India's Supreme Court has ordered a review of the annual quota for importing anode-grade green petroleum coke, a key raw material for calciners. The decision could potentially increase seaborne demand and relieve industries that have faced operational issues due to import restrictions and domestic supply limitations.
In a significant move, India's highest court has called for a comprehensive review of the existing quota system for importing anode-grade green petroleum coke (GPC). The system, established in 2018, has hampered the calcining industry's ability to operate at full capacity due to import limitations and scarce domestic supplies.
The review comes after legal disputes arose between the calciners, leading the Supreme Court to reconsider the 2018 Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA) report that initially set the import quota. Carbon Resources, one of the affected calciners, revealed that the court directed the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) to undertake the review.
The original decision by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to restrict import quotas impacted not just larger calciners like Sanvira Industries, but also smaller ones like Carbon Resources. DGFT cut the number of awarded quotas from 15 companies last year to just six for the current fiscal year, while also reducing the tonnage allowed.
Pending the CAQM's report, calciners can approach the commission to secure their share from the remaining 400,000 metric tons in the quota. Earlier this year, the court had also dismissed a petition from Sanvira Industries seeking a higher import quota for GPC.
Beyond the calcining industry, the court's directive could also have significant implications for aluminum smelters. The 2018 order had imposed a 500,000 metric ton yearly limit on calcined petroleum coke (CPC) imports, affecting aluminum producers who have been advocating for a higher quota given their expanded capacities and the limited availability of domestic CPC.
This situation had led India's leading aluminum producer, Vedanta, to start importing pre-baked anodes from China to meet its production needs, as it couldn't source the required CPC domestically.
The Supreme Court's decision to review the import quota for anode-grade green petroleum coke could be a turning point for both the calcining and aluminum industries in India. While it's too early to predict the outcome, the court's directive indicates a willingness to consider the needs and constraints of these industries, potentially leading to a more flexible and adequate supply chain.