Patent Leaders in Energy

Technology leadership is crucial in energy. But it is difficult to discern. Hence, we reviewed 3,000 patents across the 25 largest companies. This note ranks the industry’s “Top 10 technology-leaders”: in upstream, offshore, deep-water, shale, LNG, gas-marketing, downstream, chemicals, digital and renewables. In each case, we profile the leading company, its edge and the proximity of the competition.

US Shale: No Country for Old Completion Designs

2019 has evoked resource fears in shale, after some E&Ps posted disappointing results, and implied productivity data fell 20% YoY,  according to the EIA’s data.

We find the data-issues are benign. They reflect changes to completion design, as a bottlenecked industry increased its use of cube development and flowback control.

Underlying productivity continues improving at a phenomenal pace. These conclusions are derived from reviewing 350 technical papers filed by the shale industry over summer-2019.

Mero Revolutions: countering CO2 in pre-salt Brazil?

Petrobras, Shell, TOTAL and two Chinese Majors are pushing the boundaries of deep-water technology to develop the Mero oilfield. But the distribution of possible NPV outcomes is very broad, at c$6bn. Challenges remain. The ingenuity required to overcome them should not be under-estimated. Further prizes may be unlocked in the process.

Johan Sverdrup: Don’t Decline

Equinor is deploying three world-class technologies to mitigate Johan Sverdrup’s decline rates, based on reviewing c115 of the company’s patents and dozens of technical papers. This 15-page note outlines how its efforts may unlock an incremental $3-5bn of value from the field, as production surprises to the upside.

Scooter Wars?

E-scooters can re-shape urban mobility, eliminating 2Mbpd of oil demand by 2030, competing amidst the ascent of “electric vehicles” and re-shaping urban economies.  These implications follow from e-scooters having 25-50x higher energy efficiencies, higher convenience and c50% lower costs than gasoline vehicles, over short 1-2 mile journeys. Our 12-page note explores the consequences.

De-carbonising carbon?

Decarbonisation is often taken to mean the end of fossil fuels. But it could become more feasible simply to de-carbonise fossil fuels. This 19-page note explores two top opportunities: next-generation combustion technologies, which can meet the world’s energy needs relatively seamlessly, with zero carbon and little incremental cost. They are ‘Oxy-Combustion’ using the Allam Cycle and Chemical Looping Combustion. Leading Oil Majors support these solutions to create value advancing the energy transition.

Greenfield LNG: Does Exxon have an edge?

For large-scale capital projects in a commodity industry, harnessing better technologies tends to unlock better returns.

Hence this 7-page note evaluates ExxonMobil’s technology for constructing greenfield LNG plants, particularly in remote geographies. Its technical leadership stands out from our analysis of 3,000 patents across the industry. This matters as Exxon progresses new LNG investments in Mozambique, PNG and the US.

ExxonMobil has leading LNG technology for extra-large trains using the APX process, modular LNG units that minimise on-site construction costs, pressure-swing absorption to remove gas-contaminants and efficient gas turbines.

Opportunities should arise for investors in Exxon’s LNG projects, and for its partners, resource-owners and other stakeholders, to ensure that value is maximised.

Shale: Upgrade to Fiber?

Completing a shale well depends on over 40 variables. Each one can be optimised using data. It follows that next-generation data could deliver next-generation shale productivity.

This note focuses on the most exciting new data methodology we have seen across the entire shale space: distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) using fiber-optic cables. It has now reached critical mass.

DAS will have six transformational effects on the shale industry. Leading operators and service companies are also assessed.

Aerial Vehicles: why flying cars fly

Aerial vehicles will do in the 2020s what electric vehicles did in the 2010s. They will go from a niche technology, to a global mega-trend that no forecaster can ignore.

These conclusions stem from a deep-dive analysis into the technology, the fuel economies and the costs, all of which will be transformational.

This 20-page written-insight summarises the evidence, reviewing over 100 different companies’ efforts, checking the equations of flight for leading concepts, and bridging to competitive costs. Aerial vehicles accelerate the energy transition.

Oil Companies Drive the Energy Transition?

There is only one way to decarbonise the energy system: leading companies must find economic opportunities in better technologies. No other route can source sufficient capital to re-shape such a vast industry that spends c$2trn per annum. We outline seven game-changing opportunities. Leading energy Majors are already pursuing them in their portfolios, patents and venturing. Others must follow suit.