As a non-renewable resource, oil has different index properties depending on the place of origin. However, judging from the proven reserves and distribution of global crude oil, the reserves of light sweet crude oil are about 39 billion tons, which is less than the reserves of light high sulfur crude oil, medium crude oil and heavy crude oil. The main producing areas of the world are only West Africa, Brazil, the North Sea, the Mediterranean, North America, the Far East and other places. As a by-product of the traditional refining process, petroleum coke production and indicators are closely related to crude oil indicators. Affected by this, from the perspective of the global petroleum coke index structure, the proportion of low-sulfur petroleum coke is much lower than that of medium and high-sulfur petroleum coke.
From the perspective of the structure distribution of China's petroleum coke indicators, the output of low-sulfur petroleum coke (petroleum coke with a sulfur content of less than 1.0%) accounts for 14% of the total national petroleum coke output. It accounts for about 5% of the total imported petroleum coke in China. Let's take a look at the supply of low-sulfur petroleum coke in China in the past two years.
According to data from the past two years, the monthly output of low-sulfur petroleum coke in domestic refineries has basically remained at around 300,000 tons, and the supply of imported low-sulfur petroleum coke has relatively fluctuated, reaching its peak in November 2021. However, there are also cases where the monthly import volume of low-sulfur petroleum coke is zero. Judging from the supply of low-sulfur petroleum coke in China in the past two years, the monthly supply has basically remained at a high level of around 400,000 tons since August this year.
From the perspective of China's demand for low-sulfur petroleum coke, it is mainly used in the production of graphite electrodes, artificial graphite anode materials, graphite cathodes and prebaked anodes. The demand for low-sulfur petroleum coke in the first three fields is rigid demand, and the demand for low-sulfur petroleum coke in the field of prebaked anodes is mainly used for the deployment of indicators, especially the production of high-end prebaked anodes with high requirements for sulfur content and trace elements . Since the beginning of this year, with the increase in the source of imported petroleum coke, more and more resources with better trace elements have arrived in Hong Kong. For the field of prebaked anodes, the choice of raw materials has increased, and its dependence on low-sulfur petroleum coke has also decreased. . In addition, in the second half of this year, the operating rate of the domestic graphite electrode field has dropped to below 30%, falling to a historical freezing point. Therefore, since the fourth quarter, the supply of domestic low-sulfur petroleum coke has been increasing and demand has declined, which has led to a drop in the price of domestic low-sulfur petroleum coke.
Judging from the price change trend of a CNOOC refinery in the past two years, the price of low-sulfur petroleum coke has started to fluctuate from a high level since the second half of the year. However, recently, the market has gradually shown signs of stabilization, because the demand for low-sulfur petroleum coke in the field of prebaked anodes has a relatively large elastic space. The price difference between low-sulfur petroleum coke and medium-sulfur petroleum coke gradually returned.
As far as the current demand in the downstream field of domestic petroleum coke is concerned, in addition to the sluggish demand for graphite electrodes, the demand for artificial graphite anode materials, graphite cathodes and prebaked anodes is still high, and the rigid demand for medium and low sulfur petroleum coke is still relatively strong. On the whole, in the short term, the overall domestic low-sulfur coke resources are relatively abundant, and the price support is weak, but the medium-sulfur petroleum coke is still strong, which also plays a certain supporting role in the low-sulfur petroleum coke market.