Hydrochloric acid is an important chlorine compound and is majorly produced as a byproduct in the manufacturing of a host of organic chemicals. Over 40 processes generate hydrochloric acid as a byproduct and it is consumed in over a 100 processes. Over two third of the global HCL consumption is in the manufacturing of ethylene dichloride (EDC) and the remaining is the manufacturing of inorganic compounds. Most of the HCL is captively consumed by companies for further organic product manufacturing. A small segment of HCL is available to the merchant market. The key applications of HCL include oil well acidization, steel pickling, food processing and industrial application for high purity HCL. High purity HCL is primarily used in oil and gas industry, pharmaceuticals and water treatment.
The key driver for the market is the growing demand in application industries such as oil and gas and food processing. The North America oil and gas industry is expected to grow over 30% in the next five years in light of shale gas discover. In addition, the increasing oil and gas industry in Middle East, has resulted in increased oil acidizing activities boosting the demand for HCL. The demand for HCL in steel pickling is expected to witness sharp rise due to the substitution of sulfuric acid in the pickling process. In spite of the lower cost of sulfuric acid, HCL is used extensively due to it being a much faster and effective pickling agent. Hydrochloric acid is used in the food processing industry for the processing of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) which is primarily used in the beverage industry. However, the market is expected to witness restraint in the form of regulatory pressure to face out CFC which generates HCL in its production. Also the limited supply is expected to lead to fluctuating prices which acts as a major challenge for the growth of the market.
Asia Pacific was the largest consumer of HCL due to the increasing industrial activities in China, India and Indonesia. However, countries of Middle East, China, Canada and Indonesia are expected to witness fastest growth on account of the growing oil and gas industry.
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Research Support Specialist, USA