Alberta’s oil refinery request prompts renewed interest in Kitimat plan

Publisher David Black pitches Rachel Notley on B.C. coast option

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s invitation for proposals to build new refinery capacity has renewed interest in a new-generation oil refinery proposed for the Kitimat area.

Black Press publisher David Black wrote to Notley Monday to pitch his Kitimat Clean project, arguing that only a coastal refinery is a viable way to add to the province’s capacity to export refined fuels.

“Unfortunately the refinery cannot be located inland,” wrote Black, who has developed a refinery design that could be supplied with heavy crude by rail or pipeline from Alberta’s oil sands. “The capital cost to build a large, brand-new refinery inland is so high that it is never economically viable. That is why all major export refineries in the world are located on an ocean coast.”

LNG Canada’s natural gas export facility at Kitimat plans to use processing modules built and shipped from Asia, and any new refinery in B.C. would be expected to use the same approach.

Notley called for “expressions of interest” last week for new refining capacity, as the Alberta oil industry struggles with lack of pipeline capacity and a depressed price for its oil exports in the only available export market, the U.S.

Alberta already has four heavy oil upgraders and four refineries, including the Sturgeon Refinery near Edmonton, the first to be built in the province in more than 30 years.

RELATED: Alberta buying its own rail cars to move crude oil

RELATED: Ottawa’s B.C. coast oil tanker ban reviewed by Senate

With the Northern Gateway and Energy East oil pipelines cancelled and Trans Mountain’s expansion project to Burnaby held up by a court decision, Notley has searched for alternatives including rail and new refining to break out of the political landlock that has surrounded the Alberta oil sands.

With the cancellation of the Northern Gateway project and the federal government poised to pass more restrictions on environmental assessment of energy projects, the focus has shifted to rail transport of crude oil. In addition to Notley’s declared intention to buy more conventional oil tanker rail cars, transporting bitumen in solid form called “neatbit” has been explored to reduce the risk of spills on land.

Black’s Kitimat refinery plan attracted a copycat bid from Pacific Future Energy, whose directors include former Canadian trade minister Stockwell Day and former Assembly of First Nations national chief Shawn Atleo.

Pacific Future has borrowed Kitimat Clean’s approach of using a new oil refining technique that avoids production of petroleum coke, reducing the greenhouse gas impact compared to conventional heavy oil refining.

Backers of another Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline proposal, Eagle Spirit Energy, were in Ottawa last week to call for the Trudeau government to cancel its pending legislation that would ban crude oil tankers from docking on B.C.’s North Coast, effectively blocking crude exports to Asia.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Section of Island Highway north of Nanaimo isn’t safe

I hope politicians will do something about this issue, says letter writer

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Latest scam going around claims credit card misuse

Scam involves someone calling to report fictitious purchases on a credit card, says letter writer

Proposed 76-unit residential development would neighbour north Nanaimo mall

Council approves first and second reading of re-zoning application for 4961 Songbird Pl.

Map on Elections Canada site sends voters to Cedar landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Nanaimo software designer creates hunting-themed card game

Duck Buck Moose involves skill, cunning and luck of the draw

VIDEO: Langley woman’s security camera records its own theft

Langley family discovers early morning grab was recorded

Canadian Snowbirds plane crashes before air show in Atlanta

Pilot lands safely after ejecting from jet

Share crash data, private insurers tell David Eby, ICBC

B.C. monopoly makes drivers retrieve their own records

Vancouver Island doctor rushed to help Hurricane Dorian victims days after his retirement

Potts was asked by Samaritan’s Purse to help at a field hospital in Freeport

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates share priorities and reasons for running

Eight of nine candidates in the riding respond to Black Press questionnaire

South Nanaimo cabin containing mining artifacts burns down

Cabin was unoccupied at time of incident, say firefighters

B.C. VIEWS: Wolf kill, not backcountry bans, saving caribou

B.C.’s largest herds turn the corner from extinction

Pearson nets shootout winner as Canucks clip Flyers 3-2

Vancouver picks up second straight home win

Most Read