Chevron's Burnaby refinery is the last coastal oil processing facility in B.C. There are proposals for two more on the North Coast.

Northwestern B.C. oil refinery plan moves along

Location north of Kitimat is now provincial Crown land

  • Jan. 14, 2016 10:00 a.m.

By Cameron Orr

A competing company aiming to build an oil refinery on the Dubose Plateau north of Kitimat — the same place proposed earlier the Kitimat Clean refinery plan — has submitted its project description with regulatory agencies.

Pacific Future Energy, whose board of directors includes former federal International Trade Minister Stockwell Day, is planning a refinery which would produce up to 160,000 barrels a day of diesel, 40,000 barrels a day of gasoline, 13,000 a day of kerosene, and 10,000 a day of liquefied petroleum gas or propane.

The company says it would need 3,500 people for construction and 1,000 for operations.

Pacific Future says the construction could potentially begin in 2018 with a 2021 production start date.

“This is the start of our public conversation as we work to build our economic future and protect our coast in Northern B.C., while recognizing and respecting First Nations rights and title,” said the company’s excutive chairman Samer Salameh in a company news release.

The company is boasting a number of benefits including what they call a “near net zero” carbon emissions.

The refinery would also be supplied by rail cars with cooled bitumen which the company has branded as “neatbit”, a peanut butter-like product that does not require a diluent as it would in a pipeline.

With the project description submitted the company says it will now begin working with First Nations, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office, a process which will include public consultation and studies.

“We will be listening very carefully to all of the feedback that we receive and will incorporate community concerns and values in our project’s design,” said CEO Robert Delamar.

The value of the refinery is estimated at $15 billion.

Black Press owner David Black, whose Kitimat Clean refinery project has been proposed for the Dubose Flats site for several years, said Thursday he is close to filing his B.C. and federal environmental description after discussions with government agencies on their requirements.

Black is also considering an alternative refinery site called Wedeene, about five km south of Dubose and closer to Douglas Channel where refined products would be shipped out. The Dubose site is in Kitselas First Nation territory, and Wedeene is in Haisla territory.

“As a courtesy, I’ve sent copies of the last draft [of the environmental application] to the Kitselas and the Haisla,” Black said. “Basically we’ve been going back and forth with the governments for the better part of a year.”

Black was also the first to propose shipping undiluted bitumen in rail cars, making it nearly solid when cold so it would minimize any spread in a railway accident.

Black said the decision of the new federal government to ban crude oil tankers from the North Coast “reinforces the advantage of putting in a refinery, and keeping oil out of tankers.”

Cameron Orr is editor of The Northern Sentinel in Kitimat, B.C. With files from Tom Fletcher in Victoria.

Dubose Point is the industrial site between Kitimat and Terrace sought by two rival oil refinery proponents. Google Maps

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