Needle-shaped petroleum coke (Needle Coke) is the main raw material for the manufacture of strategically important products for the state - high-quality, including high-load (HP, SHP, UHP), graphitized electrodes (GE) for electric arc metallurgical furnaces of alternating and direct current, providing the production of high-quality steels, special alloys, and ferroalloys.
The only graphitized electrodes producer in Russia is JSC "EPM-MANAGEMENT" (ENERGOPROM Group - EPM Group).
The ENERGOPROM Group includes the following production facilities:
- JSC "Novocherkassk Electrode Plant",
- JSC "Novosibirsk Electrode Plant" (EPM-NovEP),
- JSC "Chelyabinsk Electrode Plant",
- LLC "DonCarb Graphite".
Graphitized electrodes (GE) are manufactured by EPM with diameters from 76mm to 762 mm, and lengths from 1.0m to 2.7 m. The cost of GE is about 1.5% of the cost of electrical furnace steel.
One of the main requirements for GE is a Low Electrical Resistivity - from 4.0 to 7.5 mkOm*m, which can be achieved by using petroleum coke with a filamentous elongated or needle-like structure (Needle Coke), with a low content of sulfur and other harmful impurities.
To create a self-sufficient coal-graphite industry independent of imports in Russia, it is necessary to have its own Russian production of Needle Coke (the main raw material for the production of GE).
The issue of creating a Russian industrial production of needle coke has been discussed for many years at the junction of the refining, coal-graphite, electrode and metallurgical industries, including with the participation of prominent representatives of the Bashkir school of processing Heavy Oil Residues, and in particular, the process of Delayed Coking are Viktor Zaporin, Gennady Valyavin, Nikolai Vetoshkin.
Basically, the quality of Needle Coke is determined by the quality of suitable raw materials for its production, and the parameters of the technological process of Delayed Coking.
PJSC "Gazprom Neft" is a technological leader and a pioneer of numerous innovative projects in the domestic oil refining industry.
After numerous efforts to develop pilot industrial batches of Needle Coke at JSC "Gazpromneft–Omsk Refinery" and its calcination in the drum furnaces of the Calcining Unit, the PSJC "Gazprom neft" managed to develop the technology and register its intellectual rights to it.
We sincerely congratulate PJSC "Gazprom Neft" on the registration of its intellectual property rights and sincerely hope that the Project will be brought to the production of the highest quality products of the world's best!
According to the Press-Service of PJSC "Gazprom Neft" dated 05.03.2021, a needle-coke production technology developed by Gazprom Neft has been included in state patent agency Rospatent’s annual ratings of Russia’s top-10 most important inventions. This solution, developed by Gazprom Neft specialists, is making it possible for production of needle coke — a product used in producing lithium-ion storage batteries, as well as graphite electrodes used in the steel-making industry — to be handled in Russia for the first time. Needle-coke production is expected start, initially, at Gazprom Neft’s Omsk Refinery, where modernisation of the plant’s delayed coking unit was completed in 2021.
Rospatent experts see this invention as being as important to the country as major scientific and technological achievements including the launch of the tuberculosis vaccine, the invention of a fundamentally new way of manufacturing solar battery cells, and the development of an innovative fire-protective material for buildings.
Gazprom Neft expects to produce more than 31,000 tonnes of needle coke per year. In doing so, the company will not only significantly reduce Russian industry’s dependence on international supplies of this product, but will also have the opportunity of launching the product on export markets. Production of a pilot batch of needle coke at the Omsk Refinery has confirmed the quality of this innovative product exceeds that of foreign alternatives, on a number of criteria. The development the Omsk Refinery’s delayed coking unit has been undertaken in conjunction with leading Russian equipment manufacturers.
Rospatent’s high opinion of our needle-coke production technology underlines the strategic importance of this product. Future production will make it possible to reduce many industries’ dependence on imports — from steel production to aerospace. Our projects are based around scientific R&D solutions, developed in collaboration with leading Russian scientific institutions or developed through the company’s own Science and Technology Centres. The inclusion of one of Gazprom Neft’s developments among 2020’s top-10 most important inventions confirms, beyond any doubt, the efficiency of the company’s activities in developing innovative Russian industrial technologies.
Anatoly Cherner Deputy CEO for Logistics, Processing and Sales, Gazprom Neft
However, PJSC Gazprom Neft is not going to stop there and sets itself the task of further conversion of needle-shaped petroleum coke into graphite electrodes. The design capacity of the plant is planned to be 30 thousand tons per year, which will meet the growing needs of domestic steel enterprises in heavy-duty graphite electrodes and significantly reduce the import dependence of the metallurgical industry of the country.