Introductory Guide to Petroleum Coke

 Introductory Guide to Petroleum Coke


Since the late 1980s, the amount of petroleum coke, or “pet coke,” made in North America has steadily increased. But changes in how bitumen is extracted have made it possible for pet coke production to skyrocket in the last few years, and the U.S. exports of pet coke have gone up by the barrel: 184 million barrels in 2012. For further information, contact Importer Tradekey, well-known petroleum coke suppliers and petcoke traders in town. 

Petroleum Coke:

Petcoke is a waste product that is made when oil is refined. Petcoke is a solid carbon material that is made when refineries around the world try to work more efficiently and get more gasoline and other high-value fuels from each barrel of crude oil.

Physical Properties:

Petcoke’s physical and chemical properties depend on the crude oil and the technology used to refine it at the refinery. Petcoke can be hard or a little bit soft. It can look like big sponges with lots of holes or small spheres ranging in size from a sand grain to a large marble. Chemically, pet coke can have a wide range of different elements and metals in different amounts. Depending on its physical and chemical properties, pet coke is usually used as a source of British Thermal Units (BTUs) in energy applications or as a source of carbon in industrial applications.

Chemical Properties:

About 80% of all the pet coke made in the world is fuel-grade pet coke. Oxbow is the biggest company in the world that buys and sells fuel-grade pet coke. Each year, they deal with more than 11 million tonnes. Oxbow gets pet coke from every major refining company in the world, including ExxonMobil, Valero, Chevron, British Petroleum, PBF Energy, Phillips 66, Tesoro, Essar, Reliance, and Shell.

Fuel-grade pet coke has a high heating value (BTUs per pound) and almost no ash when it burns. It is most often used in power plants and cement kilns.

Uses of Petroleum Coke:

Petcoke is a byproduct of turning bitumen from tar sands, like the ones in Alberta, Canada, into crude oil. Bitumen has more carbon atoms than regular oil, and it is these carbon atoms that are used to make pet coke by taking them out of large hydrocarbon molecules with heat.

Electrodes for the steel and aluminium industries can be made from high-quality pet coke that is low in sulphur and heavy metals. But about 75–80% of the pet coke made around the world is of much lower quality. It has more sulphur and heavy metals and is only used as fuel. Most of the pet coke made in the U.S. is sent to China, which uses the most coal in the world, to fuel its many coal-fired power plants.

Environmental Implications:

  • Petcoke is a very stable fuel, so there isn’t much chance of it catching fire while it’s being moved. However, because it has a lot of carbon in it when it does burn, it releases up to 10% more CO2 per unit of energy than normal coal. That’s more than almost any other kind of energy source, and it means that pet coke is a big source of greenhouse gases.
  • Not just the carbon in pet coke makes it bad for the environment. To get rid of the extra sulphur in low-grade pet coke, pollution controls must be tightened when it is burned. Many people are also worried about the heavy metals in pet coke and what will happen to the environment when they are released into the air when pet coke is burned or when it is stored. This worries environmentalists in Chicago, where a lot of dusty pet coke from nearby refineries is stored outside. However, studies by North American pet coke producers show that the risk to people’s lungs is the same as with regular coal.
  • Even though making and using pet coke can be bad for the environment, it is still widely used because it is cheap. It’s cheap to make and easy to ship, and it gives developing countries an attractive source of cheap fuel. As long as this relationship between importers and exporters keeps going, production isn’t likely to slow down any time soon.

Bottom Line:

Petrolcoke is a solid that is mostly made of carbon. It is made as a byproduct of refining crude oil. It has a lot of the same qualities as coal, but petrol coke has a lot of benefits.

Petrolcoke is a type of coke that comes from the last step of cracking. It happens in a unit called a “delayed coker unit.” The used crude oil and refining process affect the chemical and physical properties of petrol coke. Physically, petrol coke can look like large or small, porous black pieces.


Petroleum Coke can be used to heat industrial spaces because it has a higher heating value than coal. When burned, fuel-grade pet coke doesn’t make any ash that you can see. Petrolcoke is a very stable fuel. So, there isn’t much chance of it catching fire while it’s being moved. It can also be stored for a long time without any problems.

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