US coal fills India's petcoke supply gap
US is filling up gaps in the supply of high-sulphur thermal coal in Indian Cement market as according to the Indian traders it will replace up to 2Mta of petcoke that has been imported by India's cement sector. Shree Cement and UltraTech have already taken one cargo of US high-sulphur coal and smaller manufacturers have bought parcels from stocks at ports where some purchases are currently in negotiations.
Indian cement sector being significant consumer of coal, India's coal imports are set to grow rapidly to over 100Mt of thermal coal this year, most of it from Indonesia and South Africa destined for power generators.
Petcoke, is produced by oil refiners from the heaviest, highest-sulphur crudes. It is a higher-energy, higher-sulphur fuel than most thermal coal. Most of the petcoke traded in the global spot market is produced in the United States but has become an increasingly domestic market with limited quantities for export.
US petcoke with 6.5% sulphur and an energy content of around 7000 kcal/kg was sold in February at US$120/t CIF India to a south Indian cement maker and prices have been stable since then.