Mineral oils are mixtures of middle range alkanes (C15-C40) derived from a non-vegetable (mineral) source, generally crude oil. Mineral oils are obtained as a by-product of petroleum distillation. It is a transparent, colourless and odourless liquid primarily composed of middle alkanes and cyclic paraffins. Mineral oil is also referred to as ‘white oil’ and ‘liquid paraffin’. Industrially mineral oils have a low value compared to the other derivatives obtained during distillation of petroleum but due to large end user applications it is manufactured in large quantities. Mineral oils are available as light and heavy grades in market.
Refined mineral oils may be classified mainly into three classes namely paraffinic oils (composed of n-alkanes), naphthenic oils (comprises mainly cyclo-alkanes) and aromatic oils (composed of aromatic hydrocarbons). Mineral oils finds various applications in many end user industries for manufacture of their products such as biomedicine, cosmetics and personal care, mechanical, electrical & industrial and food & beverage industries among many others. Growing demand for cosmetics and personal care products is expected to drive the mineral oil market. Owing to the increasing disposable income and changing lifestyle of majority of global population specially the youth population is anticipated to drive the cosmetics industry. Approval from the FDA and WHO for food grade mineral oil to be used in food preparation is anticipated to drive the mineral oil market in the developed countries. Mineral oil can also be applied as thermic fluid in mechanical and industrial applications pertaining to its advantages over the conventional steam systems is further expected to stimulate the mineral oil market. Also the increasing demand of baby oils and lotions in emerging economies such as China and India and other developing countries owing to the increasing awareness for personal care is expected to fuel the mineral oil market in these regions.
However, volatility of crude of prices and toxicity of untreated or mildly treated mineral oils has remained the key restrains for the market. Growing end user industries in emerging economies of Asia Pacific and Latin America such as India, China, Brazil, Singapore and Malaysia seems to create opportunities for the mineral oil market. Additionally, the increasing use of high grade mineral oil in producing biomedicines and aroma therapy is expected to open new opportunities for the market in the next six years. This will further be fuelled by the rising medical tourism in countries such as India, Hong Kong and Singapore among many others.
North America emerged as the largest regional market of mineral oils due to the rising demand of mineral oils in cosmetics and food industry. U.S. FDA’s approval for food grade mineral oils’ used in food industry is expected to further boost the demand of mineral oils. Asia Pacific region is the second largest consumer of mineral oils and is the market expected to expand at high growth rates due to rising population and increasing demand in end user industries. Some of the key competitors in the mineral oil market include BASF SE, Dow Chemicals, Petro Canada, Huntsman Corporation, Solutia Inc., Radco Industries, Clariant AG, Flowserve Corporation and Applied Thermal Control.
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