VIJAYAWADA: India is importing huge quantities of petroleum coke that has high sulphur levels and is termed as dirty cargo due to the environmental disaster it can create. An analysis of the import data revealed that ports in Andhra Pradesh imported 35.26 per cent of the total value of petroleum coke that India imported in the first half of the last year. Andhra ports come next only to Gujarat’s Kandla port, which occupied first place with 44.95 per cent of the total imports.
Petcoke has sulphur level of 70,000-80,000 PPM as compared to 5,000-10,000 PPM of coal and 50 PPM of Petrol and Diesel (BS-IV fuel quality). Usage of petcoke fuel leads to high sulphur emission, which has an adverse impact on environment leading to serious health issues, Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan told Lok Sabha recently.
Supreme Court has banned the usage of petcoke by the factories in and around National Capital Region (NCR) due to the pollution it causes. Petroleum coke is bottom of the barrel leftover from refining Canadian tar sands crude and other heavy oils. It is cheaper and burns hotter than coal. There is price variation of at least Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 between per tonne of imported coal and petcoke which is said to be the main factor that prompted cement companies and other factories that use furnaces for their work, to import petcoke.
To discourage imports Centre had also enhanced the effective Import duty on Petroleum Coke from 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent. Kandla Sea Port, which is located in Gujarat, received maximum shipments of petroleum coke during January-July 2017. Its share in value recorded 44.95 per cent. Vizag Sea was the second largest Indian port, where most shipments of the product arrived in this period. However, as per India’s historical data of pet coke available, Vizag Sea stood as the top port in 2016, which recorded 26.06 per cent share in value, while Kandla was the second largest port, which recorded 20.42 per cent in the last year, a report by trade data provider and market research company, Export Genius said.
“While the exact reasons are not known, there has been a marginal decrease though not substantial in the imports of petcoke at Vizag in the recent months,” Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) deputy chairman P.L. Haranadh said.
In a study conducted on petroleum-coke import in India, it has been seen that the country is mostly engaged into petcoke trade with North American countries followed by Arab states and Asia and Pacific nations. Between January and July 2017, the share in value of North America, Arab states and Asia and Pacific nations recorded 50.77percent, 28.22 percent and 14.56 percent respectively.
India imported maximum petroleum coke from North America region from January to July 2017 and United States stood as the top exporter country. It registered 44.95 per cent share in value in this period. Saudi Arabia was the 2nd largest supplier country of petroleum coke to India.