Does the US Department of Energy further the technology needs related to energy production?

Posted: December 28, 2015

A study looks to provide quantitative data on the influence DOE has had on oil and gas innovations by looking at patent data.

Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions recently tracked innovation in oil and gas patents to look at the role and influence of the US Department of Energy (DOE) in aiding technology needs in the oil and gas markets specifically.  The report assesses the influence that DOE has had on oil and gas innovation by evaluating the extent to which patents that were generated or funded by the DOE have fed into further research and innovation pursued directly by the oil and gas sector.

This study is based on patent data furnished directly by the DOE as well as a larger Deloitte database that contains patents filed between 2006 and 2014. Cross-walking DOE’s non-public data set of 8,003 patents with Deloitte’s proprietary database of 2.1 million patents and over 75 million patent citations, enabled the assessment of DOE’s influence on oil and gas patents.

The analysis revealed the following key findings:

* 8.6% of all patents from major oil and gas firms cite 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 staying power, with a median shelf life of 16.5 years.

* In 2012–2014, there were six non-oil and gas areas which cited oil and gas patents at least 100 times.

* 62% of DOE oil and gas innovations were created by academic and non-profit entities while 5 percent were created by private oil and gas focused firms. The remainder were created by non-oil and gas firms.

The study found that DOE has had  measurable impacts on the oil and gas patent picture, 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 complete Deloitte study may be found on their website .