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The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need to improve productivity, minimise downtime, and enhance safety, which have led to the growing importance of technologies such as machine learning and AI. In the last three years alone, there have been over 534,000 patents filed and granted in the oil & gas industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Oil & Gas: AI for workflow management. Buy the report here.

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However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

150+ innovations will shape the oil & gas industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the oil & gas industry using innovation intensity models built on over 256,000 patents, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, sensor guided flow mixing, AI-assisted cheminformatics, and intelligent embedded systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Automated drilling tools, AI for workflow management, and AI-assisted CAD are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are mixing ratio control techniques and wellbore drilling optimisation, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the oil & gas industry 

AI for workflow management is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

According to engineering terminology, data preparation, modelling, simulation and testing, and deployment are the four processes that form the AI in workflow management concept. To create a complete AI-driven workflow, developers need to consider all the above four steps.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AI for workflow management.

Key players in AI for workflow management – a disruptive innovation in the oil & gas industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to AI for workflow management

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
State Grid Corporation of China 546 Unlock Company Profile
China Southern Power Grid 165 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 152 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 104 Unlock Company Profile
Halliburton 88 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 79 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson Controls International 66 Unlock Company Profile
3M 59 Unlock Company Profile
China Southern Power Grid 53 Unlock Company Profile
Fanuc 52 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 42 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 35 Unlock Company Profile
Rockwell Automation 32 Unlock Company Profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 31 Unlock Company Profile
Schneider Electric 29 Unlock Company Profile
Yokogawa Electric 21 Unlock Company Profile
Baker Hughes 16 Unlock Company Profile
Asahi Kasei 15 Unlock Company Profile
Henkel 15 Unlock Company Profile
Caterpillar 14 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 13 Unlock Company Profile
Deere & Co 13 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 13 Unlock Company Profile
IHI 12 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Electric Power 11 Unlock Company Profile
Dow 10 Unlock Company Profile
Kurita Water Industries 10 Unlock Company Profile
Epiroc 10 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
China National Petroleum 8 Unlock Company Profile
Formosa Plastics Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 8 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Hubei Electric Power 8 Unlock Company Profile
Smiths Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Jibei Electric Power 8 Unlock Company Profile
AMETEK 7 Unlock Company Profile
ABB 7 Unlock Company Profile
Enel 7 Unlock Company Profile
China Railway Signal & Communication 6 Unlock Company Profile
Lincoln Electric Holdings 6 Unlock Company Profile
China National Offshore Oil 5 Unlock Company Profile
Showa Denko 5 Unlock Company Profile
China Huaneng Group 5 Unlock Company Profile
Centrica 5 Unlock Company Profile
China Energy Investment 5 Unlock Company Profile
Itron 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Siemens is one of the leading patent filers in AI-driven workflow management, and its Xcelerator software package enables rapid digital transformation. The package assists with data collection, analysis, and visualisation. Siemens recently released NX software, a part of the Xcelerator package, that uses AI to improve process and helps engineers, designers, and manufacturers to innovate more rapidly.

The cloud solution from Halliburton uses machine learning and AI models to assist its customers in optimising their digital transformation through intelligent automation. The service aids in improving productivity, efficiency, and asset value in industries.

AI is expected to become vital over the coming years as companies increasingly adopt workflow automation in their businesses. The benefits include improving communication and rapid development of processes through features such as drag-and-drop and easy to use interfaces.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on AI in Oil & Gas.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.