A new study from the Freedonia Group Inc. estimates that U.S. demand for corrosion inhibitors will rise 4.1 percent per year to $2.5 billion in 2017, with volume demand approaching 1.7 billion lbs. This growth will be driven by higher oil and natural gas output, particularly from shale formations, as well as by increasing chemical production and an expanding economy. Additionally, robust increases in construction spending will support demand for corrosion inhibitors used in cement and concrete, industrial coatings, and metal applications. Value growth will also be aided by the introduction of new hybrid products that have functions in addition to corrosion protection.
According to the study, the oil and gas industry’s continued expansion of horizontal drilling and hydrofracturing well stimulation in shale formations will drive increases in corrosion inhibitor demand going forward, especially organic inhibitors. Increasingly caustic water produced by existing oil wells will support higher organic inhibitor usage rates, as will efforts to reuse and recycle water to avoid additional freshwater use. The availability of relatively cheap natural gas will spur faster growth in chemical production, leading to advances in corrosion inhibitor demand in both water treatment and process additive applications.
The fastest growth in corrosion inhibitor demand, albeit from a small base, will occur in concrete and cement additives due to a rebound in construction spending, the study says. Nitrites will benefit due to their popularity for protecting metal rebar in reinforced concrete. Higher construction spending will also support demand for corrosion inhibitors in industrial coatings, particularly as improvements in state and local finances allow for greater spending on infrastructure maintenance and modernization. In a number of more mature markets such as petroleum refining, metals, utilities, and pulp and paper, moderate growth is expected to be supported by an expanding economy. Water treatment corrosion inhibitors account for the greatest share of demand in these markets, though in most cases process and product corrosion inhibitor demand will rise at a faster pace, the study says. Organic inhibitors will be the primary beneficiaries as companies look to develop new products that offer more protection at lower treat rates, and that are more cost effective than existing alternatives. Replacing molybdates, where possible, will remain a top priority as molybdate prices remain comparatively high, and some concerns about their environmental impact have arisen.
The Freedonia Group is a Cleveland, Ohio-based industry market research firm. For more information or to purchase a copy of the full study, call 440-684-9600 or visit freedoniagroup.com.