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Global Industrial Gases Industry


Research from Global Industry Analysts shows that the industrial and specialty gas market (a segment of the wider chemicals industry) will reach 11 trillion cubic feet by 2017. The global industrial gases industry continues to weather the inclement economic conditions well. Growth in this sector is fuelled by increased petroleum reserves in emerging markets and investments in infrastructure development. The industry is not as sensitive to economic fluctuations as other sectors due to the breadth of end-user industries.


Global industrial and specialty gases industry players are using a range of strategies and business alliances in a bid to optimize market penetration and boost producer margins. Industry growth is expected to take off after 2012 on the back of a higher degree of economic recovery, along with greater production output fuelled by growing demand as consumer confidence is restored.


The global industrial and specialty gas sector encompasses outfits mainly involved in the commercial manufacture of liquefied or compressed inorganic industrial and medical gases, which are sold on for use in industrial processes and other applications. Featuring among the most-used industrial gases are acetylene, oxygen, helium, nitrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Various mixtures of these main industrial gases are also widely used.


Market Segments


Hydrogen represents the fastest growing segment in the global industrial gas sector, according to research from Global Industry Analysts. Hydrogen demand is being driven by petroleum sector preference for cleaner burning and low-sulfur fuels in the face of rising awareness of environmental issues and government legislation to adopt clean-fuel standards.


As energy diversity becomes an increasingly central issue, demand for oxygen will continue to rise in over the long term. Oil sands projects and gas-to-liquids programs in the Middle East along with coal gasification projects represent huge sources of oxygen demand. After petroleum refining, the next-largest sector for industrial gases remains the metal fabrication and production industry. Expansion in this industry is driven by rising use of electric arc furnaces, advanced production methods requiring industrial gases and rising demand for products manufactured using stainless steel.



Regional Market Share


The US still dominates the global industrial gas sector, reports Global Industry Analysts. However, Asia-Pacific is considered as affording the highest growth prospects, with China and India thought to hold the highest growth potential in the industry. Growth in these countries will be fuelled by the fact that the electronics, food processing and semiconductor industries are increasingly concentrated in these regions, along with extensive infrastructure development. Leading players in the US industrial gas industry continue to invest in acquisitions, franchising of local firms, joint ventures and construction of projects in emerging economies.


The US market for hydrogen as an energy source and a chemical constituent was worth $22 billion in 2010, reports BCC Research. Market growth is expected to reach a yearly rate of 3%, driving the market to almost $26 billion in 2015. The refining segment of the US hydrogen market was worth $9 billion in 2010. The market is forecast to exceed 8% yearly growth to reach almost $14 billion in 2015. Total global hydrogen production as chemical constituent and energy source was worth $120 billion in 2010. Market growth is expected to reach an annual rate of more than 6% to hit $163 billion by 2015.


Russia’s nitrogen production sector serves many other countries, exporting large quantities of nitrogen for use in the production of fertilizers. The country recorded 8% growth in output in 2009, and a strong rise of 104% in nitrogen output in the first half of 2011, reports IndexBox. The majority of oxygen introduced into the country’s market is consumed by the food and metallurgical sectors. Russia’s oxygen production fell slightly in 2009. In the first 11 months of 2011, Russia’s oxygen output reached almost 10 billion cubic meters, up almost 3% on the previous year.



Industry Leaders


Leading industrial gas producers currently operating in the market include Taiyo Nippon Sanso, Air Liquide, The Linde Group, Airgas, American Air Liquide and American Air Liquide.



Market Outlook


The global industrial gas industry is forecast to witness a sharp rise in yearly growth over the long term, exceeding the rate of industrial production, according to research from Global Industry Analysts. Market growth will mostly be fuelled by industrialization of developing countries, rising energy demand, improving healthcare, environment regulations and technology developments. Increased investment in research and development to explore new application areas will also drive the industry forward in the future.



Leading Industry Associations




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