Useful utilization of associated petroleum gas, instead of just flaring it, is an important issue in today’s energy industry, both in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the environment and the efficient use of natural resources. Despite the massive efforts of governments, environmentalists, oil companies and other concerned participants, the total volume of associated petroleum gas being flared around the globe has been increasing in recent years. According to Global Gas Flaring Reduction data, about 150 billion cubic metres of gas is being flared annually in the world, which is approximately 4% of the total annual volume of natural gas production. However, there is a consistent trend of decline in this process. Specific volume of gas flared per one barrel of oil produced around the globe has dropped by more than 13% during the last seven years. Apart from organizational and administrative measures in different countries, this process is heavily influenced by innovative activities of participants, including developing state of the art technical solutions.
Below is a patent activity review for key applicants in the field of associated petroleum gas utilization. The present review is based on the analysis of patent applications filed to the leading patent offices of the world in 2016.
In total, 217 patent applications were found in 2016, filed by 79 applicants – residents of 16 countries. The following table represents the top 10 applicants:
|Status||Country||Name||Average Rate||Total 2016|
|Company||US||Dow Global Technologies, LLC||6||35|
|Company||US||ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company||7.3||18|
|Company||US||Siluria Technologies, Inc.||9.9||12|
|Company||DK||Haldor Topsoe A/S||7.1||8|
|Company||NL||Shell Internationale Research Maatschappij B.V.||7.8||8|
|Company||US||ExxonMobil Chemical Patents, Inc.||7.8||4|
|Company||US||Pioneer Energy, Inc.||9.5||4|
|Company||US||Biospan Technologies, Inc.||6||3|
|Company||US||ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company||8||3|
The diagram below represents the structure of technological interests of the companies from the top 10 list, as defined from the texts of the documents filed.
In more than 60% of cases the companies from the top 10 list represented their inventions in the form of technological methods, while Siluria Technologies Inc., Dow Global Technologies and LLC Pioneer Energy Inc. filed the largest number of patent applications that essentially comprise materials and compositions.
Dow Global Technologies, LLC, who are top of the list above, filed its patent applications in five different patent offices – USA, Mexico, Argentina, China and the European Patent Office. ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company has chosen to file its documents in eight patent offices – Brazil, China, USA, Argentina, Singapore, the European Patent Office, Mexico and Australia.
column in the table above displays an aggregate bibliographical patent document rating, which evaluates documents by the sum of their bibliographical parameters, which include the number of registered claims, document type, problems declared in the description, technological belonging, and many others.Average RateIn addition to the top six companies from the table above and the ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company, the highest activity among non-residents was shown by Gazokhim Tekhno (RU), Greyrock Energy Inc. (US) and Johnson Matthey Plc (GB). The
FP – Flaring process; GTL – Gas to liquid; GTP – Gas to Power; P – Preparation; TA – Transport and storage; UI – Underground injection
In their inventions, the majority of companies described technical solutions related to the technologies of liquid fuel production from gaseous feedstock (Gas to liquid). BIOSPAN Technologies, Inc. dedicated all its inventions to the technologies of injection of associated petroleum gas into underground oil bearing formations (Underground injection), ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company - to the issues of associated petroleum gas flaring (Flaring process). ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, more than others, concerned issues related to the processes of gas conversion into electrical energy (Gas to Power).
More detailed information on the methodology as well as on the results of patent researches in the most important fields of contemporary energy industry can be found on www.aenert.com