Research and innovation in machine learning in the offshore oil and gas industry operations and technologies sector has declined in the last year. The most recent figures show that the number of related patent applications in the industry stood at 54 in the three months ending December – down from 90 over the same period in 2020.

Figures for patent grants related to followed a similar pattern to filings – shrinking from 10 in the three months ending December 2020 to five in the same period in 2021.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, which tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas and linked to key companies across various industries.

Machine learning is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector. 3M was the top innovator in the offshore oil and gas industry operations and technologies sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the US, filed 18 related patents in the three months ending December. That was up from 16 over the same period in 2020.

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By GlobalData

It was followed by the Saudi Arabia-based Saudi Arabian Oil Co with 18 patent applications, the US-based Honeywell International (12 applications), and the US-based Schlumberger (11 applications).

Saudi Arabian Oil Co has recently ramped up R&D in machine learning. It saw growth of 50% in related patent applications in the three months ending December compared to the same period in 2020 – the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked, with more than 10 quarterly patents in the offshore oil and gas industry operations and technologies sector.