The Global Industrial Gas Business

Published - Aug 2009| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - CHM041C
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for the industrial gas business was worth $63 billion in 2008. It decreased to an estimated $59 billion in 2009, but is projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2% to $76 billion in 2014.
  • Sales in the chemicals and refining-related processing market amounted to $22.7 billion in 2008, and decreased slightly to $22.4 billion in 2009, but are expected to reach $27.5 billion in 2014, for a 5-year (CAGR) of 4.1%
  • The second-largest segment of the market, metal manufacturing and fabrication, was estimated to be worth $17 billion in 2008 and was expected to decrease to $14.5 billion in 2009. It’s projected to grow to more than $20 billion in 2014, for a 5-year CAGR of 6.7%.


This study of world markets for industrial gases provides a critical view of these markets, including demand scenarios. It assesses the role of industrial gases as a key factor in almost all major markets that account for more than 50% of the global gross domestic product. It quantifies demands for industrial gases by category, product type, application, purity, and technology, and the relationships between major consumers and producers.
Focus is placed on major challenges to long-term development of the industrial gas economy and various technologies. These include the various processing stages and how they relate to consumption and demand patterns.  Another objective of this report is to provide a critical evaluation of the current status of industrial gas markets and how recent environmental legislation and technological breakthroughs will affect them.
Two-and-a-half years have passed since BCC published its last analysis of the global industrial gas business. Meanwhile, market conditions have changed, particularly as a result of the global recession that began in 2008. In addition to cyclical economic trends, some markets that used to be considered promising, such as hydrogen-powered vehicles, now seem less promising. BCC therefore considers it important to update the earlier report’s findings and conclusions about the size and structure of the industrial gas market.
The key component of industrial gas production involves separation of air or generation of synthesis gas (syngas), that is, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Carbon dioxide also is the main by-product. While syngas can be produced from any carbon-based feedstock (hydrocarbons, coal, petroleum coke, biomass), the lowest cost routes to syngas, so far, are based on natural gas. Initially, syngas generation technology was applied to the conversion of coal-based feedstocks into syngas. Over the years, however, the technology has witnessed significant improvements in reactor design and product recovery and this has enabled the economic use of natural-gas feedstocks.
Industrial gases are also produced as by-products of other manufacturing activities such as natural-gas processing and steel, cement, and lime production, respectively. Efficient recovery and recycling are also being practiced for hydrogen and helium.
Therefore, the use of industrial gases will continue growing. They will be used to support greener processes in petrochemicals, agrochemicals, and renewable energy production. BCC believes the use of industrial gases will make some significant progress over the next 5 years to 2014 as even more stringent environmental legislation is enforced. 
Keeping the air clean and promoting energy security will be two key priorities for policymakers over this time period. Higher-purity transportation fuels will become mandatory and harmful chemical emissions will be cut drastically. Industrial gases will offer metals producers, electronic component manufacturers, petroleum refiners, specialty chemical manufacturers, and automakers the flexibility to meet international agreements for cleaner products. Therefore, the major reasons for this study are:
  • To assess and quantify the current global industrial gas market and its demands
  • To investigate and evaluate future markets for industrial gases in agriculture, mining/oil, gas, electronic component manufacturing, construction, manufacturing, transportation, utilities, government programs, services and health, respectively, to show how technological advances will affect worldwide industrial gas demand
  • To determine the extent of the impact of industrial gas developments on the petroleum industry, and to identify major trends and shifts in the industry and relate these to future demand for industrial gases.
This study contributes to the diversity underlying the strength of the industrial gas industry. This helps it withstand economic cycles and enables it to stay ahead of general trends, such as economic downturns, by relying on its stronger market segments. Practical realities challenging environmental legislation have resulted from the widespread use of industrial gases in manufacturing. 
Today, many processes require high-quality industrial gas feed (in some cases to chemically combine and thus form new products, and, in others, to provide a reducing atmosphere to prevent oxidation). More recent developments in fuel-cell technology have provided yet another interesting twist to the industrial gas market, now driven by a need for reduced emissions in road transportation. 
Under these conditions, industrial gases offer the potential for making a significant contribution to the global push for clean fuels on one hand, while helping industrialized countries meet international targets on the other. To this end, the study will be useful to:
  • Marketing managers
  • Senior petrochemical executives
  • Gas majors
  • Decision makers from international governments
  • Process licensors and engineering contractors
  • Plant and operations directors
  • Engineering and technology manufacturers and providers
  • Process and technology support advisors
  • Petrochemical and refining management specialists
  • Logistical, supply chain, and e-business specialists
  • Corporate, project and trade finance specialists
  • Strategic planners and forecasters
  • New product and business developers
  • Decision makers from the chemical and energy industries/end users (oil, gas, petrochemical, fertilizer, and chemical companies)
  • Automotive companies
  • Fuel cell developers, as well as government agencies
  • Trade associations
  • Environmental consultants
  • Equipment manufacturers and process designers
  • Hydrogen plant manufacturers and equipment support companies
  • Venture capitalists and those involved in research and development work and academic institutions.
This study presents data on supply of and demand for industrial gases by type, technology, and application in current U.S. dollars for the major global regions. The report starts with an overview describing the importance of the industrial gas industry in relation to the overall global economy. Major products and applications are then reviewed. 
The next section of the report contains a detailed description of current and emerging technologies for the production, distribution, and end use of industrial gases. The government environmental and energy regulation scene is then discussed as it applies to industrial gases, and there are descriptions of environmental regulation changes and the agencies involved.
The core of the report is an analysis of industrial gas market size and segmentation for the 2009 to 2014 time period. The market is segmented by product type, type of end user, application, production technology, purity grade, region, distribution channel, and supply mode (e.g., pipeline, cylinder, etc.).
The report concludes with an analysis of the structure of the industrial gas industry, including major players, market shares, and mergers and acquisitions trends. Patents relating to industrial gases are analyzed in an appendix, while a second appendix contains profiles of companies involved in the industrial gas business.
The findings and conclusions of this report are based on information gathered from industry sources, including manufacturers, distributors, and users of industrial gases. Interview data were combined with information gathered through an extensive review of secondary sources, such as trade publications, trade associations, company literature, and online databases, to produce the projections contained in this report. 
The base year for analysis and projection is 2008. With that year as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2009 to 2014. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among the primary contacts combined with our understanding of the key market drivers and their impact from a historical and analytical perspective. The analytical methodologies used to generate the market estimates are described in detail in the section on market size and segmentation.
All dollar projections presented in this report are in 2008 constant dollars.
This report is an update of an earlier report prepared by Edward Gobina, a research professor in Chemical and Processing Engineering who has more than 15 years research and teaching experience in petrochemical reaction engineering, catalysis, and membrane technology. Mr. Gobina has published extensively, with more than 80 publications in international scientific journals.
The analyst responsible for updating the report is Andrew McWilliams, a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm, 43rd Parallel LLC. Mr. McWilliams is the author of numerous other BCC reports, including SMC024D The Market for Thermal Management Technologies, MC064A Semiconductor/Microelectronics Cleaning, MFG016E Nondestructive Testing, PLS006D The Maturing ESD Market: Challenges and Opportunities for the Future, and CHM020B Catalysts for Environmental and Energy Applications.
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The information developed in this report is intended to be as reliable as possible at the time of publication and of a professional nature. This information does not constitute managerial, legal, or accounting advice; nor should it serve as a corporate policy guide, laboratory manual, or an endorsement of any product, as much of the information is speculative in nature. The author assumes no responsibility for any loss or damage that might result from reliance on the reported information or its use.

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Published - Feb-2007| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - CHM041B

Report Highlights

  • The global industrial gas market was worth $29.2 billion in 2005 and $30.9 billion in 2006. Growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2%, this market will reach almost $40 billion by 2011.
  • Chemical and refining-related processing held the largest share of the market, worth just over 34.3% in 2006 ($10.6 billion) and 33.8% in 2011 ($13.5 billion).
  • The electronics sector has the highest growth potential throughout the forecast period, with a CAGR of 7.2%. By 2011, this sector will be worth more than $6.9 billion.
  • Europe is the largest geographical market for industrial gases, with 34% of the total global market in 2005, dropping slightly to 32% by 2011. Close behind Europe is North America, with 32% of the market in 2005 and 31% in 2011.

Published - Aug-2003| Analyst - Edward Gobina| Code - CHM041A

Report Highlights

  • World industrial gas demand is estimated to be $36.1 billion in 2003. .
  • Rising at an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 7.5%, demand is expected to reach nearly $52 billion in 2008.
  • Chemicals and refining processes should rebound from flat sales.
  • Metal manufacturing will remain the largest market segment through the period, but its share will drop from 15.6% to 14%.
  • Highest average annual growth will be seen in the electronics industry, a robust 11%.
  • Medical applications also will see strong growth through 2008.


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