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 artificial intelligence, big data, fiber opting sensing, and the Internet of Things (IoT). 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: oil well surveillance. 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

Oil well surveillance is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Oil well surveillance refers to the monitoring and data collection activities carried out in oil wells to gather real-time information about the well conditions, including pressure, temperature, and flow. This surveillance helps in ensuring the safe and efficient operation of the well, as well as optimizing production and identifying any potential issues or risks.

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 150+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established oil & gas companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of oil well surveillance.

Key players in oil well surveillance – 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 well surveillance

Company Total patents (2021 - 2023) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Halliburton 1304 Unlock Company Profile
Baker Hughes 532 Unlock Company Profile
Schlumberger 452 Unlock Company Profile
Weatherford International 240 Unlock Company Profile
China National Petroleum 212 Unlock Company Profile
Saudi Arabian Oil 124 Unlock Company Profile
Welltec 120 Unlock Company Profile
China Petrochemical 118 Unlock Company Profile
Evolution Engineering 65 Unlock Company Profile
Equinor 63 Unlock Company Profile
China National Offshore Oil 60 Unlock Company Profile
Beijer Alma 56 Unlock Company Profile
Geomec Engineering 52 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 46 Unlock Company Profile
Shell 41 Unlock Company Profile
ConocoPhillips 39 Unlock Company Profile
Sensor Developments 37 Unlock Company Profile
Chevron U. S. A. 35 Unlock Company Profile
Prad Research And Development 35 Unlock Company Profile
Upwing Energy 32 Unlock Company Profile
Exxon Mobil 31 Unlock Company Profile
NOV 31 Unlock Company Profile
Akastor 27 Unlock Company Profile
Emerson Electric 24 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 23 Unlock Company Profile
Marathon Oil 20 Unlock Company Profile
Haimo Technology (Group) 19 Unlock Company Profile
APS Technology 19 Unlock Company Profile
Boston Consulting Group 17 Unlock Company Profile
CNPC Chuanqing Drilling Engineering 16 Unlock Company Profile
Essential Utilities 15 Unlock Company Profile
WellSense Technologies 14 Unlock Company Profile
Tendeka BV 14 Unlock Company Profile
Wellstarter 14 Unlock Company Profile
Sandvik 13 Unlock Company Profile
ResFrac 13 Unlock Company Profile
CGG 12 Unlock Company Profile
Eni 12 Unlock Company Profile
Luna Innovations 11 Unlock Company Profile
Yokogawa Electric 11 Unlock Company Profile
Rockwell Automation 10 Unlock Company Profile
Oracle 10 Unlock Company Profile
Saipem 9 Unlock Company Profile
FBGS Technologies 9 Unlock Company Profile
BP 9 Unlock Company Profile
Extensive Energy Technologies Partnership 9 Unlock Company Profile
Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey 9 Unlock Company Profile
Vallourec 8 Unlock Company Profile
HyperSciences 8 Unlock Company Profile
Baker Hughes 8 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Halliburton is one of the leading patent filers in oil well surveillance for the oil & gas industry. It is a leading oilfield services company and offers a plethora of oil well related solutions from reservoir monitoring, well construction, and well completion, to well abandonment. It also offers digital solutions for well surveillance and help optimize production. Some of the solutions offered by the company include Reservoir Monitor Tool 3-Detector, DecisionSpace 365, and Intelevate Platform. Some other key patent filers in the space include Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, and Weatherford International.

In terms of application diversity, Upwing Energy leads the pack, while FBGS Technologies and Eni stood in the second and third positions, respectively. Upswing offers complete natural gas production services to its customers, including assistance in reservoir analysis, project planning, project deployment, operations and monitoring. Its solutions include Enhanced Production Simulator (EPS) and Subsurface Compression System (SCS), which help in well monitoring during gas production.

By means of geographic reach, Weatherford International held the top position, followed by Upwing Energy and Geomec Engineering. Weatherford offers a range of turnkey well construction and completion services . Its ForeSite Sense reservoir-monitoring solutions provide actionable well-related intelligence for the customers.

Oil is extracted from a variety of terrains including land, shallow waters and deep waters. Oil well surveillance with the help of IoT network helps maintain asset integrity, while ensuring production continuity.

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.