Oil refinery plan needs Canadian lenders

David Black says Chinese bank wants him to find 25 per cent at home

B.C. businessman David Black has been forced to seek Canadian lenders to build his proposed oil refinery near Kitimat at the insistence of the Chinese bank that would act as the main financier.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China declined to fully finance the $25-billion project, Black said, sending him to find a quarter of the required money within Canada.

“It really came down to the fact that they wanted some skin in the game out of Canada and they would put 75 per cent of the money up for the refinery,” he said Monday.

Black has billed the project, announced a year ago, as a way to create thousands of jobs in B.C. refining Alberta crude oil while ensuring diluted bitumen isn’t shipped in tankers, eliminating one of the biggest objections to construction of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline that could supply the crude.

Black is advancing the project through his firm Kitimat Clean Ltd., but he is also majority owner of the Black Press group of community newspapers in B.C., including the Northern Sentinel.

He said he believes he has found lenders in Canada but gave no details, except to say he does not intend to take on equity investors.

“It’s too early to say where or how, but I think it’s there,” he said. “Financially, it’s going to work out.”

He aims to file a project description with the provincial government in September to initiate the environmental review process.

None of the major North American oil companies have expressed any interest in financing or partnering on the refinery but Black said that’s no surprise.

Oil extraction is traditionally more profitable than refining, he said, and the biggest energy firms may not want a new refinery competing against ones they already own.

“I understand all that and decided early on I just had to find a way around that and I think I’ve found it.”

The $25-billion cost includes roughly $16 billion for the refinery – more than initially estimated due to a new refining process that promises to emit half as much greenhouse gas – with the rest covering a natural gas pipeline, a fleet of tankers and the cost of the oil pipeline, if necessary.

Besides securing financing, Black said he must secure sites for the refinery and the marine terminal with the Kitselas and Haisla first nations, determine if inland first nations along the proposed pipeline corridor can come on board and to button down formal supply agreements with Canadian oil companies.

He said an engineering firm from Calgary has endorsed the alternative refining process.

Black reiterated his position that he could build the refinery even if the Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project is rejected and instead bring oil via train, but he emphasized pipelines are safer.

“I really hope it doesn’t come to that – I really hope we can do the pipeline.”

A pipeline would bring money and benefits for first nations and local communities that wouldn’t come with rail shipments, he added.

Oil-on-rail shipments have been growing quickly as a way to get Alberta oil to market, but a pall was cast over the method last month when a runaway train carrying light crude oil exploded and destroyed the heart of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

Black said it’s not clear to him whether there would be a risk of explosion with the rail shipment of diluted oil sands bitumen, but said he would welcome research to address that question.

Sending the required oil by rail would add 12 trains per day on the CN Rail line across northern B.C. and Black said that would mean a significant increase in noise and traffic disruption in northern towns.

– Jeff Nagel, Black Press

Just Posted

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

All Nations Driving Academy gets $360K boost from province

Terrace-based driving school bridges gap in services for remote northwest B.C. communities

Skeena Watershed reopened for recreational pink and coho

Four sections and tributaries remain closed

Skeena-Bulkley Valley candidates react to finding Trudeau broke ethics law

The election campaign is heating up before the writ has even dropped

Body of ATV rider recovered from bottom of Terrace trail

BC Coroners Service investigating death of man in his 70s

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

‘Unsubstantiated’ bomb threat against CP Rail in Revelstoke

On Aug. 18, a bomb threat was made against CP Rail in Revelstoke

Victoria father charged with double murder of his daughters takes the stand

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

Catholic church buys $7.5M equestrian facility in B.C., plans ‘agri-retreat’ centre

Church hopes to grow crops, host students and others on Bradner property

New regulations require training for B.C. addiction recovery homes

Inspections, standards replace ‘wild west,’ Judy Darcy says

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

66% of B.C. residents want opt-out system for organ donation: poll

Support was lowest in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces

B.C. rainbow crosswalk covered in mysterious black substance

Black substance spilled intentionally near Vancouver Island school and difficult to remove

Most Read