According to a new market report published by Credence Research “Global Needle Coke MarketGrowth, Future Prospects and Competitive Analysis, 2017 – 2025,” the needle coke market volume is expected to reach to 1,350.3 kilo tons by 2025, expanding at a CAGR of 5.1% from 2017 to 2025
Browse the full report Needle Coke Market by type (petroleum derived and coal tar pitch derived), by grade (base premium, intermediate premium and super premium), by end-user (steel industry, aluminum industry, nuclear power and others) – Market Growth, Future Prospects and Competitive Analysis, 2017 – 2025 at http://www.credenceresearch.com/report/Needle Coke Market volume is expected to reach to 1,350.3 kilo tons by 2025needle-coke-market
The rising demand from end use industry such as steel is the key factor driving the market growth. Steel making is done by two methods: BOF (Basic Oxygen Furnace) and EAF (Electric Arc Furnace). Though BOF is much stronger than EAF route of steel making, the EAF route is slated to out power BOF in the future due to factors like, less environmental emissions, extreme high temperature operations, less facility space and high production output with less inventories. Overall operational expenditure is much lesser than BOF steel making route.
The EAF route has led to the market growth of needle coke, globally. Higher production of steel through EAF route and consolidation of graphite producers are likely to boost the needle coke market, globally, in the coming years. With the fluctuations in oil prices, since 2015, the consolidation is expected to bring about improvement in needle coke prices. Needle coke is majorly a derivative of crude oil. Hence, the crude oil price plays an important role in determination of graphite electrodes and correspondingly in the prices of needle coke.
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Higher production of steel in China till 2016 followed by its unprecedented dumping in other countries have led to an undue pressure on graphite electrode prices. This has directly affected the prices of needle coke since there is a direct co-relation between steel production via EAF route, graphite electrodes and needle coke prices.
In the past couple of decades, there has been positive co-relation between crude oil and graphite electrode price. Crude oil price has seen a high of US$ 150/barrel to a low of US$ 20/barrel. This has eventually resulted in needle coke price variation as US$ 2,200/ton in FY08-09 to US$ 4,350/ton in FY14-15 to a low of US$ 450/ton in 2016. In 2017, the prices have again risen to US$ 3,200/ton.
Major factors seen in the sudden rise are: shutting down of Chinese steel industries due to environmental concerns and high supply of needle coke in these nonfunctional steel plants, high dumping rate of needle coke since China is the largest market for needle coke in terms of annual import, production and consumption. These reasons have affected global needle coke market value chain. The needle coke manufacturers were finding it difficult to meet the demands from graphite electrode manufacturers. Though the prices have risen to normal levels, there is still skepticism in terms of availability of needle coke as there is high waiting period in terms of availability.
The key players, developers, suppliers and service providers are: Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Phillips 66, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, Sea-Drift Coke LP, C-Chem Co. Ltd., Boatailong New Co. Ltd., Graphite India Ltd, HEG, Petroleum Coke Industries Co. Ltd., Tokai Carbon, Nippon Carbon, SEC, Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company Ltd., and JXTG Holdings, Inc.
- Rising demand from end use industry
- As a thumb rule in steel production, approximately 3kg of graphite electrode is used for the production of a ton of steel. Equivalent amount of needle coke is used for the production of graphite electrodes
On the basis of grade, the global needle coke market is categorized into following segments:
- Base Premium
- Intermediate Premium
- Super Premium
The needle coke are premium types of coke that are similar to delayed coke with high graphitization. In terms of grade, the needle coke market is segmented into base premium, intermediate premium and super premium needle coke.
The base premium needle coke has the highest coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) which is less than 0.65 (10-6/ºC). Since the CTE influences the material behavior, it is desirable that the CTE should be less than 0.5 (10-6/ºC) to be able to operate at higher temperatures. The xylene density is close to 2.11 g/cm3. The xylene density for base premium type shows that the coke has been calcined at lower temperature. The sulfur content is less than 0.6% and hydrogen content is in the range of 0.035-0.055%.
The intermediate premium coke has the CTE less than 0.5 (10-6/ºC). This coefficient makes the intermediate type operable at higher temperatures. The xylene content is 2.12 g/cm3 and hydrogen content is similar to base premium type.
The super-premium needle coke has sulfur content less than 0.4% with similar hydrogen content as of base and intermediate types. The coefficient of thermal expansion is less than 0.4 (10-6/ºC) Max and has the xylene density at 2.15 g/cm3. World’s biggest manufacturers of needle coke also have super premium needle cokes with CTE as low as 0.1 (10-6/ºC) Max. Therefore, for high grade steel and electrode production, the super-premium needle coke market was the highest globally in terms of volume in 2016. The market is expected to remain highest for the forecast period from 2017 – 2025.
On the basis of type, the global needle coke market is categorized into following segments:
- Petroleum Derived
- Coal Tar Pitch Derived
Based on type, the market is segmented into oil & gas and coal tar pitch derived. Needle coke are the major heating elements used in an electric arc furnace (EAF) for steel making. Scrap from old cars or appliances are melted to form steel. The EAF steel furnace requires high quality coke for graphite electrode manufacturing. The demand from steel industry for specialty cokes is increasing for UHP (Ultra High Power) EAF to produce steel. Globally, there is a huge demand for aluminum due to its vast consumption in automobiles, heavy equipment and machineries, aircraft amongst others. Graphitized cathodes are used in aluminum production and graphite electrodes are used in steel production. Thus, graphitization of electrodes in metal production has led to high demand for needle coke globally.
Graphite electrodes are also produced from coal tar pitch (CTP). The CTP is used as a impregnating and a binding agent to increase the strength and density of electrode. The largest consumer of CTP is the aluminum industry. It is closely followed by the graphite industry. By volume, the share of CTP in graphite electrode is more than 38% and the rest is needle coke (or calcinised pet coke – CPC).
Production of needle coke from petroleum is similar to conventional delayed coker unit. In a refinery, any stream with lowest sulfur content can be considered as a feed for needle coke production. Slurry oils from FCC (Fluid Catalytic Cracking) and derivatives of tar from cookeries are also considered for needle coke.
On the basis of end-user, the global needle coke market is categorized into following segments:
- Steel Industry
- Aluminum Industry
- Nuclear Power
- ‘Others’ (Lithium Battery, Aerospace, Electric Carbon Brush, etc.)
In the graphite electrode manufacturing needle coke is a major constituent. Needle coke accounts for almost 40% of the cost of manufacturing of graphite electrode. Needle coke is a derivative of crude oil and coal tar. Its major application is in the graphite electrode industry. The graphite electrodes in turn are used in manufacturing of steel and aluminum. Needle coke is used as consumable in the production of graphite electrode and cathode electrode. The premium coke is able to carry high current even at low voltage for manufacturing steel and other non-ferrous metals through electro arc furnace (EAF) and Laddle Furnace route.
Steel industry is the highest ranked user of needle coke for their production. Needle coke provides electrical and thermal conductivity, mechanical strength, thermal shock resistance, machinability and thermal expansion. Needle coke is also used in manufacturing of lithium ion batteries, electric cars and some intrinsic parts of mobile phones. Cathode required in smelting of aluminum is also manufactured from needle coke.
Based on geographical distribution, the global needle coke market is segmented into following regions and countries:
- North America
- Rest of Europe
- Asia Pacific
- Rest of Asia Pacific
- Latin America
- Rest of Latin America
- Middle East & Africa
- Rest of Middle East & Africa
Global needle coke manufacturing is concentrated in the U.S., Japan and China, majorly. Conoco Phillips from the U.S. is the largest manufacturer/producer of needle coke. The coal tar pitch derived needle coke has only two producers in the world. Mitsubishi Chemicals and C-Chem are those two companies from Japan.
One of the major concerns for graphite electrode manufacturers and suppliers is that the availability of needle coke is limited and sometimes the waiting period is over one year. This dampens new capacity addition in graphite electrode industry. In Japan, an AGOT (Atcheson Graphite Ordinary Temperature) graphite is used as an insulator in nuclear reactors even at temperature below 1 K (kelvin). This property is useful in controlling chain reaction of uranium and thorium that are used in electricity production.
Needle coke availability is scarce in the global market and its production is controlled by 7-10 players in the U.S and Japan. There is a direct relation between needle coke processes with crude oil prices. With the fluctuation in crude oil prices, the needle coke manufacturers are approaching graphite electrode players for the revision of prices. Asia Pacific region is the largest consumer of needle coke which is followed by Middle East & Africa. China is the largest importer of needle coke…
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