By Ajay Modi
February 6, 2024 - Indian private-sector refiner Reliance Industries (RIL) kept its February petroleum coke prices unchanged from January, while fellow refiner Nayara Energy raised prices by 1.5pc on the month even as the seaborne market softened through January.
RIL set its basic February coke price at 13,172 rupees/t ($158.65/t), unchanged from the previous month. Nayara raised its February prices to Rs13,385/t, up by Rs200/t from January.
The factory gate prices are effective from 1 February, excluding local taxes and duties. The two refiners had reduced their January coke prices by nearly 3pc each compared with December.
Indian refiners typically follow an import parity pricing model for domestic supplies that includes the price of US Gulf coast 6.5pc sulphur coke on a delivered India basis. Refiners typically announce prices on the first day of the month using the average delivered India price of the previous month as guidance, while adjusting for any currency exchange fluctuations.
Domestic coke prices have been volatile in recent months, mirroring the seaborne market. Prices have risen in August, September, and November, and fallen in October, December and January.
The Argus-assessed index for the delivered India price of 6.5pc sulphur coke was at $116.20/t in January, down by $6.47/t from December. The cfr India 6.5pc coke price was last assessed at $118/t on 31 January, up by $1/t on the week.
Softening coke prices encouraged cement makers to raise coke use in their fuel mix. India's largest cement producer Ultratech used 44pc coke in its kiln fuel mix during October-December, up from 39pc in the previous quarter, partly replacing thermal coal as coke remained competitive.
The company's blended coke and coal fuel costs for October-December eased to $150/t, down by 25pc from a year earlier and by about 7pc from the previous quarter. The blended fuel cost was at a historical high of $200/t during July-September and October-December 2022, after coke and coal prices hit record highs early that year following the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war.