The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need for more efficient drilling, safety enhancement, quality control, and cost and time reduction, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, machine learning (ML), and big data. In the last three years alone, there have been over 523,000 patents filed and granted in the oil & gas industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in oil & gas: drilling tool wear estimation. 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 stabilizing 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.

60+ 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 196,000 patents, there are 60+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, high-pressure gas vessels, boil-off gas treatment, and oil recovery CWI are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Green hydrogen synthesis, hydrocarbon lubricants, and oil well surveillance are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are cryogenic gas separation and olefin metathesis catalysts, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the oil & gas industry

Drilling tool wear estimation is a key innovation area in oil & gas

Drilling tool wear estimation refers to the process of predicting the condition of drill bits and other drilling tools used in mining or other drilling operations. Drilling companies can predict when a drill bit will wear out and needs to be replaced, by analyzing various factors such as the material being drilled, the drill bit design, and the drilling parameters.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of drilling tool wear estimation.

Key players in drilling tool wear estimation – a disruptive innovation in the oil & gas industry

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

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

Patent volumes related to drilling tool wear estimation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Halliburton 461 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 194 Unlock Company Profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 125 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 92 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 78 Unlock Company Profile
Baker Hughes 67 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 60 Unlock Company Profile
China National Petroleum 57 Unlock Company Profile
IFP Energies nouvelles 52 Unlock Company Profile
Chevron U. S. A. 49 Unlock Company Profile
Repsol 26 Unlock Company Profile
ConocoPhillips 24 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 21 Unlock Company Profile
AGC 20 Unlock Company Profile
China National Offshore Oil 19 Unlock Company Profile
Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault 18 Unlock Company Profile
Covestro 13 Unlock Company Profile
LG 12 Unlock Company Profile
BP North America 11 Unlock Company Profile
Prad Research And Development 10 Unlock Company Profile
Ledaflow Technologies DA 10 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 9 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 9 Unlock Company Profile
Toray Industries 8 Unlock Company Profile
Southwest Petroleum 8 Unlock Company Profile
Air Liquide 7 Unlock Company Profile
Teufelberger 7 Unlock Company Profile
Lloyd's Register Group 7 Unlock Company Profile
NEC 6 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 6 Unlock Company Profile
Linde 6 Unlock Company Profile
Exa 6 Unlock Company Profile
CNPC Chuanqing Drilling Engineering 6 Unlock Company Profile
Eni 6 Unlock Company Profile
Equinor 6 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 5 Unlock Company Profile
Sinvent 5 Unlock Company Profile
Tokai Optical 5 Unlock Company Profile
Foroil 4 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 4 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 4 Unlock Company Profile
FracGeo 3 Unlock Company Profile
Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey 2 Unlock Company Profile
IFP 2 Unlock Company Profile
Triad National Security 2 Unlock Company Profile
BP 2 Unlock Company Profile
Thermo Fisher Scientific 2 Unlock Company Profile
Brown, William P 2 Unlock Company Profile
Simtech 2 Unlock Company Profile
Shell 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Halliburton, Schlumberger, and Saudi Arabian Oil are some of the leading patent filers in drilling tool wear estimation. Halliburton provides the service, which operates on the OSDU Data Platform and utilizes the iEnergy Cloud architecture to enhance drilling and production activities in the subsurface. leverages industry-tailored AI and machine learning (ML) models to enhance operational efficiency and boost productivity. Some other key patent filers in the space include Exxon Mobil, and China Petrochemical.

In terms of application diversity, Equinor leads the pack, while General Motors and Linde stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Ledaflow Technologies held the top position, followed by Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault, Toray Industries, and Panasonic.

Oil and gas companies are increasingly using drilling tool wear estimation to optimize performance, decrease costs, and increase production.

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