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dere & Wynne, L.L.P. 



V ^> A TTH RNEYS AND COUNSELORS 
% aO=Q=^ l HANKSGIVING TOWER 

1 001 L feM Street 
Dallas, Texas 75201-4761 

214-999-3000 
Telecopier 214-999-4667 

Writer's Direct Dial Number 

214-999-4681 



Houston 

Three Allen Center 
333 Clay Av^ue 



Houston, TfexAS 7! 
713-308-5500, ^§ 

Tulsa 

200 OXEODtoz§ 

100 West "-^ Nr,5S5 * 
Tulsa, O 

918-699-29 

Mexico £ity ^ 
Rio Panuco No. 7 
Col. Cuauhtemoc 
06500 Mexico, d. f 

011 (525) 546-8023 



A 



800 
-4086 

\ 



■4240 



VIA EXPRESS MAILING LABEL NO.EH 644566175 US 



October 29, 1997 



BOX: PATENT APPLICATION 
Assistant Commissioner for Patents 
Washington, D.C. 20231 

Re: Patent Application for PUMPSKID FOR SUCTION ANCHORS 
Our File No. 901033-14 



Dear Sir: 

Enclosed for filing are the following papers relating to the subject application, Rex A. Dodd, 
Inventor. 

1. Specification; 

2. Declaration and Power of Attorney; 

3. Assignment; 

4. Formal Drawings (11 sheets); 

5. Check in the amount of $970.00 to cover the filing fee; and 

6. Postcard receipt. 



It is believed no additional fee is due at this time. If this is incorrect, the Commissioner is 
hereby authorized to charge any fees or credit any overpayment to Deposit Account No. 07- 
0153. 



i 




cc: Johannes Treu 



327159.1 



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901033-14 PATENT 
PUMPSKID FOR SUCTION ANCHORS 



INVENTORS 

Johannes J. Treu 
210 FM 2429 

Bellville, Texas 77418 
United States Citizen 



Thomas M. Fulton 

6027 Shady Manor Drive 

Katy, Texas 77449 

United States Citizen 



Francis Wade Abadie 

26927 FM 2978 

Magno 1 i a , Texas 77355 

United States Citizen 



Frederick Howard Culver 
19155 Woodland Drive 
Covington, Louisiana 7043 3 

United States Citizen 



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901033-14 PATENT 
PUMPSKID FOR SUCTION ANCHORS 

TECHNICAL FIELD 

This invention relates to a pumpskid useful in 
conjunction with a remotely operated vehicle for installing 
and removing suction anchors in deep water installations. 



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BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION 

U.S. Patent No. 4,318,641 granted to Hogervorst on 
March 9, 1982, and assigned to Shell Oil Company discloses 
a suction anchor. Briefly, a suction anchor comprises a 
5 length of steel tubing having a relatively large diameter 

and a relatively long length, for example, a typical 
suction anchor might be 12 feet in diameter and 6 0 feet in 
length. The suction anchor has an open bottom and a top 
equipped with structure which allows water to be pumped out 

10 of the interior of the suction anchor thereby establishing 

a pressure differential which causes the suction anchor to 
penetrate the seafloor. The suction anchor is adapted for 
subsequent removal from the seafloor by pumping water into 
the interior thereof . 

15 The Hogervorst ' 641 Patent discloses in FIGURES 1 and 

2 a first pumping apparatus and in FIGURE 7 a second 
apparatus which may be used to effect the flow of water out 
of or into a suction anchor. Although mentioning structure 
for clamping the pumping apparatus to the suction anchor, 

2 0 the details of the clamping apparatus are not further 

disclosed. It is not at all clear from the specification 
of the Hogervorst '641 Patent that the pumping apparatus 
described therein can be actuated to effect rapid reversal 
of the direction of water flow relative to the suction 

25 anchor which may be necessary to free the suction anchor 

from the seafloor in the event that the material into which 



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the suction anchor has been installed has become 
consolidated around the interior and exterior walls 
thereof. Also, the apparatus disclosed in FIGURE 7 of the 
Hogervorst '641 Patent for guiding the pumping apparatus 
downwardly from the surface and into engagement with the 
suction anchor is not considered adequate for use in deep 
water installations. 

The present invention comprises a pumpskid useful in 
conjunction with a remotely operated vehicle for installing 
suction anchors in deep water installations. In accordance 
with the broader aspects of the invention, the pumpskid is 
provided with structure for securely clamping the pumpskid 
in engagement with the suction port of the suction anchor. 
The pumpskid is provided with remotely operable valving 
apparatus for causing a pump mounted on the pumpskid to 
pump water either out of or into the suction anchor as may 
be required. The valving apparatus may be operated to 
rapidly reverse the direction of water flow relative to the 
anchor thereby dislodging a suction anchor which may have 
become too firmly imbedded in the seafloor. 



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BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS 

Referring to FIGURES 1 through 5, therein is shown a 
steel suction anchor 70 useful in the practice of the 
invention. The suction anchor 70 is a right circular 
cylinder 12 feet in diameter and 60 feet in length, having 
5 a wall thickness of 1.5 inches. Skids 71 , which may 

comprise lengths of angle iron or lengths of pipe cut in 
half longitudinally, are welded to the cylinder comprising 
the anchor 70 to prevent it from rolling on the deck of an 
installation vessel. 

10 The suction anchor 70 is open on the lower end 72 and 

closed at the upper end 74 by a plate 76. A padeye 78, for 
receiving a mooring line, is attached on an exterior side 
of suction anchor 70 approximately 40 feet from the top. 
The top closure plate 76 on the upper end 74 of suction 

15 anchor 70 includes ports 82 which allow water to flow 

through the closure plate 76 as the anchor 70 heaves up and 
down during lowering to and retrieval from the seafloor. 
The ports 82 are opened and closed by worm gear actuators 
83 which are in turn operated by a manipulator extending 

20 from a remote operation vehicle (ROV) 300 which is located 

relative to the skid 80 by docking posts 84. ROV 300 may 
comprise a Raycal SEA LION Mk . II heavy work class ROV 
having 100 horsepower; however any of the various 
commercially available ROV's having 75 h.p. or more can be 

25 used in the practice of the invention. 



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Vertical alignment of the anchor 70 is determined 
using a camera on the ROV 300 which observes a bullseye 
level 85. The ROV 300 also adjusts the horizontal 
alignment of the suction anchor 70 by checking the suction 
5 anchor 7 s heading with a gyrocompass onboard the ROV. If 

the horizontal alignment is out of tolerance, the ROV 3 00 
rotates the suction anchor 70 by activating thrusters on 
the ROV. The placement of the ROV 300 on the outer edge of 
the closure plate 80 ensures that the ROV's thrusters can 
10 apply adequate torque to rotate the suction anchor 70 about 

its axis. 

Padeyes 86 are used to connect the anchor to a 
recovery bridle. An alternate padeye 87 may be used with 
a single recovery pendant or with double recovery sling. 
15 A suction port 8 8 having a clamp down hub is engaged by the 

ROV 300 to effect pumping of water into or out of the 
anchor 70. 

A pumpskid 160 comprising the present invention is 
shown in FIGURES 6, 7, 8, and 9. The ROV 300 is fitted 

20 with the pumpskid 160 which is mounted beneath the ROV. 

The pumpskid 160 includes a centrifugal pump 162, a 
hydraulic motor 163 which drives the pump 162 , pump 
manifold valve actuators 164 and 165, and latching 
actuators 166, all powered and controlled by the hydraulic 

25 system of the ROV 300. The pumpskid further includes a 

male connector 168 for the suction port 88. The male 



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connector is provided with O-ring seals to ensure a water- 
tight connection with the suction port 80. Valves 170 and 
172 are operated by actuator 164 and valves 174 and 176 are 
operated by actuator 165. 
5 As is shown in FIGURES 8, 9, and 10, the ROV 300 docks 

and latches onto the suction anchor 70 and its suction port 
88 by engagement of the male connector 168 and by actuating 
the latching actuators 166. The latching actuators 166 
comprise hydraulic cylinders which are actuated from the 

10 ROV 300. Each latching actuator 166 has a piston rod 178 

extending therefrom. The distal end of each piston rod 178 
comprises a truncated cone 180. The suction port 88 of the 
suction anchor 70 has a clamp down ring 182 which is 
provided with a tapered circumferential slot 184 adapted 

15 for mating engagement with the cones 180 to securely clamp 

the pumpskid 160 and the ROV 3 00 in engagement with the 
suction anchor 70. 

After the latching actuators have been operated to 
engage the cones 180 with the tapered slot 184 to secure 

20 the pumpskid 160 to the anchor 70, the ROV closes the ports 

82. The pump 162 of the pumpskid 160 is started and pumps 
water out of the interior of the suction anchor 70 , 
reducing the water pressure inside relative to the outside 
pressure . This is accomplished by means of actuator 164 

25 which opens valve 170 and closes valve 172 and actuator 165 

which opens valve 174 and closes valve 176, thereby causing 



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water to flow through suction port 88, valve 174, pump 162, 
and valve 170, and then out through a port 188 which is 
open to the surrounding sea. As will be understood, the 
mechanical linkage 190 extending between the actuator 164, 
5 the valve 170 , and the valve 172 assures that whenever 

valve 170 is open valve 172 is closed, and vice versa. 
Likewise, the linkage 192 between actuator 164, valve 174, 
and valve 176 assures that whenever valve 174 is open valve 
176 is closed and vice versa. 

10 The differential pressure under the action of pump 162 

acts as a downward force on the top of the suction anchor 
70 pushing the suction anchor further into the seafloor to 
the desired penetration depth. When the desired 

penetration has been reached, as determined from a depth 

15 monitoring system on the ROV 3 00, the ROV disconnects from 

the top of the suction anchor 70. This is accomplished by- 
operation of the latching actuators to withdraw the cones 
180 from the tapered slot 184. Next the ROV checks the 
suction anchor penetration by reading the penetration marks 

20 at the mudline. When the suction anchor 70 penetration is 

found to be within tolerance, the ROV 3 00 closes the 
suction port 88 so that all openings in the top of the 
suction anchor are closed. The ROV 300 then disconnects 
the lowering line from the recovery buoy 14 6 and is 

25 retrieved to the surface. 

Whenever removal of the suction anchor 70 is desired, 



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the ROV 3 00 docks onto the suction anchor top and latches 
onto the suction port 88. This is accomplished by 
operating latching actuators 166 to force the cones 180 
into the tapered slot 184. As is shown in FIGURE 11, the 
ROV 300 pumps water into the interior of -the suction anchor 
by means of the pump 162 . This is accomplished by 
operating the actuators 164 and 165 to open valve 176, open 
valve 172, close valve 174, and close valve 170, thereby 
causing water to flow through port 188 , valve 172 , pump 
162, valve 176 and port 88 into anchor 70. 

Due to the pump 162, the water pressure inside becomes 
greater than the outside water pressure, and the 
differential pressure results in an upwards force on the 
suction anchor top. The upwards force, and the pull on the 
recovery line pulls the suction anchor out of the seafloor. 
If too much pump pressure is required to pull the suction 
anchor 70 out of the seafloor, due to too much 
consolidation of the soil around and inside the suction 
anchor, the water flow direction from the pump 162 can be 
reversed instantaneously by changing the positions of valve 
actuators 164 and 165. By rapidly changing the water flow 
direction from pumping in to pumping out, the suction 
anchor 70 will be alternately pulled out and pushed in. 
When this is done for some time, the soil in contact with 
the suction anchor cylinder will liquefy, making it easier 
to pump and pull the suction anchor out off the soil. 



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Suction anchor 70 is raised to the surface by a recovery 
line and is loaded on an installation vessel using the 
riser line 50. 

The pumpskid 160 is provided with a differential 
5 pressure gauge 194 which is connected to the male connector 

168 by a pressure line 196. The pressure line 194 
indicates the difference in the pressure of the water 
within the connector 168 with respect to the pressure of 
the water outside of the suction anchor. The ROV 3 00 

10 monitors the gauge 194 during suction anchor installation 

and removal operations to assure that the differential 
pressure between the inside and the outside of the suction 
anchor remains within predetermined limits. 

The water pumping rate can be adjusted from the ROV 

15 3 00 by controlling the rate of flow of pressurized 

hydraulic fluid to the hydraulic motor 163 . Reduction in 
the water flow rate may be required if either the suction 
anchor penetration rate, or the suction anchor withdrawal 
rate, or the differential pressure between the interior and 

20 the exterior of the suction anchor is too high. 

The pumpskid 160 is fitted with syntactic foam 
buoyancy elements 196 designed for the maximum operating 
water depth. The buoyancy elements 196 ensure that the 
pumpskid 160 is slightly buoyant when submerged. 

25 Although preferred and alternative embodiments of the 

invention have been illustrated in the accompanying 



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Drawings and described in the foregoing Detailed 
Description, it will be understood that the invention is 
not limited to the embodiments disclosed, but is capable of 
numerous rearrangements and substitutions of parts and 
elements without departing from the spirit of the 
invention . 



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WE CLAIM: 

1 . A pumpskid for use in installing and removing 
suction anchors from the seafloor comprising: 



a frame; 

a pump mounted on the frame and having an inlet 
and an outlet; 

a male connector mounted on the frame and adapted 
for engagement with a suction port on the suction anchor; 

latching means for securing the male connector on 
the pumpskid in engagement with the suction port on the 
suction anchor and thereby securing the pumpskid to the 
suction anchor; 

piping means connected in fluid communication 
between the inlet and the outlet of the pump and the male 
connector and including a port open to the surrounding sea; 
and 

valve means mounted in the piping means for 
selective actuation to cause water flow either into the 
pump from the sea and hence from the pump through the male 
connector into the suction anchor or outwardly from the 
suction anchor through the male connector and through the 
pump and hence into the sea. 



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2 . The pumpskid according to Claim 1 further 
including a hydraulic motor mounted on the frame for 
driving the pump. 

3 . The pumpskid according to Claim 1 further 
including an O-ring extending around the periphery of the 
male connector for engagement with the suction port to form 
a water-tight seal. 

4 . The pumpskid according to Claim 1 wherein the 
latching means comprises a plurality of latching pins and 
a plurality of hydraulic actuators each individual to one 
of the latching pins for selective actuation to extend the 
latching pins into engagement with the suction port thereby 
securing the male connector in engagement therewith and for 
retractment to disengage the male connector from the 
suction port. 



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5. The purapskid according to Claim 1 wherein the 
piping means includes a first portion extending in fluid 
communication between the inlet and outlet of the pump and 
having the port open to the surrounding sea included 
therein, and a second portion connected in fluid 
communication between the inlet of the outlet of the pump 
and having the male connector included therein; 

wherein the valve means include a first valve 
mounted in the first portion of the piping means for 
selective actuation to connect the port in fluid 
communication with the inlet of the pump, a second valve 
included in the first portion of the piping means for 
selective actuation to connect the port in fluid 
communication with the outlet of the pump, a third valve 
included in the second portion of the piping means for 
selective actuation to connect the male connector in fluid 
communication with the inlet of the pump, and a fourth 
valve included in the second portion of the piping means 
for selective actuation to connect the male connector in 
fluid communication with the outlet of the pump; and 

further including linkage means for opening the first 
valve when the second valve is closed, and vice versa, and 
for opening the third valve when the fourth valve is 
closed, and vice versa. 



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6 . A pumpskid for use in installation removing 
suction anchors from the sea floor comprising: 



a frame; 

a pump mounted on the frame and having an inlet 
5 and an outlet; 

a hydraulic motor mounted on the frame for 
driving the pump; 

a male connector mounted on the frame and adapted 
for engagement with a suction port on the suction anchor; 
10 an O-ring extending around the periphery of the 

male connector for engagement with the suction port to 
effect a water-tight seal therebetween; 

a plurality of latching pins slidably mounted on 

the frame; 

15 a plurality of hydraulic actuators mounted on the 

frame for selectively actuating the latching pins to engage 
the suction port on the suction port thereby securing the 
pumpskid skid in engagement with suction anchor and for 
retracting the latching pins to permit disengagement of the 

20 male connector from the suction port on the suction anchor 

thereby releasing tbe connection between the pumpskid and 
the suction anchor; 

piping means including a first portion connected in 
fluid communication between the inlet and the outlet of the 

2 5 pump and including a port open to the surrounding sea and 



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a second portion connected in fluid communication between 
the inlet and the outlet of the pump and extending to and 
from the male connection; 

valve means including a first valve included in the 

3 0 first portion of the piping means for selective actuation 

to connect the port in fluid communication with the inlet 
of the pump, a second valve included in the first portion 
of the piping mens for selective actuation to connect the 
port in fluid communication with the outlet of the pump 7 a 

35 third valve included in the second portion of the piping 

means for selective actuation to connect the male connector 
in fluid communication with inlet of the pump, and a fourth 
valve included in the second portion of the piping means 
for selective actuation to connect the male connector in 

40 fluid communication with the inlet of the pump; and 

linkage means connected between the first valve and 
the second valve and between the third valve and the fourth 
valve for opening the first valve when second valve is 
closed and vice versa, and for opening the third valve when 

45 the fourth valve is closed and vice versa. 



-16- 

90133-14 PATENT 
PUMPSKID FOR SUCTION ANCHORS 

ABSTRACT 

A pumpskid comprises a frame adapted for connection to 
a remotely operated vehicle for positioning thereby. A 
male connector mounted on the frame is adapted for 
5 engagement with the suction port on a suction anchor. 

Clamping apparatus is provided for securing the male 
connector in engagement with the suction port of the 
suction anchor and thereby clamping the pumpskid in 
engagement with the suction anchor. A pump mounted on the 
10 frame is connected in fluid communication with the male 

connector by piping sections which include a port open to 
the surrounding sea . Valves and valve actuators are 
provided for causing the pump to cause water flow out of or 
into the suction anchor, as required. 

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901033-14 PATENT 

DECLARATION AND POWER OF ATTORNEY 

As a below named inventor, we hereby declare that: 

1 . Our residence, post office address and citizenship are as stated below next to my 
name; 

2. We believe we are the original, first and joint inventor of the subject matter which 
is claimed and for which a patent is sought on the invention, design or discovery 
entitled: 

PUMPSKID FOR SUCTION ANCHORS 

3. We have reviewed and understand the contents of the above-identified 
specification, including the claims, as amended by any amendment referred to 
above; 

4. We acknowledge the duty to disclose to the Office all information known to me to 
be material to the patentability of this application as defined by Title 37, Code of 
Federal Regulations, §1 .56; 

5. We hereby claim foreign priority benefits under 35 U.S.C. §1 1 9(a)-(d) or §365(b) 
of any foreign application^) for patent or inventor's certificate, or §365(a) of any 
PCT International application which designated at least one country other than the 
United States, listed below and have also identified below any foreign application 
for patent or inventor's certificate, or PCT International application having a filing 
date before that of the application on which priority is claimed: 

NONE 

We hereby claim the benefit under 35 U.S.C. §1 19(e) of any United States 
provisional application(s) listed below: 

NONE 

6. We hereby claim the benefit under Title 35, United States Code, § 120 of any 
United States application (s) listed below and, insofar as the subject matter of each of the claims 
of this application is not disclosed in the prior United States application(s) in the manner provided 
by the first paragraph of Title 35, United States Code, § 112, we acknowledge the duty to 
disclose to the Office all information known to me to be material to patentability as defined in § 
1.56 which became available between the filing date of any prior application^) and the national 
or PCT international filing date of this application: 

NONE 



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7. We hereby appoint: 

Harold E. Meier, Reg. No. 22,428 
Michael A. O'Neil, Reg. No. 23,007 
Marty Korn, Reg. No. 28,317 
Monty L Ross, Reg. No. 28,899 
Philip G. Meyers, Reg. No. 30,478 
John W. Montgomery, Reg. No. 31,124 
Theodore F. Shiells, Reg. No. 31,569 
Kay Lyn Schwartz, Reg. No. 39,020 
Russell N. Rippamonti, Reg. No. 39,521 

of the firm of GARDERE & WYNNE, L.L.P., my attorneys with full power of 
substitution and revocation, to prosecute this application and to transact all 
business in the United States Patent and Trademark Office connected therewith, 
and to file and prosecute any international patent application filed thereon before 
any international authorities under the Patent Cooperation Treaty; 

Send correspondence to: Michael A. O'Neil 

GARDERE & WYNNE, L.L.P. 
3000 Thanksgiving Tower 
1601 Elm Street 
Dallas, Texas 75201 
(214) 999^681 

8. We hereby declare that all statements made herein of my own knowledge are true 
and that all statements made on information and belief are believed to be true; 
and further that these statements were made with the knowledge that willful false 
statements and the like so made are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, 
under Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, and that such willful 
false statements may jeopardize the validity of the application or any patent 
issuing thereon. 



Full name of Inventor: 
Inventor's Signature: 
Date: 




Post Office Address: 210 FM 2429 

Bellville, TX 77418 

Residence Address: 
(if different) 



Citizenship: 



United States of America 



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Full name of Inventor: 
Inventor's Signature: 
Date: 

Post Office Address: 



Residence Address: 
(if different) 



Citizenship: 



Thomas M. Fulton 





6027 Shady Manor Drive 
Katy, TX 77449 



United States of America 



Full name of Inventor: 
Inventor's Signature: 
Date: 

Post Office Address: 



Residence Address: 
(if different) 



Francis Wade Abadie 



26927 FM 2978 
Houston, TX 77355 



Citizenship: 



United States of America 



Full name of Inventor: Frederick Howard Culver 

19155 Woodland Drive 
Covington, Lpjjisiana 70433 

*2I 



Inventor's Signature: 



Date: lO-^-r? 



Residence Address: 
(if different) 

Citizenship: United States of America 



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