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Global Polyalphaolefin (PAO) Market - Outlook and Forecast 2022-2027
The Poly Alpha Olefin (PAO) Market is projected to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.16% during the forecast period, with its market value expected to rise from USD 1.67 billion in 2021 to reach USD 2.13 billion by 2027. The global PAO market is primarily driven by several factors, including growing awareness of environmental sustainability, the demand for high-performance lubricants, the need for better fuel economy, and the desire for longer engine lifespans. These factors have led to increased demand for PAO-based products, particularly in the automotive and manufacturing sectors.
The automotive industry and the requirement for improved lubrication in high-performance engines are expected to fuel significant growth in the PAO sector. PAO-based lubricants are well-suited for providing enhanced fuel economy in vehicles. As a result, PAO has become the most widely used synthetic base oil in both industrial and automotive lubricants. Unlike mineral oil lubricants, PAO-based lubricants do not suffer from drawbacks such as poor low-temperature fluidity, low viscosity index, sludge deposits, and excessive volatility. PAOs are highly preferred as synthetic base stocks due to their unique properties, which include a lack of ring structures, double bonds, sulfur, nitrogen components, or waxy hydrocarbons.
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USD 1.7 billion in 2020
Type and End User
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PAO production involves using either crude oil or natural gas to create ethylene, which is then used in the production of normal alpha olefin (NAO). PAOs are synthesized by combining oligomers of 1-decene and 1-dodecane. The market for PAOs is expected to witness steady growth and increased acceptance as a lubricant base stock in the coming years, driven by factors such as rapid industrialization, environmental sustainability initiatives, and growth in industries such as manufacturing, automotive, and construction.
The Asia-Pacific (APAC) region is projected to contribute significantly to the demand for PAO-based lubricants due to factors such as industrialization, urbanization, evolving government policies, and increasing consumer purchasing power in countries like India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and others. Furthermore, the growing manufacturing sector in India and China is expected to further drive the demand for PAO-based lubricants in the region.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a negative impact on the PAO market, mainly due to disruptions in the supply chain of raw materials caused by nationwide lockdowns. Additionally, the decline in oil prices and reduced production and consumption resulting from social distancing measures had adverse effects on the market. The decreased demand from end-use industries like automotive, aerospace, chemicals, and electronics further contributed to the downturn in the PAO market. However, as restrictions eased and the economy began to recover, there was a resurgence in crude oil and petroleum production. In the third quarter of 2021, the European and APAC markets experienced increased demand for PAO products, driven by the recovery of downstream lubricant sectors and growth in end-use industries such as automotive, agriculture, and construction.
The market is segmented based on various factors, including type and end user.
Segmentation by Type
Segmentation by End-Use
Segmentation by Geography
North America – US, Canada
Europe – Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Rest of Europe
APAC – China, Japan, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Rest of Asia Pacific
Rest of the World (ROW)
The largest market share in the PAO segment is held by low viscosity PAOs. These types of PAOs are extensively used in demanding and extreme lubricant service conditions. The reformulation of low viscosity PAOs has further contributed to their popularity.
The implementation of stricter fuel economy regulations has created a greater need for advanced lubricants, thereby driving the demand for higher-quality base stocks like low-viscosity PAOs. This is particularly relevant in the transportation sector, which is expected to witness increased demand. Factors such as the growing automotive industry, expansion of aviation, and commercial road transport are anticipated to contribute to the rising demand for PAO-based products.
In the automotive sector, PAO-based lubricants find the highest application. These lubricants incorporate additives such as dispersants, anti-wear chemicals, and detergents. The primary objective of using PAO-based oil in automobiles is to reduce friction and wear in engines, while also providing cleaning properties by removing sludge and deposits. The need for low viscosity and low volatility lubricants, coupled with the requirement for improved fuel efficiency, has established poly alpha olefin as the predominant choice for creating synthetic lubricants.
The market for Poly Alpha Olefin (PAO) is characterized by intense competition, featuring a wide range of global and regional manufacturers. These industry players are actively engaged in expansion efforts, acquisitions, new product introductions, technological advancements, and various operational strategies to gain a competitive advantage in the market.
As they strive to establish themselves as industry leaders, these companies consistently face fierce competition not only from their global counterparts but also from local vendors.
Key companies profiled in this report include British Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, Ineos, Shell, Addinol, Croda International, Chemtura, ENI, Fuchs, Idemitsu Kosan, Liqui Moly, Lukoil, Lubricon, Labdhi Chemicals, Mitsui Chemicals, Naco Synthetics, Novvi, PetroCanada, Penrite Oil, Peak Lubricants, Shanghai FOX Chemical Technology, Sasol, Tulstar Products, Valero.
Recent Industry Developments
Baltic Chemical plant LLC and Axens have entered into an agreement to supply alpha-olefins production technology for an ethane-containing gas processing complex in the Leningrad Region. Under this agreement, Axens will provide its AlphaButol® technology for the production of high purity 1-butene and AlphaHexol™ technology for the production of high purity 1-hexene.
INEOS has signed a partnership agreement with Saudi Aramco and Total to construct three production units in the Middle East. The aim of these plants is to produce essential building blocks for carbon fiber, engineering polymers, and synthetic lubricants.
ExxonMobil has successfully increased the production capacity of low-viscosity polyalphaolefin at its Gravenchon plant in France by 19%, reaching a total of 105,000 metric tons per year. Additionally, the company has made enhancements to its supply chain network by expanding sales hubs and strengthening logistical operations.
ExxonMobil Synthetics has announced plans to expand the production capacity of its metallocene high viscosity PAO plant in Baytown, Texas by 20% in order to meet growing demand. This expansion project aims to increase the plant’s capacity from 50,000 tons per year to 60,000 tons per year.
Key Questions Answered
What is the projected global market size for Poly Alpha Olefin (PAO) by 2027?
The global Poly Alpha Olefin (PAO) market is expected to reach a valuation of USD 2.13 billion by 2027.
What are the current trends observed in the poly alpha olefin market?
Some of the latest trends in the poly alpha olefin market include increased demand from high-performance engines, cost-effectiveness, high fuel economy, rising demand from emerging economies, and growing automotive industry.
Who are the major players in the PAO market?
Key players in the PAO market include British Petroleum, Chevron Corporation, and Exxon Mobil Corporation.
What is Poly Alpha Olefin (PAO)?
Poly Alpha Olefin (PAO) is the most commonly used synthetic base oil in industrial and automotive lubricants. It is a synthetic hydrocarbon (SHC) that replicates the structure of branched hydrocarbons.