A 70,000 mt petcoke cargo from BP's Whiting, Indiana, refinery is expected to be transported out of the Newport News, Virginia, terminal next week, a shipping source said Wednesday.
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The cargo is said to be the first of more to come, although future tonnages have not been confirmed. The company is projected to produce roughly 2 million mt of high sulfur petcoke annually, the source said.
"We should know more in coming weeks," he said.
The refiner also has been searching for other export terminals, said the shipping source and a trading source, including Baltimore; Wilmington, Delaware; and Davant, Louisiana, near New Orleans.
BP also has been storing petcoke at the Southern Coal Handling facility in Kentucky, sources have said.
The refiner had been producing 400,000 mt of 4% sulfur petcoke previously and sold much of that domestically, but changed its crude slate to sell more light-end refined products, a USGC trader source said. That, in turn, produced a higher sulfur petcoke that does not sell domestically, he said.
"They can't go to the same market with this quality," the trader source said. "They have to export."
BP, which could not be reached for comment, and other Chicago-area refiners have had to scramble to move the petcoke after KCBX Terminals in Chicago closed one of its terminals earlier this year.
In total, roughly 4 million mt of petcoke is produced in the Chicago area at the BP Whiting, ExxonMobil's Joliet, Illinois, and Citgo's Lemont, Illinois, refineries, the trader source said.
Another source said he was buying material that would likely have BP Whiting material in it. The petcoke had a 5.9% guaranteed maximum sulfur, he said.