NEW DELHI (AP) — U.S. oil refineries that are unable to sell a dirty fuel waste product at home are exporting vast quantities of it to India instead.
Petroleum coke, the bottom-of-the-barrel leftover from refining Canadian tar sands crude and other heavy oils, is cheaper and burns hotter than coal. But it also contains more planet-warming carbon and far more heart- and lung-damaging sulfur — a key reason few American companies use it.
Refineries instead are sending it around the world, especially to energy-hungry India, which last year got almost a fourth of all the fuel-grade “petcoke” the U.S. shipped out, an Associated Press investigation found. In 2016, the U.S. sent more than 8 million metric tons of petcoke to India. That’s about 20 times more than in 2010, and enough to fill the Empire State Building eight times.
The petcoke being burned in countless factories and plants is contributing to dangerously filthy air in India, which already has many of the world’s most polluted cities.
Delhi resident Satye Bir does not know all the reasons Delhi’s air is so dirty, but he says he feels both fury and resignation.
“My life is finished....My lungs are finished,” said the 63-year-old Bir, wheezing as he pulls an asthma inhaler out of his pocket. “This is how I survive. Otherwise, I can’t breathe.”
Full Story: AP News