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United States Patent Application 20110290502
Kind Code A1
Scheber; George Dennis December 1, 2011

Capping deep water oil leaks

Abstract

A deep water system to control oil leakage on the ocean floor consists of two main parts. The two parts are common geometric shapes. The shapes are a torus and a sphere. A torus is placed on the ocean floor, enclosing the drill entry site (or leak area) within its inner perimeter. A sphere is placed and seated in the torus opening thus sealing the open area above the drill site. The torus, of course, by its weight, shape and mass, seals the area upon which it sits on the sea floor.


Inventors: Scheber; George Dennis; (Sheldon, IL)
Serial No.: 800920
Series Code: 12
Filed: May 26, 2010

Current U.S. Class: 166/368
Class at Publication: 166/368
International Class: E21B 43/01 20060101 E21B043/01


Claims



1. The use of a torus like structure and a spherical shaped structure used in combination will form an enclosure above a sea floor oil leak.

2. The central area of a torus like structure can serve as a drilling site prior to the start of drilling operations.

3. Tapping devices may be incorporated in or on the sphere and torus.

4. Tethering points will exist on the torus and sphere pieces of the product.

5. The product can be equipped with emergency shut off systems.
Description



BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] Accidents at drilling sites in the world's oceans can, and do, occur. When such accidents result in leaks at the ocean floor the leak must be stopped at the site of the leak.

[0002] Stopping the leak is necessary for obvious reasons; however subsequent control of oil flow at the site is also a major objective.

[0003] The capping and subsequent tapping of leaks can be accomplished now, without any "new" technologies.

[0004] The science for such capping and subsequent tapping of leaks currently exists.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] Step #1--Center a large torus over the leak on the ocean floor.

[0006] Step #2--Lower the torus and place it on the ocean floor, so it encompasses (surrounds) the leak site.

[0007] Step #3--Lower a sphere whose dimensions complement the torus' center opening so as to allow the sphere to seat itself in and upon the torus center.

[0008] For the purpose of identification, the combination of torus and sphere, and all associated mechanisms such as tethers and taps will be referred to as the product.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0009] This product has two major pieces--a torus and a sphere.

[0010] The torus, once lowered above the leak, seals itself against the ocean floor by its shear size, shape, and mass.

[0011] The sphere can be simply a sphere and act as a plug.

[0012] Creating a more versatile plug (one which allows subsequent tapping) is advisable.

[0013] It will be noted that the simple plug and the plug with a tapping device are interchangeable.

[0014] The sphere, once lowered and cradled in the torus hole, seals itself against the torus by its sheer size, shape, and mass.

[0015] The ocean floor, the torus, and the sphere together form an enclosure which will contains and stop the sea floor leak they encompass.

[0016] Variations on the torus/sphere concept can vary for expediency and cost particularly on the periphery of the torus.

[0017] The essence of the torus/sphere seal is at the torus/sphere interface, so variations on those points not associated with the seal area of the torus may be considered and used successfully.

[0018] Placing a tap or tapping device, in or on, the sphere as well as in or on the torus section will allow future controlled oil flow and capture for extraction.

[0019] Placing a tap or tapping device, in or on, the sphere as well as in or on the torus section will allow future testing at the source of the leak.

[0020] Taps can be designed to be bi-directional.

[0021] Taps can be tethered from above, and stay so.

[0022] Existing, as well as, novel controls for the tap operations can be interchangeable, if design considerations for such change is incorporated at the tap site on the product.

[0023] Redundant tap operation controls will also exist at the platform level above the sea.

[0024] Emergency shutoffs will exist in and on the product.

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