FCC Catalysts: Key to Bridging the Gap between Supply-Demand

Plant operators are under increasing pressure to increase oil production capacities as global energy demand continues to soar. Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) remains the preferred method of conversion in oil refineries as it not only produces gasoline with high octane rating but enhances the volume of production. FCC catalysts have been extensively adopted by numerous leading refinery and catalyst companies across the globe.

In its new study, Transparency Market Research (TMR) sheds light on the key trends influencing the FCC catalyst market, including analysis on factors that can influence demand-supply. Considering the evolving nature of the FCC catalyst industry, it is pertinent for stakeholders to understand how subtle developments can lead to massive transformations in the future.

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How Growth has Unfolded in the FCC Catalyst Market

The fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) process has been deployed for over 60 years now, and has been incessantly evolving ever since. It has aptly substituted the primitive thermal cracking method, with its ability to produce premium quality gasoline. This technique forms the bedrock for the petroleum industry, since it is extensively used for the production of commodity fuels and platform chemicals.

The Middle East continues to lead the bandwagon of the FCC catalyst market, as a majority of countries in the region are heavily reliant on oil economy. Oil production and sales account for a significant percentage of GDP for Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. As a result, demand for FCC catalysts from Middle East has remained significant over the years. Driven by all these factors, Transparency Market Research (TMR) opines that the FCC catalyst market will attain a valuation of over US$ 3,300 Mn by the year 2027.

How Key Trends are Influencing the Strategies of FCC Catalyst Industry

Strategic Acquisitions to Build Growth Blocks

Stakeholders in the FCC catalyst market continue to bank on new product innovation. To do so, they are relying on strategic acquisitions that help them gain an edge in terms of production capacities and new technologies. For instance, in January 2018, Clariant, a giant in specialty chemicals, entered into two key agreements with SINOPEC, a prominent chemical and petroleum company in China. This first agreement will enable Clariant to enhance its catalyst product portfolio to commercially produce low sulfur gasoline. On the other hand, the second agreement offered Clariant Qatar W.L.L. to be a representative of SINOPEC’s FCC catalysts for the oil refineries in Qatar.

Rise in Capital Investments to Expand Market Precincts

Another key trend in the FCC catalyst market on the rise in capital spending in oil and gas industry and petroleum refining activities. Governments are following the capital trail in the industry, and are increasing their capital investments on refining activities. Manufacturers have realized the call for a dynamic capital approach that demands reprocessing non-core assets to increase capital investments. For instance, W. R. Grace & Co. entered in an investment framework agreement with KazMunayGas (KMG), and in Kazakhstan under which it will provide FCC catalysts to KMG’s refineries and also offer investments to construct FCC catalyst laboratory in Kazakhstan.

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Maximum Middle Distillation Continues to Remain Preferred

The FCC catalyst market is witnessing continuous innovation, with maximum middle distillates taking the center stage. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has mandated ships to switch to low-sulfur fuels. Consequently, refineries are geared to enhance their production capacities for maximum middle distillates. Although there is uncertainty regarding the production of extra IMO-compliant shipping fuels, new regulations have significantly intensified the growth of this segment.

New Product Launches to Foster Growth in Asia Pacific 

In the past few years, Asia Pacific has emerged as a key region for the growth of the FCC catalyst market, and product innovations have played a significant role in this. A recent development in the Asia Pacific’s FCC catalyst market is the launch of Fortress™ NXT FCC catalyst by BASF which tremendously enhances the output and reduces side reaction. Prominent enterprises in China that are expanding their operations along the oil supply chain are SINOPEC, China National Petroleum Corporation, and China National Offshore Oil Corporation. Moreover, the oil and gas industry in Asia Pacific is gaining traction with as it is a major factor contributing to its GDP growth.

A Glance at the Competitive Landscape

The FCC catalyst market remains highly competitive, characterized by strong expansionist strategies of a number of players. Existing players in the market have established their base by adopting robust marketing strategies, such as creating brand awareness and tapping into regional markets. That being said, new entrants are gradually expanding their footprints by increasing their production capacities and strengthening the product portfolios. However, they may have to contend with a few bottlenecks while climbing the ladder because of the pressing need to meet various government regulations pertaining to the production of chemicals.

Prominent companies in the market own their differentiated brands, which serves as a focal point for suppliers. Moreover, less availability of alternatives enhances the growth prospects of suppliers. On the other hand, buyers in the market may bear the brunt of high costs. This is because the number of oil refineries exceeds the number of manufacturers, thus weakening the bargaining power of buyers. However, they could gain an edge in the market with the better understanding of catalysts.

The top four companies in the market accounted for over 80% of the market share in 2018. Prominent companies in the market, such as WR Grace & Co-Conn and BASF SE, have a strong presence in developing countries such as China, India, and the UAE. This is because there is an easy accessibility to raw materials in these regions, thus reducing the outsourcing and transportation costs.

fcc catalysts market segmentation

 

The Analyst Speaks

New product innovations and technological developments have circumvented the growth of the FCC catalyst market’s growth. The industry derives strength from the high demand for fuels and the expansion of refinery capacities. There has been a paradigm shift towards cleaner fuels, which is also a result of the regulatory framework laid down pertaining to the use of chemicals. This has filliped the sales of FCC catalysts in the commercial and industrial sectors. 

Rising industrialization across the globe has supported the growth of the oil and gas sector. It has led to a subsequent rise in crude oil activities. This has translated into the market growing as a stable business for the importers and exporters of crude oil. Report authors are of the strong opinion that, in the near future, the market is bound to witness tremendous growth, as the demand for synthetic zeolites has gained remarkable momentum.

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Market Description

  • Fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) is one of the major conversion technologies used in the oil refinery industry
  • Growing demand for petroleum based products followed by government norms related to sulphur recovery is expected to drive the demand for FCC catalyst
  • Concerns regarding minimization of sulphur dioxide emissions from oil refineries has boosted the demand for refinery catalyst including FCC catalysts
  • Increasing crude refining activities in Asia Pacific is expected to benefit the demand for FCC catalyst in the near future
  • FCC catalyst is used in petroleum refining operations to remove impurities, such as nitrogen and sulfur, from crude oil or decrease their amount
  • Demand for FCC catalysts has been rising over the last few years owing to implementation of stringent regulations on fuel across the globe
  • Consumption of FCC catalysts is estimated to increase at a significant pace across the globe during the forecast period 

Stringent Environmental Regulations

  • The European Union Refining Forum has planned regulatory proposals that impacts the refining industry and the European Union’s secure supply of petroleum products
  • It has been widely proposed by the European Union countries, the European Parliament, and the European Commission. This is expected to drive the demand for FCC catalyst for gasoline sulphur reduction during the forecast period.
  • The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Act of 2004 has enforced laws to assess potential impacts (positive or negative) of a proposed crude refining project on the environment
  • The Gulf Environmental Partnership and Action Program (GEPAP), a newly proposed initiative, aims to preserve and protect the Gulf waterway and promote its long-term sustainable development. Increase in regulatory control is a global issue faced by all refiners.
  • Such regulatory controls include lead removal, emissions regulations, and ‘U.S. Environmental Standards’ such as gasoline quality with respect to oxygenates, vapor pressure, octane, distillation, olefins, benzene, aromatics, and sulfur.

Increase Yield through Maximum Middle Distillation Process to Drive FCC Catalyst Market

  • Expansion of refinery capacities can be one of the major opportunities for the global FCC catalysts market
  • Demand for maximum middle distillates is increasing in refining applications due to high demand for weight saving to reduce fuel consumption.
  • Increasing middle distillates consumption in Europe is expected to continue in the future, while the demand for gasoline is likely to decrease. This has resulted in an imbalance between demand and supply for middle distillates and gasoline in Europe; therefore refiners face challenges to increase the gas oil-to-gasoline ratio in the refinery
  • High demand of products obtained from middle distillates is expected to drive the consumption of FCC catalyst in the next few years

High Production Cost of FCC catalyst to Restrain Market

  • The production cost of FCC catalyst depends on key factors such as cost of power, cost of raw materials, cost of labor, and cost of transportation
  • The production process is power intensive as it requires high temperatures and high power; therefore, the production cost is high
  • High production cost and market volatility are projected to hamper the FCC catalyst market
  • Several governments have imposed stringent regulations on crude refining for curbing harmful gases such as nitrogen and sulfur. It ultimately hampers the production cost of FCC catalyst.

Growth of Crude Refining Industry to Create Lucrative Opportunities in FCC Catalyst Market

  • Planned and upcoming greenfield and brownfield refineries is expected to benefit the demand for FCC catalyst during the forecast period
  • Increase in the demand for crude refineries is anticipated to propel the FCC catalysts market in the near future
  • Additionally, stringent environment-related regulations in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, China, and India are likely to drive the FCC catalyst market in these countries in the next few years
  • WR Grace & Co-Conn has engaged in innovations in FCC catalyst technology, which has allowed the Puertollano FCC unit to better adapt to the changing production scenarios
  • Synthetic zeolites manufactured by using FCC catalyst are widely used to convert high-boiling, high-molecular-weight hydrocarbon fractions of petroleum crude oils into valuable products such as gasoline and olefin gases.

Asia Pacific Constituted Major Share of Global FCC Catalyst Market in 2018

  • Based on region, the global FCC catalyst market has been divided into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa
  • In Asia Pacific, China is a major user of FCC catalysts, followed by India, Japan, South Korea, and Malaysia
  • Asia Pacific dominated the global FCC catalyst market in 2018, as the region is a chemical refining and industrial hub
  • The FCC catalyst market in Asia Pacific is anticipated to expand at a significant pace during the forecast period due to the rise in demand for crude refining products in the region, especially in developing countries such as China and India.

Few Large Players Operate in Global FCC Catalyst Market

  • The global FCC catalyst market is highly competitive. WR Grace & Co-Conn, BASF SE, and China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation jointly constitute more than 50% of the market of the global FCC market
  • Other players operating in the global FCC catalysts market are:  Albemarle Corporation, Haldor Topsoe A/S, JGC Catalysts & Chemicals Co., Ltd., Clariant International Ltd., ReZel Catalysts, Anten Chemical Co., Ltd., SINOCATA, and Yueyang Sciensun Chemical Co., Ltd.

A new study published by Transparency Market Research (TMR) on the FCC catalyst market, offers key insights on the past and current trends that are shaping the future of the FCC catalyst market. The study further analyzes the growth scenario in the market based on the business strategies adopted by prominent players and consumer demand. It emphasizes the impact of the environmental regulations and the recent technological developments on the FCC catalyst market during the forecast period of 2019 to 2027.    

The study aids the readers in analyzing the prominent growth pockets in the FCC catalyst market that may help stakeholders take pertinent business-related decisions in the foreseeable future. The FCC catalyst market study delves deeper into the key growth prospects that may circumvent the market’s future. Moreover, it enables the readers to understand the growth strategies adopted by the incumbent players, and walks them through how the FCC catalyst market will unfold in the near future. 

Through this report, readers can gain comprehensive information on the growth potential of the FCC catalyst market in different geographical sections, and the drivers contributing to growth. It provides incisive analysis of the new opportunities that may turn the tide in the FCC catalyst market space. 

What are the Key Questions Answered in TMR’s FCC Catalyst Market Report? 

TMR’s study provides detailed information about the market dynamics of the FCC catalyst market based on the strategic developments and opportunities in the prominent regions that contribute toward fortifying market growth. The statistics and information provided in the FCC catalyst market report answers significant questions that help key enterprises expand their precincts in the market. A few of these questions are listed below: 

  • What are the strategies adopted by new entrants that may pose a challenge to incumbent players?
  • How will the regulatory scenario of the market impact product development in the FCC catalyst market?
  • How are newly developed technologies impacting product sales?
  • How have changes in the market trends impacted the key strategies adopted by prominent players in the FCC catalyst market?
  • Which factors have contributed to the FCC catalyst market’s growth in emerging nations?
  • What techniques are incorporated by FCC catalyst market players to penetrate regional markets? 

FCC Catalyst Market Report: Research Methodology 

TMR analysts have conducted in-depth market research to provide exclusive data about the developments in the FCC catalyst market. For this, analysts have relied on numerous primary and secondary research resources that give a better understanding of the current market scenario and the demographical changes in the FCC catalyst market. 

To gather pertinent information about current market trends, analysts have interviewed leading stakeholders and the CEOs of prominent companies in the FCC catalyst market. This information collected from the primary sources acted as a valid source to determine the growth prospects and challenges in the market. These industry experts also helped the analysts acquire vital information pertaining to the investment strategies, mergers and acquisitions, and strategic collaborations in the FCC catalyst market. 

To support the information gathered from primary sources, analysts derived information from reliable secondary sources. The secondary sources used to formulate the report on the FCC catalyst market include the U.S. Geological Survey, World Bank Commodity Price Data (The Pink Sheet), OPEC Annual Statistical Bulletin, and others. This information has helped in assessing significant market figures, such as the volume of sales and the revenue generated from each application.

Prominent Segments of the FCC Catalyst Market 

According to TMR’s report, the FCC catalyst market is divided into three broad categories based on product type, application, and region. The report talks about how each segment contributes to the growth of the FCC catalyst market, and provides comprehensible information about the evolution of each segment.

TMR’s report provides information about the revenue generated from each segment based on regional and global markets. It offers insights on the demand-supply trend and pricing analysis, along with the value share analysis of each segment in the FCC catalyst market.

Product Type

Gasoline Sulfur Reduction

Maximum Light Olefins

Maximum Middle Distillates

Maximum Bottoms Conversion

Others

Application

Vacuum Gas Oil

Residue

Others

Region

Asia Pacific

Middle East and Africa

North America

Europe

Latin America