The oil and gas industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by the need for more efficient production, improved safety and as long-term sustainability. Therefore, the industry is pursuing clean energy transition, alongside which there has been a growing interest in technologies such as green hydrogen, fuel cells, and carbon capture and storage (CCS ). In the last three years alone, there have been over 534,000 patents filed and granted in the oil and gas industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Environment Sustainability in Oil & Gas: Syngas CO2 sequesteration.

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 stabilising 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.

40+ innovations will shape the oil and 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 256,000 patents, there are 40+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, carbon capture MOFs and biogas carbon capturing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application-n and should be tracked closely. Methane capturing, natural gas CO2 capturing and flue gas treatment are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are bio-fuels and aviation bio-fuels or sustainable aviation fuels, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for environmental sustainability in the oil and gas industry

Syngas CO2 sequestration is a key innovation area in environmental sustainability

Syngas formation is a key stage in several industrial processes in the energy and metallurgy sectors. The syngas or synthesis gas is a gaseous mixture of hydrogen and oxides of carbon. It has become important, in light of global warming, to capture carbon during the production phases of the above-mentioned industries. Hence, industry leaders are actively pursuing the development of syngas CO2 sequestration technology.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of syngas CO2 sequestration.

Key players in Syngas CO2 sequestration – a disruptive innovation in the oil & gas industry

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

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

Leaders in patent filing for syngas CO2 sequestration include ExxonMobil and Flour. Energy companies, industrial gas vendors, and technology licensing companies lead the CO2 sequestration technology development. ExxonMobil is engaged in R&D to improve existing CCS technologies and bring down the cost of carbon capture. It operates the Shute Creek gas processing facility, which is the largest active CCUS unit in the world.

Fluor offers technology licensing and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) solutions for CCS projects. Its post-combustion carbon capture technology, Econamine FG Plus, offers efficient and cost-effective CCS implementation for clients. The company’s other CCS technology offerings include the Fluor Solvent Process and the Improved Econamine technology, which is specifically suitable for addressing the winterisation issue in carbon capture.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Top 20 Oil & Gas Themes 2022.

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.