Russian-Ukrainian war impacts European coke market: Eurocoke

The Russian invasion into Ukraine has had a negative impact on Ukrainian coke production, which has also impacted the European coke market, says director of the Polish Institute for Chemical Processing of Coal Aleksander Sobolewski at Wednesday’s Eurocoke Summit in Dusseldorf.

Ukraine had 14 major coke plants before the war and most of them are located in East Ukraine, where the main fighting and destruction are. They produced 19 million tonnes/year of coke.

“The leading producer was Metinvest’s Avdeevka coke plant with 4m t/y capacity, which now doesn’t work due to the destruction during hostilities and Russian occupation,” Sobolewski noted at the event attended by Kallanish. “According to the latest data, this year coke output in Ukraine will be only around 9.5m t/y, down by almost 50% on-year or even less.”

Before the war, Ukraine’s steelmakers purchased 15m t/y of coking coal from domestic producers, imported 7m t/y from Russia, and 4m t/y from other countries like Kazakhstan.

“Today, Ukrainian plants purchase only 3.6m t/y, less by more than five times on-year,” he observed. “The major Ukrainian state company and institute for the coke Industry Hiprokoks was also destroyed in the city of Harkiv. The lost of such skill specialists lead to even more negative consequences for the coke industry in Ukraine.”

The European coke market will have to reorganise due to the lack of coal and coke from Ukraine, he adds.

Last week, Ukraine’s government introduced a ban on exports of coal in order to ensure supply for the heating season that will influence the activities of steel companies in the country (see Kallanish passim).

Ukraine’s Zaporizhkoks plant, part of Metinvest, decreased production of blast furnace coke in January-August to 466,700 tonnes, down by 19.3% on-year following raw material shortages.

In August, Kazakhstan introduced a ban on exports of coal by road for six months, effective 1 August (see Kallanish passim).

Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih (AMKR) purchased 350,000 t/month of coking coal, with the main supply coming from ArcelorMittal’s Kazakhstan-based Temirtau steelworks. Previously, the plant received 30% of the required coal from Kazakhstan, which was shipped by rail through Russia. Now, this option has been removed.

Svetoslav Abrossimov Bulgaria