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Research details developments in the elemental sulfur market

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Sulfur is a non-metallic chemical element with the symbol ‘S’ and atomic number 16. It occurs naturally in the environment and is the thirteenth most abundant element in the earth’s crust.

Despite its abundance, it is widely produced as a by-product of various chemical processes. Sulfur recovered from oil and gas production is referred to as elemental sulfur.

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The U.S., Canada, China, Middle East and former Soviet Union are the leading producers of sulfur. China is also the leading importer of Sulfur.

Sulfur can be combined with other elements to form various compounds such as sulphuric acid and sulphur dioxide. It is a valuable commodity and can be used to manufacture numerous products such as fertilizers, chemicals, paints, rubber products, fibers and detergents, among others.

Global Elemental Sulfur Market: Drivers and Restraints

Owing to its use in a broad range of industries, the demand for elemental sulphur is stable. Elemental sulfur is used in agrochemicals, petroleum refining and metal mining industries, among others.

The agrochemicals industry forms the largest application area of elemental sulfur as there is increasing demand for food grains from developing countries such as China and India. Demand for elemental sulfur is expected to increase due to the strong growth being witnessed by the phosphate fertilizer market, which forms an important down-stream end use segment of this element.

Elemental sulphur is used in the production of fungicides, insecticides and a wide range of sulphur fertilizers such as sulfate carriers, elemental sulphur-based carriers and liquid fertilizers. Sulfur is also used as a raw material in the chemical industry, primarily as a derivative in a large number of chemical and industrial processes.

Demand from sulphuric acid manufacturing is high and is expected to continue during the forecast period.

The petroleum refining sector is another major consumer of elemental sulfur. The automobile industry is booming in Asia Pacific and Middle East and Africa and there is huge demand for motor vehicle fuels.

Refining capacity expansions coupled with increased fossil fuel production can further add to the growth of the elemental sulfur market. Lack of economically viable substitutes is yet another important factor expected to drive the market.

However, fluctuating prices of sulfur can be seen as a restraining factor hampering the growth of the market. Ensuring continuous supply of elemental sulfur to meet the increasing demand is a major challenge for the manufacturers.


Global Elemental Sulfur market: Segmentation

On the basis of end use applications, the global Elemental Sulfur Market can be segmented into:

  • Agrochemicals

  • Metal mining

  • Petroleum refining

  • Rubber industry

  • Others

Global Elemental Sulfur Market: Region Wise Outlook

As of 2016, owing to rapid industrialisation and aggressive expansion of the manufacturing sector, APEJ is expected to be the fastest growing Elemental Sulfur Market. There is high demand for elemental sulfur from countries such as China, India, Singapore and South Korea.

China is one of the largest producers as well as consumers of elemental sulfur in the world. Asia Pacific is anticipated to dominate the Elemental Sulfur Market during the forecast period.

This high growth is attributed to the growing demand from petroleum refining sector. North America is the other prominent market in terms of rising demand for elemental sulfur.

In Europe, the particularly steady growth of the German chemical industry is the major driver fuelling the growth of the market in this region. Middle East, Latin America and Africa are expected to expand at a significant CAGR over the forecast period.


Global Elemental Sulfur Market: Market Participants

Examples of some of the market participants in the global Elemental Sulfur Market identified across the value chain include:

  • Abu Dhabi National Oil Company

  • Royal Dutch Shell Plc

  • The Saudi Arabian Oil Company

  • Valero Energy Corporation

  • Sinopec Corp.

  • Chemtrade Logistics

  • Enersul Limited

  • Marathon Petroleum Company LLC

  • Qatar International Petroleum Marketing Company Ltd.

  • Oxbow Carbon LLC

  • PVS Chemicals, Inc.

  • Norilsk Nickel

  • Tengizchevroil LLP

  • National Est. For Agricultural and Industrial Sulphur

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