Company behind B.C. refinery proposal moves to engage First Nations. – Vancouver Sun

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Pacific Future Energy appoints two former national chiefs to advisory positions

Vancouver-based Pacific Future Energy has appointed two former First Nations chiefs to its team.

The company is one of two with ambitious proposals to limit damage from a massive oil spill by refining oilsands bitumen on the B.C. coast and then shipping the lighter, refined products, like gasoline, to buyers in Asia.

The proponents say that in a tanker accident, bitumen sinks to the ocean floor and is thus harder to contain and collect.

Pacific Future, which plans to build and run a $10-billion refinery, faces considerable skepticism, but aims to process 220,000 barrels of bitumen a day in its first module.

On Wednesday, it said Shawn Atleo, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, will be a senior adviser and Ovide Mercredi, also a former National Chief, will sit on its advisory board.

“The involvement of First Nations has to be more than going through the motions,” said Stockwell Day, a former federal international trade minister who joined the company in August as a senior adviser.

On a day when crude prices continued to drop after OPEC’s decision against curbing global oil supplies and analysts warned of a slowdown in many capital spending plans, Day told a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon “there are obviously going to be some momentary challenges to different people depending on where you are on the whole line of activity.”

“If you are in the airlines business right now, this is a good thing for you,” said Day. “This is not a bad thing for us either.”

“For us, it means our raw product per barrel will cost less. Our byproduct will cost less, too, so our margin just moves up and down. The same profit is there.”

“If we were trying to raise money to drill a bunch of wells or get into some new horizontal drilling in a particular area, we would be having a challenge. … But we are going to be refining what is continuing to be needed. Demand for oil products is not dropping.”

Day said, however, that as the U.S. becomes increasingly self-sufficient, there is an even more compelling reason to seek overseas buyers.

He described the demand in Asian countries including China, India and Vietnam as “simply staggering as people move into job markets and become consumers.”

Even though there is talk of a slowdown in these economies, Day maintained that concern needed to be relative.

“If it’s 6.8 per cent growth, (instead) of 7.1 per cent, it is still phenomenal.”

Day said the company, which is backed by Mexican conglomerate Grupo Salinas, is working toward a second round of funding that will take it to 2016.

Its efforts come as Victoria-based David Black, founder and chairman of Black Press Group Ltd., has been trying to get public and government support for his Kitimat Clean Ltd. It also aims to take bitumen from the Alberta oilsands, refine it on the B.C. coast and ship it to Asia.

So far, the publisher has been investing his own money into the venture and said that China’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, will help with financing the company’s estimated $21-billion refinery.

By Joanne Lee-Young, Vancouver Sun December 10, 2014
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