Synthetic lubricants generally include Group IV (Polyalphaolefin – PAO) and Group V (PAG and esters) base oils. As per the API (American Petroleum Institute), Group V base oils include non- PAO synthetic bases, PAG and esters such as diesters, polyol esters, alkylated benzenes, and phosphate esters. Group IV & V lubricant formulated products with additives basically have physical and chemical properties that are generally superior to those of conventional mineral oil–based lubricants. As a result, Group IV & V lubricants are preferred in applications with high performance requirements.
In Europe, only Groups IV and V are classified as synthetics, whereas in North America, Groups III, IV and V are described as synthetic lubricants. Several petrochemical companies have developed processes involving catalytic conversion of crude oil base stock under high pressure and temperature in the presence of hydrogen to form very high-quality mineral lubricants. These oils, which are known as Group III base oils, are so highly refined that their properties almost match that of the Group IV synthetics. Owing to this, these Group III base oils are sometimes counted under the category of synthetic lubricants in North America.
Group IV & V lubricant products analyzed in this study include polyalphaolefins (PAO), polyalkylene glycol (PAG) and esters. The Group IV & V lubricant market by application can be mainly divided into engine oils, heat transfer fluids (HTF), transmission fluids and metalworking fluids. The economies covered in this report are North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Rest of the World (ROW).
Europe is the largest market for Group IV & V lubricants owing to regulatory support and increasing demand for high-end applications. Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest growing market for Group IV & V lubricants due to increasing domestic consumption from the industrial as well as the automotive sector. Developed regions such as North America and Europe are the major markets for Group IV & V lubricants owing to a favorable regulatory scenario and higher consumer awareness. A major driving force for the strong growth of Group IV & V lubricants in the automotive sector have been the promotional campaigns of lubricant manufacturers for their synthetic automotive crankcase and gear oils and the new requirements of automobile manufacturers, especially in Western Europe. The ongoing demand for higher fuel economy also drives the demand for high-quality motor and gear oils. Another important development was the growing use of Group IV & V lubricants as refrigerator oils to provide compatibility with the new refrigerants that have replaced chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). The higher price of Group IV & V lubricants is the major challenge for the further growth of the market. Group IV & V oils are volatile in nature and keep fluctuating in-line with the raw materials. Shipping disputes and supply uncertainties contribute significantly to these price fluctuations. In recent years, owing to growing demand from alternative applications such as plastic, pharmaceuticals, electrical insulation, surfactants, pesticides and detergents, raw materials for synthetic lubricants have experienced volatility in prices.
Kay market participants profiled in this study include Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, Fuchs, Indian Oil Corporation and Total.
- Polyalphaolefins (PAO)
- Polyalkylene glycol (PAG)
- Engine Oils
- Heat Transfer Fluids (HTF)
- Transmission Fluids
- Metalworking Fluids
- North America
- Rest of the World (RoW)