If in 2022 we expected the story of economic correction and the industrial gas year to revolve around the bounce-back from the economic effects of the Covid pandemic and exposed supply chains, what we actually saw was anything but.
It was a year characterised by an extension – and at times deepening – of global helium shortages, the latest chapter(s) in regional carbon dioxide (CO2) shortages, calls for reinforcement of electronics materials’ supply chains to match the investment seen in semiconductor production, and the outbreak of conflict in Ukraine that would go onto define the year on so many levels. Parallel to this conflict, and at times driven by the consequences of it, the re-profiling of energy markets challenged economies and created opportunities for industrial markets.
The confluence of all of these market forces resulted in a global industrial gases market valued at around $96bn in 2022, up more than 12% on 2021 numbers, as evidenced in gasworld Business Intelligence’s definitive report on the industrial gas year. Yet it was the picture painted of that industrial gas year, where and why growth was achieved, and how this would foreshadow the market in 2023 that is so fascinating.
We saw Helium Shortage 4.0 ease but endure; we saw CO2 markets stabilise but fall short of assured security; we witnessed a softening in electronics markets but in the expectation of imminent bounceback and demand; we still see the Ukraine war continue, while the reprofiling of energy markets is ongoing and with an increasing sense of pragmatism that drives ‘low-carbon’ hydrogen and BioLNG, for example.
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