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.

BC legislaturekitimat

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

More details emerge on mental health incident in Abbotsford on Sunday

APD officers assist mental health team for three hours yesterday, man sent to hospital with injury

Heritage Abbotsford seeks stories on places of ‘cultural significance’

Locations can include spiritual sites, family homes, landmarks and more

VIDEO: Abbotsford Agrifair’s Drive-Thru Safari debuts

Event draws well as families look for entertainment in COVID-19 era

Abbotsford Police respond to incident on Edgeview Place

Cul-de-sac closed for several hours after mental health situation with young man on Sunday

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch playoff spot with win

Bandits down Niagara River Lions 70-57 on Sunday, improve to 3-2

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Wildfire breaks out near Harrison Hot Springs

1.5 hectare fire is reportedly human caused

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read