Needle coke is a derivative of crude oil or coal tar. It is the primary material used for graphite electrodes in electric furnaces for steel production. There are two types of needle cokes namely coal-based and petroleum-based.
The needle coke market was valued at around US$ 2 Bn in 2017, and is expected to register a CAGR of 5.5%. The first five-year cumulative revenue (2017–2021) is projected to be approximately US$ 11.2 Bn, which is expected to increase significantly over the latter part of the five-year forecast period.
One of the key market driver compelling growth of the global needle coke market is increasing demand for steel. Around 66% of global steel is produced in basic oxygen blast furnaces (BOF) and the remaining 34% in electric arc furnaces (EAF). Though BOF currently is more widely used in the steel industry, EAF are expected to gain high traction in coming years, owing to factors such as less environmental impact, extreme high temperature operations, less facility space requirement, and higher production output with lower inventory. Needle coke is the main raw material used in making graphite electrodes to be used in EAF. Increasing demand for steel from other industries is expected to ensure sustainable growth for the global needle coke market in future. In addition, increasing adoption of needle coke in other applications such as lithium-ion batteries, nuclear furnaces, etc. are expected to drive the growth of the market in the near future.
Uncertainties in crude oil prices since mid-2015 has led to volatility in prices of needle coke, since it is a direct derivative of crude oil. In addition, shortage of needle coke – a form of calcined petroleum coke – is exacerbating the ability of graphite electrode producers currently operating to increase production rates to meet rising demand. Needle coke represents approximately 40%–60% of the input cost of graphite electrode production. Nonetheless, consolidation of the top needle coke producers in the world is expected to improve profitability by curbing high cost of operations.
However, one of the major barriers for the needle coke market is uncertainty in the global crude oil prices. In addition, shortage of needle coke – a form of calcined petroleum coke – is exacerbating the ability of graphite electrode producers currently operating to increase production rates to meet rising demand.
Global Needle Coke Market: Segmental Snapshot
The market report has been segmented on the basis of form type, application, and region. The product type segment includes petroleum-based and coal-based. The application segment includes graphite electrodes, special carbon materials, and others. The regions covered in the analysis are North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, South America, and Middle East & Africa.
By type: The petroleum-based segment accounted for highest revenue share contribution as compared to coal-based segment, and is expected to register a CAGR of over 5% between 2017 and 2026. This is primarily attributed due to certain factors such as declining crude oil prices globally. Petroleum-based needle coke segment is expected to register highest CAGR, as it is high temperature resisting in steel production and relatively less harmful to environment, and more widely used.
By application: The graphite electrode segment is projected to account for highest revenue share as compared to that of other application segment, and register a CAGR of over 5% over the forecast period, owing to increasing demand from steel manufacturing and steel recycling industries/plants
By region: The market in Asia Pacific accounted for highest revenue share in the global needle coke market in 2016, and is expected to register a CAGR of over 5% between 2017 and 2026, owing to the presence of large number of raw material suppliers in the region.
The market in North America accounted for the second highest revenue share in the global needle coke market in 2016. Rising demand for needle coke from various end-use industries, especially from steel manufacturing and aerospace industries, coupled with increasing applications for needle coke are major factors driving growth of the North America needle coke market currently.
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Moreover, technological advancements in equipment used for manufacturing needle coke, coupled with recent discoveries in shale gas reserves in countries in the region are other major factors expected to boost demand for needle coke in the North America market over the forecast period
Prominent players in the global Needle Coke market include Shanxi Hongte Coal Chemical Co. Ltd., Fangda Carbon New Material Co., Ltd., Shanxi Meijin Energy Co., Ltd., Jinzhou Petrochemical Co., Ltd., Baotailong New Materials Co., Ltd., Sinosteel Corporation, Indian Oil Corporation Limited, ConocoPhillips Company, C-Chem Co., Ltd., Seadrift Coke, L.P., JXTG Holdings, Inc., Sumitomo Corporation, and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation