World demand for chemical synthesis, petroleum refining and polymerisation catalysts will rise 6% per year to $17.2 billion in 2014, according to a new study by the Freedonia Group. This reflects a combination of healthy volume and price growth from a weak 2009 base.
The growth will be strongest in chemical synthesis and polymerisation catalysts, benefiting from rapid gains in the Middle East, Asia and Brazil. While petroleum refining catalyst demand will expand at a healthy pace, advances will be limited due to weak motor vehicle fuel demand in Japan, the United States and Western Europe.
The strongest growth through 2014 will occur in the Middle East, where Saudi Arabia and other countries will continue to invest in new chemical and polymer capacity in order to exploit their natural gas and petroleum reserves. Refining capacity will also be expanded in the Middle East to satisfy the region’s rapidly rising fuel demand. In Asia, China and India will drive rapid growth through 2014, offsetting slower growth in Japan.
Strong growth in Central and South America will be led by Brazil, which is well positioned to expand its regional dominance of the chemical, petroleum refining and polymer industries. This is due to the recent discovery of plentiful natural gas and petroleum reserves off the country’s coast. The US, Canada and Western Europe will also realise gains in catalyst demand, though growth will trail the global average as companies avoid investing in new chemical and polymer capacity due to the mature nature of these markets.
Demand for all types of chemical synthesis catalysts will be strong going forward, though the pace of consumption of enzymes for ethanol production will moderate through 2014 following rapid growth over the 2004 - 2009 period. In polymerisation catalysts, single site and Ziegler-Natta catalysts will achieve the strongest gains. Hydrotreating catalysts will continue to achieve the best growth in the petroleum refining market, aided by the increasingly sour nature of the crude petroleum supplied to the market, as well as efforts by Brazil, China, India and Russia to improve their air quality by the introduction of low sulfur fuels.
Hydrocracking and fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts will also achieve healthy advances, particularly in Asia as the growing motor vehicle fleet stimulates new gasoline and diesel fuel demand.
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