Suppliers of process gas (PG) compressors have benefited from the global expansion of oil and gas exploration and production in recent years.

According to a new analysis by Frost & Sullivan, the oil and gas industry is the largest revenue contributor and primary driver of the global PG compressor market. And the future looks bright: in North America, with shale gas production on the increase and growing demand for liquefied natural gas, the market is expected to remain on an upward trajectory. Growth will also be seen elsewhere, with shale gas and other unconventional energy exploration and production in regions such as Asia-Pacific (APAC) and Africa helping to sustain the market.

The new report from Frost & Sullivan, Analysis of the Global Process Gas Compressor Market, puts the value of the market at more than $6 billion in 2014 and estimates that revenues will surpass $8 billion in 2021. The study covers reciprocating, rotary and centrifugal PG compressors.

Another industry that has boosted the PG compressor market is power generation, said Sakthi Sobana Pandian, research analyst for Frost & Sullivan's Industrial Automation & Process Control group.

"While conversion from coal-fired to gas-fired plants has driven demand in North America, the need to generate more power to cater to demands of the expanding population and urbanization trends has fuelled PG compressor adoption rates in APAC," Pandian explained.

Still, there is room for improvement as far as the technology is concerned. According to Frost & Sullivan, a rising number of gas compressor stations could fuel concerns about air quality, potentially holding back the market.

"Although PG compressor technology is mature, there is scope for improvement in terms of energy efficiency and compliance with environmental regulations," Pandian noted. "If eco-friendly PG compressors are made available globally, end-users are likely to upgrade their existing systems."

Among existing customers, the research firm found that the purchase of new PG compressors has been suppressed by economic gloom, with end-users focusing on refurbishing and maintaining existing PG compressors rather than investing in new installations.