Saudi Aramco has doubled its scientific employee base to 1,300, and has greatly increased its patented technologies over the past five years, a Wall Street Journal report revealed.
The Saudi state-run oil company was granted 230 patents in 2017 by the US Patent and Trademark Office, four times as many as the 57 it filed in 2013.
Aramco has also opened nine new research centers including ones in Detroit, Paris and Beijing. The company’s scientific workforce now stands at 1,300 out of 65,000 total – twice as many as it employed five years ago.
Some of the new influx of scientists have been recruited from oil field services companies such as Schlumberger and Halliburton, as well as French automaker PSA Group.
Technologies “provide a competitive advantage … whether it’s for one shareholder or several shareholders,” Aramco’s Chief Technology Officer Ahmad Al-Khowaiter told the newspaper.
Some of the recent patents filed include fluids to break rocky oil formations using micro-particles, a docking station for mobile robots deployed in oil fields and techniques to remove carbon from fuels.
Aramco is also developing robots to inspect underwater pipelines, technologies to aid in unconventional drilling, and new refining techniques for crude-to-chemical extractions.