Supply-Demand Gap In Medical-Grade Oxygen During The COVID-19 Crisis Is Likely To Bring About Change In The Oxygen Market

11 Mar, 2021

COVID-19 has put immense pressure on healthcare systems worldwide, and one of the emergencies it has caused is in the form of a shortage of medical-grade oxygen availability in hospitals. This issue is especially critical in low-to-middle-income countries. The oxygen market consists of the sales of oxygen by entities (organizations, sole traders or partnerships) that manufacture oxygen gas in compressed, liquid, and solid forms. Oxygen is used as medical oxygen for respiration, as industrial gas in different industries, and is also used in oxy-acetylene torches. Oxygen is a colorless non-metallic gas which is highly reactive in nature. It is widely used for industrial, medical, and scientific applications as an oxidizing agent or as a catalyst. Oxygen is available in cylinders, spray cans, containers and others.

With many patients suffering from COVID-19 needing oxygen everyday of their treatment, some requiring up to even 50 liters per minute, there is far more demand than there is supply of the gas during this pandemic. Medical-grade oxygen tends to be a side-product on separation of other gases from the air we breathe, and thus is not a priority for many commercial factories that create it. However, through this crisis and the obvious need for oxygen to be declared an essential medicine, governments and companies are making efforts to make the gas more widely available. This will help prevent needless deaths of patients of other respiratory diseases such as pneumonia as well.

As per data on the Global Market Model, the global oxygen market size is expected to grow from $26.15 billion in 2020 to $27.26 billion in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2%. The growth is mainly due to the companies rearranging their operations and recovering from the COVID-19 impact, which had earlier led to restrictive containment measures involving social distancing, remote working, and the closure of commercial activities that resulted in operational challenges. The market is expected to reach $37.29 billion in 2025 at a CAGR of 8%.

Another solution to the supply-demand gap is that many oxygen manufacturers are adopting IoT (Internet of Things) technologies to connect equipment and smart devices to garner real time insights and locate gaps in the manufacturing process. The data obtained is processed, analyzed and interpreted by plant managers and senior level management to improve quality and achieve optimum production levels. For example, smart systems give information on the working condition and performance of chemical reactors with embedded software and analytics tools to notify plant operators and managers on possible machine breakdowns. Some of the major companies adopting IoT include Linde Gases and Air Liquide.

Other major competitors in the oxygen industry are Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation, Air Products and Chemicals Inc., Yingde Gases, Air Water Inc., Messer Group GmbH, Iwatani International Corporation, National Oxygen Ltd., Guangdong Huate Gas Co., Ltd., Matheson Tri-Gas, Flogas Britain Ltd., NGK Spark Plug Co, Ltd., The BOC Group plc, SAID Group, SOL SpA, Oxygen 8, NGK Spark Plug Co, Ltd., Taiyo Nippon Sanso, Oxair, Core Industrial Gases, Supagas, AMCS Corporation, National Oxygen Ltd., Bhagwati Oxygen Ltd., Gagan Gases Ltd., Refex Industries, NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd., GRASYS, Praxair Inc, WIKA Alexander Wiegand SE & Co. KG, BOC Healthcare, Gulf Cryo, Gas Africa, and Afrox.

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