Oil & Gas/Petrochemicals How Smart Technology Moves Into all Stages of the Petrochemical Value Chain –

Author / Editor: Ragnar Strauch / Dominik Stephan

For more than 150 years, the German mechanical engineering industry has offered solutions for the oil, gas and petrochemical industries. Some VDMA members originated as companies that supplied technology to oil pioneers in Celle and its surrounding areas. Since then, however, the product range has widened significantly.

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Making solutions for the oil & gas sector is the need of the hour owing to the industry calling for innovation leaps.
Making solutions for the oil & gas sector is the need of the hour owing to the industry calling for innovation leaps.
(Picture: VDMA Statistics)

The German engineering industry offers solutions for all stages of the petrochemical value chain from well to refinery. This comprises solutions for the production of hydrocarbons (upstream),the entire transport infrastructure— be it via pipeline, tanker or via rail and road— including under- or above ground storage infrastructure (midstream), and to obtain end and intermediate products in petrochemical plants for processing (downstream). Technology solutions are available both for operations on land (onshore) and at sea (offshore).

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The intermediates and final products are not only used as fuel and lubricants for vehicles and machines of all kinds, or as energy source for the production of electricity and heat. Predominantly they form the basis for producing many products indispensable in a modern society which are only made possible through innovative process technology.


Often we tend to forget that these products made from oil and gas are essential for environmental protection: Just think of CO2 reduction in traffic for example gained through less heavy plastics in cars or carbon fibre elements in aircrafts and elsewhere. Or think of insulation material and lightweight components: In the food industry or in health technology carbon-based products are indispensable as well.

Germany is the world market leader

Production and processing of oil and gas require diverse process technologies. These include in particular—but by no means exclusively—pumps, industrial valves, process equipment, drilling and filtration technology. In almost all of these product categories, Germany is the world leader. Total trade volume of these products was at $205 billion in 2014.

Graph 1: Process Technology Exports by Countries
Graph 1: Process Technology Exports by Countries
(Picture: VDMA Statistics)

As shown in graph 1, Germany holds a market share of over 15 per cent for compressors, of about 16 per cent for pumps and process engineering, and more than 17 per cent in wet filtration. In most product categories, Germany is followed by US and China. Only where deep drilling is concerned, the Americans are clearly ahead of Germany.