Black Press publisher David Black in 2016. (File photo)

Renewed interest in Kitimat oil refinery 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.

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.

BC legislaturekitimatkitimat kitamaatlng canadaoil and gas

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

Just Posted

Independent candidate Martin Holzbauer, BC NDP candidate Nicole Halbauer, and incumbent BC Liberal candidate Ellis Ross are running in the Skeena riding. (Jake Wray/Clare Rayment/Black Press)
Skeena candidates talk natural resources

Mining, oil and gas, and forestry are important industries in the Skeena riding

Courtney Preyser is a music teacher and librarian for several schools in Kitimat, and her passion for music and literacy shows in her work. (Clare Rayment)
In Our Valley: Courtney Preyser

Preyser grew up with a passion for music and literacy, which shows in her work and life everyday

<em>Black Press file photo</em>
Clare’s Corner: Giving thanks despite the negatives

Thanksgiving may have passed, but it’s never too late to count your blessings

<em>Black Press file photo</em>
Police look for vehicle after dangerous driving incident

The driver was speeding and failed to pull over for police

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read