Lauren Masterson - Argus Media
Changes in the US crude and refining landscape are causing petroleum coke quality and volume to fluctuate as refiners adapt to more variable crude availability and changeable crude spreads. A wider variety of crudes is decreasing the quality of anode grade coke just as the aluminum market is struggling with historic headwinds. The US is also losing its status as the seaborne market’s only major supplier, as Saudi Arabian supply hits the market and environmental regulations in China could lead to more exports from that country. Political instability in Venezuela further threatens to throw the supply side out of balance, as the country’s vast mid-sulphur stockpiles could flood the market or be entirely held back. These supply instabilities increase the need for independently assessed index pricing based on a transparent methodology that accurately reflects the commodity’s trade.