AOC LLC, Belco Manufacturing and ZCL Composites have all noticed an increasing trend in FRP pipe and tank sales, and industry research backs them up.
FRP pipe and tank installations are on the rise – above and below ground, in commercial, municipal and residential applications. As a result, many pipe and tank fabricators are witnessing a surge in business, particularly in the United States.
“In the 1980s, the chemical processing industry was rationalizing. Some plants were shuttered, and many fabricators were forced to cut back,” says Jim Ness, corrosion and infrastructure marketing specialist for AOC LLC and a longtime consultant to the industry. “Over the last five years, we’ve seen new chemical facilities, horizontal drilling in shale fields and population growth creating demand for power and water. The low cost of natural gas is contributing to the development of new and the expansion of existing chemical processing plants.”
A look at the FRP pipe and tank market from 2013 – 2019 below confirms the positive outlook. In 2013, the North American FRP pipe and tank market was estimated at nearly $1.2 billion. Dr. Sanjay Mazumdar, CEO of Lucintel, says that the market promises considerable growth as a result of significant demands from industries such as oil and gas, wastewater, sewage, chemical, retail fuel and pulp/paper.
In the pipe market, oil and gas activities are strong as government and private oil companies are expected to invest more in new pipelines to transport refined products, crude oil natural gas and natural gas liquids such as ethane and propane, according to Lucintel. In addition, the increased production of shale gas also drives the market for FRP pipe, as does emphasis on pipe rehabilitation. Several factors are driving growth in the tank segment, including capital investment by end user industries, rehabilitation of old urban infrastructure and a rebound in the housing sector. Also noted is the trend to replace corroding, leaking tanks made of metal or concrete with FRP tanks.