West Coast Olefins Ltd. President and CEO, Ken James, left, with Skeena MLA, Ellis Ross in Kitimat, who are in talks about bringing a new petrochemical plant into the area. (Clare Rayment)

West Coast Olefins Ltd. President and CEO, Ken James, left, with Skeena MLA, Ellis Ross in Kitimat, who are in talks about bringing a new petrochemical plant into the area. (Clare Rayment)

Petrochemical company, West Coast Olefins, looking to build plant near Kitimat

Plans are in the conceptual stages currently and they are speaking with local stakeholders

A petrochemical company has begun talks with local stakeholders about developing their own plant in the Kitimat area.

West Coast Olefins Ltd. is a company that specializes in developing petrochemical projects in Western Canada. Currently, they are working on constructing a petrochemical facility north of Prince George, but with all the natural gas that will soon be coming to Kitimat with the LNG Canada facility and the Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline, the company’s eyes have turned to Kitimat.

“After the big construction jobs, like LNG Canada, everybody feels like their plate’s really full. It’s a very sudden shock when it all ends. If you want to have a project that’ll start in behind that project, you have to start working on it today,” Ken James, President and CEO of West Coast Olefins, said.

READ MORE: $5.6B petrochemical facility planned for Prince George

READ MORE: New B.C. petrochemical industry player in the making

LNG Canada and the CGL pipeline will bring natural gas into Kitimat, where it will be shipped out to other countries, but James said his goal with the petrochemical plant is to keep some of that natural gas in the community, while also providing jobs and money for the local economy.

“[A petrochemical plant] creates new employment opportunities and it just pumps a lot of money into the economy, and I can tell you, with what’s going on with the forest sector, with what’s going on with COVID, it’s going to be a central focus for the next, probably 10 years,” James said.

James said there are many options for processing opportunities that come with having access to large amounts of natural gas, methanol being a main one, which is needed for the creation of many fertilizers. As well, many derivatives of adhesives, which support the forestry sector in building and repairing, come from the byproducts of natural gas.

Currently, the plant is only in conceptual stages, with James meeting with key stakeholders, including community leaders, several industrial and investor groups in the area, and Skeena MLA, Ellis Ross, who thinks James’ idea is a good one for the Kitimat economy.

“If anybody’s suited to take on this kind of initiative, it’s Kitimat because we’re an industrial town,” Ross said. “I’m all for selling LNG to Asia, but I’d much prefer selling a cleaner product, pure natural gas, and take some of that product out and start manufacturing with it, before it leaves Canada.”

Ross said the idea has been on his mind for a while, but only recently have actions been taken by James, and others, to actually make the thought a reality.

He added that not only is he starting to get real interest from James, but also from investors from all over the world, such as a meeting he had a couple of weeks ago with investors from India, who want to open up the market in India, officially, including bringing in capital to Kitimat.

“What Ken James and what these other proponents are doing now is totally different from how it used to be done, 15, 20 years ago. Companies would just come in, make a proposal with the government, then just come in and say, ‘This is what we’re going to do,’ ” Ross said. “Well now, these proponents and these investors, they’re coming in and laying the groundwork and they’re talking to First Nations, they’re talking to communities, and they’re trying to get the lay of the land in terms of how welcome they would be.”

James said the plans are still in the early stages and they’re still looking around and talking to stakeholders and soon the community about what locations may work for a plant, anywhere between the Douglas Channel and Terrace.

“I’ll probably spend a year trying to figure out what that answer is,” James said. “Anybody that tries to design too quickly before they’ve got those decisions made, they don’t gain any time at all. You’re better off just working your way through that and working with the community.”

However, like James said, he wants to get started today so something is in the works by the time the LNG Canada facility is finished. This way, jobs can continue, machinery doesn’t sit idle, and nothing has to be taken apart and then put back together at a later date.

“The worst thing is to let [all the workers] go home and then five years later start all up again, rebuild all the camps. Because they’ll get dismantled. The minute they’re idle, they’ll get dismantled.”

LNG Canada started as a concept in about 2010, he added, right after the Methanex plant shut down in 2009. Continuation is key, especially with the amount of natural gas and the potential for work and product that it brings, that will soon be coming into Kitimat.

“I think the most important thing in this community is continuation,” James said. “Natural gas is going to be the big new input in this city.”

James said he hopes to have shovels in the ground starting in 2023 or 2024. And with the amount of methane and LNG leaving here, they could easily do two plants here of the size they’re doing in Prince George if stakeholders and the community agreed.

James said the plant would be a $10 to $14 billion investment, which would bring in thousands of high-skill, high-paying, long-term jobs going forward for British Columbians and Canadians.

And with the U.S. not buying from Canadian markets as much, James said it’s time Canadians start investing further into their own markets to continue putting money into Canadian jobs and the Canadian economy.

“Canadians need to development new markets, and British Columbia fortunately is on the Pacific Rim, and that is the biggest market and one of the fastest growing markets in the world,” James said. “So, hopefully we get our act together and create a lot of prosperity.”



clare.rayment@northernsentinel.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Outside the Kitimat RCMP police station, Diversity Morgan’s family and Kitimat RCMP come together for a pride flag-raising ceremony. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Kitimat RCMP host pride flag ceremony in memory of Diversity Morgan

“We’re gathered here in solidarity for anyone who’s ever experienced prejudice or discrimination”

(Haisla First Nation logo)
Haisla Nation host walk for strength and series of virtual sessions for Indigenous History Month

The purpose of the walk is to bring Haisla Nation members together and show their collective support

The District of Kitimat will be awarding business owners with a store front up to $5,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of exterior renovations. (Norhtern Development logo)
The District of Kitimat is awarding $5,000 to storefront owners for exterior renovations

The district has set aside $20,000 this year and non-profits are also eligible

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

Most Read