The global lubricating oil additives market is primarily driven by the growth in the automotive industry. Increasing demand for lightweight vehicles; surge in the production and sales of automobiles in emerging countries, such as India, Indonesia, and Thailand; and advancements in technology leading to the introduction of new automobiles, such as smart cars and aluminum trucks, are the key factors boosting the growth of the automotive industry. According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, globally, the unit sales, including registrations, of all new vehicles were around 89,707,322.0 in 2015; 93,905,633.9 in 2016; and 96,804,389.9 in 2017. This indicates notable growth in the automotive market, which is driving the lubricating oil additives market growth.
Regulations targeting fuel economy and emissions are resulting in formulation changes and affecting additive selection and usage. These include increasing utilization of low-viscosity materials and strict monitoring of chemical limits in automotive fuels and additives. Moreover, specification upgrades are leading to the increased and mandatory use of antioxidants and dispersants. Besides, economic development and industrialization are resulting in increased demand for these additives for industrial applications. Altogether, these factors are supporting the growth of the lubricating oil additives market.
Lubricating oil additives are organic or inorganic materials that are dissolved or suspended as solids in lubricating oils to impart special properties to them. These vary according to the type, application, and requirement of lubricants. These additives help improve the existing properties and suppress the undesirable properties of base oils, in addition to providing them special properties. Materials that help enhance existing base oil properties include anti-foaming agents, corrosion inhibitors, and antioxidants, while the ones that help suppress the undesirable properties of base oils include pour-point depressants (PPDs) and viscosity index improvers. Besides, detergents, extreme-pressure (EP) additives, and emulsifiers impart new properties to base oils.
Based on type, the lubricating oil additives market is categorized into dispersants, viscosity index improvers, detergents, anti-wear additives, antioxidants, corrosion inhibitors, friction modifiers, EP additives, PPDs, emulsifiers, and others. Depending upon the target application of the lubricant, these make up around 0.1–30.0% of the finished lubricating oil.
Viscosity index improvers are large-sized polymer additives used during the blending of multi-grade engine oil, primarily to prevent the thinning out of the oil (viscosity loss) as the temperature increases. Olefin copolymers are the most common types of viscosity index improvers available in the market. The demand for these additives is increasing in the lubricating oil additives market owing to their key role in reducing wear and improving fuel economy by maintaining oil flow at low temperatures.
The lubricating oil additives market is also categorized into automotive, industrial, and other applications. The automotive category is further classified into heavy-duty motor oil (HDMO), passenger car motor oil (PCMO), and others. The industrial category is further classified into metalworking fluid, corrosion inhibitors, industrial engine oil, general industrial oil, and others. The demand for lubricating oil additives for automotive applications is increasing due to the significant growth in the automotive market, especially in emerging economies of the Asia-Pacific (APAC), Latin America (LATAM), and Middle East and Africa (MEA) regions.
Some of the major players operating in the global lubricating oil additives market are Afton Chemical Corporation, BASF SE, Chevron Oronite Company LLC, Croda International Plc, Evonik Industries AG, Infineum International Limited, LANXESS Group, Shamrock Shipping & Trading Ltd., The Lubrizol Corporation, and Tianhe Chemicals Group. Among these, Chevron Oronite Company LLC, Afton Chemical Corporation, The Lubrizol Corporation, and Infineum International Limited, together, accounted for more than 60.0% share in the lubricating oil additives market in 2017.