Oil prices affect DCS market

02 June 2015

A recently published report from IHS identified a flat market for distributed control systems (DCSs) in 2014, which it has attributed to a reduction in oil prices.

The report, Distributed Control Systems – 2015, says that growth in the market for DCS in the refining and petrochemical, oil and gas, and pharmaceutical sectors were offset by weakness in the power, cement and glass, and pulp and paper sectors. 

The market in the oil and gas industry will be affected by the lower oil price as oil companies have been cutting back investment. However, a lower oil price will help many other downstream industries; together with general economic recovery, a better outlook can be expected in many sectors. 

Services will account for the most DCS revenues throughout the forecast period, 2015-2019, because of limited new factory construction, and because a larger DCS installed base is ageing, in both mature and emerging markets.

Unconventional exploration used to be a driving factor for the DCS market in the oil and gas sector, especially in North America. It turn, it provides cheaper and more abundant fuel and feedstock for the refining and petrochemical industry. With the global fall of oil price, North America will have less advantage in terms of cheap fuel and feedstock; however, the end needs will be further stimulated by lower price, and will benefit downstream industries including refining and petrochemicals, chemicals, food and beverage, and the pharmaceutical industry.

With slow growth in power demand as well as environmental pressure, the power market is currently underperforming. However, opportunities for DCS exist as China is replacing coal and pursuing ultra-low emission in installed coal-powered generation; and Europe is strongly shifting towards clean and renewable power generation because of the environmental high cost of using fossil fuels. The power market is forecast to recover with general global economic recovery, when more funds are available and demand for power grows faster.

Along with the globally stagnant economy, China, as the largest chemical market, is also facing a slowing economy and overcapacity concerns. The outlook for the DCS market in the chemical industry is of limited capacity expansion. However, the transformation of China’s economy and increasing personal income are generating a demand for a different mix of chemical products, more diversified and of higher value, which will drive the chemical market.

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