ICL Group, Albemarle and Lanxess lead bromine production in the world, while production by country is concentrated in Israel, Jordan and China.
Increasing demand for bromine for use in flame retardants, mercury emission control, water treatment and biocides, oil and gas drilling, and PTA synthesis for use in PET bottles is expected to drive the bromine market.
ICL Group forecasts the bromine market to grow from $3.3 billion in 2021 to $4.1 billion by 2026.
This company is the world’s largest manufacturer of bromine and bromine-based products supplying more than 33% of world demand.
According to internal estimates, ICL and its two main competitors, Albemarle and Lanxess, accounted for the majority of global bromine production in 2020.
Bromine is a member of the halogen family and occurs naturally in seawater, underground brine deposits, and other water reservoirs, such as the Dead Sea.
The concentration of bromine and the method of extraction vary depending on the nature of its source.
The lower the concentration of bromine in the brines, the more difficult and expensive its extraction will be.
The Dead Sea, which straddles Israel and Jordan, is the world’s main source of bromine, accounting for about half of the world’s supply.
Also, the Dead Sea is the most competitive source of bromine as it has the highest concentration.
As a result, the least amount of water must be extracted and evaporated to produce bromine, minimizing energy costs.
Chinese and Indian production accounted for most of the rest of world production from a number of different sources, including from brine from wells, seawater and desalination plants.
Furthermore, according to ICL Group, Chinese supply is declining mainly due to the continued depletion of brine wells, coupled with stricter enforcement of regulations in recent years regarding safety and ecology in the chemical industry by the Chinese authorities.
Due to these trends, favorable conditions have developed in the Chinese market for bromine and bromine compounds.
Lanxess and Albemarle produce bromine primarily from underground brine sources in the United States.
Also Albemarle has a joint venture with a Jordanian company for the production of bromine and bromine compounds which is located on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea and shares the same source of raw materials with ICL.
Lanxess buys bromine and some other bromine compounds from the Industrial Products segment under a long-term contract.
In 2020, bromine production in Israel was 180,000 tons, followed by Jordan (150,000 tons) and China (63,000 tons).
The main barrier to enter the market for bromine and bromine compounds is access to an economically viable source of bromine that has a sufficiently high concentration.
Additionally, according to ICL Group, the bromine business requires a complex logistics system, which includes special containers (isotanks) to transport bromine. The need for the logistics system is a barrier to the entry of competitors in the world bromine trade.
In the market for phosphorous-based flame retardants, competition comes mainly from Chinese manufacturers operating in the local market and in markets outside of China, mainly Europe and the United States.
Chinese manufacturers have access to a low-cost, high-quality source of phosphorus, enhancing their ability to compete in this market.
However, various limitations by the Chinese authorities affected the production and competitive position of Chinese producers of phosphorus-based flame retardants.