Refinery process additives are chemicals that are used to improve the fuel performance by meeting the fuel specification enacted by government authorities. Each refinery has its own set of requirements. These are governed by the regulatory specifications of the geographical area for which the oil products are intended, the origin of the crude oil for processing, and their particular refining scheme. All refineries faces the same challenge: increase production to make it as competitive as possible. Refining additives are used to achieve this particular goal.
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Refinery process additives are added during the refining process. They can also be used to convalesce the performance of particular end-product specification such as diesel or gasoline. Refinery process additives can be used or added in various refinery processes such as distillation process, reformer system, cracker, coker, filling plant process, catalytic reforming, desulfurization, and vacuum distillation. The use of refinery process additives is limited to the oil & gas industry. Challenges faced by refiners owing to increasing demand for diesel, stringent environmental legislation for transportation fuels, and changing fossil energy resources are factors driving the demand for refinery process additives. However, high price of refinery process additives, especially in developing economies where price sensitivity is higher for consumers, may limit the market growth.
Depending upon the type, the market for refinery process additives can be segmented into stabilizers, defoamers, antioxidants, antifoulants, catalyst regenerators, biocides, octane booster, cold flow properties, amine solution, cetane number improver, metal deactivators, and lubricity improvers. Antifoulants are capable of reducing the cleaning cost in the refinery and optimizing profitability.
Antifoulants offered by Clariant AG, one of the prime manufacturers of refinery process additives, are a combination of dispersants, antioxidants, metal deactivators/coordinators, and corrosion Inhibitors. These are capable of treating all the aspects of fouling in the industry. In order to enforce a cleaner fuel program, environmental regulators such as the EPA in the U.S. and Euro IV in the European Union have lowered the permissible levels of sulfur in diesel. Emerging economies such as China and India have already implemented diesel sulfur levels standards. This, in turn, has significantly boosted the demand for refinery process additives such as lubricity improvers to restore natural lubricating properties of low-sulfur fuel.
In comparison, regulations against higher emissions in Latin America and Asia Pacific are lenient. This situation is expected to change in the near future, as emission standards are being consolidated due to climate control issues and the reduction in air quality. As a result, the penetration of manufacturers of fuel additives in these regions is anticipated to prove highly beneficial to the market. North America accounted for the major share of the refinery process additives market in 2016.
Recovering oil and gas sector in the region is expected to propel the demand for refinery process additives. It was the leading consumer of refinery process additives in the year. Key reasons facilitating this high consumption rate are higher level of awareness and stringent emission standards and regulations in the region. Increasing consumption of ultra-low-sulfur diesel is a key market indicator driving the demand for refinery process additives.
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Prominent players operating in the refinery process additives market include BASF, Nalco Company, GE Water, Cestoil, Dorf Ketal Chemicals, Clariant, Arkema, Baker Hughes, Albemarle, The Lubrizol Corporation, Chevron Corporation, and Total.
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