U.S. demand for corrosion inhibitors is forecast to rise to $2.8 billion by 2020, according to a new study from the Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry research firm. Growth in demand is projected to be driven by overall economic expansion, with key industries for corrosion inhibitors, such as chemicals and metals manufacturing, particularly benefiting.
The oil and gas market, which remained in a severe downturn entering mid-2016, is expected to see recovery take hold by 2020, leading to greater demand for corrosion inhibitors in drilling and hydraulic fracturing applications. While healthy growth is anticipated overall, the presence of several relatively mature markets, such as lubricant and fuel additives and pulp and paper, will prevent stronger advances.
Evolving trends in water usage, environmental regulations and power generation technology are also predicted to continue to shape the corrosion inhibitor industry.
"Across many industries, users are increasingly recycling water and using lower quality water for cooling towers and other applications while operating at greater cycles of concentration and under more stressful operating conditions," noted analyst Jason Carnovale.
In addition, limits on chemicals in wastewater have been lowered in many locations, motivating users of environmentally undesirable corrosion inhibitors such as phosphates and nitrites to consider more benign alternatives.
Chemical manufacturing will present the most rapid growth in demand over the next few years as the industry benefits from low feedstock and energy prices. The petroleum refining industry, which uses corrosion inhibitors in refinery processes and as fuel and lubricant additives, will remain the largest market for corrosion inhibitors despite below average growth. Corrosion inhibitor treat rates in lubricants and other products will increase in some cases despite market maturity, as lubricants are expected to provide longer change intervals in automotive and other applications.
The oil and gas industry substantially expanded its share of corrosion inhibitor consumption between 2010 and 2015. The industry entered an historically deep downturn as oil prices fell from previous highs in 2014 and remained below the break-even costs of drilling new wells through 2015. A rebound in oil prices is expected to result from falling production as the market rebalances itself in the short term. This will drive a rebound in drilling activity that once again will increase corrosion inhibitor demand at an above average pace.
For more information, visit www.freedoniagroup.com.