The authorities at European Patent Office (EPO) have communicated their decision to grant patent to Oil India Limited (OIL) for an invention titled ‘A method for preventing wax deposition in oil wells with packers’.
Securing this first-ever patent grant signifies a major milestone for OIL, especially for its Research & Development (R&D) Unit, which actively develops innovative solutions to oilfield exploration and production problems and has filed few other patent applications in recent years.
The patent grant amounts to recognition of the uniqueness of the solution provided by OIL to the problem of heavy wax deposition in flowing oil wells completed with packers.
The scientists at OIL have studied the problem and attributed it to phenomenon related to severe wellbore cooling caused by evaporation and condensation of liquid in the annulus, also known as ‘wellbore refluxing’.
The solution described in the patent application consists of removing the liquid from the well annulus using a venturi/ejector device. Such a solution is simple, involves one-time operation and does not interfere with well production.
Patent application for the invention was first filed in the Indian Patent Office in February 2014, based on which an international application was filed as per provisions of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
Subsequently, national phase applications were filed in EPO, USA, Russia and China. The EPO grant comes ahead of other offices.
The grant has lot of significance for in-house R&D units of public sector undertakings such as OIL. Apart from showcasing the quality of publicly-funded R&D endeavours, patents offer opportunities for multiple revenue sources through sale or licensing of patented technologies. More importantly, developing innovative solutions in the form of patentable inventions is likely to provide easier and cost-effective access to hydrocarbons.