The specialty oilfield chemicals market is a multi-million market, which includes a wide array of specialty chemicals employed for a broad range of purposes. The major products offered within this market encompass industrial and institutional cleaning chemicals, specialty advanced polymers, pesticides, and construction chemicals among several others. The main purpose of specialty oilfield chemicals is to improve the recovery of oil from the oil-well. These chemicals are utilized during various processes involved in oil recovery from the oilfield such as drilling, exploration, production and maintenance.
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Applications for specialty oilfield chemicals include corrosion inhibition, scale inhibition, pest control, demulsification, foam control agents, emulsifying agents, gelling agents, friction reduction, fracking agents, anti-freeze agents, dispersing agents, etc. These chemicals are used in oilfield functions such as in drilling fluids, well stimulation, oil production, well cementing, oil recovery, work-over and completion. Most chemicals are used for specific purposes throughout the production lifecycle of an oilfield. However, certain chemicals solve more than one purpose, especially surfactant chemicals. Alternately, more than one chemical can be used for a specific function in oilfield applications.
Most of the specialty oilfield chemicals in use today are of synthetic origin. Synthetic chemicals are preferred owing to lower prices, steady availability and customizability. However, there are natural substitutes as well for several synthetic based specialty oilfield chemicals. The natural based chemicals such as guar gum are costlier and limited by seasonal supply. Additionally, farmers as well as governments across the world prefer food crops over such cash crops over lingering food security concerns amongst rapidly growing world population.
The global specialty oilfield chemicals market is primarily driven by the high demand for energy production. Oil is the basic fuel source across the world for most industrial and many domestic activities. Additionally, the current shale gas revolution is expected to further boost demand for specialty oilfield chemicals globally. However, stringent regulations against chemicals potentially harmful for the environment and costly disposal procedures for chemicals after use are anticipated to hinder market growth. Development of new environment friendly products and solutions that comply with regulations laid down by global and regional regulatory authorities might present prospective opportunities for further demand growth.
In terms of geography North America is estimated to be the leading consumer owing to the high growth in the number of oilfield exploration and deep drilling activities. Additionally, the shale gas revolution has instilled renewed vigor in oil extraction and lead to increase in the demand for specialty oilfield chemicals market. Latin America, Eastern Europe, The Middle East, and Asia Pacific are amongst other rapidly growing markets. These markets are characterized by increasing oil exploration and drilling activities owing to rapid industrial growth in the regions. Most of the investment activities are concentrated on expansion into emerging markets such as Asia Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The market players are looking to enhance their footprints in the high growth regions mentioned above and take advantage of lower land and labor costs and lenient regulatory norms. Western Europe is expected to face slower growth amidst economic crises in the euro zone countries.
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The specialty oilfield chemicals market is fragmented with major global players investing heavily in global mergers and acquisitions to consolidate the market. Some of the key market players include Ashland Inc., BASF SE, The Dow Chemical Company, Clariant AG, E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Company, Solvay SA, The Lubrizol Corporation, Akzonobel NV, Baker Hughes Inc. and Kemira OYJ among others.