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Associated Petroleum Gas 2017 / key indicators

Recent Inventions / Brief Overview

Associated petroleum gas is often considered as the undesirable by-product of oil production. However, the development of innovative technologies makes it possible to solve many of the challenges related to it, including environmental compliance and provision of additional economic benefits. The present review provides the latest patent application data, in which the dedication to the technologies of utilization and the conversion of associated petroleum gas into useful products can be explicitly traced. As of the date of this publication, a total of 162 patent documents published in 2017 in 18 patent offices of the world by 108 applicants from 15 countries have been found in this field.

The most popular patent offices in 2017 were the United States' USPTO, Brazilian INPI and Chinese CNIPA. The maximum number of patent applications published a year earlier was also concentrated in these offices.

Distribution of patent applications, published by the top 10 patent offices
Patent office Number of documents Share of total, %

Patent officeNumber of documentsShare of total, %
CIPO (CA) Canadian Intellectual Property Office32
CNIPA (CN) National Intellectual Property Administration2919.3
EPO European Patent Organisation64
INPI (BR) National Institute of Industrial Property2617.3
IP Australia (AU) IP Australia53.3
JPO (JP) Industrial Property Office42.7
MyIPO (MY) Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia117.3
Rospatent (RU) Federal Service for Intellectual Property96
USPTO (US) United States Patent and Trademark Office4530
WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization128

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

Almost half of the patent applications were provided by applicants from the USA, with 16% and 9% of the applications being filed by the residents of China and Saudi Arabia, respectively. Amid the general decline in patent activity, compared to last year's results in this field, the representatives of Saudi Arabia published three times more patent applications in 2017.

In three of the top 10 patent offices (where almost 93% of the patent applications were concentrated) all of the documents were filed by non-residents, these were in Brazilian, Australian and Japanese patent offices. Percentage-wise the smallest number of non-residents was represented in the US (31%) and Chinese (14%) patent offices. Applicants from 9 countries filed their inventions in the Brazilian INPI, 6 countries in the USPTO and five countries in Russian Rospatent.

Distribution of countries of the world by the number of resident applicants in patent applications

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies

In 65 patent applications technical findings proposed by the inventors were aimed at solving the major problem of the associated gas industry – "Environmental and social impact". In 51 patent documents the attention of the authors was focused on the "Low efficiency / Gas treatment" problem. Quite often the inventors also turned to "High OPEX / Equipment and consumables" and "Low efficiency / Production process" problems.

Distribution of technical problems in the patent applications found

Source: Advanced Energy Technologies
LELQ- Low efficiency / Location and quality of gas; LEPP- Low efficiency / Production process; LEGT - Low efficiency / Gas treatment; LEG - Low efficiency in general; HCPP - High cost of production processes; HCEC - High CAPEX / Equipment and consumables; HOEC - High OPEX / Equipment and consumables; AESP - Additional expenses on secondary processes; HCT - High costs of transportation ; HCG - High costs in general; ESI - Environmental and social impact; UP - Unclear problem

Two groups of the WIPO's International Patent Classification prevailed in the bibliographic data of the patent applications: B01D 53/00 - Separation of gases or vapours; Recovering vapours of volatile solvents from gases; Chemical or biological purification of waste gases, e.g. engine exhaust gases, smoke, fumes, flue gases or aerosols; and E21B 43/00 - Methods or apparatus for obtaining oil, gas, water, soluble or meltable materials or a slurry of minerals from wells.

In the majority of cases technological preferences of the inventors were related to the preparation of associated gas and its conversion into liquid fuel (Gas-to-liquid), which totalled more than 60%. To a substantially lesser degree the patent applications mentioned the Flaring process, Gas to power and Underground injection. The rarest cases concerned technological operations of "Associated gas metering", and "Transport and storage".

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 at Advanced Energy Technologies.