North America: Leading the way, but is it still the land of opportunity?


North America is still the world’s largest regional market for industrial gases. This month’s magazine takes on a North American focus and in support of the Peter McCausland interview, gasworld has prepared this report investigating the region’s industrial gas activity and aiming to address concerns of a looming recession.

The North American region consists of the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. According to industrial gas consultancy Spiritus, the regional market reached $17.7bn in 2006 and has exhibited an average annual growth rate of 7.5% over the past 5 years.

Past 5 year activity
While the growth rate over the past 5 years sounds high, 2001 and 2002 saw a downturn from a peak in 2000. However, 2003 onwards saw buoyant activity, driven by an economic up-turn, low interest rates, high natural gas prices and investments in energy projects in both Mexico and Canada, which require substantial quantities of industrial gases.

The US still dominates this region, the gases business having grown strongly since the recession in 2002. Canada and Mexico have similar sized markets, thanks to the Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) business in Mexico.

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