Future Market Insights (FMI), in its new publication, offers a perspective on the future trajectory of the global industrial oxygen market for the period between 2019 and 2029. As per the report, global sales of industrial oxygen reached ~380 million tons in 2018, equaling revenues worth ~US$ 45 Mn. With rapid growth in steel production to meet the demand from upcoming infrastructural projects, industrial oxygen manufacturers are hard-pressed to adopt advanced technologies, to enhance their production capacities.
Demand for high-grade industrial oxygen is rapidly expanding in healthcare industry. As governments continue to put emphasis on greater healthcare access in rural communities, the FMI study finds that key market players are working on installing small- and medium-sized separate oxygen generation plants for hospitals in remote areas, to avoid any shortage in critical situations.
Market players have been strategically establishing air separation unit (ASU) production facilities, especially in developing countries, in partnership with local manufacturers. The report suggests that these partnerships aim to address the bulk requirements of industrial oxygen and other industrial gases in a whopping number of steel projects. However, industrial oxygen manufacturing uses tremendous amount of electricity and requires large and sophisticated equipment to separate, purify, and store these gases, which represent a threat to the steady growth of the market.
Key Players Explore Untapped Markets to Drive Sales Opportunities
FMI’s study finds that the industrial oxygen market is likely to grow at a CAGR of ~6% through 2029. One of the recent trends in the market is cracking the code of M&A activities with regional stakeholders to reduce transportation expense and supply loads, which in turn, reduces the overall cost for end users. With variation in the demand from different end users, compressed oxygen gas in single cylinders, which continues to be a low-cost, versatile method of oxygen supply, are likely to witness significant sales even in cost-sensitive markets. However, liquefied oxygen will continue to gain momentum in a multitude of industries, attributing to its high convenience quotient in terms of transportation and storage, irrespective of volume.
According to the study, innovations have been forthcoming for application of high-purity (>99%) industrial oxygen in a number of non-traditional areas. The market has been benefiting from rising demand for food-grade industrial gases that not only comply with the food grade standards but also help maintain the freshness of end products. Further, considering the limiting features of conventional stationary oxygen concentrators for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), market players mainly operating in medical gases sector are working on portable oxygen concentrators.
As industrial oxygen remains critical to the successful operations of a variety of manufacturing processes in steel and chemical industries, significant focus has been placed on the development of large-scale cryogenic air separation technology. Representing revenue share of ~70%, cryogenic air separation process of industrial oxygen continues to witness higher investments and innovations, according to the study.
The study opines that as manufacturing base of the world continues to shift towards developing countries in Asia Pacific where operational costs are relatively low, market stakeholders are directing their investments in setting up production facilities catering to steelmaking and other manufacturing industries. In Asia Pacific, demand for industrial oxygen keeps cropping up in various sectors including pharmaceutical & biotechnology and water & wastewater treatment, providing an added advantage to manufacturers, looking to reach newer consumer bases.
As per the study, ongoing consolidation of key players are creating entry barriers for local players. With the similarities of core businesses, there has been no significant obstacles to mergers for leading stakeholders. However, lack of funding and minimal technology upgradation have restricted the competitive advantage for smaller players. Moreover, manufacturers and suppliers of industrial oxygen will remain focused on establishing long-term supply agreements with end users to stay ahead of the pack.