• 3 minutes China has *Already* Lost the Trade War. Meantime, the U.S. Might Sanction China’s Largest Oil Company
  • 7 minutes Saudi and UAE pressure to get US support for Oil quotas is reportedly on..
  • 11 minutes China devalues currency to lower prices to address new tariffs. But doesn't help. Here is why. . . .
  • 15 minutes What is your current outlook as a day trader for WTI
  • 4 hours Domino Effect: Rashida Tlaib Rejects Israel's Offer For 'Humanitarian' Visit To West Bank
  • 5 hours In The Bright Of New Administration Rules: Immigrants as Economic Contributors
  • 5 hours Will Uncle Sam Step Up and Cut Production
  • 3 hours Gretta Thunbergs zero carbon voyage carbon foot print of carbon fibre manufacture
  • 4 hours Continental Resource's Hamm wants shale to cut production. . . He can't compete with peers.
  • 7 hours Trump vs. Xi Trade Battle, Running Commentary from Conservative Tree House
  • 1 day US Petroleum Demand Strongest Since 2007
  • 9 hours NATGAS, LNG, Technology, benefits etc , cleaner global energy fuel
  • 1 day Movie Script: Epstein Guards Suspected Of Falsifying Logs
  • 17 hours Significant: Boeing Delays Delivery Of Ultra-Long-Range Version Of 777X
  • 17 hours Why Oil is Falling (including conspiracy theories and other fun stuff)
  • 23 hours Strait Of Hormuz As a Breakpoint: Germany Not Taking Part In U.S. Naval Mission
Alt Text

The U.S. Plans To Send Nuclear Reactors To Space

Despite the nuclear industry stumbling…

Alt Text

Low Solar Panel Prices Spark Surge In Adoption

Solar energy is experiencing a…

Alt Text

U.S. Sanctions Backfire, Lead To Boost In Russian Oil Exports

U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and…

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana Paraskova

Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews. 

More Info

Premium Content

Statoil Sues Researcher For Allegedly Stealing Secret Frack Tech

As the no-holds-barred race to advance fracking technology intensifies, Norway’s Statoil finds itself on the front line as it sues its former researcher for allegedly stealing trade secrets in the U.S.

Statoil – which is developing its own hydraulic fracturing technologies in the U.S. – is suing a former chief technology officer of one of its units for allegedly absconding with trade secrets and then trying to patent proprietary Statoil technology.

Statoil claims the inventor breached confidentiality agreements, stole intellectual property, and set up a competing business trying to poach the state-run company’s clients.

The Norwegian oil and gas major was one of the early foreign buyers into U.S. shale plays, striking a strategic partnership with Chesapeake back in 2008. Since then, the Norwegian oil and gas major has been working on developing its hydraulic fracturing technologies in the U.S.

Last year, Statoil’s U.S. unit Statoil Gulf Services LLC set up a subsidiary, Reveal Energy Services Inc, to sell hydraulic fracturing technologies invented by its scientists and engineers.

Statoil had appointed Matthew Dawson, a researcher who had developed many of the inventions, as chief technology officer at the new unit, but now Statoil’s U.S. units are suing Dawson – who had resigned in January – and his wife, Jin Dawson, for allegedly trying to patent proprietary Statoil technology, breaching confidentiality agreements and trade secrets, and setting up a competing business. Related: EIA Reports Minor Build In Crude Inventories, Draw In Gasoline Stocks

Reveal Energy Services Inc and Statoil Gulf Services LLC filed a lawsuit with the Texas Southern District Court on February 13 against Matthew Dawson, Jin Dawson and Axiom Genesis Inc, the company Matthew Dawson had founded.

During his time working for Statoil, Dawson invented or co-invented fracking methods patented by Statoil, including the Image Frac technology at issue in the suit, according to Law360, which quotes the complaint. The Image Frac trademark is owned by Statoil Gulf Services LLC.

According to Statoil’s claim, while at the U.S. units of the company, Dawson also developed a technology of proppant mapping, which uses surface pressure gauges to decide where to inject particulates into the rock for raising production efficiency. Statoil also claims that Dawson had fed the technology to his wife, who has filed for a patent in her name. Statoil’s lawsuit also claims that Dawson tried to use the pending patent application as leverage to get a stake in Statoil’s Reveal Energy Services, and promised to assign the patent application to Statoil if the company agreed to give him an interest in Reveal. But Statoil refused, and Dawson allegedly copied trade secrets to an external hard drive, thus breaching intellectual property agreements, the company says in its lawsuit.

According to Law360, Statoil said in the claim:

“Dawson is using the stolen confidential information and trade secrets to fuel his ongoing efforts to compete directly against Statoil/Reveal based on their own technology... Moreover, Dawson is actively meeting with Statoil/Reveal’s current and potential customers for the purpose of poaching their business and undermining Statoil/Reveal’s strong position in the marketplace for Dawson’s own personal financial gain.” Related: This Is Where Oil Majors Expects The Next Big Efficiency Jump

Statoil chief litigation counsel Thomas Gottsegen told Law360: “As a general rule, Statoil does not comment on pending litigation. Statoil’s complaint speaks for itself.”

According to intellectual property specialists, technology and inventions developed under company payroll would clearly be company property, but the trade secret case is complicated by the fact that Matthew Dawson’s wife Jin Dawson holds a doctorate in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Houston Chronicle reports.

So Statoil has to submit evidence in court that Mrs. Dawson could not have invented and did not invent the technology she is seeking a patent for.

“That seems like a difficult thing to prove. It would be different if she were, say, a plumber,” Joe Ahmad, a Houston trial lawyer who handles trade secret cases, told the Houston Chronicle.

The lawsuit is only in its initial stage and it will be months, or probably years, before courts rule on the case, or the parties manage to reach an out-of-court settlement.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Josh Jones on February 25 2017 said:
    Statoil has no trade secrets to steal. They have high IPs because they lease prime ground and pump a shipload of econo-prop downhole. Anything beyond that is just marketing and the lawyers wanting their cut.
  • Brian Bancroft on February 26 2017 said:
    As an insider to this case, I can tell you that Statoil's suit is completely fabricated with 98% blatant lies and 2% twisted truths to defame Dawson. They are jealous of his new technology that blows his old stuff out of the water and is a game changer to the industry. Statoil wants to bankrupt Dawson and stop his newest venture before it gets going simply out of spite that he left the company because of Statoil's corrupt business practices.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play