The rapidly increasing number of oil refineries across the globe has served as a stimulant to the growth of refinery catalyst industry, laying out a slew of highly lucrative growth opportunities for market contenders. The O&G sectors expansion incidentally, has also received commendable support via extensive investments in oil & gas exploration and excavation activities globally, leading to a rise in the overall oil production. Reportedly, the total crude oil production worldwide was 81.38 million barrels per day as of March 2018.
The increasing number of oil excavation activities however, has led to a negative impact on the overall climatic scenario, owing to the rise in carbon dioxide emissions after fossil fuel combustion. This has naturally necessitated the demand for catalysts that help minimize the extent of CO2 emissions, thereby augmenting the revenue graph of refinery catalyst market. Quite overtly, the growing concerns among regulatory bodies about the hazardous impact of increasing carbon footprints, increasing energy demand, and the deployment of strict emission control norms have also played a major role in impelling refinery catalyst industry trends.
Currently, most of the modern refineries give preference to high-quality fuel production, leading to the extensive usage of numerous catalysts and catalytic processes. Gasoline for instance, is particularly surging in demand, the anti-knocking characteristics of which are achieved with the catalytic cracking of petroleum fraction. In order to improve the quality of petroleum products, refinery catalyst suppliers have begun to tap technological expertise, deploying innovative technology platforms to accommodate several catalytic processes including hydrocracking, hydrotreating, isomerization, and fluid catalytic cracking. The paragraphs below enumerate a gist of the future technology trends that would impact refinery catalyst market share and the expected influence of the development of various types of catalysts on the growth prospects of this industry.
Refinery catalyst market│ Rising focus on Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) to boost the industry growth
While refinery catalyst suppliers are looking forward to investing in capacity expansions, the implementation of stringent environmental reforms and the shifting trends toward the adoption of other sustainable energy sources have been pushing them toward investing in research and development activities. Additionally, they have also been involved in maximizing processing capabilities, improving efficiencies, and ensuring integration of modern technologies in existing operations. Validating the aforementioned fact, recently, BASF has unveiled its latest fluid catalytic cracking catalyst based on its multiple framework topology (MFT) that helps maintain catalyst activity with its superior selectivity toward butylenes, which would possibly turn out to be beneficial for refineries in terms of profit. In addition, this newly developed technology provides operating flexibility and enhances the octane value of gasoline stream. With this catalyst, BASF has thus set a major benchmark for numerous other refinery catalyst suppliers.
In addition to harnessing the benefits provided by modern technology, leading refinery catalyst suppliers have also been focusing on signing agreements with renowned chemical giants. For instance, in 2017, Clariant inked an FCC Agency Agreement with Sinopec Catalyst Company, China’s largest petroleum and chemical firm, that entailed the chemical giant to supply Sinopec’s FCC catalysts to most of the refineries based in Qatar. In addition, through this partnership, both the companies look forward to drive innovation through sustainability and next-generation low Sulphur gasoline production. This strategy, in tandem with the deployment of strict norms by the Chinese government to limit the Sulphur content in the nation’s gasoline pool are touted to help the Chinese refinery catalyst supplier achieve a dominant position in China.
In order to develop a completely novel portfolio of innovative products, many refinery catalyst suppliers have been putting in their efforts to launch new catalytic systems, basically with the intention of enhancing operational flexibility and production yield to ultimately gain a competitive edge over their rivals in refinery catalyst industry. The authenticity of the aforementioned statement can be justified with the 2016 instance of BASF launching a new catalyst addition system in cooperation with Nol-Tec Europe. The system was touted to reduce the potential risk of new catalyst trials pertaining to its precise, reliable, and easy to use operational capability. The inclusion of the portable Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) Catalyst Addition System in company also seemingly helped BASF improve its operational flexibility as well as production capacity. It is rather overt that the development of unique catalytic solutions and extensive R&D programs will have a lucrative influence on refinery catalyst market share.
Quoting yet another instance, recently, L&T Heavy Engineering received orders of worth 1,600 crore supplying heavy equipment to the petrochemical, refining, and LNG sectors. The order comprises fluid catalytic cracking reactors, hydro-cracking reactors, ethylene oxide reactors, and regenerator systems. Powered by a strategic edge in technology and scale, heavy equipment companies are thus consolidating their stance in refinery catalyst industry.
Refinery catalyst market│ Hydrocracking to emerge as a prominent refining process
Hydrocracking is also one of the popular types of hydro processing which has been gaining traction in refinery catalyst market to develop high quality hydrocracking catalysts. Taking into account the surging demand of hydrocracking catalysts, most of the refinery catalyst suppliers have been attempting to foray into the hydrocracking domain as well, aided by a slew of growth strategies. For instance, Sinopec Fushun Research Institute of Petroleum and Petrochemicals (FRIPP), Sinopec Catalyst Co (SCC), and Albemarle Corporation (ALB) have signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) recently in a bid to become major suppliers of hydrocracking pre-treat and hydrocracking catalysts. It is expected that the collaboration would enhance heavy feedstock hydrocracking which would be used in refining companies across the globe.
Major energy companies have been found to be making extensive investments in the development of refinery projects across the globe, which would generate lucrative opportunities for refinery catalyst market players. Merely a few months before, the South Korea based firm Hyundai Engineering Co., signed a procurement and construction agreement with the Thai energy company, Bangchak Corporation Public Company Ltd. Through this agreement, the South Korean company will replace old hydrocracking units and build continuous catalyst regeneration reformers. This newly projected facility worth USD 273.2 million would enhance the refinery capacity from 25,000 barrels to 27,500 barrels per day, which could help Thai government to fulfill energy requirement for numerous service stations. In addition to Thailand, Hyundai Engineering had also built a refinery project across Malaysia. The growing involvement of energy companies in oil exploration activities and the expanding oil refining market will have a remarkable influence on refinery catalyst industry outlook over the years ahead.
The rapidly shifting focus of the energy companies, refinery catalyst suppliers, and regional governments toward the development of modern-day technological developments is certain to transform the dynamics of refinery catalyst industry in the ensuing years. As refinery catalyst suppliers up their ante and tap innovative technologies for improving their flexibility and production capability, the market is certain to be flooded with a plethora of highly advanced catalyst ranges. Aided by a stringent regulatory frame of reference, in tandem with the ever-increasing oil demand across the globe and the implementation of out-of-the-box growth tactics by refinery catalyst suppliers for product development, refinery catalyst market is certain to emerge as a highly progressive vertical. As per reliable estimates, global refinery catalyst industry size has been forecast to cross USD 5.8 billion by the end of 2025.
Global Market Insights, Inc. has a report titled “Refinery Catalyst Market Size By Type (Fluid Catalytic Cracking, Hydroprocessing [Hydrotreating, Hydrocracking], Alkylation, Reforming & Isomerization), By Material (Zeolite, Metal, Chemical Compound), Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook (U.S., Canada, Germany, UK, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, China, India, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait), Growth Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2018 – 2025” available at