The Kitimat Refinery Proposal: Safe Pipelines, Light Fuels, and B.C. Jobs

Black Press chairman David Black, in Part II of his proposal to build an oil refinery in Kitimat, on moving away from exporting bitumen...

David Black

This is the second of two columns addressing what I see as the greatest threat to the B.C. environment in our lifetime.

The Alberta oil industry’s Northern Gateway plan is to export bitumen to Asia via tankers from the B.C. coast. Under no circumstances should we allow that to happen. A bitumen spill at sea could destroy our coastline, together with the fish and wildlife that depend on it, for hundreds of years.

My first column (link above) discussed the light oil spill by the Exxon Valdez and the terrible toll it took on the Alaskan habitat and fishery. It also gave proof that a bitumen spill would be far worse. A bitumen spill would be almost completely unrecoverable because it would sink and stay on the bottom of our seabed.

The solution that is best for Canada is to build a refinery in Kitimat.

I am promoting and backing this solution. It will convert the bitumen to very light fuels that would float and evaporate if ever spilled. There are other enormous benefits:

  • There will be a major reduction in greenhouse gases. We will use new, cutting-edge Canadian technology in our refinery. It will be so clean that in combination with oilsands extraction there will be less CO2 than in the huge conventional oilfields and refineries of Iraq and Nigeria. In other words, the Kitimat refinery will neutralize the extra greenhouse gases generated in Canada’s oilsands. This refinery will be built in Asia if not in Kitimat, and if so it will emit double the CO2 of our new design. This is the reason that Andrew Weaver of the BC Green Party is in favour of a Canadian refinery.
  • An Asian refinery will also generate 100 train cars a day of very dirty coke (much fouler than B.C. coal) which will be subsequently burnt in the atmosphere to create power.  The Kitimat refinery will not result in the production of any coke. As we all live on one planet, it is far better for the global environment to build this refinery in Canada.
  • Construction of the refinery will create 6,000 jobs in B.C. for five years. Operations at the refinery will result in more permanent jobs than any project has ever created in B.C. with approximately 3,000 direct jobs. These will be highly paid permanent jobs. These jobs will be available for the life of the refinery which should be in excess of 50 years. In addition, there will be thousands of other jobs created in spinoff local petrochemical companies and in indirect employment throughout the province.
  • The Canadian and Provincial governments, local regional districts and municipalities, and many First Nations, will share in billions of new tax dollars each year.

Unfortunately, our Canadian oil companies are not interested in building a new major refinery.  They are focused on extraction which is more profitable than refining. One of them challenged me to spearhead the refinery myself, so I am doing that. We have a solid business plan and, as a consequence, Chinese banks and other institutions are prepared to lend us most of the funds required to build the greenest and most efficient refinery in the world. We are currently moving ahead with engineering design and environmental work.

We will also build a safe pipeline from Alberta to the refinery, with the active participation of First Nations. Modern pipelines can be built and operated safely. Leak data is available for everyone to see on the Canadian and U.S. government websites, and it proves recently constructed pipelines are not leaking. Furthermore, some of the best pipelining companies in the world are based in Canada.

In addition, we will build a fleet of new tankers, powered by LNG rather than Bunker C oil, to transport the refined products to Asia. This way, we know the tankers will be state-of-the-art and as safe as possible. The fleet will be owned by a company based in B.C. so it cannot shirk its legal liability if there ever is a spill at sea.

Let me be up front about my biases. I am for creating thousands of good permanent jobs in B.C. I am for creating billions of new tax dollars for government coffers. I am for reducing the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. I am for building an oil pipeline that will never leak. I am for building a modern tanker fleet that carries only refined fuels that float and evaporate if spilled. I am against shipping bitumen in tankers.

If you agree that we should not put bitumen in tankers please contact your local MP and say so. The Canadian government makes a decision on Northern Gateway next month.

– David Black

 

Just Posted

Columbia Basin Trust announces grant for technology upgrades

The deadline for organizations to apply is Dec. 17

Road trip comes to end with split for Grand Forks Border Bruins

The team is coming off its longest road trip this season.

Grand Forks to receive business recovery funds post-flood

The community will receive two Rural Dividends grants for a total of $655,000.

Grand Forks high school students remember

The school and the Legion joined for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

Letter: English town remembers Grand Forks on anniversary of Armistice

Phillip Morris writes from Shrewsbury, England.

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Kootenay music mentor crushed by stolen sax, sheet music

Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers or the Trail RCMP at 250.364.2566

Most Read