Add Petcoke to Your Vocabulary

B. McPherson
We can keep on truckin until the whole world falls apart.


Another dirty little secret about the Alberta Tar Sands is the production of Petcoke or Petroleum Coke as a waste product of refining the bitumen. It is estimated that emissions from the use of the Tar Sands will be about 23% greater than from refining and using conventional oil. Not so fast the organization called Oil Change International says. In their report Petroleum Coke: the Coal Hiding in the TarSands they claim that this waste product which is as much as a third of a barrel for every barrel of bitumen is sold and burned, adding to the carbon dioxide burden of the atmosphere.

The refineries dealing with the bitumen sell the petcoke at a discount to coal because it is a waste product and it needs to move out. Oil Change International maintains that burning petcoke is dirtier than burning coal by about 53.6% ton for ton.

“ From January 2011 to September 2012, the United States exported over 8.6 million tons of petcoke to China, most of which was likely burnt in coal-fired power plants.” Oil Change International
Domestic coal generating plants also use this product, mixing it with coal, producing much more carbon dioxide emissions while saving the owners hundreds of millions of dollars each year.

There is a whole thriving industry in marketing this dirty product. According to the environmentalists, Oxbow Corp. is the largest group brokering petcoke. They apparently plan to keep on thriving in a politically friendly environment. The Florida based company is alleged to have made considerable donations to key politicos in the last US elections.

“Oxbow Carbon has donated $4.25 million to GOP Super PAC s, making it the one of the largest corporate donors to super PACs.
 Oxbow also spent over $1.3 million on lobbyists in 2012.”Oil Change International
While the group producing the report on more bad news about the Alberta Tar Sands is no friend to burning fossil fuels and trumpets the switch to non-polluting methods to generate energy, the stunning amounts of money spent last year to lobby politicians makes me think that the fix is in.

How long until the killer smog in Beijing comes to your town?


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