The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need to maximize crude oil recovery from existing oilfields, optimize capital spend and achieve emissions reduction across the company portfolio. Therefore, the industry is pursuing decarbonization, and hence, there has been a growing interest in technologies such as carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) to support the carbon dioxide (CO2) induced enhanced oil recovery operations. 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 Environmental sustainability in oil & gas: oil recovery CWI. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 196,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the oil & gas industry, there are 60+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Oil recovery CWI is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Carbonated water injection (CWI) is an innovative technique used in the secondary and tertiary phases of oil recovery. In this technique, CO2 dissolved in water is injected into the oil reservoir from an injection well, to sufficiently mobilize oil flow at the production well. As oilfields deplete over time, the CWI technique can help oil and gas companies to increase the oil recovery from such wells, thereby extending their production life. Thus, companies can generate higher return from their hydrocarbon assets. It could also help companies conserve their capital that would have otherwise been spent on bringing additional fields online.

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 oil recovery CWI.

Key players in oil recovery CWI – 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 oil recovery CWI

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Equinor 71 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 34 Unlock Company Profile
Halliburton 31 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 31 Unlock Company Profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 28 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 26 Unlock Company Profile
BP 25 Unlock Company Profile
China National Petroleum 22 Unlock Company Profile
Equinor 21 Unlock Company Profile
GreatPoint Energy 21 Unlock Company Profile
Dow 20 Unlock Company Profile
ConocoPhillips 20 Unlock Company Profile
Baker Hughes 19 Unlock Company Profile
PALMER LABS 16 Unlock Company Profile
Tokyo Gas 15 Unlock Company Profile
8 Rivers Capital 14 Unlock Company Profile
TerraCOH 14 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 13 Unlock Company Profile
Linde 13 Unlock Company Profile
Chevron U. S. A. 12 Unlock Company Profile
M-I 11 Unlock Company Profile
Pioneer Energy 10 Unlock Company Profile
Air Products and Chemicals 10 Unlock Company Profile
Eni 7 Unlock Company Profile
Paramount Resources 7 Unlock Company Profile
Heat Mining 7 Unlock Company Profile
Colt Engineering 6 Unlock Company Profile
Sure Champion Investment 6 Unlock Company Profile
Lurgi 6 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 5 Unlock Company Profile
Pilot Energy Solutions 5 Unlock Company Profile
Vestlandets Innovasjonsselskap 5 Unlock Company Profile
Arcadis 5 Unlock Company Profile
Ocean Resource 5 Unlock Company Profile
Prad Research And Development 4 Unlock Company Profile
Wojskowa Akad Tech 4 Unlock Company Profile
Doosan 4 Unlock Company Profile
Shaanxi Yanchang Petroleum (Group) 4 Unlock Company Profile
China National Offshore Oil 4 Unlock Company Profile
Statoil Gulf Services 4 Unlock Company Profile
Southwest Petroleum 3 Unlock Company Profile
Stillwater Energy Group 3 Unlock Company Profile
Sichuan Xingzhi Zhihui Intellectual Property Operation 3 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 3 Unlock Company Profile
Occidental Petroleum 3 Unlock Company Profile
Air Liquide 3 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 2 Unlock Company Profile
Horisont Energi 2 Unlock Company Profile
International Energy Consortium 2 Unlock Company Profile
Daqing Dongyou Ruijia Petroleum Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Equinor is one of the leading patent filers in CWI for oil recovery in the oil & gas industry. Equinor has several aging oilfields in the North Sea. It is also a major promoter of carbon capture technologies and is part of the Northern Light carbon capture project in Europe. Equinor is best placed to exploit captured carbon for tertiary oil recovery applications. Equinor can exploit this situation as part of its compact CO2 capture and carbonated water injection or 3CWITM concept. Some other key patent filers in the oil and gas industry include Schlumberger, Halliburton, Exxon Mobil, Saudi Aramco, Sinopec, and BP.

In terms of application diversity, Doosan leads the pack. Air Products and Air Liquide stood in the second and third positions respectively. Doosan has a wide range of product and service portfolio for diverse industries, which includes the energy sector. It offers technology and EPC services to the oil and gas companies.

By means of geographic reach, PALMER LABS held the top position followed by Tokyo Gas and Mitsubishi. PALMER LABS is a clean energy technology developer in themes that have positive environmental impact.

CWI technique enhances the lifetime of ageing fields and also act as a dumping method for carbon captured from industrial operations. Growing CCS adoption can in-term be mutually beneficial for tertiary oil recovery from producing assets using CWI method.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) in Oil and 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.