Thursday, March 30, 2017

Petcoke, KCBX Terminals, and Beemsterboer Slag

EPA, not the van for the scale of the petcoke pile
British Petroleum converted their huge Whiting, IN refinery to process the oil produced from the tar sands in Canada. (Update: operating costs of oil sand production is $16.06/b and being reduced as they expand. And they have some other operations that produce even cheaper oil. [platts]) Unlike regular crude oil, the results of distilling the useful fluids out of the tar-sand crude was not asphalt or paraffin, but "petcoke." As an environmental threat, Indiana outlawed petcoke being stored in the state of Indiana. So the Kock brothers piled it up in Chicago, uncovered, at their KCBX Terminals.

I remember reading articles in the Chicago Tribune about residents complaining about the dust and water pollution caused by these piles. (Indiana was right to keep the stuff out of their state.) Kock agreed to build an enclosure. But I see now that they have decided to remove the piles from the city because it was estimated that enclosing the mess would cost $120 million and the Chicago Department of Public Health did not give them a 14-month extension. I wonder where they now pile up the petcoke.

The current satellite images were taken when the piles still existed, so I have captured the pictures. When you click the Kock Carbon icon, the company claims it is a "Firewood Supplier." What a euphemism for dust polluter.

Satellite
Note this following terminal is served by just ships and barges, there is no railroad.

Satellite, Beemsterboer Slag
Satellite, KCBX Terminals
I knew Kock was creating piles of nasty stuff in the city. But I did not know the name of the company was KCBX Terminals until I saw the following two photos and captions posted by Craig Cloud.

4   BRC 526 pulling empties out of KCBX Terminal summer 2002 or 03
[I recognized the Skyway in the background which further motivated me to dig into this BRC activity.]
6  BRC TR set sitting by KCBX Terminal South Deering taken sometime 1998 or 99 forget month
KCBX Terminals transloaded other materials between railroad, barge, and ships before they started handling petcoke. The other materials include "coal, salt, slag, cement, clinker, and ocean freight docking and loading services." [Bloomberg]

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