Almost a decade ago, great focus was on the Asia industrial gases market and the Indian market in particular, as undoubtedly the biggest and arguably most promising market in Asia. This was a country and region described as ‘primed for growth and investment’ following market-based economic reforms in India in 1991 and status as one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world.
As a newly industrialised country, India was not without its challenges and needs in terms of infrastructure development, but had continued to show impressive rates of growth. The industrial gas sector itself had been able to leverage sales of significant volumes of gas to support these levels of growth over the decade from the early 2000s to the mid-2010s.
Even before progressive new Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, industrial gas growth in India over the decade from 2003-2013 was a healthy 14% annually, according to figures from gasworld Business Intelligence, and investments in the country only reinforced this verve for the region. There had been blips on this radar of growth, notably in 2011 and 2012 as a knock-on effect of the global recession, but returns to growth had been relatively swift. So what’s happened in the years since?
It would be fair to say that expectations have perhaps tempered somewhat, as the wind in the sails of the Modi premiership has calmed and the impact of the Covid pandemic and subsequent global economic headwinds has not been lost on India or the wider Asia region as a whole. Further still, this is a region that is challenged on one hand by the need to decarbonise and shift away from the polluting power of fossil fuels that so drives forward developing nations, and on the other hand supercharged by the opportunity afforded in clean fuels such as green ammonia and hydrogen. India and Pakistan are noticeably determined to maximise the natural resources and inherent advantages available to them.
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