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India buys petcoke from Venezuela

  • Published
    17th Aug, 2022
Context

Indian companies are importing significant volumes of petroleum coke from Venezuela for the first time.

  • Venezuelan petcoke is being offered at discounts of 5-10% to petcoke from the United States.
  • A tonne of petcoke is more expensive than coal, but produces more energy when burnt.
  • It is generally not used as fuel because of toxic emissions, but is widely used by the cement industry - its largest consumer, as sulphur dioxide emissions are absorbed by limestone.
  • Need to Import:
  • A surge in global coal prices to record highs since the Russia-Ukraine war has pushed Indian cement makers including JSW Cement, Ramco Cements Ltd and Orient Cement Ltd to import petcoke from Venezuela.
  • Implication:
  • This could boost cash flow for the South American producer, where state and private companies have increased exports of petrochemicals and oil byproducts, and the more competitively-priced Venezuelan supplies could displace cargoes from traditional suppliers.

About Petcoke:

  • Petcoke is an exceptionally polluting form of carbon which is banned in several countries due to its severe toxicity.
  • Petroleum coke or petcoke, is a final carbon-rich solid material that derives from oil refining.
  • It is categorized as a “bottom of the barrel” fuel as it is essentially residual waste material which is obtained after refining coal to extract lighter fuels like petrol.
  • Petcoke is abundantly used in India in several manufacturing industries such as cement, steel and textile and it is generated in vast quantities by refineries as it is significantly cheaper that coal, has high calorific value and is easier to transport and store.
  • Composition:
  • Petcoke is over 90 percent carbon and emits 5 to 10 percent more carbon dioxide. (CO2) than coal on a per-unit-of-energy basis when it is burned.
  • Petcoke has a higher energy content therefore it emits between 30 and 80 percent more CO2 than coal per unit of weight.

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