the elevators can swing and move around without interfering with fill up tool 4 since it is positioned above the elevators.
 In FIG. 3 a moveable sealed piston 5 moves inside wall 41 of fill up tool 4. Piston 5 is connected to stroke shaft 51 which is connected to nose 10. There is an upper volume 401 and lower volume 402 that can be manipulated to move piston 5 up or down. FIG. 3A is the valve in the closed position. When piston 5 is in the up position stroke shaft 51 blocks the flow of fluid from inner passage 151 attempting to pass through bore 145.
 In FIG. 4 the fill up tool 4 is extended to fill up the casing 17. Flow through the tool is possible as extension starts and while extension continues to full extension stroke. Alternatively flow can start at or near full telescoping extension. Note: This does not require a person to stab the nose into the casing as normally practiced because the tool is rigidly mounted in alignment with the string being filled and circulated.
 In FIGS. 5 and 6 upper volume 401 has been increased and lower volume 402 has been decreased, by hoses not shown, which moved piston 5, stroke shaft 51, and nose 10 downward. Notice seal 6 does not have to be inserted into the casing 17 to fill up the casing 17 which extends seal life. In FIG. 7 when the piston 5 moves down the recess 500 allows fluid from passage 151 through ports 114 and into bore 145. This creates a fluid path with minimal pressure drop when compared to a typical spring valve used in fill up tools.
 FIGS. 8 and 9 is the Fill up tool 4 lowered further into the casing, which also allows the elevators 3 to grip the casing 17 lower. FIG. 9 shows the seal 6 sealing into casing 17 which allows a pressurized connection. Seal 6 is supported by shoulder 161 which is part of mandrel 16 that is a rigid part of fill up tool 4 that is fixed to top drive 2. Any axial load encountered by the seal will be directly transferred to the top drive through a fixed geometry, resulting in allowing higher circulation pressures. The small differential area across the valve allows for a high circulation pressure with relatively low piston operating pressure. Seal 6 can also be mounted to the telescoping portion of the tool for telescoping into the casing as opposed to on a base portion of the mandrel 16 where the base portion with the seal 6 is lowered into the casing.
 FIG. 10 is an alternate valve method that allows the valve opening to be synced at different lengths of extension. Fixed valve 200 has ports 202 spaced in the correct length to operate with sleeve 203. Sleeve 203 has flow ports 205 to allow fluid to pass. When piston 204 is moved, it slides sleeve 203 when it is extended or retracted. When the sleeve 203 is slid down, flow from area 201 can flow through ports 202 and around sleeve 203 into lower area 206. By moving the placement of ports 202 and length of sleeve 203, the opening and extension relationship can be manipulated. FIG. 11 is the valve in the closed position. The sleeve 203 has been moved up and blocks the ports 202 which blocks fluid flow.
 The above description is illustrative of the preferred embodiment and many modifications may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the invention whose scope is to be determined from the literal and equivalent scope of the claims below:
Patent applications by Albert Augustus Mullins, Boling, TX US
Patent applications in class Operating valve, closure, or changeable restrictor in a well
Patent applications in all subclasses Operating valve, closure, or changeable restrictor in a well
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