Demulsifiers, also known as emulsion breakers, are used to separate mixtures of oil and water in crude oil processing, oil refining, lubricant manufacturing, oil-based power plants and sludge oil treatment.

According to a new report by Research and Markets, the market for oil soluble and water soluble demulsifiers is projected to show solid growth, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7 percent over the next five years to reach a value of $2,550 million by 2020.

The Middle East accounts for the highest global share of crude oil production, and as a consequence it also has the highest consumption of demulsifier. In the coming years the Middle East is expected to continue leading the market, followed by Europe and North America.

Crude oil processing is anticipated to show the strongest growth among all applications because of increasing global energy requirements. Additionally, many oil fields across the world have matured and have high water cut levels (water content), leading to increased consumption of demulsifier.

Demulsifier requirements for crude oil processing vary depending on the quality of the crude oil (heavy, medium or light), the water cut level, whether the oil field is onshore or offshore, the climatic conditions, maturity level of oil field and the geological characteristics of the well.

Looking ahead, there are opportunities for suppliers in developing and manufacturing more environmentally friendly demulsifier products that contain less harmful chemicals. Environmental regulations are likely to be tightened, resulting in higher demand for green demulsifiers, the research firm said.