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 carbon capture and storage (CCS) and low-carbon hydrogen in industrial applications. 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 Environment Sustainability in Oil & Gas: Compressed gas storage systems.

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 & 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 & gas industry

Compressed gas storage systems is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Compressed gas is a gas or a mixture of gases that are stored in cylinders under pressure. These gases can be toxic, highly flammable, and hence require careful storage. Natural gas, nitrogen, oxygen, helium, argon, and several other gases are compressed so that they can be stored in large volumes inside compact-sized cylinders.

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 80+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of compressed gas storage systems.

Key players in compressed gas storage systems – 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’.

Air Liquide and Linde are some of the leading companies in compressed gas storage technologies based on their patent filings.

Air Liquide offers high-pressure cylinders made from stainless steel, carbon steel, and aluminium for storing compressed gases. The company also offers low-pressure cylinders for storing flammable gases.

Linde’s gas storage portfolio consists of steel or aluminium cylinders for storing various compressed gases, including oxygen, hydrogen, and argon, among others. It also offers technologically advanced cylinders with built-in digital intelligence, and gas identification rings for improved safety and handling.

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.