The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need to reduce emissions and increase efficiencies, and environmental regulations, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, digitization, 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: pressure swing adsorption. 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

Pressure swing adsorption is a key innovation area in oil & gas

Pressure swing adsorption is a widely used gas separation technology that utilizes the ability of certain solid adsorbent materials to selectively adsorb or separate one or more gases from a gas mixture under pressure and then release them under reduced pressure.

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 220+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of pressure swing adsorption.

Key players in pressure swing adsorption – 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 pressure swing adsorption

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Exxon Mobil 355 Unlock Company Profile
Linde 321 Unlock Company Profile
Air Liquide 292 Unlock Company Profile
Shell 179 Unlock Company Profile
BASF 174 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 156 Unlock Company Profile
Air Products and Chemicals 153 Unlock Company Profile
Dow 95 Unlock Company Profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 91 Unlock Company Profile
IFP Energies nouvelles 90 Unlock Company Profile
Skyonic 86 Unlock Company Profile
ThyssenKrupp 79 Unlock Company Profile
Fujifilm 74 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Chemical 72 Unlock Company Profile
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 59 Unlock Company Profile
Halliburton 56 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 51 Unlock Company Profile
Calera 50 Unlock Company Profile
Kuraray 47 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo Seika Chemicals 46 Unlock Company Profile
Solvay 44 Unlock Company Profile
Chevron U. S. A. 43 Unlock Company Profile
Saipem 40 Unlock Company Profile
Shin-Etsu Chemical 39 Unlock Company Profile
Neste 39 Unlock Company Profile
Asahi Kasei 38 Unlock Company Profile
Renaissance Energy Investment 37 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 36 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 34 Unlock Company Profile
Casale 32 Unlock Company Profile
RAG-Stiftung 31 Unlock Company Profile
Resonac 31 Unlock Company Profile
Fluor 30 Unlock Company Profile
Sekisui Chemical 30 Unlock Company Profile
Huntsman 23 Unlock Company Profile
Arkema 22 Unlock Company Profile
Omya International 22 Unlock Company Profile
FuelCell Energy 20 Unlock Company Profile
CarbonFree Chemicals 20 Unlock Company Profile
Osaka Gas 20 Unlock Company Profile
JFE 20 Unlock Company Profile
Ecoloop 20 Unlock Company Profile
Japan Blue Energy 19 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Oil 19 Unlock Company Profile
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation 19 Unlock Company Profile
Nippon Steel 18 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 18 Unlock Company Profile
8 Rivers Capital 18 Unlock Company Profile
Haldor Topsoe 18 Unlock Company Profile
Mubadala Investment 18 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Linde is one of the leading patent filers in pressure swing adsorption. Linde offers HIPURE gas purification units using pressure swing adsorption technology. HIPURE units recover carbon dioxide from upstream low-pressure off-gas streams or high-pressure raw synthesis gas streams produced during gasification or steam methane reforming processes. HIPURE requires less investment and helps to reduce operational costs when compared to traditional washing systems. Some other key patent filers in the pressure swing adsorption include Exxon Mobil, Shell, and BASF.

In terms of application diversity, Nippon Steel leads the pack, while Ecoloop and Nippon Oil stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Huntsman held the top position, followed by Omya International and Ecoloop.

Pressure swing adsorption is gaining prominence globally due to the growing need for operational efficiencies, and environmental regulations globally.

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.