Major exploratory activity in the oil and gas industry is fuelling demand for hydrocarbon coatings, while the civil construction industry in emerging regions is set to support the long-term growth of cellulosic coatings. These trends bode well for the continued expansion of the total intumescent coatings market.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.chemicals.frost.com), Strategic Analysis of the Global Intumescent Coatings Market, finds that the market earned approximately $709.8 million in 2012 and estimates this to reach $918.2 million in 2018. The research covers the market for cellulosic (thin film) and hydrocarbon intumescent coatings for passive fire protection across the oil and gas and construction sectors.
Europe, which leads in the cellulosic coatings market, is projected to grow at the lowest rate for both end-use sectors, due to market maturity and the combined effects of a recovering construction sector and a declining oil and gas sector. Nevertheless, renewed interest in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries such as Poland present potential opportunities for coatings manufacturers in the region.
"As the global hub for offshore oil and gas platform building, Asia-Pacific dominates the hydrocarbon market," noted Frost & Sullivan's Chemicals & Materials Consulting Analyst Dr. Michael Mbogoro . "Huge developments in the energy sector similarly offer lucrative opportunities for manufacturers. During the next decade, developing countries in the Middle East and Africa, Asia-Pacific and Russia show the greatest potential, particularly as the benefits of adequate fire protection permeate through to end users, as well as enforcement bodies."
While the hydrocarbon market is global, the cellulosic sector is regional, limiting the penetration rate. Rapid adoption of international standards for testing and certification in the global offshore market for hydrocarbon intumescent coatings facilitate market growth. The cellulosic market, however, is challenged by complex regulatory frameworks in different regions, making it expensive for organised coatings manufacturers to participate in these markets.
"Barriers to entry are extremely high for the cellulosic coatings market, with companies taking several years and spending millions of dollars in product development, after which the products have to undergo expensive independent testing in a wide range of environments to be certified," explained Dr. Mbogoro. "Unlike the homogeneous hydrocarbon market, different regions impose different certification testing and various restrictions in compliance with local, environmentally-friendly policies."
Demonstrating superior product performance over long lifetimes is one of the best ways to achieve product differentiation in the cellulosic market. Further, coating manufacturers should work with regulatory bodies to establish product conformity in terms of certification and testing.