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Jacques Benoit named PFEC president

Jacques Benoit

Jacques Benoit, Pacific Future Energy Corporation’s chief operating officer, has taken on the additional role of company president.

“Jacques will lead our engineering, environmental and permitting effort through the next few years,” said Samer Salameh, executive chairman and CEO.

“He’s an environmental engineer with considerable large-scale project experience. His experience and commitment in that field will be crucial as we move forward to build the world’s greenest refinery.

“He will also play a vital role in building relationships and trust with all the First Nations who would be affected by the project. He will deliver on our approach of ‘First Nations First’ through which we recognize Indigenous title, rights, and governance.”

Salameh himself will primarily focus now on investor relations and capital markets, and on finalizing client-markets overseas and in North America for PFEC’s refined fuels.

Benoit has worked on more than 30 major projects, including the Hibernia Offshore Oil Development (on the Grand Banks, off Newfoundland and Labrador), the Hibernia offshore transshipment terminal, the Sable Offshore Energy Project (near Sable island, off Nova Scotia) and the Eastern Siberia-Far East natural-gas pipeline project in Russia.

Salameh noted that the Hibernia project is the largest ever built by using pre-fabricated modules.

“Jacques’ experience will be critical for us as our plan is to have pre-fabricated modules built in Asia. We would then bring them in by sea and assemble them at the refinery site.”

Benoit has also led more than 25 energy-related projects through Canadian federal and provincial regulatory processes. These include the Arctic Pilot natural gas proposal in the High Arctic, and the Rabaska LNG terminal in Quebec.

Benoit has more than 37 years experience in the environmental and oil/gas engineering fields in Canada and internationally. He has lived and worked in Japan for nine years. Before joining PFEC in January 2015 he was senior vice-president for the environmental and water division of SNC-Lavalin, managing a staff of 1,200. He is also the author of many industry publications.

Pacific Future Energy plans to build its refinery, co-created with First Nations, at a site halfway between Terrace and Kitimat in northwestern BC. Cost is estimated at $11-14 billion (U.S. dollars).

PFEC’s project now is in the Federal Environmental Assessment process. PFEC expects the federal government to name soon an independent review panel of outside experts to conduct its assessment.   

The refinery would produce 200,000 barrels a day of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel. And it would create an estimated 3,500 jobs during construction, and 1,000 permanent jobs during operation.

Media contact: Don MacLachlan, don@pacificfutureenergy.com, 604-329-8712

WALLY OPPAL JOINS OUR ADVISORY BOARD

wally

Hon. Wally Oppal, former BC judge, former BC attorney general, and an active community leader, has joined our Advisory Board.

Born and educated in Vancouver, he graduated from the University of BC law school, and practised as a lawyer and community advocate before becoming a judge. He was appointed to the County Court in Vancouver in 1981, to the Supreme Court of BC in 1985, and to the BC Court of Appeal in 2003.

Oppal resigned from the bench to run in the 2005 provincial election and became MLA for Vancouver-Fraserview. He served as BC’s attorney general, and minister responsible for multiculturalism, until 2009.

He is chancellor of BC’s Thomson Rivers University.

In 1992-94, he was commissioner of the Independent Commission of Inquiry into Policing in British Columbia. In 2010, he was appointed commissioner of BC’s Missing Women Commission of Inquiry, and issued its report in 2012.

The advisory board provides Pacific Future Energy with strategic advice and input, and guidance on issues that are important to stakeholders.

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Media contact: Don MacLachlan, don@pacificfutureenergy.com604-329-8712

Shipping ‘Neatbit’ By Rail Could Be The Answer We’re Looking For. So Why Aren’t We Looking At It?

Alberta Oil Magazine 11 August 2016

It’s cheap, it’s safe and it’s practically harmless if spilled. So why isn’t raw bitumen-by-rail gaining more traction with industry and government?

By MARKHAM HISLOP

Albertans are mad as hell about pipelines.

They’re mad in news stories and op-eds, they’re mad in the Legislature, and, boy, are they ever mad on social media. Many believe they traded a carbon tax for pipelines. So, Premier Notley, where are the pipelines, they ask? You hear it in the hockey rinks of Edmonton, the downtown eateries of Calgary and in the bars and cafés of rural towns. Albertans understand that the continued growth of the oil sands—and the continued growth of the provincial economy—depends upon gaining better access to markets for oil sands crude. But what if there was a better, or at least complementary, way to get Alberta oil to market—one that didn’t require exhaustive environmental reviews, and was cost-competitive with pipelines? Wouldn’t governments want to pursue it?

Randy Meyer regularly asks himself that very question. He’s the vice-president of business development and logistics for Altex Energy, a Calgary-based company that ships undiluted bitumen, or “neatbit,” by rail from Saskatchewan to American refineries. Meyer says that the 20,000 barrels of Alberta bitumen that currently wend their way to Midwestern refiners every day could become a flood if governments and industry embrace neatbit.

Neatbit, according to Meyer, has four significant advantages over diluted bitumen, or “dilbit,” which contains 30 percent diluent and is usually shipped in pipelines. For one, diluent often costs more than the oil itself. Furthermore, oil sands producers buy condensate at a premium to its value when it arrives at U.S. refineries, which are configured to refine heavy oil. Extracting diluent at Albertan rail terminals would allow oil sands operators to recycle it, keeping its market value and not paying to transport it to the U.S. where it sells at a discount.

Also, neatbit-by-rail does not require lengthy, costly environmental reviews. The product is already covered by existing railway hazardous materials regulations. There is some pressure from American environmental groups to more strictly regulate or ban oil-by-rail in general, but for now neatbit gets a free ride. It’s worth mentioning too, that in the event of a derailment, neatbit is safe. It has a very low flash point, and there’s no diluent to form a volatile layer of vapor above it in the tank, so it doesn’t easily catch on fire. And if a tank car ruptures, neatbit congeals into a blob instead of running into rivers or farmers’ fields as dilbit has in the past. Finally, North America has a well-developed rail infrastructure, which already has excess capacity due to the recent and rapid decline of the coal industry.

Overall, the industry is warming to neatbit. In April, Cenovus Energy repeated its interest in shipping undiluted bitumen by rail, which was first floated in 2013. At that time, the Calgary company said it was purchasing some of the specially heated and insulated tanker cars needed to keep the bitumen soft during transit. With the Keystone XL pipeline project rejected by U.S. President Barack Obama, and the prospect of new Canadian pipelines to the West Coast looking shaky, Cenovus CEO Brian Ferguson told reporters that removing the high-priced condensate from diluted bitumen could improve margins by as much as $2 to $4 a barrel. “This would allow us to tiptoe into the midstream part of the business,” he said. “Anything we can do along the value chain to change or improve the product, or change or improve the market is a good thing.”

Kevin Birn of IHS’s energy team wrote a 2014 report called “Crude By Rail: The New Logistics of Tight Oil and Oil Sands Growth.” In it, he explains why Cenovus, and other Alberta producers like MEG Energy, are interested in neatbit. Oil-by-rail is here to stay, he writes. “The ability of railroads to connect producers with remote refineries, or to go more readily where pipeline may be challenged to reach, will make rail a permanent feature of delivering inland crude (heavy and light) to refiners in North America.”

So how does neatbit-by-rail compare in cost to dilbit-by-pipeline? As a rule, if both means of transport are carrying the same product, then pipelines are cheaper by about $8 a barrel. But the cost of diluent, or “diluent penalty,” changes the calculation. IHS estimates the average transport cost for dilbit by pipeline at $16 per barrel, as opposed to $20.25 for neatbit-by-rail. Birn says that in a high pipeline cost-to-low rail cost scenario, neatbit is competitive. But Meyer points out that since the publication of the IHS study in 2014, rail fuel and freight costs have dropped significantly, making neatbit even more competitive; about 16-percent less than pipelines, by his calculation. The IHS report argues that, at the very least, rail’s “ability to move raw bitumen from Canada’s oil sands is cost advantaged over moving bitumen blends.”

And building pipelines to move Alberta crude is a political minefield, with almost three million b/d capacity either rejected or delayed over the last five years. With global oil prices forecast to reach $60 to $70 per barrel in 2017, and a gradual recovery now in sight, time would appear to be of the essence for the Canadian industry. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) forecast in May that Canadian crude oil production will rise from 3.8 million to 4.9 million b/d, or 5.5 million b/d if diluent is included, by 2030. “Canada’s energy future relies on our ability to get Canadian oil and gas to the people who need it,” says CAPP CEO Tim McMillan. “Connecting Canadian supply to new and growing markets abroad, safely and competitively, is a top priority.”

Why, then, are oil sands producers only starting to come around to neatbit-by-rail? Not surprisingly, just as neatbit has its upsides, it also has some downsides, according to IHS. For one, it travels via pipelines to rail terminals as dilbit, and Alberta and Saskatchewan currently lack the necessary infrastructure to handle it, such as diluent recovery units and neatbit loading facilities—though Meyer says some Altex customers are already tweaking their production equipment to reduce or eliminate diluent altogether. Today, Cenovus is considering the construction of a diluent recovery unit at its Bruderheim crude-by-rail terminal near Edmonton. Meyer adds that Altex’s modern high-throughput loading facility in Lashburn, Saskatchewan has already demonstrated that costs can be lowered significantly enough through efficiencies. But refiners would have to invest in receiving infrastructure to handle neatbit, which needs to be heated to keep it flowing.

The U.S. Gulf Coast has many refineries equipped to handle heavy oil—regional input capacity is about 1.8 million b/d, but it’s unclear just how many could potentially handle raw neatbit.

One refinery that would be equipped to handle neatbit is the $15-billion Pacific Future Energy project, planned for a site near Terrace on the British Columbia coast. In June, it filed with federal and provincial regulators a formal project description that could kick off a two-year review process. The 216,000-b/d facility is billed by promoters as the “world’s greenest bitumen-to-fuels refinery,” with near net-zero carbon emissions. Steam-heated and insulated rail cars operating at 80 degrees Celsius would transport Alberta neatbit the 1,000 kilometers over the Rockies to an unloading facility specifically designed for raw bitumen. Jacques Benoit, chief operating officer of Pacific Future Energy, is a big fan of neatbit because of the safety factor, which is critical in the superheated political atmosphere of B.C. “Neatbit is much safer than moving gasoline, for instance. If there were to be an accident, if there was a crack in the railcar, the neatbit would fill that crack and prevent product from coming out,” he says. “As soon as the neatbit hits the air at 20C it becomes a near-solid again. Compare it to lava coming out of a volcano, as soon as the lava hits the air it solidifies. That’s similar to this product.”

For his part, Kevin Birn at IHS says neatbit could very well be the answer the industry is looking for, but it’s by no means the only contender. “What you’re looking at is a proliferation of a lot of different options for moving crude out of Western Canada, a lot of creativity, but there’s no silver bullet,” says Birn. “I expect to see a lot of niche opportunities and neatbit would be one of them.” But if that is the case, then why aren’t the Alberta and Canadian governments backing neatbit-by-rail, even if only as a short-term bridge to pipelines or as a complementary option as oil sands production grows?

Terry Hubbard is an assistant deputy minister with Natural Resources Canada. His department is aware of the neatbit-by-rail option, but has not studied the economics in detail. Ottawa is still operating under the assumption that pipelines are the most cost-effective and preferred way to get oil to market. Furthermore, even though significant new infrastructure funding was announced by the Trudeau government, the feds don’t pick projects. “These are typically projects that are advanced either by the private sector or by different levels of government,” Hubbard says.

To date, the Alberta government has not advanced a neatbit project nor does it intend to. “The Government of Alberta does not have plans to discuss neatbit-by-rail with the federal government,” says Alberta Energy spokesperson Brad Hartle. “Our focus in discussions with the federal government is making sure the pipeline approval process proceeds without undue delay.”

The Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission, which reports to Alberta Energy, seeks out commercial opportunities to increase crude oil market access and, according to Hartle, has done an analysis of the economic feasibility of neatbit, which it won’t share because the report contains “commercially sensitive information,” he says. The commission has also met with “several proponents of the concept,” including Randy Meyer, over the past few years to “understand the opportunities,” according to the Altex executive. But that’s apparently as far as the Alberta NDP government is prepared to go on neatbit.

Last November, when Premier Rachel Notley announced Alberta’s new climate change strategy, there was a lot of talk about innovation and new technologies being part of the big picture solution to carbon dioxide emission reduction. Unfortunately rail transport is more carbon intensive than pipelines. However, it would get crude to tidewater faster, as it doesn’t need politically charged permits. Randy Meyer and Altex say they can ship bitumen to market safely and cost-effectively in relatively large volumes—if not immediately, then in the near future. IHS, a reputable global energy consulting firm, has confirmed opportunities exist for neatbit in some American markets, and that under certain conditions neatbit is competitive with pipelines.

The Canadian government has made infrastructure money available and could entertain a proposal for neatbit by rail infrastructure from a provincial government or a private company. Both the governments of Canada and Alberta say they are committed to improving market access for oil sands crude.

The question remains whether they and the industry will connect the dots on neatbit before Canada loses another opportunity to tap foreign markets because of an abundance of caution.

Original story from Alberta Oil Magazine

 

TC-117

Pacific Future Energy files full project description

Pacific Future Energy has filed with federal and provincial regulators its formal “Project Description,” which provides the public with information about its plans to build the world’s greenest bitumen refinery in northwest BC.

A draft version of the project description was filed with First Nations in December 2015 and with the federal and provincial regulators in January 2016.  This version takes into account all comments and feedback received to date.

The filing means that the BC Environmental Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency will soon kick off a government-and-public review process that could take up to two years.

“This starts another phase in our public conversation about how to build our future and protect our coast in northern BC by creating the world’s greenest bitumen refinery, while recognizing and respecting First Nations rights and title,” says Samer Salameh, PFEC’s chairman and CEO.

Pacific Future Energy proposes to build, with First Nations as co-creators, a bitumen-to-fuels refinery on a site between Terrace and Kitimat. It would produce diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and other products, primarily for export but also to serve domestic demand.

Subject to approvals, construction could start in 2018, and production in 2021. Cost would be $9 – $11 billion USD.

 

Highlights:

 

  • There would be no big oil tankers carrying diluted bitumen or heavy crude oil through BC’s northwest coastal waters;
  • The refinery would bring in safe, near-solid NEATBIT™ bitumen by rail, reducing risks of damage from land and water spills;
  • The refinery would be powered with clean energy and use the latest in technology to achieve Near Zero Net Carbon (NZNC) emissions;
  • The project would refine Canada’s oil at home, rather than see it shipped it to foreign refineries where environmental standards may be lower;
  • It would keep jobs in Canada (3,500 in construction and 1,000 in operations) and keep investment and public revenue in Canada.

Media contact: Don MacLachlan,

don@pacificfutureenergy.com604-329-8712

 

 

Bruce Chan joins our Advisory Board

Bruce Chan comes to our advisory board after nearly 20 years in senior positions with Teekay Corporation, one of the world’s largest marine energy transportation, storage and production companies.

Prior to that, Bruce was with Ernst & Young LLC in Vancouver.  He holds a Masters in Business Administration and is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Financial Analyst.

Bruce currently serves on the Board of BC Ferries, one of the largest ferry operators in the world, providing year-round vehicle and passenger service on 24 routes to 47 terminals, with a fleet of 35 vessels.

Bruce also serves on the Board of the TK Foundation, a private grant-making foundation supporting non-profit maritime and disadvantaged youth development programs.  The TK Foundation was established in honour of J. Torben Karlshoej, the founder of Teekay Corporation.

The advisory board provides Pacific Future Energy with strategic advice and input, and guidance on issues that are important to stakeholders.

Media contact: Don MacLachlan, don@pacificfutureenergy.com, 604-329-8712

JV Driver joins Pacific Future Energy team

The JV Driver Group, an award-winning construction contractor, has joined Pacific Future Energy as an investor and partner.

Founded in 1989, the JV Driver Group is a multi-national group specializing in industrial construction, fabrication, plant maintenance and marine services. It has extensive experience in oil and gas, with projects exceeding $1.2 billion.

JV Driver also has experience in constructing green plant facilities in the power-generation and oil-and-gas sectors, and works closely with many First Nations throughout Western Canada.

Pacific Future Energy Corporation (PFEC) plans to build the world’s greenest bitumen-to-fuels refinery. Construction could begin in 2018 and production in 2021-2, at a site between Terrace and Kitimat in northwestern BC.

Samer F. Salameh, PFEC’s executive chair and CEO: “Having the JV Driver Group on board means we will get early help in turning ideas into concrete plans. They have delivered successful projects in the oil-and-gas and petrochemical sectors for more than 20 years.”

Bill Elkington, CEO of the JV Driver Group: “JV Driver is very excited to be onboard with Pacific Future Energy and to be part of a team with a legacy of building one of the greenest refineries in the world.”Elkington

JV Driver has more than 5,000 employees with offices across Canada, the southern United States, Africa and the Caribbean, with annual sales volumes in excess of $1 billion.

The JV Driver Group won the 2015 Shell CEO’s Health, Security, Safety and Environment (HSSE) and Social Performance Award (SP). The company has gone 22 years without a lost-time incident.

JV Driver recently won Platinum Club recognition for being one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies each year since 2009. Elkington is also a former winner of the Ernst & Young Prairies Region Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Terms of the JV Driver Group investment in Pacific Future Energy remain confidential.

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Media contact: Don MacLachlan, don@pacificfutureenergy.com, 604-329-8712

B.C. company promoting green refinery project —Estevan (SK) Mercury.

Pacific Future Energy is moving ahead with a proposal that was first brought to light in mid-January and is now receiving additional attention at various governmental levels.

Pacific Future’s proposal to build and operate the world’s greenest bitumen-to-fuels refinery in northwestern B.C. is receiving a hearing from local First Nations governments as well as federal and provincial regulators.

“This is the start of our public conversation as we work to build our economic future and protect our coast in Northern B.C. while recognizing and respecting First Nations rights and life,” said Samer Salameh, executive chairman of the Vancouver-based company when the proposal was first aired in public.

The project would receive near-solid neatbit bitumen by rail from Western Canada and refine it into diesel gasoline and other products for export to world markets.

Unlike diluted bitumen traditionally shipped by pipeline or rail, neatbit has a consistency similar to peanut butter. It is stable with a low flammability and is classified as non-dangerous for transport.

“Not only would our proposal traditionally provide a value-added way to get Canadian oil to growing world markets, but it would protect both Canada’s land and marine environments from the effects of a heavy oil or bitumen spill,” said Robert Delamar, CEO of Pacific Future Energy.

“Our plan would take full advantage of the opportunity for Canada by building a near net zero carbon emissions refinery with the world’s most advanced technology. That will ensure an environmentally superior refinery that is also financially and economically sound.”

Jacques Benoit, chief operating officer for the company said, “The project will allow export of refined products instead of diluted bitumen or other unrefined heavy-oil products. Transported in smaller tankers, refined products greatly reduce the risk to the marine environment in the unlikely event of a spill.”

The project is proposed for an area known as the Dubose Flats, about 30 kilometres south of Terrace.

“We are engaging with First Nations in the area in every step of this process, recognizing them as a First Order of Government and honouring the United Nations Declaration of Right of Indigenous People,” Salameh said.

The project is valued at approximately Canadian $15 billion and will create an estimated 3,500 direct jobs in construction and 1,000 in operation.

Pacific Future Energy said they plan to power the refinery with clean-energy sources that include biomass wood-waste from the regional forest industry. This could benefit the forest sector and create additional employment.

Besides the First Nations community, the company said they would also be working with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office on project requirements that include public consultations, environmental assessment and engineering studies.

“We will be listening very carefully to all the feedback and will incorporate community concerns and values in the design,” said Delamar.

Actual construction would be slated for 2018 with the plant entering production mode in 2021.

Original story from The Estevan Mercury

HOW TO SOLVE THE OIL PIPELINES PROBLEM: WHY NOT TRY SOMETHING CALLED NEATBIT? – CHED RADIO, EDMONTON.

One company is proposing a game-changer for the way Alberta transports oil.

Pacific Future Energy wants to build a refinery on the West Coast by 2021 that would handle only a special type of bitumen. It’s called neatbit and it’s a type of oil shipped by rail in specially designed cars.

Speaking to 630CHED’s Brenton Driedger, Markham Hislop with American Energy News says train derailments happen, but this is far safer than a pipeline.

“Instead of the dilbit pouring out and onto the environment or into the water, as soon as that neatbit hits the air it actually congeals and plugs the crack,” says Hislop.

“And in the off chance that the accident is severe and somehow some of the neatbit gets out of the car, you just bring in a backhoe and gravel truck and just shovel it into the truck.”

Hislop says the West Coast refinery would need to have a complementary plant near Edmonton to ready the product.

“That plant would strip out the diluent and turn the product back into this sort of gooey, peanut butter type of consistency and pump it into specially heated rail cars and ship it by rail over to the coast.”

Alternatively, it could open up other markets as well.

“If you can ship 216,000 barrels a day of this neatbit by rail to the coast, well, you can ship a lot more to the coast and you can ship it to the American markets as well, primarily the Texas Gulf Coast which is set up to refine about 2.7 million barrels a day.”

Hislop thinks Americans hesitant to approve Keystone XL will be happy with rail transport of neatbit.

Full soundtrack

Original story from 630CHED

NEATBIT BY RAIL AN ALTERNATIVE TO OIL SANDS’ PIPELINE PROBLEMS TO USA, ASIA MARKETS – AMERICAN ENERGY NEWS

posted January 19, 2016

A proposed new refinery on Canada’s West Coast may have the solution to the problems of shipping Alberta oil sands dilbit by pipeline to American and Asian markets.

Diluted bitumen, known as dilbit, contains 30 per cent diluent that has to be added by the producer before the product is shipped by pipeline and then stripped by the refinery at the other end. That means almost one-third of dilbit is a product with no value.

It also means that dilbit can sink if spilled into cold rivers – think Enbridge’s huge 2010 release into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River – and oceans, which is a principal complaint of opponents.

After President Barack Obama’s rejection of the 830,000 b/d Keystone XL pipeline proposal late in 2015, and the serious difficulties experienced in British Columbia by Enbridge (Northern Gateway) and Kinder Morgan (Trans Mountain Expansion) pipeline projects, shipping oil sands bitumen to market has become a significant issue for Canadian energy companies.

Not to mention Texas Gulf Coast refineries that were hoping to buy supplies of the heavy crude oil (Canada currently provides only about 10% of that market, even though it dominates American crude imports at 45%).

But what if bitumen could be shipped in a near-solid state? And shipped not only safer, but possibly cheaper as well?

Neatbit

Neatbit by rail may be much safer than oil by rail, according to Jacques Benoit of Pacific Future Energy

According to Canada’s National Energy Board, oil-by-rail exports to the US rose dramatically from 15,980 b/d in 2012 to 116,215 b/d in 2014, though still a small percentage of the volume transported by pipelines. Just over 3 million b/d is exported to the United States, according to the NEB.

But oil sands production is slated to rise by several million b/d over the next decade or two (the timing is more uncertain after a number of projects were delayed due to low oil prices in 2015). How will that product get to market?

Is neatbit an alternative to new pipelines?

Pacific Future Energy is proposing to build a 216,000 b/d refinery in northwestern BC that would receive its feedstock from Alberta by special rail cars designed to hold and heat bitumen, which would be heated to around 80C for pumping. The rail cars would be steam heated and insulated to keep the bitumen warm for its 600-mile (1,000 kilometres) trip across the Rocky Mountains.

Jacques Benoit, chief operating officer of Pacific Future Energy, says shipping “neatbit,” as the industry calls the goo with the consistency of peanut butter, is far safer than transporting dilbit by pipeline.

“If there were to be an accident, if there was a crack in the railcar, the neatbit would fill that crack and prevent product from coming out,” he said in an interview with American Energy News.

“As soon as the neatbit hits the air at 20C it becomes a near solid again. Compare it to lava coming out of a volcano, as soon as the lava hits the air it solidifies. That’s similar to this product.”

If the neatbit should somehow escape the railcar after a derailment, clean up crews would be using a backhoe instead of vacuum trucks or skimmers, says Benoit.

Why aren’t more companies shipping neatbit instead of dilbit?

Benoit says there are currently 15,000 to 20,000 b/d of Saskatchewan neatbit finding its way to the Gulf Coast. Expanding on a large scale for Alberta oil sands bitumen requires additional infrastructure.

Oil sands operations near Fort McMurray are currently set up to ship dilbit by pipeline 250 to 300 miles (400 to 500 kilometres) to Edmonton. If Pacific Future Energy’s refinery proposal is approved, someone will have to build a plant to strip out the diluent and turn dilbit into neatbit.

Benoit says the cost is relatively small: “Once you add these units in place, they can last for a long time. It doesn’t add much to the overall transportation costs. And you have to remember that the neatbit is 100-per-cent product because it has no diluent,” which significantly improves the shipping economics, whether to the West Coast, or the Texas refineries on the Gulf Coast that consume approximately 2.7 million b/d of heavy crude and where Canada has only a small market share compared to Venezuela or Nigeria.

Benoit says the Gulf Coast refineries prefer neatbit over dilbit because it’s easier and cheaper to handle.

If the Pacific Future Energy refinery is completed by 2021 as planned, Benoit says someone is going to build the diluent stripping plant, perhaps even his own company.

Given neatbit’s safety, cost, and handling advantages, perhaps someone should build the plant sooner rather than later, especially considering the perilous state of Canadian pipeline proposals.

At the very least, someone – the Canadian government? The Alberta government? The Canadian industry? – should be investigating neatbit by rail as an alternative to pipelines.

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PACIFIC FUTURE ENERGY SUBMITS REFINERY PROPOSAL TO REGULATORS – AMERICAN ENERGY NEWS

posted 19 January 2016

Pacific Future Energy submitted its formal proposal to build and operate what it calls the “world’s greenest bitumen-to-fuels refinery” using bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands last week.

The proposal was submitted to the BC Environmental Assessment Office, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, and Northwestern BC First Nations governments, the company said in a press release.

“This is the start of our public conversation as we work to build our economic future and protect our coast in Northern BC, while recognizing and respecting First Nations rights and title,” said Samer Salameh, executive chairman of Vancouver-based Pacific Future Energy.

The project is valued at approximately $15 billion CAD and will create an estimated 3,500 direct jobs in construction and 1,000 in operation, said COO Jacques Benoit in an interview with American Energy News. Construction could begin in 2018 and production in 2021.

Pacific Future Energy plans to power the refinery with clean-energy sources that include biomass wood-waste from the regional forest industry.

The refinery would receive near-solid neatbit bitumen by rail and refine it into diesel, gasoline, and other products for export to world markets. 

Unlike diluted bitumen (dilbit) traditionally shipped by pipeline or rail, neatbit contains no diluent and has a consistency similar to peanut butter. It is stable, has low flammability and is classified as non-dangerous for transport, according to Robert Delamar, CEO of Pacific Future Energy.

“Not only would our proposal provide a value-added way to get Canadian oil to growing world markets, but it would also protect both Canada’s land and marine environments from the effects of a heavy oil or bitumen spill,” said Delamar.

“Our plan would take full advantage of the opportunity for Canada by building a ‘near net zero carbon emissions’ refinery with the world’s most advanced technology. That will ensure an environmentally superior refinery that is also financially and economically sound.”

Pacific Future Energy says the new refinery will allow export of refined products instead of diluted bitumen or other unrefined heavy-oil products.

“Transported in smaller tankers, refined products greatly reduce the risk to the marine environment in the unlikely event of a spill,” said Benoit.

The project is proposed for an area known as the Dubose Flats, approximately 30 km south of Terrace BC.

“We are engaging with First Nations in the project area in every step of this process, recognizing them as a First Order of Government and honouring the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Salameh.

“Engaging with First Nations as a first order of government, with the goal of operating as full partners, is a crucial element of Pacific Future Energy’s plans.  PFEC recognizes and will respect the new industry standard of placing First Nations First.”

Pacific Future Energy now begins working with First Nations and Canadian regulators on project requirements that include public consultations, environmental assessment and engineering studies.

“We will be listening very carefully to all of the feedback that we receive and will incorporate community concerns and values in our project’s design,” added Delamar.

“We believe that social licence or permission must be earned at the concept stage of this project as well as throughout its lifecycle.”

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