The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by government regulations, the need to decrease costs and increase safety, and digitalization, and growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), big data, 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 Artificial intelligence in oil & gas: oil exploration AI. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 196,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the oil & gas industry, there are 60+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Oil exploration AI is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Oil exploration AI refers to the application of AI techniques and technologies in the field of oil and gas exploration. It involves utilizing advanced algorithms and machine learning (ML) to analyze geological, geophysical, and seismic data to predict potential oil and gas reservoirs, optimize drilling locations, and enhance decision-making processes throughout the exploration and drilling phases.

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 40 companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of oil exploration AI.

Key players in oil exploration AI – 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 oil exploration AI

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Halliburton 187 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 132 Unlock Company Profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 87 Unlock Company Profile
BP 34 Unlock Company Profile
Equinor 17 Unlock Company Profile
Chevron U. S. A. 13 Unlock Company Profile
DataInfoCom USA Incorporated 10 Unlock Company Profile
China National Offshore Oil 8 Unlock Company Profile
Baker Hughes 7 Unlock Company Profile
Shell 6 Unlock Company Profile
Quantico Energy Solutions 5 Unlock Company Profile
ConocoPhillips 5 Unlock Company Profile 5 Unlock Company Profile
Accenture 4 Unlock Company Profile
Black Diamond Oilfield Rentals 4 Unlock Company Profile
Koch Industries 3 Unlock Company Profile
Shell International Research 3 Unlock Company Profile
Genstar Capital 3 Unlock Company Profile
Seismos 2 Unlock Company Profile
CHEVRON 2 Unlock Company Profile
Emerson Electric 2 Unlock Company Profile
Pioneer Natural Resources 2 Unlock Company Profile
Aramco Innovations 2 Unlock Company Profile
Mesquite Technologies 2 Unlock Company Profile
Nabors Industries 2 Unlock Company Profile
TDK 2 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 2 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 1 Unlock Company Profile
International Business Machines 1 Unlock Company Profile
Sumitomo 1 Unlock Company Profile
GoPro 1 Unlock Company Profile
Cenovus Energy 1 Unlock Company Profile
Tachyus 1 Unlock Company Profile
Tata Sons 1 Unlock Company Profile
ChampionX 1 Unlock Company Profile
Baker Hughes 1 Unlock Company Profile
SK Innovation 1 Unlock Company Profile
Boston Consulting Group 1 Unlock Company Profile
ProFrac 1 Unlock Company Profile
Gigabyte Technology 1 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Halliburton is one of the leading patent filers in oil exploration AI. The company’s helps to improve underground, drilling and production workflows through AI and ML. The company entered an agreement with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) in 2022 to develop solutions using the It also offers the LOGIX Autonomous Drilling Platform that uses AI and ML to redevelop declining brownfield oil wells. Some of the other key patent filers in the oil exploration AI space include Schlumbergerand Saudi Arabian Oil.

In terms of application diversity, Koch Industries leads the pack, while SK Innovation and Quantico Energy Solutions stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach BP held the top position, followed by DataInfoCom USA and Equinor.

Oil exploration AI has the potential to emerge as one of the key tools for more targeted exploration of oil and gas by increasing efficiency and safety, reducing costs, and optimizing operations. It helps to transform massive amounts of data produced by oil & gas companies during their exploration and production (E&P) operations into actionable insights.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Oil and 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.