Lubricants are extensively used in industrial and automotive application to reduce frictional force between the moving surfaces and to optimize mechanical performance. Various types of lubricants are available in the market differentiated based on parameters such as viscosity index, water separation characteristics, low volatility, anti corrosion, thermal stability, oxidation stability, and low carbon formation among others.
Lubricants market has been witnessing strong growth over the past decade on account of increasing demand from automotive industry and the trend is expected to continue over the forecast period. Lubricants are used in automobiles for various applications including heavy duty engine oils, hydraulic & transmission fluids, gear oils, and passenger vehicle engine oils among others. Increasing application scope of lubricants in automotive industry is the key factor expected to drive the market at a good pace over the next five years. Rapid growth in automotive sector in Asia Pacific regions such as India and China is further expected to boost lubricants demand in near future. However, volatile prices in mineral oils, which are used as raw materials is expected to hamper the market growth in near future.
Mineral, synthetic and bio-based lubricants are the major lubricant products types. Raw materials used for lubricants manufacturing include palm oil, crude oil, sunflower oil, and castor oil among others.
Mineral lubricant was the largest product segment of lubricants market over the past few years accounting over 85% of the market share. Huge availability of raw material is the key factor to drive mineral lubricants market. Increasing mineral oil prices coupled with fluctuations in crude oil prices is expected to be the restraining factor for the market growth over in near future. However, major key players shifted their focus towards developing synthetic and bio-based lubricants to offset these problems.
Synthetic polymers have witnessed significant growth over the past few years and are expected to witness considerable growth over the forecast period. Bio-based lubricants are expected to grow at a good pace on account of increasing environmental concerns across the world. In addition, stringent regulation from EPA to reduce traditional lubricant application is expected to drive the market in near future. However, limited application scope coupled with relative high cost of bio-based lubricants is expected to restrain bio-based lubricants market.
Lubricants have found its application in automotive & transportation, industrial machinery, and equipment among others. Lubricants are extensively used in engine oils, process oils and hydraulic oils.
Transportation industry has been the largest application segment for lubricants market over the past few years. Growth of transportation industry especially in India and China is the key driving factor to trigger the market growth over the next five years. Transportation applications include marine, aviation, commercial and passenger vehicles. Industrial machinery & equipment was the second largest market for lubricants market in 2013 and is expected to witness lucrative growth owing to rapid industrialization in India, China and Brazil.
Application wise, Engine oils occupied over 46% of the market share followed by process oils. This trend is expected to continue over the foreseeable period owing to rapid industrialization.
Asia Pacific was the largest regional market in 2013 followed by North America and Europe. Strong growth in automotive industry in China and India has been supporting lubricants market growth over the past few years. Automotive industry is expected to witness strong growth in near future which is expected to augment lubricants market growth over the next five years. North America and Europe regions are expected to witness significant growth in near future. Owing to stringent regulation from EU commission, bio-based lubricants have been witnessing strong growth in Europe. Latin America lubricants market has been witnessing lucrative growth on account of increasing automobiles demand in this region.
Key players in lubricants market include Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron Corporation, Fuchs Lubricants Pvt. Ltd., PetroChina Company Ltd., InterOil Corporation, Lukoil and Sinopec Company.
Research Support Specialist, USA