Needle Coke Market is Expected to Grow at a CAGR of 7.99% by 2033

23 Apr 2024

Needle coke is a specially engineered carbon material featuring a needle-like microstructure, produced through the delayed coking process of either petroleum or coal feedstocks. This premium petroleum coke is noted for its unique needle-like shape, high carbon content, and low levels of sulfur and metals. It also possesses superior thermal conductivity. Needle coke is created while refining crude oil or from coal tar pitch using a sophisticated procedure called delayed coking.

The needle coke market is expanding due to the increasing demand for graphite electrodes used in steel production. The global needle coke market was valued at $3.05 billion in 2023, and it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.99% and reach $6.58 billion by 2033.

This growth is further propelled by the burgeoning electric vehicle industry, leading to higher market revenues. Needle coke's distinctive properties make it highly sought after for manufacturing graphite electrodes, crucial for the operation of electric arc furnaces in steelmaking.

Needle Coke Market Overview: Demand Drivers and Challenges

As demand for steel grows, along with the expanding market for lithium-ion batteries and other advanced materials, the need for needle coke is anticipated to increase. These efforts aim to enhance the production efficiency and environmental sustainability of needle coke and to investigate alternative carbon sources for its creation.

The needle coke market features key players such as Asbury Carbons, Grazpromneft, China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation, Shandong Jingyang Technology Co. Ltd, GrafTech International, and Shanxi Hongte Coal Chemical Co Ltd. Other significant contributors include Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, NIPPON STEEL Chemical & Material Co., Ltd., Sumitomo Corporation, Baotailong New Materials Co., Ltd., Phillips 66, POSCO FUTURE M, TAQAT, and Arak Oil Refinery.

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These companies are engaging in strategic partnerships and pursuing market expansion strategies to strengthen their positions in the market.

Market Segmentation:

Segmentation 1: by Application
•    Graphite Electrodes
•    Lithium-Ion Battery Anode
•    Specialty Carbon Products
•    Others

Segmentation 2: by End Use
•    Aluminium and Steel Industry
•    Automotive Industry
•    Other Industrial

Segmentation 3: by Type
•    Oil-Based
•    Coal-Based

Segmentation 4: by Grade
•    Intermittent Grade
•    Premium Grade
•    Super-Premium Grade

Segmentation 5: by Region
•    North America: U.S., Canada, and Mexico
•    Europe: Germany, France, Italy, U.K., and Rest-of-Europe
•    Asia-Pacific: China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Rest-of-Asia-Pacific
•    Rest-of-the-World: Middle East and Africa and South America

This market is driven by factors such as infrastructural developments, economic expansion, urbanization, industrialization, and the increasing demand for steel and electric vehicles. However, it faces challenges like global uncertainties, regulatory inconsistencies, economic volatility, and infrastructural constraints, which can impede growth.

Recent Developments in the Needle Coke Market

•    In September 2020, Indian Oil Corporation announced plans to invest $171.2 million in establishing a new needle coke facility at the Paradip Refinery in Odisha. This investment is intended to boost the refinery's capacity to produce high-grade needle coke, a vital component for the steel and aluminum sectors.

•    In December 2021, POSCO FUTURE M purchased a stake in the Chinese company SINUO, a manufacturer of artificial graphite anode materials. This acquisition is expected to enhance the company's capabilities in producing materials suitable for battery anodes.

•    In December 2022, Gazprom Neft revealed plans to initiate a project at the Omsk Refinery for producing needle coke. This product is essential in the manufacture of graphitized electrodes used in the steelmaking industry and for lithium-ion batteries.

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Analyst Note

According to Debraj Chakraborty, Principal Analyst, BIS Research, “Environmental regulations and sustainability initiatives are exerting a significant influence on the needle coke market. The preference for electric arc furnaces (EAFs) in steel production, driven by their energy efficiency and operational flexibility, underscores the pivotal role of needle coke as a critical raw material for high-quality graphite electrode production, essential for EAF operation. 
Consequently, the demand for needle coke is intricately linked with steel production, which acts as a barometer for global economic health. The ongoing industrialization and urbanization in emerging economies further fuel this demand trajectory. 
Moreover, the global transition toward electric vehicles (EVs) as a means to mitigate carbon emissions amplifies the demand for needle coke, particularly in the production of lithium-ion batteries. This burgeoning demand underscores the multifaceted role of needle coke in facilitating sustainable technological advancements across industries, aligning with broader environmental imperatives.