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Ex-MP Stockwell Day joins company planning to build B.C. bitumen refinery – Globe and Mail

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Stockwell Day has joined the leadership team of a Vancouver company that’s planning to build a $10-billion oil sands refinery on the West Coast.

The former politician, who has held high-profile cabinet posts in the federal and Alberta governments, has been hired as a special adviser at Pacific Future Energy Corp. and will sit on its board of directors. He’ll also head an arm’s-length advisory council that’s expected to be formed over the next few months.

“I’ve been very gratified that I’ve been involved in a number of projects since leaving politics, but this has to be right up there in terms of something that’s exciting for me,” Day said in an interview from Vancouver.

He said the proposed refinery, which bills itself as the world’s greenest, could be a “legacy project for Canada.”

Oil sands producers have been keen to access lucrative Asian markets, but stiff opposition to proposals such as Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline has put a damper on those ambitions. One of the biggest environmental concerns has been the prospect of bitumen-laden tankers navigating coastal waters.

The Pacific Future proposal – along with others being floated by B.C. newspaper magnate David Black and aboriginal businessman Calvin Helin – would mean refined products, rather than heavy oil, would be shipped on tankers to Asia, making a potential spill less damaging.

Day’s political experience spans the two provinces with the most at stake when it comes to West Coast energy exports. After his time in Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government, Day was the MP for the British Columbia riding of Okanagan-Coquihalla, first for the now-defunct Canadian Alliance and then for the Conservatives.

He also has insight into the thinking of potential buyers of Canadian resources on the other side of the Pacific, having served as the federal trade minister and minister for the Asia-Pacific gateway.

The Pacific Future proposal would mean “high-tech, long-term jobs” for Canada, said Day, who left government in 2011.

“We’re talking about refining product here rather than shipping what really is raw product to other countries and seeing the jobs produced there.”

The environmental aspect is also key, said Day.

“I’ve talked with enough people all over British Columbia to realize that this is a genuine concern and a real impediment in the minds of many people.”

Day said he’s confident there will be interest in the project from both sides of the Pacific.

“What I’ve seen over the last few years in Asia … they’ve got a sincere desire to deal with their own environmental issues and even for them, there are some political advantages for them to be seen as receiving refined product,” he said.

And there’s interest from Alberta, too, he added.

“I can honestly say I’ve never ceased talking with people from Alberta – investors and CEOs – since the days I was in Alberta about the challenges of a unique product, but a product that in my view needs to be refined and needs to be refined here,” he said.

“Of course, you have to make the economic case as well as the environmental case and this project does that.”

Day said he hasn’t talked to his former colleagues in Ottawa about Pacific Future, but “I have to think this would align with many of the aspirations of the federal government vis-a-vis Canadian trade and Canadian jobs.”

The Pacific Future leadership team includes venture capitalists and former provincial and federal government advisers. Its executive chairman, Samer Salameh, has experience financing and building telecommunications infrastructure for Mexican conglomerate Groupo Salinas.

Pacific Future has also made First Nations engagement a priority. One of Salameh’s first hires for the management team was Jeffrey Copenace, who was deputy chief of staff to former Assembly of First Nations chief Shawn Atleo and has worked with the Ontario and federal government on aboriginal issues.

Pacific Future says the refinery will be built in 200,000-barrel-per-day modules, with the ability to expand to a total of one million barrels per day.

It aims to pick a location later this year for the plant and begin the regulatory process next year.

Lauren Krugel Published Thursday, Aug. 21 2014

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Ewart: Day joins firm with bold B.C. refinery plan – Calgary Herald

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Stephen Ewart, Calgary Herald 08.21.2014

Former Alberta and federal cabinet minister Stockwell Day says he’s not a “trophy in the window” or a conduit to government investment in his new role with an upstart company proposing an ambitious oil refinery project on the B.C. coast.

And ambitious is a polite way of saying risky – possibly foolhardy.

Day was announced Thursday as a senior adviser and board member for Pacific Future Energy Corp., a little over two months after the Vancouverbased enterprise revealed its $10-billion plan to refine bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands on the West Coast and ship refined petroleum products to Asia.

The high-profile appointment came as Pacific Future prepares for a second round of funding commitments from private investors to build what would be among the most complex oil refineries in the world and one of the first constructed in Canada in three decades.

Day is adamant the company isn’t looking for taxpayer money.

“One of the attractive elements for me is that they’re not looking for that (government funds). That might have given me some pause,” he said in an interview from Vancouver. “We are presenting it to investors as stand-alone without government financial aid.”

Pacific Future announced plans in June for a 200,000-barrel-a-day refinery – expandable to 1 million barrels – for the northern B.C. coast two years after Kitimat Clean Ltd. had proposed a $32 billion, 550,000-barrel-a-day refinery project in the area. A smaller refinery is proposed by aboriginal businessman Calvin Helin.

The companies have promoted their projects as a solution to the fears of B.C. residents about the impact on the coastal environment and economies from a spill of heavy oilsands crude. Their premise is refined petroleum will evaporate more quickly in the ocean. Offshore oil spills are a major concern for opponents of the two proposed pipelines – Northern Gateway and Trans Mountain expansion – across B.C. to tidewater and Pacific Rim markets for growing volumes of Canadian oil.

The industry has historically sold unrefined crude internationally rather than products such as gasoline. Nonetheless, Pacific Future pledged to build the world’s “greenest” refinery, echoing a promise of B.C. Premier Christy Clark to develop the world’s “greenest” LNG industry in the province.

Energy and politics are inseparable these days in Canada and Day – a former Alberta treasurer and president of the federal government’s Treasury Board – can bridge the two worlds.

A fiscal conservative who represented Red Deer North for the Tories provincially and B.C.’s Okanagan-Coquihalla riding federally, Day left politics after 25 years in 2011. Pacific Future said he offers “a unique vantage point” on the sometimes testy political relations between British Columbia, Alberta and Ottawa over the risks and rewards of energy development.

Pacific Future, under executive chairman Samer Salameh, understands that dynamic.

“They told me my profile would be helpful along with the experience that goes with it,” said Day.

The challenges of an industry that even the Canadian Fuels Association acknowledged in December is “low return, low growth, capital intensive, politically sensitive and environmentally uncertain” helps explain the lack of new refineries in recent decades.

Day contends he’s optimistic “the stars are aligning nicely for the economic case to be made.”

Kitimat Clean, led by newspaper magnate David Black, has asked Ottawa for a loan guarantee on part of its costs but Pacific Futures isn’t contemplating such a request.

Day wouldn’t rule out an oilsupply agreement similar to what the Alberta government signed with North West Redwater Partnership building 50,000-barrel-per-day upgrader and refinery near Edmonton that’s been hurt by cost-overruns.

In 2009, Irving Oil shelved a 300,000-barrel-a-day expansion of its refinery in Saint John, N.B., because it wasn’t economically viable.

In its 2013 World Oil Outlook, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries forecast “a challenging environment for North American refiners through 2035.”

Day said he is “cautiously optimistic” on securing the required funding for the multi-year project that will see its first engineers arrive from Europe this month. The company has said it wants to select a refinery site before the end of the year and could initiate the regulatory process in 2015.

There’s a lot of heavy lifting before shovels break ground and Day said project timelines won’t supersede the commitment to consult with First Nations.

“Timelines are important to investors and we’ve made it clear to investors these will only be achieved with full, responsible and proper engagement on the aboriginal side,” he said.

Day is in the process of putting together an external advisory board – he wants a half-dozen “diverse, eminently qualified experts” – to provide Pacific Futures with arms-length advice on challenges from aboriginal relations to developing markets overseas.

He promised the advisory board members won’t be “just trophies in the window” but will add valuable insight.

Day is the first person associated with the B.C. refineries I’ve heard talk about the economic drivers – versus the environmental advantages or strategic imperatives for Canada – so he’s already moved beyond window dressing and is actually getting down to business.

Steph en Ewart is a Calgary Herald columnist sewart@calgaryherald.com

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Stockwell Day joins push for $10B B.C. oil refinery to resolve his ‘irritation’ over dependence on U.S. – Financial Post

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Claudia Cattaneo | August 21, 2014 12:06 PM ET

Proponents of controversial energy projects seem to be putting increasing value on the bare-knuckle experience gained in politics to help manage potentially conflicting industry, community, aboriginal and environmental interests.

Stockwell Day, the former federal international trade minister and former Alberta treasurer, has joined the management team of Pacific Future Energy Corp. as a senior advisor, director, and chair of the company’s advisory committee. The Vancouver-based company backed by Mexico’s Grupo Salinas is proposing a $10-billion refinery on British Columbia’s North Coast.

He follows on the path of Jim Prentice, the former federal cabinet minister who was recruited earlier this year to win aboriginal support for Enbridge Inc.’s Northern Gateway pipeline through northern British Columbia. Mr. Prentice left the assignment mid-way to run for Alberta premier.

TransCanada Corp. has tapped Phil Fontaine, the former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, as a consultant to win aboriginal support for its Energy East pipeline project.

And while not a private sector recruit, Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador to the United States and the former premier of Manitoba, has emerged as a top spokesman for the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, prioritized by Canada and proposed by TransCanada Corp., in the face of often below-the-belt opposition in the United States.

Mr. Day said he took the assignment because the refinery has the potential to be “an exciting legacy project for Canada.”

“The principals of the company advised me, when they contacted me, that they liked the fact that I had Alberta experience as minister of finance,” Mr. Day said in an interview Thursday.

“I am acutely aware of the unique challenges of the industry there. They like the experience I brought to the table as president of the Treasury board federally, which involves understanding the regulatory process, and the added blend of minister of international trade, which brought me in close contact with the needs that are relevant in Asia.”

The Pacific Energy project addresses challenges facing the transportation of Alberta’s oil sands oil to the B.C. coast and in the ocean, he said.

The refinery would be built in partnership with First Nations in the Prince Rupert area, be the world’s greenest by using advanced European refining technology, capture and store greenhouse gases.

It would take bitumen from Canada’s oil sands and process it into gasoline, diesel, kerosene and other products that would be less harmful to the environment if there is a spill, and create lots of high-tech refinery jobs in the province.

“It deals with what has been a constant irritation to me, the fact that our Canadian [oil] product, 99% of it goes straight to the U.S., which is becoming a diminishing market as they approach self-sufficiency,” Mr. Day said. “It’s time to open up these other markets.”
Peter J. Thompson/National Post, file
Peter J. Thompson/National Post, fileMr. Day said he took the assignment because the refinery has the potential to be “an exciting legacy project for Canada.”

The plan was unveiled in June by executive chairman Samer Salameh, who is also the head of telecommunications businesses and new business development for Grupo Salinas, a large conglomerate based in Mexico owned by billionaire Ricardo Salinas with more than 100,000 employees and operations in 11 countries.

“We are very excited to have Mr. Day join our team,” said Mr. Salameh said in a statement. “Our project office is now up and running at a robust pace. Our goal is to finalize the refinery site by the end of 2014. We expect to enter into the regulatory process in 2015.”

It’s one of a handful of projects proposed so far – including Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain pipeline expansion — to link growing production from the oil sands in Alberta to consumers in Asia.

British Columbians have shown scant enthusiasm for the plans, which they fear present too much environmental risk and too little economic reward.

Mr. Day said he agrees with B.C.’s view that “there should not be a carte blanche acceptance to an energy proposal until it meets certain conditions.”

That is why he believes the Pacific Future proposal is well placed.

“It addresses the issues that are properly raised by our indigenous people,” he said. “It addresses environmental concerns about raw bitumen hitting our coast line, and it addresses the economic issues of the value added opportunities being created here in B.C. for decades to come — It’s a trifecta of interests that wind up being beneficial to everybody concerned.”

A politician couldn’t have said it better — but Mr. Day, 64, said he has no plans to return to politics. He also doesn’t envision government support for the refinery “at this point.”

“We have to show, regardless of what a government may do, that the economic fundamentals are in place for a standalone project and we believe we can make that case,” he said.

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STOCKWELL DAY JOINS PACIFIC FUTURE ENERGY

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FORMER INTERNATIONAL TRADE MINISTER JOINS PROJECT TO REFINE ALBERTA BITUMEN FOR ASIAN MARKETS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VANCOUVER (August 21, 2014) Pacific Future Energy Corporation (Pacific Future Energy) is pleased to announce that former International Trade Minister, former Treasurer (Minister of Finance) and Acting Premier of Alberta, and former Leader of the Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, the Honourable Stockwell Day, P.C., has joined its management team as a Senior Advisor, Director, and chair of the company’s Advisory Committee. Pacific Future Energy plans to build and operate the greenest refinery in the world on Canada’s west coast.

“We believe it is critical to Canada’s national strategic interest to gain access to international markets for Alberta’s oil. As the former federal regional minister for British Columbia, and a former Alberta cabinet minister, I have a unique vantage point from which to understand what it takes to make this happen,” Mr. Day said.

“This can only be accomplished in full partnership with First Nations, with true economic benefits for Canadians, including Albertans and British Columbians, all the while protecting Canada’s cherished west coast from the catastrophic effects of a possible bitumen spill,” added Mr. Day.

“We are very excited to have Mr. Day join our team,” said Samer Salameh, Executive Chairman of Pacific Future Energy. “Our project office is now up and running at a robust pace. Our goal is to finalize the refinery site by the end of 2014. We expect to enter into the regulatory process in 2015.”

The Pacific Future Energy refinery in B.C. will help to build our future by creating thousands of long term jobs and economic stability at home by expanding Canada’s oil market access. It will also protect Canada’s west coast by eliminating the threat of a bitumen spill. This will be accomplished by shipping products refined in Canada. The refinery will utilize Near Zero Net Carbon emissions technology and will be the greenest refinery in the world.

The $10 billion refinery is being designed to be built in modules, the first processing 200,000 barrels of bitumen per day, ensuring that it both is scalable and flexible. The bitumen will be converted into gasoline, diesel, kerosene and other distillates.

“From the very beginning, and every step of the way, our partnership with First Nations will ensure that we all benefit from traditional and ecological knowledge, while respecting their rights to full consultation and accommodation — all with the goal of shared prosperity and health for future generations,” added Jeffrey Copenace, Senior Vice President, Indigenous Partnership.

About Pacific Future Energy

Vancouver-based Pacific Future Energy is a company that has been developed to finance, design and construct the world’s greenest oil refinery in British Columbia, Canada. The management team consists of leaders from the venture capital, corporate and government sectors, who share the belief that while it’s in Canada’s national strategic interest to diversify its markets for oil, it should be done in a socially and environmentally responsible manner while ensuring the protection of Canada’s west coast.

For further information or to request an interview please contact:

Alexandra Pecoskie
Citizen Relations
(604) 604-647-6256
alexandra.pecoskie@citizenrelations.com

Pacific Future Energy Corporation Applauds Supreme Court of Canada in its Landmark decision in support of Tsilhqot’in National Government

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For Immediate Release

June 27, 2014 (Vancouver, BC) – Pacific Future Energy Corporation (Pacific Future Energy) congratulates the Tsilhqot’in National Government on their landmark legal victory at the Supreme Court of Canada, which reinforces that the Tsilhqot’in Nation has proven title to their traditional territories – the first time a declaration of Aboriginal title has ever been granted by a Canadian court.

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in the case of William vs. Canada clearly establishes the framework within which governments and industries need to work with First Nations. This framework is virtually identical to the approach Pacific Future Energy has already committed to using for our project. We encourage all British Columbians and Canadians, including government and industry, to respect and support Indigenous rights.

“This decision demonstrates what we’ve been saying all along – that there is only one way to work with Indigenous Nations and that is in full respect of their inherent rights and title” said Executive Chairman Samer Salameh. “We stand in full support of achieving a true partnership with Indigenous Nations, communities and families.”

The Pacific Future Energy corporate structure, upheld by our operational preparations and launch of our pre-feasibility study, through every step of the feasibility analysis, environmental assessments, construction and ongoing operations, Pacific Future Energy stands with First Nations.

“This decision provides a positive new direction.  Indigenous Peoples are the key to prosperity, health and sustainability in this country” said Jeffrey Copenace, Vice President Indigenous Partnership.  “There is no question that respecting inherent rights and achieving a true genuine partnership will lead to a brighter, healthier and more prosperous future for all of Canada.”

About Pacific Future Energy

Vancouver-based Pacific Future Energy is a company that has been developed to finance, design and construct the world’s greenest oil refinery in British Columbia, Canada. The management team consists of leaders from the venture capital, corporate and government sectors, who share the belief that while it’s in Canada’s national strategic interest to diversify its markets for oil, it should be done in a socially and environmentally responsible manner and while ensuring the protection of Canada’s west coast. For more information about the company www.pacificfutureenergy.com

To request and interview or more information, please contact:

Alexandra Pecoskie
Citizen Relations on Behalf of Pacific Future Energy
604-647-6256
alexandra.pecoskie@citizenrelations.com

British Columbians support a refinery, new poll says

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Greenest Refinery in the World Proposed for British Columbia North Coast

Vancouver (June 17, 2014) – Today’s federal government approval of the Northern Gateway Pipeline brings into focus the need to protect Canada’s West Coast from a raw bitumen spill by building a refinery.

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In a poll released today by Pacific Future Energy Corporation (Pacific Future Energy) over 2/3 of British Columbians expressing an opinion believe that “refining oil in Canada means more value is added and Canadians get more benefit in terms of price, jobs and tax revenues,” and that a refinery will allow “Canadians to take environmental responsibility for the full processing of oil from Canada’s oil sands.” Pacific Future Energy is a company that has been developed to build our future and protect our coast by financing, designing and constructing the world’s greenest oil refinery in British Columbia, Canada.

“We cannot risk the future of British Columbia’s cherished coast by shipping raw bitumen,” said Samer Salameh, Executive Chairman of Pacific Future Energy Corporation. “While we believe that it’s in Canada’s national strategic interest to gain access to international markets for Alberta’s oil, especially the fast growing Asian market, it shouldn’t be done at the sacrifice of BC’s coast or broader environment and must be done in full partnership with First Nations.”

“Our project is not dependent on Enbridge’s success,” Salameh added. “Over the coming years, we will work with partners who can effectively demonstrate to Canadians – and to First Nations — that they share our values.”

A majority of British Columbians expressing an opinion agree that a refinery should be built.

Other findings from the poll conducted by Rushbrooke Communications Inc:

– 66% of British Columbians surveyed agree: “Currently, Canada sells oil almost exclusively to the United States.  Building a refinery would allow us to open new markets and be less dependent on the United States.”

– 64% of British Columbians surveyed agree: “By locating a refinery in BC, British Columbians will share in the economic benefits of oil shipped through the province.”

– A significant percentage of British Columbians (21%) don’t know that refined products pose a much smaller risk to our coast than raw bitumen.   Pacific Future Energy believes that as more British Columbians become aware of this project, this number will decline.

About Pacific Future Energy

Vancouver-based Pacific Future Energy is a company that has been developed to finance, design and construct the world’s greenest oil refinery in British Columbia, Canada. The management team consists of leaders from the venture capital, corporate and government sectors, who share the belief that while it’s in Canada’s national strategic interest to diversify its markets for oil, it should be done in a socially and environmentally responsible manner and while ensuring the protection of Canada’s west coast. For more information about the company www.pacificfutureenergy.com

Methodology:

-this survey was conducted online between May 15-21, 2014 among residents of British Columbia aged 18+
– The final results were weighted to the latest census Canada statistics for age, gender and regions of British Columbia.
– The Marketing Research and Intelligence Association prohibits statements about margins of sampling error or population estimates with regard to most online panels.
– A random probability sample of n= 800 has a margin of error of +/- 3.46% (95% confidence).

To request and interview or more information, please contact:

Alexandra Pecoskie
Citizen Relations on Behalf of Pacific Future Energy
604-647-6256
alexandra.pecoskie@citizenrelations.com

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Is This $10 Billion Project the Key to Unlocking Canada’s Oil Riches?

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By Matt DiLallo – June 16, 2014

Although Canada has the world’s third-largest oil reserves, it’s having trouble getting that oil out. Not only are the oil sands expensive to extract, but getting the oil out of Alberta and to customers is proving to be an even more difficult venture.

Pipeline projects like TransCanada’s (TSX: TRP)(NYSE: TRP) Keystone XL project, Enbridge’s (TSX: ENB)(NYSE: ENB) Northern Gateway, and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners’ (NYSE: KMP) Trans Mountain are all facing opposition. However, that opposition could begin to fade away if a proposed $10 billion refinery is built in British Columbia.

Laundry list of concerns

Environmentalists have long been opposed to the development of the oil sands. The oil there has a larger carbon footprint than conventional oil, and its physical footprint is also rather large when it’s mined. Then, of course, diluted bitumen is tougher to clean up than traditional oil when spilled. It’s reasons like these that are fueling opposition to pipeline projects that will take the oil from Alberta to customers in the U.S. and Asia.

The projects from Enbridge and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners in particular have the added environmental issue that the oil would be shipped by boat through sensitive coastal waters before heading to Asia. The concern here is that an oil spill would have a devastating effect on the livelihood of those living along the coast, and it is one that the recently formed company Pacific Future Energy would like to address.

How it helps

The company is proposing to build a $10 billion oil sands refinery in British Columbia. It would be the world’s greenest refinery, as it would use advanced European refining technology. It would take the bitumen and turn it into gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and other products that would cause less harm to the environment if spilled. The company could then export these refined products to Asia instead of the oil, which would yield higher revenue than just shipping the oil.

This project is among a number of refinery projects that are on the drawing board for western Canada so it’s not a sure thing at this point. In addition, the $10 billion price tag is just for the first phase of development to build the initial capacity of 200,000 barrels per day. Each additional phase would cost another $6 billion for 200,000 barrels per day of capacity, with the plan to eventually process one million barrels per day. However, this project and others like it are being proposed with the hope that refining the oil first would ease some of the environmental concerns that many have with shipping bitumen overseas.

By reducing the opposition to pipeline projects it also would help to remove the lid on the price of oil in western Canada, which is forcing producers to ship it by rail. Because rail is a more expensive option, it’s slowing down the growth of oil sands production. In fact, these high costs recently put the brakes on one major oil sands mining project as the partners on that project just didn’t see enough takeaway capacity coming online to bring the price of oil up to the point where the project could earn a compelling return.

The only way Canada will be able to unlock the full value of its oil sands is to be able to more freely move that oil from Alberta to customers around the world. While rail is helping in the short term, it’s a much more expensive, and potentially riskier, method of transportation.

The bottom line is that refineries like the one proposed by Pacific Future Energy could very well be the key to unlocking Canada’s oil riches. These projects could help end the opposition to pipeline projects from Enbridge and Kinder Morgan that have been holding back the free flow of oil.

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Huffington Post – ‘World’s Greenest’ Refinery Pitched For B.C. Coast

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CP  |  By Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press Posted: 06/10/2014 10:51 am EDT  |  Updated: 06/11/2014 1:59 am EDT

world's greenest refinery

CALGARY – A Vancouver company is pitching a $10-billion oilsands refinery on British Columbia’s north coast that aims to connect Alberta’s vast energy resources with Asian markets while avoiding some of the pitfalls others have encountered.

Pacific Future Energy Corp. says the refinery would be the “world’s greenest” and built in full partnership with B.C. First Nations, many of whom are vehemently opposed to proposals to ship crude to the West Coast for export.

Any day now, Ottawa is expected to decide on one of those proposals: Enbridge Inc.’s (TSX:ENB) controversial Northern Gateway pipeline. One of the biggest concerns with that project is the fact that huge tankers full of diluted oilsands bitumen, or dilbit, would have to navigate the rough waters of the Douglas Channel on their way out into the Pacific.

The Pacific Future proposal — along with others being floated by B.C. newspaper magnate David Black and by aboriginal businessman Calvin Helin — would mean refined products, rather than heavy oil, would be shipped on tankers to Asia, making a potential spill much less environmentally damaging.

“I think everybody knows that it’s in Canada’s strategic national interest to increase and diversify oil production into Asia,” Pacific Future executive chairman Samer Salameh said in an interview.

“But I think everybody in their heart knows that shipping this dilbit is not the answer.”

A dilbit spill from a supertanker off the B.C. coast would make the Exxon Valdez disaster look like a “joke,” he said.

“We think it’s horrible to be shipping bitumen out of B.C. waters. We think that’s not the right thing to do by the environment, it’s not the right thing to do by First Nations and it’s not the right thing to do by the B.C. people. This is a solution to everybody’s problem.”

The Pacific Future leadership team includes venture capitalists and former provincial and federal government advisers. Salameh has experience financing and building telecommunications infrastructure for Mexican conglomerate Groupo Salinas.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark says she’s recusing herself from the bitumen refinery discussions because her former husband, Mark Marissen, has been hired as Pacific Future’s executive vice-president of communications and research. Marrisen has consulted on major infrastructure projects and has worked as a political strategist.

Pacific Future aims to include First Nations in the process from the get-go. One of Salameh’s first hires for the management team was Jeffrey Copenace, who was deputy chief of staff to former Assembly of First Nations chief Shawn Atleo and has worked with the Ontario and federal government on aboriginal issues.

“We hope to have learned from others’ mistakes and we started this thing right,” said Salameh. “We absolutely are convinced we cannot do this project without the full participation of the First Nations.”

Pacific Future plans to build a “near zero net carbon” refinery that will reuse waste products and prevent harmful emissions from entering the atmosphere.

The company says the refinery will be built in 200,000-barrel-per-day modules, with the ability to expand to a total of one million barrels per day.

Within six months, it expects to pick a location for the plant. It’s weighing one site near Kitimat and two further north near Prince Rupert. Safety concerns are causing Pacific Future to lean toward the latter, as it’s a shorter journey out to the open Pacific from there.

The company hopes a pipeline from Alberta to the West Coast will be built by the time the refinery is built seven to nine years from now. But because the refinery can be expanded in increments, rail can be used to feed a smaller-scale facility in the beginning, Salameh said.

The Pacific Future plan is based on a similar premise to Black’s $32-billion Kitimat Clean Ltd. proposal, which would involve a refinery, oil pipeline, natural gas pipeline and tanker fleet. Kitimat Clean is asking Ottawa for a loan guarantee covering about a third of that amount.

Salameh said he’s not concerned about competing with Kitimat Clean.

“David is a wonderful person and has been talking about this for a while. We are acting,” he said.

In April, Helin, along with the Aquilini Investment Group, announced the Eagle Spirit Energy proposal, which would upgrade the oilsands crude into a lighter product in Alberta or northeastern B.C. before sending it by pipeline to the coast.

“I will absolutely tell you there’s no one as far ahead in the process as we are,” said Salameh.

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Canadian Business – A new player in B.C.’s energy industry promises “the greenest oil refinery ever built”

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Homegrown west-coast energy investors emerging as oilpatch heavyweights get bogged down

Michael McCullough 0

oil refinery

From the time Enbridge began talking publicly about Northern Gateway almost a decade ago, the oil pipeline project—which is expected to get federal cabinet approval any day now—got off on the wrong foot by the company’s lack of a presence in British Columbia. The Calgary-based company has since corrected that, setting up offices in B.C. and appointing B.C. native Janet Holder as the frontwoman for the project. But the disconnect between the proponent and the people on the ground remains.

The building liquefied natural gas boom faces some of the same problems. The proponents mostly might as well be from Mars. Canadian, let alone B.C.-based, companies had virtually no skin in the game until recently. For all that Premier Christy Clark has tried to kick-start the industry, we’re still hurry-up-and-waiting for foreign investors to make up their minds whether to put shovels in the ground.

It’s taken a while, but the homegrown investors are finally coming out of the woodwork as the oilpatch heavyweights get bogged down. It started small, with the Haisla Nation taking an equity position in the Douglas Channel LNG project. That was followed in 2012 by Victoria newspaper publisher David Black’s much more ambitious but somewhat speculative Kitimat Clean project, consisting of a $25-billion oil refinery in the northern town that would create jobs and taxes in B.C. while ensuring that the exports were of finished products rather than the diluted bitumen from the oilsands whose behavior in the case of a marine spill is virtually unknown.

READ: Six factors that could still stop the Northern Gateway pipeline

This year has seen a spate of homegrown proposals, including Eagle Spirit Energy, a partnership between First Nations and Vancouver’s Aquilini family which would build a crude oil (as opposed to bitumen) pipeline to Prince Rupert from Alberta, and Vancouver-based Steelhead LNG.

The latest addition to this list is Pacific Future Energy, which on Tuesday announced a $10-billion oil refinery to be built on B.C.’s north coast. “This will be the greenest refinery ever built,” says company chairman Samer Salameh, whose background is primarily in building telecommunications infrastructure in the U.S. and South America. With an ultimate feedstock capacity of one million barrels a day and “near net zero” emissions, the refinery would produce high-margin products such as kerosene and aviation fuel for the Asian market. Salameh says Pacific Future has a project office staffed up and a preliminary design from an Italian engineering firm, and has initiated discussions with the B.C. and federal governments, first nations and Asian customers.

Still, the project appears to be premised on a ban on shipping unprocessed bitumen off the B.C. coast, the basis of Northern Gateway’s business model. “Why would B.C. ever want to do that? It creates no value for B.C., no jobs for B.C., no income for B.C. and the whole risk is taken by everybody living in B.C. It doesn’t make sense to me,” Salameh says. “You cannot clean up dilbit (diluted bitumen). There is simply no technology to clean it up.”

He insists the refinery could still compete were there no such bitumen tanker ban in place, but that “we think there should be a ban on tanker traffic because it’s the right thing to do.”

As with all the B.C.-based projects, Pacific Future’s financial wherewithal and energy industry experience sounds a little thin. But these local proponents are at least talking in terms the residents of B.C.—who, whatever the federal government may decide, have certain legal rights and physical occupancy on their side—might actually accept. Perhaps the next step in the development of Canadian energy export capacity to the only market that is growing, in Asia, is for the proponents on either side of the Rockies to start talking together in the same language and pooling their resources. As Salameh puts it, “The advantage of coming in later than everybody else is to learn from their mistakes.”