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Nowalk, Conn. — According to a soon-to-be-released report from Business Communications Co. Inc., RC-237 World Industrial Gas Business, the global market for industrial gases is currently estimated at $36 billion. The market is expected to reach nearly $52 billion by 2008, thereby growing at an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 7.5 percent through the forecast period.
This will be a result of the worldwide manufacturing sector using huge quantities of industrial gases for the production of environmentally cleaner products such as food and fuels and to upgrade increasing supplies of heavy crude oil. Applications for glass production, steel, nonferrous and new materials processing also will help drive demand. Clean energy alternatives also will represent a major opportunity. Consumption of gases for renewable energy applications is expected to increase at an AAGR of 17.3 percent as commercialization intensifies.
The downturn in worldwide chemical industry activity has hurt gas sales, and prospects have been dimmed even more by drastic cutbacks in new chemical projects that gas companies need for growth. Growth will resume by 2004 and strong demand should be imminent by 2005 resulting in an AAGR of 4 percent over the next five years.
Metal manufacturing and fabrication will remain the largest volume market for industrial gases. Increasing gas demand in this market are expectations of favorable forecasts for crude steel, as well as for stainless steel. Also, gas demand will expand as steel producers in developing countries, such as Russia and China, strive to upgrade production technologies and improve efficiencies. By 2008, this market will reach $7.2 billion as it grows at an AAGR of 5.1 percent through the forecast period.
Strongest gains are forecast for electronic gases. These will experience an 11 percent AAGR as demand for bulk and specialty gases benefits from a projected rebound in the global semiconductor industry. Within the electronic gases segment, the strongest advances are forecast for small-volume specialties, particularly etchant and cleaning gases such as nitrogen trifluoride and vapor deposition gases such as tungsten hexafluoride.
Asia will continue to post the best annual gains among the major regions, based on rising production of crude steel and other primary metals, a long-term recovery in the region's semiconductor industry, and expanded demand arising from the petrochemical and oil and gas sectors. Despite the rapid advances forecast for Asia, world industrial gas demand will remain concentrated in North America and Western Europe. These regions will continue to represent more than 60 percent of the global demand. Not only do they maintain strong positions in key gas-related segments, but they also support stricter environmental laws, creating substantially more applications for industrial gases throughout their economies.
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