According to ICIS, HCl prices remain high but stable, however demand is expected to increase from fracking use in the oil and gas industry. To read more about use of HCl in the oil and gas industry, click here.
Update: April 2012 The Hydrochloric Acid shortage continues and inventories are not expected to recover until the third quarter of 2012. Prices are likely to remain on the higher end through the first half of 2012. However major distributers assure constant supply in the short to medium term due to high inventory levels.
Rx-360 has partnered with Beroe to publish a report that contains a detailed analysis of the Hydrochloric Acid Supply Chain.
To view of download the report, click here.
Hydrochloric acid may be manufactured by several different processes, although over 90 percent of the Hydrochloric Acid produced in the U. S. is a byproduct of a chlorination reaction. It seems the shortage is a result of decrease production and increasing demand.
The slowing of the economy has decreased production leading to fewer chlorination byproducts, and a significant increase in demand from the oil and gas industry has resulted in a shortage of Hydrochloric Acid. Large quantities of Technical Grade Hydrochloric Acid (25% of the US supply) is now used in hydraulic “fracking”, and the use of "fracking" is expected to grown in popularity.
Man-made Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is the propagation of fractures in a rock layer caused by the presence of a pressurized fluid to release petroleum, natural gas, coal seam gas, or other substances for extraction.
The energy from the injection of a highly-pressurized fluid, such as water, creates new channels in the rock which can increase the extraction rates and ultimate recovery of fossil fuels. The fracture width is typically maintained after the injection by introducing a proppant into the injected fluid. Proppant is a material, such as grains of sand, ceramic, or other particulates, that prevent the fractures from closing when the injection is stopped.
The shortage has occurred with Technical Grade Hydrochloric Acid. The tight supply of Technical Grade Hydrochloric Acid, and the steady demand from the oil and gas industry is beginning to impact supply of High Purity Hydrochloric Acid.
Several suppliers have reported that they are being allocated Hydrochloric Acid, and in turn are allocating Hydrochloric Acid to their customers. There have also been reports of recent specification failures of Hydrochloric Acid at incoming inspection.
Firms who use Hydrochloric Acid should consider taking the following actions:
1. Contact your supplier of Hydrochloric Acid and assure their ability to supply
2. Assess and understand the Hydrochloric Acid supply chain for vulnerabilities that could cause supply interruptions and product authentication concerns
3. Secure a supply of Hydrochloric Acid from a trusted supplier
4. Conduct full analytical testing upon receipt of Hydrochloric Acid
Rx-360 is continuing to monitor the situation and will publish updates as necessary.