Deloitte study affirms DOE technology role

Incubation of oil and gas technology by the US Department of Energy has had “a measurable impact” on recent innovation by the industry, according to an analysis of patent data by the Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions.

The firm analyzed a nonpublic database of 8,003 patents from DOE in relation to its own database of 2.1 million patents and more than 75 million patent citations.

The study focused on industry patents from the Deloitte databased granted during 2006-14.

“This timeframe was selected on the basis that it would capture patents that had an impact on the recent past without digressing into academic pursuits,” Deloitte said.

Of the patents from DOE, which the firm said should include “the ‘bulk’ of DOE investments in the oil and gas space,” 7,230 could be matched to the Deloitte database.

The key findings:

• 8.6% of all patents from major oil and gas firms cited at least one DOE-funded patent.

• 55.8% of all DOE patents produced prior to 2006 were cited by at least one oil and gas firm.

• DOE patents have a median shelf life of 16.5 years.

• In 2012-14, there were six areas other than oil and gas that cited oil and gas patents at least 100 times.

• 62% of DOE oil and gas innovations were created by academic and nonprofit entities, while 5% were created by private firms focused on oil and gas. The rest were created by firms other than oil and gas.

Of patents filed by 42 oil and gas organizations in 2006-14, a category labeled “wells” led a list of technology areas companies patented when citing DOE patents. The category attracted 506 citations.

The top DOE patent by citation from private oil and gas companies is entitled “Downhole data transmission system,” published Dec. 30, 2003. It received 78 citations.

With 77 citations each were “Annular wire harness for use in drillpipe,” May 21, 2001, and “Real-time reservoir fracturing process,” Aug. 27, 2002.

The most recently published DOE patent on the top-20 list followed with 71 citations: “Canister, sealing method and composition for sealing a borehole,” June 28, 2005.

“DOE has had a measurable impact on the oil and gas patent landscape, especially considering it contributes substantially to the United States’ energy [research and development] expenditures and often focuses its efforts in areas that experience less patent activity,” the study said.

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