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Heavy oils are heated in a feedstock under high temperatures of 440 °C to 520 °C and under pressures of 1 kg/cm2 to 10 kg/cm2. This process separates the cokable materials and cracked products. Gas oil, LPG, and other natural gases evaporate and the petroleum coke settles at the bottom in the form of residue. The residue is nothing but petroleum needle coke, which is the desired product. Needle coke is a high quality product used for the manufacturing of graphite electrodes, which are used in high power electric furnaces in the steel industry. The calcined form of needle coke is the raw material for the production of graphite electrodes in the iron manufacturing industry. It offers superior properties such as less breakage, low electric resistance, and low coefficient of thermal expansion. This is likely to boost the petroleum needle coke market.

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The petroleum needle coke market is primarily driven by demand for graphite electrodes from the steel industry. High demand for steel from industries such as automotive, transport, building & construction, electrical engineering, consumer goods, foil & packaging, machinery & equipment, and others is propelling the steel industry. A factor restraining the global petroleum needle coke market is strict environmental regulations on the use of petroleum coke. Furthermore, the market is also affected by the highly volatile prices of fuel.

In terms of application, petroleum needle coke is utilized in the steel industry for the production of graphite electrodes, high power intermediates, carbon materials, and surging carbon intermediates.

Based on type, the petroleum needle coke market can be segmented into intermediate, premium, and super premium grades coke depending upon the sulfur content. Lower the sulfur content, higher is the grade of coke. The grades are decided based on the fineness of the coke. Super premium grade coke is used for the manufacturing of the ultra-high power graphite electrodes, which are used in electric arc furnaces in the steel and aluminum industry. Super premium grade sulfur offers superior properties such as low ash, low sulfur content, and low coefficient of thermal expansion. Premium coke and intermediate coke is used less in the steel and aluminum industries as compared to super premium grade coke.

In terms of geography, the petroleum needle coke market can be classified into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, and Middle East & Africa. The market in Asia pacific is expected to expand at the significant rate during the forecast period, due to heavy demand from the steel and aluminum industries. China is estimated to be a significant producer and consumer of petroleum needle coke in the Asia Pacific region. Production of petroleum needle coke in India is expected to rise due to increase in demand from the construction and building industries. The market in North America is expected to expand at a moderate pace over the forecast period, owing to technological advancements in the region. The petroleum needle coke market in Europe is expected to be stable due to steady demand from the steel industry. The market in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is expected to expand at a sluggish pace during the forecast period.

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Key players operating in the global petroleum needle coke market include Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Royal Dutch Shell Plc., Phillips 66, Essar Oil Ltd, Seadrift Coke LP, Baotailong New Material Co., Ltd., JXTG Holdings, Inc. Petrochina International Jinzhou Petrochemical Co., Ltd., Reliance Industries Ltd, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation, C-Chem CO., LTD., PETROLEUM COKE INDUSTRIES CO. (K.S.C), , Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Company Limited, Shanxi Hongte Coal Chemical Co Ltd., and Shijiazhuang Deli Chemical Co.