World demand for petroleum refining, chemical synthesis and polymerisation catalysts will rise 5.8%/y to US$ 19.5 billion in 2016 according to the report World Catalysts from The Freedonia Group. The growth will result from rising output of the world’s refining, chemical and polymer industries, particularly in developing nations, as well as from an ongoing shift in the catalyst product mix towards higher value, more efficient catalysts. It has been predicted that polymerisation catalysts will exhibit the strongest growth, with rapid gains in the world’s large developing economies, as well as in the Middle East. It is thought that in developed economies, catalyst growth will be moderate, as weak demand for motor fuels will restrain expansion of refining catalysts.
Asia and the Middle East
Asian growth will be led by China and India, and result from rapid industrialisation and expansion of the refining, chemical and polymer industries in both countries. China’s rising income levels, vehicle ownership rates, and industrial activity will all contribute to strong growth in demand for catalysts. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and other large oil and gas producers will continue efforts to expand and diversify their economies by investing in new chemical and petroleum refining capacity.
Central and South America
Brazil will lead strong growth in these regions. The country is beginning to successfully develop its natural gas and oil resources. This will provide a competitive advantage for chemical and polymer producers, while the nation’s large population will provide a strong market for products manufactured with the use of catalysts.
Catalyst demand in North America is also predicted to see healthy growth. This will be largely due to a rebound in chemical and polymer production as companies take advantage of comparatively love natural gas prices, which have fallen from the historical highs observed during the 2006 – 2011 period. The low gas prices are also expected to encourage further development of catalyst technologies involved in converting natural gas to liquid fuels and other valuable products. Demand for refining catalysts in North America will be flat, as motor vehicle fuel demand stagnates due to competition from biofuels and increasing fuel efficiency of the vehicle fleet. Additionally, intense competition in global export markets will strain margins for North American refiners.
Adapted from press release by Claira Lloyd
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