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Data Points Hidden in 23,000 Oil & Gas Research Papers Reveal Top Industry Trends

Lux Research

An analysis of Society of Petroleum Engineers documents indicates an ongoing focus on maximizing reservoirs and highlights partnering strategies, Lux Research says

BOSTON, MA – February 22, 2017 – Oil and Gas technology executives have lost entire teams amongst budget cuts in the past two years. They are now responsible for assessing partnerships at a high level, while also uncovering technology solutions for niche basin issues. An analysis of co-authored papers among 23,000 Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) publications reveals the research focus and partnering approach of the most innovative oil and gas companies. Tapping into the treasure trove of data hidden in these research documents will be vital to helping the industry cope with technical, cost and other challenges, according to Lux Research.

“In our survey, 57% of oil and gas professionals said that research papers often affect business decisions, but most also admitted they only read a handful of papers each year,” said Colleen Kennedy, Lux Research Analyst and lead author of the report titled, “Making Use of Metadata: Analysis of Over 20,000 Oil and Gas Technical Papers.”

“As technology trends from advances in hydraulic fracturing to the rise of digital oilfields affect the industry, operators need a better way to find and analyze the treasure trove of data hidden in these publications,” she added.


Lux Research analyzed about 23,000 technical papers from the SPE to determine the most-used keywords, identify key topics and trends, and top-viewed papers. Among their findings:

  • Enhanced oil recovery targeted. An analysis of top keywords in research papers indicates the industry’s sharp focus on hydraulic fracturing, enhanced oil recovery, and well stimulation in its quest to maximize reservoirs.

  • Collaboration on the rise. A network map for co-authored papers shows distributed collaboration between major service companies and oil and gas operators. Schlumberger, which published the most papers, led with six connections in 2012, and maintained its lead while growing to 14 connections in 2016.

  • Top papers come from diverse sources. While the oil industry is not famed for start-up activity, some of the most-viewed papers, read upwards of 800 times, come from start-ups like MicroSeismic and Ingrain, as well as universities like Texas A&M and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. 

The report, titled “Making Use of Metadata: Analysis of Over 20,000 Oil and Gas Technical Papers,” is part of the Lux Research Exploration and Production Intelligence service.