Needle Coke - Snapshot

Needle coke is also otherwise known as acicular coke. It refers to an extremely crystalline petroleum coke that is utilized in the making of electrodes for aluminum and steel industries. Needle coke is considered valuable, as electrodes need to be replaced on a regular basis. The growing importance of the product is estimated to bolster growth of the global needle coke market in the years to come.

A rise in the number of electric vehicles has resulted in the surging demand for needle coke. A shift in preference of consumers toward electric cars is generating immense opportunities for the producers of lithium-ion batteries. These batteries find increased scope of use in battery electric vehicles (BEV) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEV). This factor is likely to support growth of the global needle coke market over the tenure of assessment.

Demand in the Needle Coke to Ride on the Back of Multiple Benefits Offered by the Product

The hybrid electric vehicles industry has experienced considerable growth in the last few years due to the formulation of favorable policies by the government. In addition, increased awareness about the need to reduce carbon emissions in the environment and volatile pricing are likely to shoot up the demand for hybrid electric vehicles. This in turn is likely to boost growth of the global needle coke market in the forthcoming years.

Needle coke is basically the main raw material that is utilized for the purpose of production of graphite electrodes made using arc furnace in the industries of aluminum and steel. Needle coke exhibits various superior characteristics, which include the following such as

  • Coefficient of Thermal Expansion or CTE
  • structural characteristics
  • high electrical resistance
  • resistance to high temperature
  • oxidizability

Such multiple benefits of the product is anticipated to support growth of the global needle coke market. Needle coke accounts for more than 40% of the total raw material cost in the making of graphite electrodes.

Needle Coke Market: A Rising Demand for Steel Opens New Horizons

The needle coke market is expected to witness major growth in the near future, thanks to a growing demand for steel. The market is expected to register 4.0% CAGR during 2018-2026 and reach US$ 5.18 bn by 2026 end. Needle coke is primarily used for the manufacturing of graphite electrodes for EAF steel. It is a highly crystalline coke and is made using fluid catalytic cracking decant oil in its initial stages as a petroleum derived product. On the other hand, coal tar needle coke is obtained as a byproduct of low ash cooking and distillation process. The distillation process enables manufacturers to turn coal tar into various intermediate chemicals. The growing demand for steel, cost-effectiveness of needle coke products, and growing advances in the field are expected to register steady growth for the needle coke market in the near future.

needle coke

Needle Coke Market: Petroleum-Based Needle Coke Emerges as a Clear Favorite

The needle coke market is divided into coal tar pitched and petroleum derived. Among these, the petroleum based product is expected to drive growth of the needle coke market. The segment is witnessing a robust demand, despite the presence of only a handful global suppliers. The growth in the segment is driven by growing demand from China and India, major suppliers of Steel. Additionally, essential qualities of needle coke such as puffing rate, low coefficient of thermal expansion, and large particle size are advantageous to end-industries. This is further expected to drive growth for the needle coke market in the near future. The products offer less breakage, low electric resistance, and coefficient of thermal expansion.

Needle Coke Market: Lithium-ion Batteries Pave Way for Growth

The needle coke market is segmented on the basis of application into lithium-ion battery, graphite electrode, and others. Among these, the needle coke market is expected to witness the highest demand in graphite electrodes. These are growing in demand as demand in Asia Pacific continues to rise. Rising infrastructural development, growing manufacturing in Asia Pacific, and China as a major producer of needle coke are expected to drive it further. Additionally, the lithium-ion batteries segment is expected to witness healthy growth, thanks to growing demand for smartphone and various wearable devices. However, the graphite electrodes segment is expected to dominate the market during the forecast period.  

Needle Coke Market: Quality Products Rising in Demand

The needle coke market is growing in applications and due to rise in quality as well. For example, the needle coke market is divided into premium, intermediate, and super premium based on grade. Among these, the super-premium segment is likely to witness the highest growth and register a significant CAGR during the forecast period. The high quality of these products and growing applications in consumer electronics and infrastructure developments is expected to drive the needle coke market.

The needle coke market also faces certain challenges and limitations in the near future. The market is expected to register significant growth in petroleum-based products. However, the petroleum products face extreme political and economic instability. Recent collapse in Venezuela is expected to add to the woes of players in the needle coke market. Additionally, DCC capacities are also expected to witness several limitations in the near future. However, the needle coke market will still register a steady growth as several oil exploration initiatives are making way for less dependence on instable oil regions. 

Needle Coke Market - Overview

Needle coke is a high grade, high value, petroleum or coal-based coke. It is primarily employed in the manufacture of graphite electrodes of very low coefficient of thermal expansion for electric arc furnaces in the steel industry.

In terms of type, the petroleum derived segment accounted for more than 60% share of the market in 2017. The market share of the petroleum derived segment is expected to decline by the end of the forecast period due to the increase in production capacities of China-based needle coke manufacturers. Most manufacturers in China produce coal tar pitch based needle coke. In terms of grade, the super premium segment is anticipated to exhibit significant growth rate during the forecast period. The super premium grade has the lowest coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), which makes it more suitable for the production of high grade graphite electrodes. In terms of application, the graphite electrode segment held major share of the market in 2017. This trend is likely to continue throughout the forecast period. However, lithium ion batteries application segment is projected to expand at a rapid CAGR between 2018 and 2026 owing to its high demand.

Asia Pacific held a significant share of the market in 2017 in terms of value and volume. China is highly lucrative country of the needle coke market in Asia Pacific. Asia Pacific is expected to continue its dominance throughout the forecast period. The market in Europe is likely to expand at a significant pace in the near future.

This report analyzes and Forecast the market for needle coke at the global and regional level. The market has been forecast based on revenue (US$ Mn) and volume (kilo tons) from 2017 to 2026, considering 2017 as the base year. The report also includes historical data from 2012 to 2016. The study includes drivers and restraints of the global needle coke market. It also covers impact of these drivers and restraints on demand for needle coke during the forecast period. The report also highlights opportunities in the needle coke market at the global and regional level. The report provides different types of needle coke manufactured by each company by grade. It also provides the list of potential customers for needle coke based on application.

The report includes detailed value chain analysis, which provides a comprehensive view of the global needle coke market. Porter’s Five Forces model for the needle coke market has also been included to help understand the competitive landscape. The study encompasses market attractiveness analysis, wherein type, grade, and application are benchmarked based on their market size, growth rate, and general attractiveness. The study also includes pricing analysis based on type, region, and key players.

The study provides a decisive view of the global needle coke market by segmenting it in terms of type, grade and application. In terms of product type, the needle coke market has been classified into petroleum derived and coal tar pitch derived. In terms of grade, the needle coke market has been segregated into intermediate, premium, and super premium. In terms of application, the needle coke market has been divided into graphite electrode, lithium ion batteries, and others. These segments have been analyzed based on present and future trends. Regional segmentation includes current and forecast demand for needle coke in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa.

The report provides the historical market size from 2012 to 2016 and actual market size of needle coke for 2017 and estimated market size for 2018 with forecast for the next eight years. The global needle coke market has been provided in terms of revenue in US$ Mn and in terms of volume in kilo tons. Market size has been provided in terms of global, regional, and country level market.

The report comprises profiles of major companies operating in the global needle coke market. Key players operating in the needle coke market include Phillips 66, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, JXTG Holdings, Inc., Baotailong New Material Co., Ltd., Indian Oil Corporation Ltd., Bao-steel Group, C-Chem CO., LTD., Seadrift Coke LP, Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company Limited, Shanxi Hongte Coal Chemical Co Ltd., Sinosteel Anshan Research Institute of Thermo-Energy Co., Ltd., Petrochina International Jinzhou Petrochemical Co., Ltd., Shijiazhuang Deli Chemical Co., Petroleum Coke Industries Co. (K.S.C), Petrocokes Japan Ltd., and FangDa Carbon New Material Co. Ltd.

Key Takeaways

  • The coal tar pitch segment is anticipated to expand at a significant CAGR during the forecast period .This is due to the resumption of coal tar pitch based needle coke manufacturing units in China. These units had been shut down due to the environmental constraints and closure of graphite electrode production units during 2015 and 2016.
  • Most of the needle coke is utilized in the manufacture of graphite electrodes. These electrodes are employed in new steel production and recycling of steel. Asia Pacific was a prominent manufacturer of steel in the world, as of May 2017.
  • Needle coke is employed to manufacture graphite anode material for lithium-ion batteries. Graphite anodes materials made from needle coke have ability in particle size reduction, improve process ability, improve chemical properties, increase density, improve first cycle efficiency, and offer ease of intercalation.
  • In terms of application, the graphite electrode segment accounted for more than 80% share of the needle coke market in 2017. The segment is likely to remain dominant during the forecast period.
  • Historical prices of needle coke were quite stable until December 2014. Prices started falling due to the low oil prices and oversupply of the product. Prices reached an all-time low by the end of 2016.

The global Needle Coke Market has been segmented as follows:

Type

  • Petroleum Derived
  • Coal Tar Pitch Derived

Grade

  • Intermediate
  • Premium
  • Super Premium

Application

  • Graphite Electrode
  • Lithium Ion Batteries
  • Others (Specialty Carbon, etc.)

Region

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • France
    • U.K.
    • Spain
    • Italy
    • Russia & CIS
    • Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • India
    • Japan
    • ASEAN
    • Rest Of Asia Pacific
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Rest of Latin America
  • Middle East & Africa (MEA)
    • GCC
    • South Africa
    • Rest of MEA

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