The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need to improve efficiencies, increase safety,  and reduce environmental impacts, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), big data, blockchain, and robotics. 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: oil well surveillance. 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

Oil well surveillance is a key innovation area in oil & gas

Oil well surveillance refers to the monitoring and data collection activities carried out in oil wells to gather real-time information about the well conditions, including pressure, temperature, and flow. The surveillance helps in ensuring the safe and efficient operation of the well, as well as optimizing production and identifying potential issues or risks.

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 150+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of oil well surveillance.

Key players in oil well surveillance – 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 well surveillance

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Halliburton 1304 Unlock Company Profile
Baker Hughes 532 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 452 Unlock Company Profile
Weatherford International 240 Unlock Company Profile
China National Petroleum 212 Unlock Company Profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 124 Unlock Company Profile
Welltec 120 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 118 Unlock Company Profile
Evolution Engineering 65 Unlock Company Profile
Equinor 63 Unlock Company Profile
China National Offshore Oil 60 Unlock Company Profile
Beijer Alma 56 Unlock Company Profile
Geomec Engineering 52 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 46 Unlock Company Profile
Shell 41 Unlock Company Profile
ConocoPhillips 39 Unlock Company Profile
Sensor Developments 37 Unlock Company Profile
Chevron U. S. A. 35 Unlock Company Profile
Prad Research And Development 35 Unlock Company Profile
Upwing Energy 32 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 31 Unlock Company Profile
NOV 31 Unlock Company Profile
Akastor 27 Unlock Company Profile
Emerson Electric 24 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 23 Unlock Company Profile
Marathon Oil 20 Unlock Company Profile
Haimo Technology (Group) 19 Unlock Company Profile
APS Technology 19 Unlock Company Profile
Boston Consulting Group 17 Unlock Company Profile
CNPC Chuanqing Drilling Engineering 16 Unlock Company Profile
Essential Utilities 15 Unlock Company Profile
WellSense Technologies 14 Unlock Company Profile
Tendeka BV 14 Unlock Company Profile
Wellstarter 14 Unlock Company Profile
Sandvik 13 Unlock Company Profile
ResFrac 13 Unlock Company Profile
CGG 12 Unlock Company Profile
Eni 12 Unlock Company Profile
Luna Innovations 11 Unlock Company Profile
Yokogawa Electric 11 Unlock Company Profile
Rockwell Automation 10 Unlock Company Profile
Oracle 10 Unlock Company Profile
Saipem 9 Unlock Company Profile
FBGS Technologies 9 Unlock Company Profile
BP 9 Unlock Company Profile
Extensive Energy Technologies Partnership 9 Unlock Company Profile
Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey 9 Unlock Company Profile
Vallourec 8 Unlock Company Profile
HyperSciences 8 Unlock Company Profile
Baker Hughes 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Halliburtonis one of the leading patent filers in oil well surveillance. Their SPIDR Data Acquisition System is a well surveillance and testing solution that records well data at the wellhead in both shut-in and flowing scenarios. SPIDR provides updates on a day-to-day basis and offers expert analysis. It also features quartz technology and works without any intervention of a well bore. Halliburton also offers ERD XHT downhole gauge system as part of its DataSphere permanent monitoring suite for real-time collection and monitoring of downhole data, particularly in extremely high-temperature environments. Some other key patent filers in the oil well surveillance industry include Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, and Weatherford International.

In terms of application diversity, Upwing Energy leads the pack, while FBGS Technologies and Eni stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Upwing Energy held the top position, followed by Weatherford International and Geomec Engineering.

Oil and gas companies are increasingly using oil well surveillance technologies to enable data-driven decisions, optimize production, reduce costs, and improve reservoir management.

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.