A total of 72 patent applications were filed by Statoil for inventions in 1998, an increase of 29 from the year before.
The group has never previously sought so many patents in a single year, reports Brit Ragnhildstveit, head of the patent department in Industrial Development (I&K).
However, she believes the number of inventions will decline somewhat during 1999 because of the generally lower level of activity.
The applications span the whole of Statoil's operations, and include new solutions from such companies as Navion, the Borealis operation at Rønningen south of Oslo, Framo Engineering and Offtech Invest.
A common denominator for 1998 is that many of the inventions relate to environmental measures. Twelve involve methods for reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Several applications from Research & Development concern technology for raising the quality of products delivered by various business areas in the group.
Patents being sought also cover a broad range, from hydrogen-fuelled power stations to improved use of catalysts for producing plastic raw materials.
Others concern metering systems for locating the oil/water contact in reservoirs. Equipment placed outside a casing string contains sensors which can measure the movement of this contact by using the reflection of electromagnetic waves.
This will make it possible to shut off zones in a reservoir which are producing a lot of water.
Another patent is being sought by Exploration & Production Technology for an improved method of interpreting seismic data with the aid of "neural networks", or artificial intelligence.
Several applications in this area are related to on-going projects in Statoil, such as the Åsgard development in the Norwegian Sea.