The oil & gas industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by digitalization, analytics, and cybersecurity, and growing importance of technologies such as predictive maintenance, robotics and drones. 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 Internet of Things in oil & gas: gas pipeline network monitoring. Buy the report here.

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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, intelligent predictive maintenance, gas pipeline network monitoring, and smart oil & gas wells are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Oil well surveillance, embedded controllers, and FCEV fuel monitoring are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is inspection robots, which is now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the oil & gas industry

Gas pipeline network monitoring is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Gas pipeline network monitoring entails monitoring and managing the various components of a gas pipeline network to ensure safe and efficient operation. It includes monitoring gas storage tanks, pipelines and equipment, as well as tracking gas consumption and implementing appropriate safety measures.

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 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of gas pipeline network monitoring.

Key players in gas pipeline network monitoring – 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 gas pipeline network monitoring

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Air Products and Chemicals 83 Unlock Company Profile
Air Liquide 80 Unlock Company Profile
Mueller Water Products 53 Unlock Company Profile
Linde 52 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 50 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Motor 48 Unlock Company Profile
Honda Motor 33 Unlock Company Profile
Hyundai Motor 31 Unlock Company Profile
Kia 28 Unlock Company Profile
Kawasaki Heavy Industries 25 Unlock Company Profile
SiGNa Chemistry 22 Unlock Company Profile
Kobe Steel 22 Unlock Company Profile
ITM Power 18 Unlock Company Profile
Hexagon Composites 18 Unlock Company Profile
ConocoPhillips 16 Unlock Company Profile
Brillouin Energy 15 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Heavy Industries 14 Unlock Company Profile
China Energy Investment 12 Unlock Company Profile
Mcalister Technologies 12 Unlock Company Profile
Chiyoda 11 Unlock Company Profile
KITZ 11 Unlock Company Profile
Berkshire Hathaway 10 Unlock Company Profile
Komatsu 10 Unlock Company Profile
Phillips 66 10 Unlock Company Profile
China State Shipbuilding 9 Unlock Company Profile
Snecma 9 Unlock Company Profile
Equinor 9 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 9 Unlock Company Profile
Chart Industries 8 Unlock Company Profile
Fortescue Metals Group 8 Unlock Company Profile
Korea Gas 8 Unlock Company Profile
Arkema 8 Unlock Company Profile
EnBW Energie Baden-Wurttemberg 8 Unlock Company Profile
China Southern Power Grid 7 Unlock Company Profile
H2 Clipper 7 Unlock Company Profile
TATSUNO 7 Unlock Company Profile
REHAU Automotive 6 Unlock Company Profile
Alliander 6 Unlock Company Profile
China General Nuclear Power 6 Unlock Company Profile
China Petroleum Engineering 6 Unlock Company Profile
China National Offshore Oil 6 Unlock Company Profile
China National Petroleum 6 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) 5 Unlock Company Profile
Baker Hughes 5 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 4 Unlock Company Profile
Zhejiang Energy Group 4 Unlock Company Profile
State Grid Corporation of China 4 Unlock Company Profile
Changs Ascending Enterprise 4 Unlock Company Profile
Chery & Wanda Guizhou Bus 4 Unlock Company Profile
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies 3 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Air products is one of the lading patent filers in the gas pipeline network monitoring for the oil & gas industry. It is one of the largest industrial gas suppliers in the world. It also operates pipeline systems located around the world in major industrial locations, where it supplies industrial gases. It has developed a process monitoring and control system to maintain the integrity of its infrastructure. Some other key patent filers in the space include Air Liquide, Mueller, and Linde.

In terms of application diversity, Arkema leads the pack, while Hexagon and Kobe Steel stood in the second and third positions, respectively. The French chemicals company, Arkema, primarily manufacturers specialty materials for industrial applications.

By means of geographic reach, Kobe Steel of Japan held the top position, followed by SiGNa Chemistry and ITM Power. Kobe Steel is primarily a steel manufacturer, which caters to the oil & gas industry through its product portfolio including material for gas pipelines and compressor equipment, and also offers engineering services.

Gas pipeline network monitoring is a critical element in stages of gas processing and liquefaction, as well as last mile distribution of natural gas to the customers. It helps regulate gas flow rates as well as detect leakges.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the oil & gas industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things in Oil & 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.