Canada entrepreneur proposes big refinery project in British Columbia

23 August 2012 18:12  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS)--A Canadian entrepreneur is proposing a 550,000 bbl/day refinery at Kitimat in Canada’s western British Columbia province, but observers were sceptical on Thursday about the prospects for such a project.

David Black, a British Columbia-based media entrepreneur, said he wants to start work on the Canadian dollar $13bn ($13bn) refinery in 2014.

The Kitimat refinery would process crude and oil sands shipped in from Alberta through a planned pipeline – the Northern Gateway. Its output would be exported, mainly to Asia.

In a next step, Black’s company, Kitimat Clean, plans to submit the project for environmental assessments.

In his project proposal, Black argues that the export of refined oil products is environmentally safer than exporting unprocessed crude oil. Current plans for the Northern Gateway project envisage the export of crude from Kitimat.

Importantly, the Kitimat refinery would create jobs from Canadian oil in Canada, rather than in the US, Black said.

“We are the largest exporter of crude oil to the US and in the process we have exported most of our potential refinery jobs to that country as well. There is a lot of employment in running refineries, very little in operating pipelines,” he said.

However, industry observers and media commentators said they doubted that a new refinery in Canada would make sense. They pointed to tough prospects and low margins in the refining industry, which already prompted the shutdown of a number of existing refineries in North America.

In recent years, Shell and Canada's Irving Oil cancelled plans for new refineries in Ontario and New Brunswick, respectively.

($1 = C$0.99)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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