MOSCOW (MRC) -- Reliance Industries has stopped selling petroleum coke within India and boosted imports of the product to turn it into synthetic gas to power its refineries, according to two sources familiar with the matter and trade data, said Reuters.
Petroleum coke is a carbon intensive solid residue left over from coking units in oil refineries that break down residual oil into more highly valued products. Petcoke, as it is known, can be used as a coal substitute in both steelmaking and in power plants.
Reliance had been depending on liquefied natural gas (LNG) to run its refinery complex and selling the petcoke locally but it is now gasifying its petcoke amid rising LNG prices.
With Reliance's petcoke no longer available domestically, India's imports are likely to rise, after doubling last year because of higher demand from cement makers, who use the petcoke to manufacture the building material. Reliance was the country's biggest domestic supplier until 2021.
"They slowly started reducing supplies (to local markets) in the middle of last year, but now it has come to a complete stop," one of the sources, a petcoke trader, said.
Reliance did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment. Both sources declined to be named as they are not authorized to speak to the media.
I-Energy Natural Resources, a solid fuels trader in India's Gujarat state, said prices of petcoke delivered to India rose last week as cement manufacturers increased their imports since it is still cheaper than overseas coal. There is a very limited supply of domestic petcoke to end-users, and this has made players to procure from the international market," I-Energy said in a note on Monday.
Trade data reviewed by Reuters shows Reliance also imported over 192,000 tonnes of petcoke in the four months to January amid higher internal demand. That compared with about 110,000 tonnes in the eighteen months ending September.
We remind, Reliance Industries Ltd., helmed by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, posted a larger-than-expected quarterly profit as growth in its consumer units offset the weakness in its traditional petrochemicals business. Net income fell 15% to 157.9 billion rupees (USD1.9 billion) in the quarter ended Dec. 31 but was still higher than the average 156.19 billion rupees estimated in a Bloomberg survey. India’s largest company by market value also secured approval of its board to raise as much as 200 billion rupees via bonds.