Backgrounder: Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Pacific Future Energy?

Pacific Future Energy is a Vancouver-based 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 diversity 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.

Why is Near Net Zero Technology so important?

Pacific Future Energy is breaking new ground and employing technology in a way that has never been done before.

The challenge in building a near zero net carbon refinery is not a technical one. The technology exists. It is a commercial issue. To date, no refinery in the world has been willing to invest the additional capital required to build a refinery to this standard.

Pacific Future Energy is committed to using the technologies available to build the greenest refinery in the world to protect BC’s coast and broader environment.

How will this project impact the various pipeline proposals that are being considered by all levels of government?

The federal government’s decision on the Northern Gateway Project is expected shortly. At the same time, the Government of British Columbia has placed five conditions on its support for any kind of new pipeline that would be built in the province, which includes proper consultation with First Nations, protection of the coast, and regional economic benefits for British Columbia.

Pacific Future Energy is committed to building the greenest refinery ever built, in full partnership with First Nations right from the start, and every step in the process, creating jobs and economic stability at home and delivering on the federal government’s commitment to diversifying Canada’s oil industry.

Why are shipping refined products better than shipping bitumen?

Raw bitumen is extracted from Canada’s oil sands and is primarily transported for export via a pipeline. If a pipeline through BC was approved without a refinery, it would put the coast at risk, sending tens of thousands of tankers carrying heavy bitumen through our cherished coastline.

Bitumen, a raw product from the oil sands, is thick and heavy. In a spill, the bitumen immediately sinks to the ocean floor and stays there.

Pacific Future Energy’s refinery would turn this bitumen into refined products like diesel and gasoline. In the case of a spill, these products float on top of the water and evaporate.

We want to build the greenest refinery every built, right here in BC. This is a unique opportunity to turn Alberta’s raw bitumen into high value refined products for the fastest growing oil markets in the world, but it won’t be done at any cost to our coast or the broader environment.

What will be the economic benefits of this project?

Our refinery in BC will create thousands of jobs and economic stability at home by expanding Canada’s market access. Unlike other refineries in Canada and the US, Pacific Future Energy’s refinery is being built to manage all raw inputs and have the flexibility to manage its outputs based on the market supply and demand, making it viable regardless of the oil market, without costly refurbishment or upgrading.

The refinery is being designed to be built in modules, ensuring it is scalable, meaning it’s more flexible than any other Canadian or international refineries. In fact, our first phase will be operational at 200,000 bbpd even without a completed pipeline.

Where will the refinery be located?

We have identified three options in the general Prince Rupert area. A final decision on the site will be determined, in collaboration with local First Nations, first, by considering which site will best minimize the environmental impacts of the development; second, by considering the market conditions of the site.

Who is behind this project?

The majority of the management team is Canadian; however, like any world-class project, $10-billion is too large for Canadian capital markets to fund alone and so we have secured funding from international partners.

As the project moves forward, we expect a number of both public and private investors to become involved; however all investment will comply with Canadian law, including the Investment Canada Act.

What is your timeline?

The pre-feasibility study of the refinery is already underway and is expected to conclude in the next 6 months, followed by the feasibility study, examining the economic, environmental and social impacts of the project.

The outputs of the feasibility studies will provide a detailed analysis of the project and its viability, which will facilitate the full regulatory process with multiple levels of government, including a fulsome environmental assessment according to both the federal and provincial governments.

From the start, we are also consulting First Nations communities. These consultations will continue throughout the process.

Does the price of oil impact the economic viability of your project?

The refinery is viable regardless of the oil market.

That’s why it’s so important that the refinery, unlike others in North America, is being designed with the flexibility to produce outputs such as gasoline, diesel, kerosene or other distillates, based on the market supply and demand. This means there isn’t a requirement for costly refurbishments or upgrades.

Are there other global economic factors that will impact your decision to proceed with the project?

Global economic factors can certainly impact this project, but its unique location—including its proximity to Canadian bitumen and interested Asian markets, as well as the decision to build a facility that anticipates many changes in both supply and demand over the project’s 50-year lifespan—will insulate us from many of the cyclical ups and downs of the industry.

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