18-12-2017

India ups import tax on petcoke in blow to U.S. refiners

India has raised the effective import duty on petroleum coke to 10 percent from 2.5 percent, according to a government order, days after the government told a court it was in favour of curbing the use of the dirty-burning fuel.

The duty has gone up after the government ended an exemption to tax payable on importing the fuel that emits 11 percent more greenhouse gases than coal and also releases several times more sulphur dioxide, which causes lung diseases.

The Supreme Court in October banned the use of petroleum coke, better known as petcoke, in and around New Delhi in a bid to clean up the air in one of the world’s most polluted cities.

The court this week allowed petcoke’s use as feedstock by the cement industry in the region as it hears a plea to ban its import across the country.

India is the world’s biggest consumer of petcoke, with most of that coming from refineries in the United States. Local producers include Indian Oil Corp, Reliance Industries and Bharat Petroleum Corp.

The move could lead to higher prices charged by local petcoke suppliers.

The move is also expected to raise imports of coal by companies that use petcoke as a fuel, not feedstock, such as textile firms.

A country-wide import ban would require replacing 14 million tonnes of petcoke a year with 24 million to 31 million tonnes of coal, according to industry calculations, most of which would have to be imported.

Source: Reuters

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