The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the need to reduce emissions and improve efficiencies, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, and digitalization. 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: boil-off gas treatment. Buy the report here.
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
Boil-off gas treatment is a key innovation area in oil & gas
Boil-off gas treatment refers to the management and utilization of evaporated gas that occurs during the transportation and storage of liquefied gases such as hydrogen or natural gas. The process involves recovering and treating the evaporated gas to prevent emissions and reduce waste, as well as utilizing the gas as a source of energy or cooling.
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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of boil-off gas treatment.
Key players in boil-off gas treatment – 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 boil-off gas treatment
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Linde plc is one of the leading patent filers in boil-off gas treatment industry. For example, the company’s subsidiary, Cryostar, offers StarLiteLNG for small to mid-scale LNG plants for re-liquefaction of boil-off gas. This offering is based on EcoRel system, which is used to recover boiled-off gas on LNG carriers (Q-Max, for example). Some other key patent filers in the boil-off gas industry include Air Liquide and Air Products and Chemicals.
In terms of application diversity, ITM Power leads the pack, while Samsung Heavy Industries and Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, 8 Rivers Capital held the top position, followed by Hydrexia and ITM Power. Boil-off gas treatment is an essential technology to recover evaporated gas that otherwise would be lost. Advances in boil-off gas treatment technologies would help oil and gas companies to recover boiled-off gas with greater efficiencies as well as help to reduce emissions.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Oil & Gas.