Clariant on course for growth in North America
- Highlights of the Clariant Roundtable in San Francisco
- Good prospects for catalysts and oil business
- New products announced
The commercial relevance of the North American region in general was highlighted by Hariolf Kottmann, CEO of Clariant. He stated: "For Clariant North America is an important growth market. The U.S. provides the single biggest revenue contribution." Currently Clariant delivers sales of around USD 1.0 billion in North America with approximate 1,800 employees, and has been experiencing year-on-year growth of around 4% in the region since 2011. Growth in the company's Catalysts business has been even stronger, at 5%per year, while the Oil & Mining Services (OMS) business has shown double digit growth per annum. Based on the strength of these businesses, Clariant sales in the first half of 2015 in North America were up by 5%. Kottmann envisions continued growth in North America, accelerated by investments in this region.
Ken Golder, Head of the region North America, described the opportunities this region offers Clariant to contribute to its growth. "As the largest specialty chemicals market in the world, we benefit from favorable pricing and availability of energy and feedstocks, and the industry in general is being revitalized as a consequence of the energy sector expansion," Golder said. The projected GDP growth of 2.8 % for the U.S. is among the highest of any advanced nation. Economic indicators and forecasts confirm that this strong growth will continue.
Clariant is therefore investing heavily in North America. Examples are the new Polypropylene Catalyst Plant in Louisville with an investment of around USD 100 million and the Houdry Catalysts Expansion with an investment of around USD 20 million.
Providing details on Clariant's Catalysis business, Stefan Heuser; head of BU Catalysts, highlighted the current annual growth rate of this business, which is close to 7%. "Approximately 90% of all chemical products are manufactured with the help of catalysts," he said. "As chemical production volumes are forecasted to grow significantly, the existing technologies will double energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. More efficient innovative catalysts will allow chemical production to grow sustainably."
With its comprehensive catalysts portfolio, Clariant is well positioned to capture the opportunities driven by new projects based on shale gas in the US. The company has the most extensive portfolio among major peers for shale gas driven growth in the U.S. with leading market positions on catalysts for propane dehydrogenation, steam cracker/selective hydrogenation, methanol and ammonia production.
Clariant is also investing heavily in catalysts R&D, with a spend of more than 7 % of sales. To develop the most efficient solutions, Clariant is leveraging its position as an independent catalyst supplier to collaborate closely with leading process licensors as well as with customers and academic partners.
John Dunne, Head of Clariant`s Oil and Mining Services business (OMS), illustrated the importance of the oilfield chemicals market: "The global size of the oilfield chemicals market is expected to grow from USD 10 billion today to USD 12 billion by 2020. Over 50 % of the oilfield chemicals market is located in the North American Region," he added. "This is very positive for a company that is positioned such as Clariant, with today's USD 5.5 billion North American production chemicals market expected to further develop as oil and gas production increases over the mid-term." Therefore in 2014 the OMS business expanded its headquarters and North American R&D laboratories in The Woodlands, Texas. The workforce in North America has significantly expanded since 2014 to provide the skills and levels of service required by the customers.
Innovation is also key to the success of Clariant's OMS business, which is now the third largest oil production chemicals supplier in the world. OMS presented technology developments across the oil and gas value chain. Its gas hydrate technology is an excellent example of how Clariant has developed a market-leading position in deepwater flow assurance that will benefit customer operations and profitability. Clariant is also active in marketing innovations that support hydraulic fracturing, by addressing challenges that competitors are unable to meet and by introducing a recently developed technology that prevents the formation of iron sulfide deposits in equipment that can shut down production. In the coming years Clariant will further aim for a steady launch of innovative products. Thus, three new products for the Catalysis and Oil Services businesses were announced during the event: ENVICAT® N₂O-S is a new development in controlling harmful nitrous oxide (N₂O) emissions, while new VAMAX® -series catalysts offer high-activity for Vinyl-Acetate Monomer (VAM) producers. In addition, Clariant Oil Services' new HOSTAFRAC® SF 13213 is a flow back aid for hydraulic fracturing that improves field performance and significantly reduces the environmental impact of customer operations. The HOSTAFRAC SF 13213 product has earned Clariant's EcoTain® label for sustainability.