Inventors filed a total of 12,062 oil and gas
patent applications in 2013, up a third from 2012 and three
times as high as approvals sought ten years ago.
Mature oil basins are running low on easily recoverable
hydrocarbons and countries are increasingly looking at tapping
fresh domestic resources to cut import dependence.
The search for unconventional sources of energy has been
accompanied by innovations in technology to help improve
hydraulic fracturing or to enter deeper and more treacherous
Around 60 percent of all new oil and gas patents filed now come
from China where 7,243 applications were made last year, Thomson
Reuters data showed.
"(China's) demand for hydrocarbons to power its booming economy
has increased exponentially in the last decade, so much so that
it now far outstrips the U.S. as the most prolific oil and gas
patent-filer in the world," said Gwilym Roberts, partner at
intellectual property law firm Kilburn & Strode LLP.
In the United States total oil and gas patents filed rose 18
percent year on year to 2,188 in 2013.
In Britain, which is at the early stages of exploring for shale
gas, oil and gas patents have halved over the past ten years,
with only 150 applications made in 2013.
(Reporting by Karolin Schaps; editing by Keiron Henderson)
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