Research and innovation in industrial automation in the offshore oil and gas industry operations and technologies sector is on the rise.

The most recent figures show that the number of industrial automation-related patent applications in the industry stood at 399 in the three months ending January – up from 375 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to industrial automation followed a different pattern to filings – shrinking from 260 in the three months ending January 2021 to 142 in the same period in 2022.

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.

Industrial automation 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.

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Honeywell International was the top industrial automation 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 315 industrial automation related patents in the three months ending January. That was up from 279 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the US-based Halliburton with 123 industrial automation patent applications, the US-based 3M (70 applications), and Saudi Arabia-based Saudi Arabian Oil Company (58 applications).

3M has recently ramped up R&D in industrial automation. It saw growth of 65.7% in related patent applications in the three months ending January compared to the same period in 2021 – 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.