World demand for oilfield chemicals is forecast to increase 6.0 percent per year to $33 billion in 2019 as technological advances and a healthy level of oil and gas exploration and development activity drive gains. While the decline of oil prices in the second half of 2014 constituted a notable setback, the underlying factors that led to rapid growth in chemical demand will foster a strong rebound by 2019 and will continue to support gains thereafter. The best opportunities will exist for products such as advanced drilling fluids and well stimulation chemicals. The need for more environmentally friendly chemicals will continue to impact the market in many countries. These and other trends are presented in World Oilfield Chemicals, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.
Drilling fluids will continue to account for the largest share of demand and will grow at a healthy pace. Drilling in offshore environments, tight and shale formations, and very deep wells have all led to the use of more advanced and higher value oil- and water-based drilling fluids, and well stimulation chemicals, and these factors will continue to contribute to growth. According to analyst Jason Carnovale, “Similar challenges will also drive gains in demand for completion and workover fluids and cement and cement additives.” Cement demand will be supported by the need for value-added cement slurries often used in high-pressure and -temperature wells, while workover fluids will see the best prospects in countries with a large and mature base of producing wells that require maintenance.
While North America will remain by far the largest regional market for oilfield chemicals, the Asia/Pacific region, led by China, will overtake North America as the fastest growing. China’s vast demand for energy will continue to drive the country’s exploration and development of its significant unconventional resource potential, with a particular emphasis on natural gas.