Shawn A-In-Chut Atleo's latest appointment is as partnerships advisor for Pacific Future Energy.

B.C. oil refinery backers move ahead

Former national chiefs Shawn Atleo, Ovide Mercredi join third bid to build bitumen processing plant on B.C.'s North Coast

Backers of a third large oil refinery proposal for B.C.’s North Coast made some high-profile appointments Wednesday, naming former Assembly of First Nations national chiefs Shawn Atleo and Ovide Mercredi as advisors to their team.

Pacific Future Energy, proposing what it calls the world’s greenest refinery near Prince Rupert, announced the appointments Wednesday at a Vancouver Board of Trade event hosted by Stockwell Day, the former Conservative trade minister who has been the group’s public face since August.

Pacific Future’s proposal is similar to Kitimat Clean, a refinery bid launched in 2012 by David Black, chairman of Black Press. Both would be constructed from modules manufactured offshore to produce diesel, gasoline and other fuels for sale, avoiding the transport of heavy oil by tankers to reach export markets.

The third proposal is called Eagle Spirit Energy, headed by aboriginal author and lawyer Calvin Helin with financial backing from the Aquilini Group, the Vancouver family business that owns the Vancouver Canucks and extensive real estate and farm holdings.

Eagle Spirit is proposing a pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to an upgrader that would produce synthetic crude oil for export by tankers, likely from the Prince Rupert area.

Black announced last week that engineering firm Hatch Ltd. has completed a design and feasibility study for a refinery at an estimated cost of $22 billion, making it one of the 10 biggest in the world.

Black said in an interview he sees obvious similarities with the Pacific Future proposal, which describes new technology and carbon capture to reduce its environmental impact. Kitimat Clean proposes a new refining process that avoids production of petroleum coke, a coal-like byproduct of conventional heavy oil refining that is used as a high-carbon industrial fuel.

Black said his engineering report was prepared using proprietary and patented techniques, and won’t be made public. He said the entry of Pacific Future, headed by an executive of Mexican conglomerate Grupo Salinas, shows the business case for a B.C. refinery is sound and there is capacity for more than one plant.

All proposals for B.C. North Coast refining require oil transport to the coast, either by rail or some version of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, which received a federal environmental certificate this year and awaits approval by the federal cabinet.

All proposals also face opposition transport of heavy oil. Pacific Future has appointed Atleo as a senior advisor for partnerships, months after he was appointed by Vancouver Island University as an advisor for dialogue between First Nations, government and industry.


Just Posted

Castlegar council works on election bylaw

COUNCIL BRIEFS: Business licences and building permits are up and toilet rebates will continue.

Castlegar asking for seniors’ input

The City of Castlegar and the Community Response Network have launched an age friendly questionnaire

New Castlegar women’s group focuses on supporting local charities

50 Women $50 will meet once a quarter to support area charities.

Two Castlegar projects receive CBT recreation grants

Paulson Cross Country Ski Trails and Castlegar Primary School playground projects get CBT funding.

Castlegarians march against gun violence

Castlegarians showed their support for students in the U.S. speaking out against gun violence.

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Golden Knights win 4-1, remain undefeated against Canucks

Vegas gets points from 12 players in dominating effort versus Vancouver

Alberta budget plans for Trans Mountain expansion

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says expected revenues will be factored into budget forecasts

Proposed gun bill attacked by gun owners and shooting victims

The federal government tabled the bill today in order to tighten the sale and tracking of firearms

New anti-radicalization centre in the works for B.C.

Centre aims to help ‘vulnerable individuals on the path to radicalization’ before they turn to crime

B.C. bravery, public service honoured by Governor General Julie Payette

UVic basketball coach Kathryn Shields inducted into Order of Canada

Sea lion with rope wrapped around neck saved by Vancouver Aquarium

Steller sea lions are a species of special concern and some populations are endangered in parts of Alaska

B.C. can learn from Washington’s wine industry growth

Winery owner cites importance of industry collaboration

Most Read