NEW YORK, March 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- US demand for oilfield chemicals is forecast to increase to $10.3 billion in 2019, with healthy growth overcoming declines expected in 2015 and 2016. Although low oil prices in 2015 have led to sharp reductions in exploration and development spending, a recovery in prices should bring about a rebound by 2019, allowing the market for chemicals used in drilling, cementing, hydraulic fracturing, completion, and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) to see increases in demand. The development of unconventional oil and gas has dramatically changed the market for oilfield chemicals as higher costs and a greater level of complexity associated with each well have led to rapid demand growth. The use of large volume hydraulic fracturing has markedly increased the volume of chemicals utilized in an average well completion, while the drilling of ever longer horizontal wells has promoted additional consumption of drilling and completion fluids, cement, and related chemicals.
Trends to favor evolving fracturing fluids, drilling muds
The technologies employed in developing tight oil and shale gas resources continue to evolve, and key trends over the next several years will include the ongoing shift toward slickwater fracturing fluids and high-performance drilling muds. Environmental concerns and the development of chemical formulations that can address these concerns will also have an increasing impact on the market during the forecast period, promoting additional demand for more environmentally friendly chemicals, such as biodegradable shale inhibitors and less toxic biocides. Offshore activity is expected to remain an important contributor to the overall market as well, and the need for environmentally compatible fluids and chemicals will be greatest in offshore environments.
Stimulation, drilling fluids to remain key applications
Hydraulic fracturing has emerged as the largest application for oilfield chemicals. Despite the low oil price environment, continued growth in the average volume of fluids used per well will sustain growth in chemical demand. However, this positive factor will be partially offset by the increasing use of slickwater fluids with reduced chemical loadings, holding back stronger advances. Guar gum will remain the most significant chemical in hydraulic fracturing, although others, including friction reducers, acids, and surfactants, will also exhibit a high level of usage. The number of wells and total footage drilled in 2019 are expected to exceed those in 2014, stimulating demand for chemicals utilized in both drilling and completion activities.
Demand will be strongest for chemicals associated with improved drilling efficiency and reduced rig time, less tendency to cause formation damage, and more favorable environmental profiles. Although oil-based drilling fluids remain most commonly utilized in horizontal wells, cost, environmental, and regulatory considerations have encouraged development of better performing water-based drilling fluids, and these will continue to see increasing usage even in difficult drilling conditions. Although investment in EOR projects will be sharply curtailed by the low oil price environment, EOR practices will remain significant over the longer term. The use of industrially generated waste carbon dioxide for EOR will begin to emerge as a practical method of permanent storage of the greenhouse gas.
This upcoming industry study, Oilfield Chemicals, presents historical demand data (2004, 2009 and 2014) plus forecasts for 2019 and 2024 by material, product, market and application. The study also considers market environment factors, examines the industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles 42 competitors in the US industry.
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