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Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids Patent Database

  • Database

  • April 2021
  • Region: Global
  • Advanced Energy Technologies
  • ID: 5441162


Hydraulic fracturing technology, which is nowadays used for the enhanced recovery of hydrocarbons from low-permeability reservoirs, became widely used despite the considerable challenges associated with its implementation and critics from environmental organizations. Hydraulic fracturing of plays is preceded by comprehensive exploration involving the most advanced methods, including seismic and electromagnetic, and by drilling numerous vertical boreholes with side branches, which significantly increases the effective area of hydraulic fracturing.

Fracturing fluids used in the process are necessary, and the most important element of successful implementation of this technology. They are designed to perform a set of operating functions, the main of which are the formation and expansion of fractures that improve the permeability of play, and delivery of propping agents into the newly-formed fractures. Depending on the characteristics of the formation to be fractured and the phase of the process, the properties of fluids used for fracking are adjusted over a broad range by changing their viscosity, pH level, friction coefficient, composition and other parameters.

The fluids used in the process are composed of suspension (usually water-based), proppant (usually not exceeding 10%), and special chemical compositions (less than 1%). Besides imparting the properties necessary for fracturing to the fluids, the additives involved also ensure a broad spectrum of auxiliary functions, including preventing the corrosion in metallic components of equipment, limiting scale formation, performing borehole washing, reducing or increasing the effects of other components, controlling the limits of temperature ranges for use or storage of the fluids.

Among numerous different additives, the most widely used are acids, ethylene glycol, salts of sodium and other elements, acrylamide-based polymers, etc. For instance, such additives as polyacrylamide combined with biocides, butanol, and ethylene glycol allow slickwater suspensions to be produced and high velocity of fluid movement in borehole to be ensured. On the other hand, gelled compositions with additives based on cellulose derivatives, boric acid salts, aluminium phosphate-ester and other substances have increased viscosity and are therefore less mobile, but instead they ensure an even distribution of proppants in fluid.

Thus, taking into consideration the diversity of factors that characterize the efficiency of fluids used for hydraulic fracturing, an appropriate selection thereof and, moreover, their object-oriented development constitutes an extremely complicated engineering task that lies at the intersection of several technical disciplines. Also, the process of in-situ hydraulic fracturing itself is a challenging task that requires long-term preparation, special observations, measurements and calculations, timely delivery of specialized equipment and materials, and the availability of qualified personnel.

Developers of novel fracking fluids still have to solve several key problems, the most important of which are: production of environmentally-neutral substances to be used as active additives; reduction of water consumption in hydraulic fracturing process; development of reliable technologies for circulating water reuse; and development of proper digital models and software solutions to determine which specifications are necessary for fluids in a reservoir.

The present database includes the collection of patents and patent applications that propose original engineering solutions in this sector of contemporary energy industry.

Key Highlights

This database contains 13219 inventions in the form of patents and patent applications that were registered in patent offices around the world predominantly since 2001 and were found in the result of a deliberate search on the date of compilation of this database (April, 2021). Technical solutions, disclosed in the patent documents that are included in the proposed database, to a considerable degree reflect the state of the art in development and utilization of hydraulic fracturing fluids. The database also includes several documents published before 2001 and in 2021.

Each patent document in this database contains a list of conventional bibliographical indicators, including original title, English version of title, family size, application date, publication date, patenting office, names of inventors and applicants, document kind (patent or application), number of claims, number of citing, IPC indices, and core document number.

Also, all documents are provided with additional markers - unified indicators that include: technology categories (indicate the applicability of technical solutions to one of the energy industry sectors, as stated by the authors of the inventions); technology elements (indicators with a specific level of detailing for the production process in a particular energy industry sector); problems (technical, economical, ecological and other problems declared by the authors in a patent document); type of technical solution (device, method, composition).

The database contains a number of derived indicators, including applicant statuses, residence of applicants, Unified Indicator Group. Indicators such as patent pending period, prominent patents, applicant's share in the aggregate intellectual property register can be calculated based on the available data.

For the majority of patents and applications rating points are calculated based on the aggregate of bibliographical and unified indicators and the resulting values are shown in the database.

The aforementioned indicators make it possible to: perform a refined search of patent documents located in the database; form group combinations of documents based on specific criteria; quickly visualize collected data by simple operations supported by professional tables. This is also promoted by additionally provided search options - by keywords in patent document titles (Keyword) or by using a full list of IPC indicators assigned to patent family documents (Family IPC pool). To ensure convenience of operations with the database it is also provided with such additional features as Glossary, Overview, Filter Manual, and Explanatory Remarks.

The database also includes a brief statistical analysis of major parameters of patent documents published between 2001 and 2020, represented in the form of diagrams and tables, or lists of patents and applications composed based on selected parameters. The statistical results provided are acquired exclusively using the database under consideration and illustrate its capabilities. In particular, the statistical analysis includes a breakdown of documents by publication dates, by patent families, by patent offices, by residents and non-residents, and by applicant countries.

Statistical analysis includes:

  • Inventions: 12972
  • Offices: 50
  • Countries: 40
  • Applicants: 1692
  • Individual IPC subgroups: 2007
  • Total IPC subgroups assigned: 45059

The main body of the patent documents were registered between 2013 and 2019 with a peak of patenting activity in 2017. With rare exceptions, USPTO (US) patent office annually was the leader by the number of granted patents. However, in the last years maximum number of patent applications were registered in CNIPA (CN).

The highest activity in patenting their inventions was demonstrated by the residents of the USA with a share of more than 60% of the total number of patents granted during 2001-2020. Among other countries whose residents were granted at least one hundred patents were China, the Netherlands, France, Canada and Saudi Arabia.

The most popular IPC subgroup with a share of almost 9% was C09K8/68 - Compositions for drilling of boreholes or wells; Compositions for treating boreholes or wells, e.g. for completion or for remedial operations, containing organic compounds. Compositions as a type of technical solution were mentioned in 60% of inventions; different methods were mentioned considerably less often - in 35%.

A separate portion of the statistical analysis is dedicated to applicants of patent document. It includes the lists of applicants separately for patents and applications, breakdown of applicants' patent documents by offices, by types of technical solution, by problems, by technology categories, by IPC sections.

The list of top 10 most productive applicants by the number of patents includes:

  • Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. (US)
  • Baker Hughes Incorporated (US)
  • Schlumberger Group (Schlumberger Technology Corporation (US), Schlumberger Technology B.V. (NL), Schlumberger Canada Limited (CA))
  • PetroChina Company Limited (CN)
  • Saudi Arabian Oil Company (SA)
  • Sinopec China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (CN)
  • Rhodia Operations S.A.S. (FR)
  • B.J. Services Company (US)
  • Clearwater International LLC (US)
  • M-I LLC (US)

The concluding part of the analysis includes calculated data that allow the resulting patenting trends to be exposed and main conclusions to be drawn. Such diagrams as relationship of number of applicants to number of patents by year, relationship of number of single applications to total number by year, new applicants by year, top new IPC subgroups, and others, are presented here.

Who needs this Database?

This Database under examination serves as one of the variants to monitor advanced technical achievements in the specified industrial sector. The statistical data, rating evaluations and carefully selected patent documents provided in the Database can be of interest for inventors, engineers, researchers, students and educators, as well as for businessmen and investors, who in one way or another are concerned with the problems of the development of unconventional oil and gas production technologies.

Table of Contents

Patent database 2001- 2020 (Excel file)



Filter manual

Explanatory Remarks

IPC (brief definitions of IPC indices used in the Database)

Bibliographical indicators:

  • Document ID (identification number of the document)
  • Family ID (conditional identification number of patent family of the document)
  • Family size (size of patent family of the document)
  • Core documents (patent family document, from which the information was taken to assign unified indicators)
  • Application date
  • Publication date
  • Original title (title of the patent document in the original language, when such is available)
  • English version of title (English translation of title of the document, when such is applicable)
  • Inventors
  • Applicants
  • Patenting office (abbreviation of the office that published the document)
  • IPC subgroups (IPC indices assigned to the document)
  • Document type (patent or application)
  • Number of claims
  • Number of citing (number of times the document was cited)
  • Language (publication language of the document)

Unified indicators:

  • Technology categories (indicate the applicability of technical solutions to one of the energy industry sectors, as stated by the authors of the inventions)
  • Technology elements (indicators with a specific level of detailing for the production process in a particular energy industry sector)
  • Technical solution types (device, method, composition)
  • Problems (technical, economical, ecological and other problems declared by the authors in a patent document)

Derivative indicators:

  • Applicant types (commercial or non-profit legal entities, private person)
  • Residence of applicants (shown in Applicants tab)
  • Unified Indicator Group (group of patent documents having identical set of unified indicators)
  • Rating evaluation (rating score of the document)

Keywords (presence of specific keywords in the original title of the document or its English translation, keyword can be typed in to the header cell)

Family IPC pool (list of IPC indices assigned to all available documents of the patent family of the document)

A brief statistical analysis of major parameters of patent documents published between 2001 and 2020

1.1. Breakdown of documents by publication date
1.2 Breakdown of documents by patent families
1.3 Applicant types
1.4 Breakdown of documents by patent offices
1.5 Countries participating in the patenting process, and the number of documents registered by their resident applicants
1.6 Share of non-resident documents among patent offices
1.7 Breakdown of offices by non-resident applicants
1.8 Breakdown of documents by resident and non-resident
1.9 Breakdown of offices by applicant countries
2.1 List of IPC classes
2.2 List of IPC subclasses
2.3 List of IPC groups
2.4 List of IPC subgroups
2.5 Breakdown of documents by technical solution type
2.6 List of patent documents by groups of identical unified indicators
2.7 List of patent documents by top groups of identical unified indicators with applicant names
2.8 Breakdown of documents by number of different IPC sections
2.9 Breakdown of documents by problems
2.10 Breakdown of documents by technology categories
2.11 Breakdown of documents by technology elements
3.1 List of applicants
3.2 List of applicants by intellectual property market involvement
3.3 List of non-resident applicants
3.4 Breakdown of applicants by offices
3.5 Breakdown of applicants by technical solution types
3.6 Breakdown of applicants by problems
3.7 Breakdown of applicants by technology categories
3.8 Breakdown of applicants by IPC sections
3.9 Breakdown of applicants by combinations of IPC sections
4 Top prominent documents
5 Trends


Companies Mentioned (Partial List)

A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes, but is not limited to:

  • B.J. Services Company (US)
  • Baker Hughes Incorporated (US)
  • Clearwater International LLC (US)
  • Halliburton Energy Services, Inc. (US)
  • M-I LLC (US)
  • PetroChina Company Limited (CN)
  • Rhodia Operations S.A.S. (FR)
  • Saudi Arabian Oil Company (SA)
  • Schlumberger Canada Limited (CA)
  • Schlumberger Group (Schlumberger Technology Corporation (US)
  • Schlumberger Technology B.V. (NL)
  • Sinopec China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (CN)a