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This comprehensive study analyzes the world plastic pipe industry by country, resin, and market. Historical data for 2009, 2014, and 2019 and forecasts for the years 2024 and 2029 are provided. The term “demand” refers to apparent consumption and is defined as production (also referred to as “output”, “shipments”, or “supply”) from a country’s indigenous manufacturing facilities plus imports minus exports. Demand is used interchangeably with terms such as “market”, “sales”, and “consumption”. Data for plastic pipe are presented in metric tons (weight of the entire pipe), meters, and dollars.
Scope and Summary
Demand is segmented by resin type:
high density polyethylene
polyethylene of raised temperature
low density polyethylene
medium density polyethylene
other resins, such as acrylonitrile, chlorinated PVC, polybutylene, and polyvinylidene fluoride, as well as composites products
Market segments include:
construction (potable water transmission and distribution; conduit; drain, waste, and vent; storm and sanitary sewer/drainage pipe)
energy (oil and gas drilling, oil and gas transmission, natural gas distribution)
agriculture (irrigation pipe)
Data from the US Census Department were consulted in the preparation of this study and a list of related codes is presented here for informational purposes. However, these codes may not include all products covered in this report or may exclude some products of interest and the data have thus been adjusted accordingly.
Global demand for plastic pipe is expected to advance 2.9% per year to 25.7 billion meters in 2024. The Asia/Pacific region will be the major driver of growth, as rising living standards and urbanization fuel construction spending, energy consumption, and manufacturing activity, all of which are major markets for pipe. These same factors will also spur rapid growth in the Africa/Mideast region, though from a smaller base.
In mature plastic pipe markets, the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 will exacerbate already weak markets, leading to slower average gains as these markets recover.
Plastic Pipe Advantages & Improvements Fuel Increases in Large Diameters
Plastic pipe has penetrated most small diameter construction applications due to its light weight, low cost, and ease of installation. Going forward, plastic pipe is also expected to gain share in larger diameter applications, such as water and sewer, oil and gas, and industrial processing.
As pipe OEMs invest in research and development to improve crush resistance and pressure tolerance of their products, demand for plastic pipe in these applications will continue to grow.
HDPE Continues to Gain over Steel in Oil & Gas
While plastic pipe currently holds a very small share of the oil and gas pipe market, the material’s corrosion resistance and flexibility are making it an increasingly popular choice in these applications. HDPE pipe will see particularly strong growth in this market:
HDPE pipe is suitable for trenchless installation methods, which enable shorter construction times (lowering costs), with less disruption to property owners. As a result, HDPE pipe will become increasingly favored in gas distribution and oil and gas transmission applications.
Fiberglass pipe, on the other hand, will be negatively impacted by weak oil and gas drilling activity going forward, although it is expected to perform better than steel in drilling and transmission applications.
Infrastructure Needs Boost Water & Sewer Pipe Demand Across the Globe
Construction spending is expected to contract in 2020 as both local and national governments face decreased tax revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, demand for plastic pipe in infrastructure applications – such as potable water and sewer transmission – is forecast to record healthy growth through 2024:
In low- and middle-income countries, infrastructure will continue to expand to meet the needs of growing and urbanizing populations. Many regions still possess substantial populations without access to improved water and sanitation facilities. This will leave strong sales opportunities for plastic pipe due to its low cost.
In higher-income countries, demand will be primarily from repair and replacement activity, as many countries’ pipelines are over 50 years old and are failing. Corrosion-resistant plastic pipes will be used to replace existing ductile iron or steel lines in many cases.