The oil and gas industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by an increasing need for long-term sustainability, reducing its carbon footprint, and transitioning towards low-emission fuels. Technological advances and growing research in the field of alternative fuels are enabling these objectives to be achieved. This is characterised by the growing importance of technologies, such as low-carbon hydrogen, renewable fuels, and carbon capture and storage (CCS). 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 Innovation in Oil & Gas: Compressed bio-fuel shipping vessels.

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 & gas industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the oil and 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, drilling simulation and modelling, carbonated water injection (CWI) for oil recovery, and automated compressed gas filling are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Liquified gas shipping vessels, and oil well fracking are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are compressed bio-fuel shipping vessels and cryogenic natural gas liquefaction, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the oil & gas industry

Compressed bio-fuel shipping vessels is a key innovation area in oil & gas

Biofuels are motor fuels that are produced by direct combustion or processing of biomass. These are increasingly becoming popular as alternatives to conventional motor fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, owing to their low-carbon footprint.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of compressed bio-fuel shipping vessels.

Key players in compressed bio-fuel shipping vessels – 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’.

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) and Samsung Heavy Industries are among the leading innovators in compressed biofuel vessels based on patent filings.

HHI is a prominent shipbuilder whose portfolio includes varied types of tankers for transporting liquified commodities, including conventional fuels and biofuels.

Samsung Heavy Industries offers vessels for the transport of several liquified gases, including ethanol. The company leverages its technical expertise to design specialised vessels for fuel-efficient and safe transportation of liquified gases.

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.