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United States Patent Application 20170234083
Kind Code A1
Tavakoli; Farzan ;   et al. August 17, 2017

ENGAGEMENT FEATURES FOR TUBULAR GRAPPLING SYSTEM

Abstract

Present embodiments are directed to a tubular gripping system having engagement features. The tubular grappling system is configured to grip a tubular of a mineral extraction system and includes a first set of teeth of a contact surface of the tubular grappling system, wherein the contact surface is configured to engage with the tubular, and each tooth of the first set of teeth comprises a first orientation and a second set of teeth of the contact surface of the tubular grappling system, wherein each tooth of the second set of teeth comprises a second orientation, wherein the first and second orientations are generally perpendicular to one another, wherein the first set of teeth and the second set of teeth are axially offset from one another relative to a central axis of the tubular grappling system.


Inventors: Tavakoli; Farzan; (Calgary, CA) ; Le Roux; Hendrik Schalk; (Lafayette, LA)
Applicant:
Name City State Country Type

TESCO CORPORATION

Houston

TX

US
Family ID: 1000002076094
Appl. No.: 15/046323
Filed: February 17, 2016


Current U.S. Class: 1/1
Current CPC Class: E21B 19/07 20130101; E21B 19/16 20130101; E21B 3/02 20130101
International Class: E21B 19/07 20060101 E21B019/07; E21B 19/16 20060101 E21B019/16; E21B 3/02 20060101 E21B003/02

Claims



1. A system, comprising: a tubular grappling system configured to grip a tubular of a mineral extraction system, comprising: a first set of teeth of a contact surface of the tubular grappling system, wherein the contact surface is configured to engage with the tubular, and each tooth of the first set of teeth comprises a first orientation; and a second set of teeth of the contact surface of the tubular grappling system, wherein each tooth of the second set of teeth comprises a second orientation, wherein the first and second orientations are generally perpendicular to one another, wherein the first set of teeth and the second set of teeth are axially offset from one another relative to a central axis of the tubular grappling system.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the tubular grappling system comprises an external tubular grappling system configured to engage with an outer surface of the tubular, the contact surface comprises a die of the external tubular grappling system, and the first and second sets of teeth are formed on an internal surface of the die.

3. The system of claim 1, wherein the tubular grappling system comprises an internal tubular grappling system configured to engage with an internal surface of the tubular, the contact surface comprises a grapple of the internal tubular grappling system, and the first and second sets of teeth are formed on an outer surface of the grapple.

4. The system of claim 3, wherein the internal tubular grappling system comprises a mandrel configured to drive the grapple radially outward.

5. The system of claim 1, wherein the first set of teeth and the second set of teeth are radially offset from one another relative to a longitudinal axis of the contact surface.

6. The system of claim 1, wherein each tooth of the first set of teeth comprises a first surface facing an axial top of the contact surface and a second surface facing an axial bottom of the contact surface, wherein the first surface is shorter than the second surface.

7. The system of claim 1, wherein the each tooth of the first set of teeth extends horizontally relative to a central axis of the contact surface, and each tooth of the second set of teeth extends vertically relative to the central axis of the contact surface.

8. The system of claim 7, wherein the second set of teeth comprises a first plurality of teeth and a second plurality of teeth, wherein each tooth of the first plurality of teeth is slanted in a first rotational direction of the tubular grappling system, and each tooth of the second plurality of teeth is slanted in a second rotational direction of the tubular grappling system opposite the first rotational direction.

9. A system, comprising: a die of an external tubular grappling system, wherein the at least one die is configured to engage with an external surface of a tubular of a mineral extraction system, wherein the die comprises a first set of teeth and a second set of teeth formed on an internal surface of the die, wherein each tooth of the first set of teeth extends horizontally relative to a central axis of the die, and each tooth of the second set of teeth extends vertically relative to the central axis of the die.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the first set of teeth and the second set of teeth are axially offset from one another relative to the central axis of the die.

11. The system of claim 9, wherein each tooth of the first set of teeth is slanted toward an axial top of the die.

12. The system of claim 9, wherein each tooth of the first set of teeth comprises a first surface facing an axial top of the die and a second surface facing an axial bottom of the die, wherein the first surface is shorter than the second surface.

13. The system of claim 9, wherein the second set of teeth comprises a first plurality of teeth and a second plurality of teeth, wherein each tooth of the first plurality of teeth is angled in a first rotational direction of the external tubular grappling system, and each tooth of the second plurality of teeth is angled in a second rotational direction of the external tubular grappling system.

14. The system of claim 9, wherein the second set of teeth comprises a first plurality of teeth and a second plurality of teeth, wherein each tooth of the first plurality of teeth comprises a first surface facing a first rotational direction of the external tubular grappling system and a second surface facing a second rotational direction of the external tubular grappling system, wherein the first surface is shorter than the second surface, and each tooth of the second plurality of teeth comprises a third surface facing the second rotational direction of the external tubular grappling system and a fourth surface facing the first rotational direction of the external tubular grappling system, wherein the third surface is shorter than the fourth surface.

15. The system of claim 9, comprising the external tubular grappling system having the die, wherein the external tubular grappling system is configured to actuate the die radially inward to engage with the external surface of the tubular.

16. A system, comprising: a grapple of an internal tubular grappling system, wherein the grapple is configured to engage with an internal surface of a tubular of a mineral extraction system, wherein the grapple comprises a first set of teeth and a second set of teeth formed in an outer surface of the grapple, wherein each tooth of the first set of teeth extends horizontally relative to a longitudinal axis of the grapple, and each tooth of the second set of teeth extends vertically relative to the longitudinal axis of the grapple.

17. The system of claim 16, wherein the at least one grapple comprises a third set of teeth, wherein each tooth of the third set of teeth extends horizontally relative to the longitudinal axis of the grapple.

18. The system of claim 17, wherein the first set of teeth, the second set of teeth, and the third set of teeth are each axially offset from one another relative to the longitudinal axis of the grapple.

19. The system of claim 18, wherein the second set of teeth is disposed axially between the first set of teeth and the third set of teeth relative to the longitudinal axis of the grapple.

20. The system of claim 16, comprising the internal tubular grappling system having the grapple, wherein the internal tubular grappling system comprises a mandrel configured to actuate the grapple radially outward to engage with the internal surface of the tubular.
Description



BACKGROUND

[0001] Embodiments of the present disclosure relate generally to the field of drilling and processing of wells. More particularly, present embodiments relate to a system and method for a tubular grappling system.

[0002] In conventional oil and gas operations, a well is typically drilled to a desired depth with a drill string, which includes drill pipe and a drilling bottom hole assembly (BHA). Once the desired depth is reached, the drill string is removed from the hole and casing is run into the vacant hole. In some conventional operations, the casing may be installed as part of the drilling process. A technique that involves running casing at the same time the well is being drilled may be referred to as "casing-while-drilling."

[0003] Casing may be defined as pipe or tubular that is placed in a well to prevent the well from caving in, to contain fluids, and to assist with efficient extraction of product. When the casing is run into the well, the casing may be externally or internally gripped by a grappling system installed under a top drive. Specifically, the grappling system may exert an external pressure or force or an internal pressure or force on the casing to prevent the casing from sliding off the grappling system. With the grappling system engaged with the casing, the weight of the casing is transferred to the top drive that hoists and supports the casing for positioning down hole in the well.

[0004] When the casing is properly positioned within a hole or well, the casing is typically cemented in place by pumping cement through the casing and into an annulus formed between the casing and the hole (e.g., a wellbore or parent casing). Once a casing string has been positioned and cemented in place or installed, the process may be repeated via the now installed casing string. For example, the well may be drilled further by passing a drilling BHA through the installed casing string and drilling. Further, additional casing strings may be subsequently passed through the installed casing string (during or after drilling) for installation. Indeed, numerous levels of casing may be employed in a well. For example, once a first string of casing is in place, the well may be drilled further and another string of casing (an inner string of casing) with an outside diameter that is accommodated by the inside diameter of the previously installed casing may be run through the existing casing. Additional strings of casing may be added in this manner such that numerous concentric strings of casing are positioned in the well, and such that each inner string of casing extends deeper than the previously installed casing or parent casing string.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

[0005] In accordance with one aspect of the disclosure, a system includes a tubular grappling system configured to grip a tubular of a mineral extraction system including a first set of teeth of a contact surface of the tubular grappling system, wherein the contact surface is configured to engage with the tubular, and each tooth of the first set of teeth comprises a first orientation and a second set of teeth of the contact surface of the tubular grappling system, wherein each tooth of the second set of teeth comprises a second orientation, wherein the first and second orientations are generally perpendicular to one anothevr, wherein the first set of teeth and the second set of teeth are axially offset from one another relative to a central axis of the tubular grappling system.

[0006] Another embodiment includes a system having a die of an external tubular grappling system, wherein the at least one die is configured to engage with an external surface of a tubular of a mineral extraction system, wherein the die includes a first set of teeth and a second set of teeth formed on an internal surface of the die, wherein each tooth of the first set of teeth extends horizontally relative to a central axis of the die, and each tooth of the second set of teeth extends vertically relative to the central axis of the die.

[0007] In accordance with another aspect of the disclosure, a system includes a grapple of an internal tubular grappling system, wherein the grapple is configured to engage with an internal surface of a tubular of a mineral extraction system, wherein the grapple includes a first set of teeth and a second set of teeth formed in an outer surface of the grapple, wherein each tooth of the first set of teeth extends horizontally relative to a longitudinal axis of the grapple, and each tooth of the second set of teeth extends vertically relative to the longitudinal axis of the grapple.

DRAWINGS

[0008] These and other features, aspects, and advantages of present embodiments will become better understood when the following detailed description is read with reference to the accompanying drawings in which like characters represent like parts throughout the drawings, wherein:

[0009] FIG. 1 is a schematic of a well being drilled, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0010] FIG. 2 is a schematic of an external tubular grappling system, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0011] FIG. 3 is a side view of a die of an external tubular grappling system, illustrating engagement features of the die, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0012] FIG. 4 is a side view, taken within line 4-4 of FIG. 3, of a die of an external tubular grappling system, illustrating engagement features of the die, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0013] FIG. 5 is an axial view of a die of an external tubular grappling system, illustrating engagement features of the die, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0014] FIG. 6 is a schematic of an internal tubular grappling system, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0015] FIG. 7 is a side view of a grapple of an internal tubular grappling system, illustrating engagement features of the grapple, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure;

[0016] FIG. 8 is a perspective view, taken within line 8-8 of FIG. 7, of a grapple of an internal tubular grappling system, illustrating engagement features of the grapple, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure; and

[0017] FIG. 9 is an axial section view, taken within line 9-9 of FIG. 7, of a grapple of an internal tubular grappling system, illustrating engagement features of the grapple, in accordance with an embodiment of the present disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] Embodiments of the present disclosure are directed to a tubular grappling system having contact surfaces with engagement features for enabling improved gripping of tubular members, such as casing. Tubular grappling systems may be used to grip, lift, and/or rotate tubular members during various operations or processes associated with mineral extraction. Tubular grappling systems include external tubular grappling systems, which grip a tubular by applying an external pressure or force on an external surface of the tubular, and internal grappling systems, which grip a tubular by applying an internal pressure or force on an internal surface of the tubular. In both external and internal tubular grappling systems, a contact surface of the grappling system (e.g., grapple and/or die) engages (e.g., "bites") with the tubular to grip the tubular. The weight of the tubular is transferred from the tubular to the contact surface of the tubular grappling system. Similarly, when the tubular grappling system is used to rotate the tubular, torque from the contact surface of the tubular grappling system is transferred to the tubular. To improve weight-bearing capacity of the tubular grappling system and torque transfer from the tubular grappling system to the tubular, present embodiments of the tubular grappling system have contact surfaces with improved engagement features. For example, the improved engagement features include patterns of teeth or ridges formed in the contact surfaces that are configured to improve the amount of torque and weight that may be transferred between the tubular grappling system and the tubular.

[0019] Turning now to the drawings, FIG. 1 is a schematic of a drilling rig 10 in the process of drilling a well, in accordance with present techniques. The drilling rig 10 features an elevated rig floor 12 and a derrick 14 extending above the rig floor 12. A supply reel 16 supplies drilling line 18 to a crown block 20 and traveling block 22 configured to hoist various types of drilling equipment above the rig floor 12. The drilling line 18 is secured to a deadline tiedown anchor 24, and a drawworks 26 regulates the amount of drilling line 18 in use and, consequently, the height of the traveling block 22 at a given moment. Below the rig floor 12, a casing string 28 extends downward into a wellbore 30 and is held stationary with respect to the rig floor 12 by a rotary table 32 and slips 34. A portion of the casing string 28 extends above the rig floor 12, forming a stump 36 to which another length of tubular 38 (e.g., casing) may be added. In certain embodiments, the tubular 38 may include 30 foot segments of oilfield pipe having a suitable diameter (e.g., 133/8 inches) that are joined as the casing string 28 is lowered into the wellbore 30. As will be appreciated, in other embodiments, the length and/or diameter of segments of the casing (e.g., tubular 38) may be other lengths and/or diameters. The casing string 28 is configured to isolate and/or protect the wellbore 30 from the surrounding subterranean environment. For example, the casing string 28 may isolate the interior of the wellbore 30 from fresh water, salt water, or other minerals surrounding the wellbore 30.

[0020] When a new length of tubular 38 is added to the casing string 28, a top drive 40, hoisted by the traveling block 22, positions the tubular 38 above the wellbore 30 before coupling with the casing string 28. The top drive 40 includes a tubular grappling system 42 that couples the tubular 38 to the top drive 40. In certain embodiments, the tubular grappling system 42 (e.g., external tubular grappling system) may be disposed about a distal end of the tubular 38 and may exert an external pressure on the distal end of the tubular 38 to grip the tubular 38. In other embodiments, the tubular grappling system 42 (e.g., internal tubular grappling system) is inserted into the tubular 38 and then exerts a force on an internal diameter of the tubular 38 to block the tubular 38 from sliding off the grappling system 42 when the top drive 40 hoists and supports the tubular 38. In both embodiments, the tubular grappling system 42 includes improved contact surfaces 44 that engage with a surface (e.g., internal surface or external surface) of the tubular 38 to create an engagement (e.g., a gripping or biting engagement) between the tubular grappling system 42 and the tubular 38. As mentioned above, the improved contact surfaces 44 have patterns of teeth or ridges that enable improved engagement (e.g., gripping or biting engagement) between the tubular grappling system 42 and the tubular 38. For example, the improved contact surfaces 44 may include a first section of teeth or ridges oriented horizontally relative to a central axis of the improved contact surface 44 that is configured to improve weight-bearing capacity of the tubular grappling system 42. The improved contact surfaces 44 may also have a second section of teeth or ridges oriented vertically relative to a central axis of the improved contact surface 44 that is configured to improve torque transfer capability of the tubular grappling system 42. These features are discussed in further detail below.

[0021] It should be noted that the illustration of FIG. 1 is intentionally simplified to focus on the top drive 40 and tubular grappling system 42 with the improved contact surfaces 44 described in detail below. Many other components and tools may be employed during the various periods of formation and preparation of the well. Similarly, as will be appreciated by those skilled in the art, the orientation and environment of the well may vary widely depending upon the location and situation of the formations of interest. For example, rather than a generally vertical bore, the well, in practice, may include one or more deviations, including angled and horizontal runs. Similarly, while shown as a surface (land-based) operation, the well may be formed in water of various depths, in which case the topside equipment may include an anchored or floating platform.

[0022] FIG. 2 is a schematic side view of an embodiment of the grappling system 42.

[0023] In the illustrated embodiment, the grappling system 42 is an external tubular grappling system 50 configured to exert an external force or pressure on an external surface 52 of a distal end 54 of the tubular 38. The external tubular grappling system 50 is positioned about the distal end 54 of the tubular 38, such that the distal end 54 of the tubular 38 is positioned within an internal cavity 56 of the external tubular grappling system 50. In the illustrated embodiment, the external tubular grappling system 50 also includes a stabbing guide 58 configured to be inserted into the inner diameter of the tubular 38 to be gripped. In operation, the stabbing guide 58 is axially aligned with the tubular 38, stabbed into the tubular 38, and the external tubular grappling system 50 is positioned over the distal end 54 of the tubular 38 to position the distal end 54 of the tubular 38 within the internal cavity 56 of the external tubular grappling system 50.

[0024] Once the distal end 54 of the tubular 38 is positioned within the internal cavity 56 of the external tubular grappling system 50, contact surfaces 60 (e.g., engagement features or dies) of the external tubular grappling system 50 may be actuated to engage with the external surface 52 of the tubular 38. For example, the external tubular grappling system 42 may include 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or more contact surfaces 60 (e.g., dies) configured to engage with the external surface 52 of the tubular 38. The contact surfaces 60 may be inwardly-actuated dies that contact and apply pressure or force to the external surface 52 of the tubular 38. In certain embodiments, the contact surfaces 60 may be hydraulically, mechanically, electronically or otherwise actuated to radially engage a circumferential area of the tubular 38 by a control feature. Indeed, various mechanisms may be utilized to facilitate a coupling between the outer circumferential area (e.g., external surface 52) of the tubular 38 and the contact surfaces 60. As described below, the contact surfaces 60 include patterns of teeth or ridges that facilitate improved engagement (e.g., gripping or biting engagement) with the tubular 38 such that the external tubular grappling device 50 can be utilized to lift the tubular 38 and such that rotational movement is readily translated from the external tubular grappling device 50 to the tubular 38.

[0025] FIG. 3 is a side view of an embodiment of the contact surface 60 of the external tubular grappling system 50. Specifically, the contact surface 60 is a die 70 that may be used with the external tubular grappling system 50 of FIG. 2. The die 70 includes patterns of teeth or ridges that enable improved engagement (e.g., gripping or biting engagement) between the die 70 and the external surface 52 of the tubular 38, and thus between the external tubular grappling system 50 and the tubular 38. In this manner, the weight-bearing capacity and the torque transfer capability of the external tubular grappling system 50 is improved. In certain embodiments, the teeth or ridges of the die 70 may have a selected surface hardness (e.g., approximately 55-65 HRC) to maintain the geometries of the teeth and/or to reduce wear on the teeth.

[0026] In the illustrated embodiment, the die 70 includes teeth 72 formed on an inner circumference 74 (e.g., inner diameter) of the die 70. More specifically, the die 70 includes a first set 76 of teeth 72 and a second set 78 of teeth 72, where first and second sets 76 and 78 are axially offset from one another. The first set 76 of teeth 72 is oriented vertically relative to a central axis 80 of the die 70. In other words, the first set 76 of teeth 72 is arrayed circumferentially or laterally about the central axis 80 of the die 70. Conversely, the second set 78 of teeth 72 is oriented horizontally relative to the central axis 80 of the die 70. In other words, the second set 78 of teeth 72 is arrayed axially along the central axis 80 of the die 70. As shown, the first and second sets 76 and 78 of teeth do not axially overlap relative to the central axis 80 of the die 70. In other words, only the first set 76 of teeth 72 is located at the top portion of the die 70, and only the second set 78 of teeth 72 is located at the bottom portion of the die 70.

[0027] In the illustrated embodiment, the first set 76 of teeth 72 and the second set 78 of teeth 72 each extend approximately half (e.g., 50%) an axial length 82 of the die 70. However, in other embodiments, the first set 76 of teeth 72 and the second set 78 of teeth 72 may extend for other lengths of the die 70. For example, in an embodiment where greater weight-bearing capacity is a priority over torque transfer capability or vice versa, the proportions (e.g., of axial length 82) of the first set 76 of teeth 72 relative to the second set 78 of teeth 72 may be adjusted accordingly. In certain embodiments, the distance (e.g., radial distance) which each tooth 72 of the first set 76 of teeth 72 extends from the inner circumference 74 of the die 70 may be greater than the distance (e.g., radial distance) which each tooth 72 of the second set 78 of teeth 72 extends from the inner circumference 74 of the die 70 to increase torque transfer capability of the die 70.

[0028] Additionally, in the illustrated embodiment, the die 70 includes one of the first sets 76 of teeth 72 (i.e., vertically oriented teeth 72) and one of the second sets 78 of teeth 72 (i.e., horizontally oriented teeth 72). However, other embodiments of the die 70 may include multiple first sets 76 of teeth 72 and/or multiple second sets 78 of teeth 72. An exemplary configuration of the second set 78 of teeth 72 is discussed in further detail with reference to FIG. 4, and an exemplary configuration of the first set 76 of teeth 72 is discussed in further detail with reference to FIG. 5.

[0029] FIG. 4 illustrates a side view, taken within line 4-4 of FIG. 3, of the die 70, illustrating the second set 78 of teeth 72 formed in the inner circumference 74 of the die 70. As mentioned above and further shown in FIG. 4, the second set 78 of teeth 72 is oriented horizontally relative to the central axis 80 of the die 70. Thus, each tooth 72 of the second set 78 extends circumferentially or laterally about the central axis 80 of the die 70. In operation, the second set 78 of teeth 72 creates an engagement (e.g., gripping or biting engagement) with the external surface 52 of the tubular 38 to support the weight of the tubular 38 when the external tubular grappling device 50 grips the tubular 38. To this end, each tooth 72 of the second set 78 of teeth 72 includes an edge 100 that will contact or "bite" the external surface 52 of the tubular 38 when the die 70 is actuated inwardly by the external tubular grappling device 50.

[0030] In the illustrated embodiment, each of the teeth 72 of the second set 78 is angled or "slanted" upwards, e.g., toward an axial top 102 of the second set 78 of teeth 72 when the die 70 is positioned within the external tubular grappling system 50. More specifically, each tooth 72, which has a generally triangular profile, includes a short side 104 that faces the axial top 102 of the second set 78 of teeth 72 and a long side 106 that faces an axial bottom 108 of the second set 78 of teeth 72. Thus, the respective edge 100 of each tooth 72 of the second set 78 is angled or "slanted" upwards, and thus faces or extends toward the axial top 102 of the second set 78 of teeth 72. This configuration enables an improved engagement (e.g., gripping or biting engagement) between the teeth 72 of the second set 78 and the tubular 38. More specifically, when the external tubular grappling system 50 grips the tubular 38, the weight of the tubular 38 will be applied in direction 110. Thus, the upward-facing edges 100 of the teeth 72 of the second set 78 will "bite" into the external surface 52 of the tubular 38 as the die 70 is driven radially-inward by the external tubular grappling system 50 and as the weight of the tubular 38 forces the tubular 38 down against the edges 100.

[0031] The short side 104 and the long side 106 of each tooth 72 may have varying dimensions and/or orientations. For example, an angle 112 (e.g., acute angle) of the short side 104 relative to a horizontal axis 114 of the die 70 may be approximately 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, or 35 degrees. An angle 116 (e.g., acute angle) of the long side 106 relative to the horizontal axis 114 of the die 70 may be approximately 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, or 85 degrees. In certain embodiments, the sum of the angles 112 and 116 may equal approximately 90 degrees. In other embodiments, any suitable value for the angles 112 and 116 may be used.

[0032] FIG. 5 is an axial view of the die 70, illustrating the first set 76 of teeth 72 formed in the inner circumference 74 of the die 70. As mentioned above and further shown in FIG. 5, the first set 76 of teeth 72 is oriented vertically relative to the central axis 80 of the die 70. Thus, each tooth 72 of the first set 76 extends axially relative to the central axis 80 of the die 70. In operation, the first set 76 of teeth 72 creates an engagement (e.g., gripping or biting engagement) with the external surface 52 of the tubular 38 when the external tubular grappling device 50 applies a torque to the tubular 38. To this end, each tooth 72 of the first set 76 of teeth 72 includes an edge 120 that will contact or "bite" the external surface 52 of the tubular 38 when the die 70 is actuated inwardly by the external tubular grappling device 50.

[0033] The first set 76 of teeth 72 of the die 70 is further divided into a first plurality 122 of the first set 76 of teeth 72 and a second plurality 124 of the first set 76 of teeth 72. The first plurality 122 of teeth 72 is angled or "slanted" in a first direction 126 (e.g., a first rotational direction or counter-clockwise direction), and the second plurality 124 of teeth 72 is angled or "slanted" in a second direction 128 (e.g., a second rotational direction or clockwise direction). In other words, the respective edge 120 of each tooth 72 of the first plurality 122 of teeth 72 extends toward or "faces" the first direction 126, and the respective edge 120 of each tooth 72 of the second plurality 124 of teeth 72 extends toward or "faces" the second direction 128. The first set 76 of teeth 72 includes the first and second pluralities 122 and 124 of teeth 72 to enable improved torque transfer capacity in both rotational directions (e.g., directions 126 and 128) of the external tubular grappling system 50. Specifically, when the external tubular grappling system 50 is rotated in the first direction 126, the edges 120 of the first plurality 122 of teeth 72, which are angled or "slanted" in the first direction 126, will "bite" into the external surface 52 of the tubular 38 and transfer torque from the external tubular grappling system 50 to the tubular 38 in the first direction 126. Similarly, when the external tubular grappling system 50 is rotated in the second direction 128, the edges 120 of the second plurality 124 of teeth 72, which are angled or "slanted" in the second direction 128, will "bite" into the external surface 52 of the tubular 38 and transfer torque from the external tubular grappling system 50 to the tubular 38 in the second direction 128.

[0034] In the illustrated embodiment, the first plurality 122 of teeth 72 is formed in approximately half of the inner circumference 74 of the die 70, and the second plurality 124 of teeth 72 is formed in approximately half of the inner circumference 74 of the die 70. However, in other embodiments, the first and/or second pluralities 122 and 124 of teeth 72 may be formed in more or less than approximately half of the inner circumference 74 of the die 70 depending on various design considerations.

[0035] Additionally, in the illustrated embodiment, the first and second pluralities 122 and 124 of teeth 72 are arranged or grouped separately from one another. In other embodiments, the first and second pluralities 122 and 124 of teeth 72 may be staggered and/or intermeshed with one another.

[0036] As shown, each tooth 72 of the first and second pluralities 122 and 124 of teeth 72 includes a short side 130 and a long side 132. The short side 130 and the long side 132 of each tooth 72 may have varying dimensions and/or orientations. For example, an angle 136 (e.g., acute angle) of the short side 130 relative to a radius 138 of the die 70 may be approximately 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, or 35 degrees. An angle 140 (e.g., acute angle) of the long side 132 relative to the radius 138 of the die 70 may be approximately 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, or 85 degrees. In certain embodiments, the sum of the angles 136 and 140 may equal approximately 90 degrees. In other embodiments, any suitable value for the angles 136 and 140 may be used.

[0037] FIG. 6 is a schematic side view of an embodiment of the tubular grappling system 42. In the illustrated embodiment, the grappling system 42 is an internal tubular grappling system 200 configured to exert an internal force or pressure on an internal surface 202 of the tubular 38. The internal tubular grappling system 200 includes an actuator 204, a mandrel 206, and grapples 208 (e.g., contact surfaces 60). In certain embodiments, the internal tubular grappling system 200 may include 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or other suitable number of grapples 208. To grip the tubular 38, the mandrel 206 and the grapples 208, which are disposed about the mandrel 206, are inserted or "stabbed" into the tubular 38. After the mandrel 206 and grapples 208 are disposed within the tubular 38, the grapples 208 may be translated downward, in a direction 210, by actuation of the actuator 204. However, in other embodiments, the grapples 208 may be translated rotationally by actuation of the actuator 204. Upon actuation of the actuator 204, the grapples 208 are forced radially outward, as indicated by arrows 212, and engaged with the internal surface 202 of the tubular 38. As described below, the grapples 208 (e.g., contact surfaces 60) include patterns of teeth or ridges that facilitate improved engagement (e.g., gripping or biting engagement) with the tubular 38, such that the internal tubular grappling device 200 can be utilized to lift the tubular 38 and such that rotational movement is readily translated from the internal tubular grappling device 200 to the tubular 38. In certain embodiments, the teeth or ridges of the grapple 208 may have a selected surface hardness (e.g., approximately 55-65 HRC) to maintain the geometries of the teeth and/or to reduce wear on the teeth.

[0038] FIG. 7 is a side view of an embodiment of the grapple 208 of the internal tubular grappling system 200. The grapple 208 includes patterns of teeth or ridges that enable improved engagement (e.g., gripping or biting engagement) between the grapple 208 and the internal surface 202 of the tubular 38, and thus between the internal tubular grappling system 200 and the tubular 38. In this manner, the weight-bearing capacity and the torque transfer capability of the internal tubular grappling system 200 is improved.

[0039] In the illustrated embodiment, the grapple 208 includes teeth 220 formed on an outer surface 222. More specifically, the grapple 208 includes a first set 224 of teeth 220, a second set 226 of teeth 220, and a third set 228 of teeth 220. As shown, the first, second, and third sets 224, 226, and 228 of teeth 220 do not axially overlap relative to a longitudinal axis 230 of the grapple 208. In other words, one portion of the grapple 208 has only the first set 224 of teeth 220, another portion of the grapple 208 has only the second set 226 of teeth 220, and another portion of the grapple 208 has only the third set 228 of teeth 220.

[0040] The first set 224 of teeth 220 is oriented horizontally relative to the longitudinal axis 230 of the grapple 208. The second set 226 of teeth 220 is oriented vertically relative to the longitudinal axis 230 of the grapple 208. The third set 228 of teeth 220 is also oriented horizontally relative to the longitudinal axis 230 of the grapple 208. Thus, as similarly described above, the first and third sets 224 and 228 of teeth 220 are configured to enable tubular 38 weight bearing of the internal tubular grappling system 200, while the second set 226 of teeth 220 is configured to enable torque transfer from the internal tubular grappling system 200 to the tubular 38. In certain embodiments, the distance (e.g., radial distance) which each tooth 220 of the second set 226 of teeth 220 extends from the outer surface 222 of the grapple 208 may be greater than the distance (e.g., radial distance) which each tooth 220 of the first and third sets 224 and 228 of teeth 220 extends from the outer surface 222 of the grapple 208 to increase torque transfer capability of the grapple 208.

[0041] In the illustrated embodiment, the first set 224 of teeth 220, the second set 226 of teeth 220, and the third set 228 of teeth 220 each has a similar axial length 232 along the longitudinal axis 230 of the grapple 208. However, in other embodiments, the first set 224 of teeth 220, the second set 226 of teeth 220, and/or the third set 228 of teeth 220 may extend for other axial lengths relative to one another. Additionally, in other embodiments, the grapple 208 may include other numbers of sets of teeth 220, such as two sets of teeth 220 having vertical orientation (e.g., second set 226) and one set of teeth 220 having horizontal orientation (e.g., first set 224 or third set 228). The numbers and sizes of the sets of teeth 220 may vary depending on design considerations, a desired weight-bearing capability, a desired torque transfer capability, and so forth. An exemplary configuration of the third set 228 of teeth 220 is discussed in further detail with reference to FIG. 8, and an exemplary configuration of the second set 226 of teeth 220 is discussed in further detail with reference to FIG. 9.

[0042] FIG. 8 illustrates a perspective view, taken within line 8-8 of FIG. 7, of the grapple 208, illustrating the third set 228 of teeth 220 formed in the outer surface 222 of the grapple 208. As mentioned above and further shown in FIG. 8, the third set 228 of teeth 220 is oriented horizontally relative to the longitudinal axis 230 of the grapple 208. It should be noted that the first set 224 of teeth 220 of the grapple 208 shown in FIG. 7 is similarly arranged. Thus, the following description of the third set 228 of teeth 220 may also apply to the first set 224 of teeth 220. Each tooth 220 of the third set 228 extends circumferentially or laterally about the longitudinal axis 230 of the grapple 208. In operation, the third set 228 of teeth 220 creates an engagement (e.g., gripping or biting engagement) with the internal surface 202 of the tubular 38 to support the weight of the tubular 38 when the internal tubular grappling device 200 grips the tubular 38. To this end, each tooth 220 of the third set 228 of teeth 220 includes an edge 250 that will contact or "bite" the internal surface 202 of the tubular 38 when the grapple 208 is actuated radially outward by the internal tubular grappling device 200.

[0043] In the illustrated embodiment, each of the teeth 220 of the third set 228 is angled or "slanted" upwards, e.g., toward an axial top 252 of third set 228 of teeth 220 when the grapple 208 is positioned about the mandrel 206 of the internal tubular grappling system 200. More specifically, each tooth 220, which has a generally triangular profile, includes a short side 254 that faces the axial top 252 of the third set 228 of teeth 220 and a long side 256 that faces an axial bottom 258 of the third set 228 of teeth 220. Thus, the respective edge 250 of each tooth 220 of the third set 228 extends or is "slanted" upwards, and thus faces the axial top 252 of the third set 228 of teeth 220. This configuration enables an improved engagement (e.g., gripping or biting engagement) between the teeth 220 of the third set 228 and the tubular 38. More specifically, when the internal tubular grappling system 200 grips the tubular 38, the weight of the tubular 38 will be applied in direction 260. Thus, the upward-facing edges 250 of the teeth 220 of the third set 228 will "bite" into the internal surface 202 of the tubular 38 as the grapple 208 is driven radially outward by the internal tubular grappling system 200 and as the weight of the tubular 38 forces the tubular 38 down against the edges 250.

[0044] The short side 254 and the long side 256 of each tooth 220 may have varying dimensions and/or orientations. For example, an angle 262 (e.g., acute angle) of the short side 254 relative to a horizontal axis 264 of the grapple 208 may be approximately 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, or 35 degrees. An angle 266 (e.g., acute angle) of the long side 256 relative to the horizontal axis 264 of the grapple 208 may be approximately 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, or 85 degrees. In certain embodiments, the sum of the angles 262 and 266 may equal approximately 90 degrees. In other embodiments, any suitable value for the angles 262 and 266 may be used.

[0045] FIG. 9 is an axial section view, taken within line 9-9 of FIG. 7, of the grapple 208, illustrating the second set 226 of teeth 220 formed in the outer surface 222 of the grapple 208. As mentioned above and further shown in FIG. 9, the second set 226 of teeth 220 is oriented vertically relative to the longitudinal axis 230 of the grapple 208. Thus, each tooth 220 of the second set 226 extends axially along the grapple 208 relative to the longitudinal axis 230 of the grapple 208. In operation, the second set 226 of teeth 220 creates an engagement (e.g., gripping or biting engagement) with the internal surface 202 of the tubular 38 when the internal tubular grappling device 220 applies a torque to the tubular 38. To this end, each tooth 220 of the second set 226 of teeth 220 includes an edge 280 that will contact or "bite" the internal surface 202 of the tubular 38 when the grapple 208 is actuated radially outward by the internal tubular grappling device 200.

[0046] The second set 226 of teeth 220 of the grapple 220 is further divided into a first plurality 282 of the second set 226 of teeth 220 and a second plurality 284 of the second set 226 of teeth 220. The first plurality 282 of teeth 220 is "slanted" in a first direction 286 (e.g., a first rotational direction or counter-clockwise direction), and the second plurality 284 of teeth 220 is "slanted" in a second direction 288 (e.g., a second rotational direction or clockwise direction). In other words, the respective edge 280 of each tooth 220 of the first plurality 282 "faces" or extends in the first direction 286, and the respective edge 280 of each tooth 220 of the second plurality 284 "faces" or extends in the second direction 288. The second set 226 of teeth 220 includes the first and second pluralities 282 and 284 of teeth 220 to enable improved torque transfer capacity in both rotational directions (e.g., directions 286 and 288) of the internal tubular grappling system 200. Specifically, when the internal tubular grappling system 200 is rotated in the first direction 286, the edges 280 of the first plurality 282 of teeth 220, which are "slanted" in the first direction 286, will "bite" into the internal surface 202 of the tubular 38 and transfer torque from the internal tubular grappling system 200 to the tubular 38 in the first direction 286. Similarly, when the internal tubular grappling system 200 is rotated in the second direction 288, the edges 280 of the second plurality 284 of teeth 220, which are "slanted" in the second direction 288, will "bite" into the internal surface 202 of the tubular 38 and transfer torque from the internal tubular grappling system 200 to the tubular 38 in the second direction 288.

[0047] In the illustrated embodiment, the first plurality 282 of teeth 220 is formed in approximately half (e.g., 50%) of the outer surface 222 of the grapple 208 portion having the second set 226 of teeth 220, and the second plurality 284 of teeth 220 is formed in approximately half (e.g., 50%) of the outer surface 222 of the grapple 208 portion having the second set 226 of teeth 220. However, in other embodiments, the first and/or second pluralities 282 and 284 of teeth 220 may be formed in more or less than approximately half of the outer surface 222 of the grapple 208 depending on various design considerations. Additionally, in the illustrated embodiment, the first and second pluralities 282 and 284 of teeth 220 are arranged or grouped separately from one another. In other embodiments, the first and second pluralities 282 and 284 of teeth 220 may be staggered and/or intermeshed with one another.

[0048] As shown, each tooth 220 of the first and second pluralities 282 and 284 of teeth 220 includes a short side 290 and a long side 292. The short side 290 and the long side 292 of each tooth 220 may have varying dimensions and/or orientations. For example, an angle 294 (e.g., acute angle) of the short side 290 relative to a radius 296 of the grapple 208 may be approximately 0, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, or 35 degrees. An angle 298 (e.g., acute angle) of the long side 292 relative to the radius 296 of the grapple 208 may be approximately 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, or 85 degrees. In certain embodiments, the sum of the angles 294 and 298 may equal approximately 90 degrees. In other embodiments, any suitable value for the angles 294 and 298 may be used.

[0049] As discussed above, embodiments of the present disclosure are directed to the tubular grappling system 42 having improved contact surfaces 44 for enabling improved gripping of tubulars 38, such as casing. The disclosed tubular grappling systems 42 include external tubular grappling systems 50 which grip the tubular 38 by applying an external pressure or force on the external surface 52 of the tubular 38, and internal grappling systems 200, which grip the tubular 38 by applying an internal pressure or force on the internal surface 202 of the tubular 38. In both the external and internal tubular grappling systems 50 and 200, the contact surface 44 of the grappling system 42 (e.g., grapple 208 and/or die 70) engages with the tubular 38. The weight of the tubular 38 is transferred from the tubular 38 to the contact surface 44 of the tubular grappling system 42. Similarly, when the tubular grappling system 42 is used to rotate the tubular 38, torque from the contact surfaces 44 of the tubular grappling system 42 is transferred to the tubular 38. To improve weight-bearing capability of the tubular grappling system 42 and torque transfer from the tubular grappling system 42 to the tubular 38, the disclosed embodiments of the tubular grappling system 42 have contact surfaces 44 with improved engagement features. In particular, the improved engagement features include patterns of teeth 72 and/or 220 formed in the contact surfaces 44 that are configured to improve the amount of torque and weight that may be transferred between the tubular grappling system 42 and the tubular 38. The configurations, pluralities, sets, dimensions, angles, and other characteristics of the teeth 72 and 220 disclosed above may be modified and/or combined with one another to achieve a desired performance or objective of the tubular grappling system 42 (e.g., improved weight-bearing capability, improved torque transfer capability, etc.).

[0050] While only certain features of the disclosure have been illustrated and described herein, many modifications and changes will occur to those skilled in the art. It is, therefore, to be understood that the appended claims are intended to cover all such modifications and changes as fall within the true spirit of the disclosure.

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