Energy conservation, GHG regulations, and modernization of vehicle fleets and heavy equipment drive the lubricants market towards higher performance oils which in turn leads to an increase in additive consumption, particularly for dispersants, antioxidants, and viscosity modifiers, according to the recently published Global Lubricant Additives: Market Analysis and Opportunities report by global market research and management consulting firm Kline.
Lubricant additives, used to enhance the performance of base oil, improve wear, thickening, oxidative stability, cleanliness, and dispersancy of the fully-formulated fluid, among others. Additive consumption depends on several factors, such as specification upgrades and drain intervals.
According to David Tsui, a Project Manager in Kline’s Energy Practice, “New specifications are driving formulation changes and additive selection. Furthermore, regulations are driving those specifications towards lower viscosities and stricter chemical limits. Regulations targeting fuel economy and emissions are greatly impacting viscosity and the chemical composition of lubricant additives being used.”
“Specification upgrades are mandating increased antioxidant and dispersant usage. However, detergent and anti-wear use are being restricted by OEMs to protect emission systems. Such mandates will also favor the growth of anti-oxidants, ash-less anti-wear, and dispersants,” Tsui adds.
According to Kline, the total global lubricant additive consumption is over 4,400 kilotonnes in 2016. Asia-Pacific is the largest lubricant additive-consuming region in the world due to its considerable commercial and industrial segment.
Lubricant additives are categorized into key segments: automotive, industrial engine oil, general industrial oil, metalworking fluids, grease, and process oils.
The global ecomony’s slow recovery has hindered growth in the industrial and marine segments. Meanwhile, the growing vehicle parc and modernization of existing fleets are driving growth in the automotive segment.
As a result, automotive lubricants is the largest segment, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total lubricant additives market, says Kline. Passenger car motor oil is now eclipsing heavy duty motor oil volumes.
Within metalworking fluid additives, the second largest segment of the market, the consumption of additives for removal, forming, protecting, and treating fluids is included. This segment is driven by removal fluids, which account for more than half of the category’s demand. The category is being increasingly regulated, with certain segments being adversely affected.
Globally, lubricant additives consumption is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 0.7% from 2016 to 2021.