The oil and gas industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for more sustainable development and reductions in carbon emissions, and growing importance of technologies such as post-combustion capture, oxy-fuel combustion capture, pre-combustion capture, direct air capture, and amine-based carbon capture. In the last three years alone, there have been over 534,000 patents filed and granted in the oil and gas industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environment Sustainability in Oil & Gas: Carbon capture MOFs.

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.

40+ innovations will shape the oil and 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, carbon capture MOFs, and biogas carbon capturing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Methane capturing, natural gas CO2 capturing, and flue gas treatment are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are bio-fuels and aviation bio-fuels, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the oil and gas industry

Carbon capture MOFs is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

A new category of advanced materials known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are now offering opportunities for carbon capture through their engineerable structure and physicochemical characteristics.

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 20 companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of carbon capture MOFs.

Key players in carbon capture MOFs – a disruptive innovation in the oil and 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’.

ExxonMobil is one of the top companies developing an innovative MOFs material in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley. The porous MOF material aids in capturing more than 90% of the produced CO2 from power industries. However, research is still in its early stages.

BASF , in collaboration with other companies and academic institutions, is developing a novel MOF material that can effectively capture CO2.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Top 20 Oil & Gas Themes 2022.

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.