Bitumen, referred to as asphalt in the U.S., is used in constructing roads and as a waterproofing agent. Its demand is increasing due to infrastructural developments in emerging economies. According to Grand View Research, Inc., bitumen market volumes would grow at a CAGR of 2.8% during 2014 to 2020 (forecast period). By 2020, they should exceed 135 million tons. Market revenues are projected at around USD 96 billion that year.
However, extraction of bitumen from oil sands adversely affects the environment. This may hamper the market. The study segregates the market on account of applications, products, and geographies. Application segments are adhesives, roadways, insulation, waterproofing, and others. Roadways held over three-fourths of the total volumes in 2013. Booming infrastructural projects including road networks in developed & developing regions boost this segment.
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Waterproofing, an integral part of roofing & building, was the second-largest application in 2013. It consumed about 15 million tons of bitumen the same year. This segment could exhibit the fastest volume growth over the next six years. It will witness a CAGR of about 2.8% during 2014 to 2020.
The products bitumen market comprises paving grade bitumen, cutback bitumen, bitumen emulsion oxidized bitumen, and Polymer Modified Bitumen (PMB). Paving grade bitumen held over 71% of the global volumes in 2012. It is used to make road bases. PMB should grow the fastest in the years ahead. This may be attributed to its use in developed countries, particularly Germany, Canada, and the U.S.
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North America, China, Europe, Asia Pacific (excluding China), and Rest of the World (RoW) are the geographical segments of the bitumen market. North America generated more than 29% of the overall demand. Extensive regional road network is the key reason for its dominance. The repair & maintenance of roads can lead to sustained demand in North America.
However, China and Asia Pacific could grow faster than the former. Rapid infrastructural developments in South Korea, India, and China are predicted to drive this growth. The worldwide bitumen market is highly fragmented. Its leading players encompass British Petroleum, Exxon Mobil, NuStar Energy, and Shell Bitumen.
They observe product developments and modern innovations as the key expansion strategies. Mergers and acquisitions are also employed to augment market shares.
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