The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation, with activity driven by the need to reduce emissions and improve energy efficiency, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, 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: olefin metathesis catalysts. 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

Olefin metathesis catalysts is a key innovation area in oil & gas

Olefin metathesis catalysts are chemical catalysts that facilitate the interconversion and production of olefins. They typically contain metal complexes that undergo metathesis reactions, which involve the exchange of carbon-carbon double bonds.

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 100+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of olefin metathesis catalysts.

Key players in olefin metathesis catalysts – 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 olefin metathesis catalysts

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Saudi Arabian Oil 196 Unlock Company Profile
Illuminate Buyer 166 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 154 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 106 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 91 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 85 Unlock Company Profile
Halliburton 81 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsui Chemicals 75 Unlock Company Profile
McDermott International 74 Unlock Company Profile
LyondellBasell Industries 59 Unlock Company Profile
Technip Energies 49 Unlock Company Profile
Shell 49 Unlock Company Profile
Dow 48 Unlock Company Profile
Mubadala Investment 46 Unlock Company Profile
SK Innovation 46 Unlock Company Profile
BP 41 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 38 Unlock Company Profile
Clariant 38 Unlock Company Profile
RAG-Stiftung 36 Unlock Company Profile
Marathon Petroleum 29 Unlock Company Profile
ThyssenKrupp 28 Unlock Company Profile
Siam Cement 24 Unlock Company Profile
IFP Energies nouvelles 22 Unlock Company Profile
Casale 20 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Chemical Group 18 Unlock Company Profile
BP North America 18 Unlock Company Profile
LanzaTech Global 16 Unlock Company Profile
GRT 15 Unlock Company Profile
SK 14 Unlock Company Profile
Toray Industries 14 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 14 Unlock Company Profile
China National Petroleum 13 Unlock Company Profile
KCC 13 Unlock Company Profile
Organofuel Sweden 12 Unlock Company Profile
Solvay 12 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson Matthey 12 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 9 Unlock Company Profile
Velocys 8 Unlock Company Profile
Nissan Chemical 8 Unlock Company Profile
JGC 8 Unlock Company Profile
Petroleo Brasileiro 7 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Chemical 7 Unlock Company Profile
ENEOS 7 Unlock Company Profile
Ube Industries 7 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 7 Unlock Company Profile
Eni 7 Unlock Company Profile
Air Liquide 7 Unlock Company Profile
KBR 6 Unlock Company Profile
Haldor Topsoe 6 Unlock Company Profile
TechnipFMC 6 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Exxon Mobil is one of the leading patent filers in olefin metathesis catalysts. In December 2021, ExxonMobil Chemical acquired Materia, a company engaged in manufacturing thermoset resins utilizing olefin metathesis. Olefin metathesis is a chemical reaction involving the rearrangement of carbon-carbon double bonds (olefins) within organic compounds by using transition metal catalysts, such as ruthenium. Some other key patent filers in olefin metathesis catalysts include Saudi Arabian Oil, BASF and TotalEnergies.

In terms of application diversity, KCC leads the pack, while McDermott International and KBR stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Marathon Petroleum held the top position, followed by Casale and RAG-Stiftung.

Olefin metathesis catalysts are gaining prominence due to the growing need for increasing efficiencies in the production of olefins.

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.