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It’s quite an environmental claim: “The world’s cleanest, greenest, bitumen-to-fuels refinery.”

But this is our commitment at Pacific Future Energy Corporation, as we develop our plans to build this refinery in northwestern B.C.

We will do so through advanced technology and expertise, with the cleanest power, the highest amount of water recycling and treatment, the maximum recovery of CO2, and the smallest environmental footprint.

And we will do so through a serious commitment to “doing the right thing” as we add value, open up badly needed market access for Canada’s oil products, create and preserve jobs and income in Western Canada, protect B.C.’s coastal waters from large crude-oil tankers, while recognizing and respecting First Nations rights and title.

This week, we at Pacific Future Energy submitted our “Project Description” to federal and provincial regulators to start a public conversation about our project. This will begin a review process that could last up to two years.

If approved, construction could begin in 2018 and production in 2021, at a site between Terrace and Kitimat. We will produce primarily diesel, gasoline and jet fuel.

Our task: to earn public support over the next two years for building our economic future and protecting our coast by building this refinery.

Our Principles: One of Pacific Future Energy’s fundamental principles is that First Nations are a first order of government. PFEC recognizes and will respect the new industry standard of placing “First Nations First.” We will proceed with our Project if we are welcomed and supported.

We know that we must gain the free, prior and informed consent from First Nations who are the titleholders affected by this Project. PFEC is in full support of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is reflected in PFEC’s commitment to directly engage Indigenous communities, including their families and citizens.

This requires going beyond simply upholding the current legal requirements, to establishing meaningful relationships and in some cases, partnerships with the First Nation governing bodies and their business and administrative bodies.

So why an oil refinery? Aren’t today’s oil prices unbelievably low? And doesn’t the UN Paris conference on climate change mean we are going to phase out fossil fuels? Why, then, is Pacific Future energy banking on a future strong enough to warrant a $14-billion investment in a new oil refinery in B.C.?

The UN Paris conference made it clear that innovative solutions will be required for the world to achieve its goal of limiting temperature change to 1.5 degrees from pre-industrial levels.

We believe that our “Near Zero Net Carbon Emissions” facility will be one of those innovative solutions, given that it will significantly reduce the over-all carbon impact of the upstream feedstock we will be refining.

And the long-range picture is of future demand for our key products, especially in Asia. All serious predictions are that diesel and gasoline will continue for some decades to be the main transportation fuels, as will jet fuel for aircraft. Ours will be a viable business.

The challenges are these: Can we produce cleaner fuels? And can we do so in a much, much cleaner way? We can indeed.

  • We will achieve “Near Zero Net Carbon” emissions status, thanks to new technology.
  • Our refinery will be powered by clean-energy sources that include biomass wood waste from B.C. sawmills.
  • Our diesel and gasoline fuels will meet “Euro VI” standards, fitting all world markets, and cleaner than current government standards in Canada and the U.S.
  • Our refinery will prevent bitumen from being processed in other refineries or locations where greenhouse-gas emissions are considerably higher and environmental standards are lower.
  • It will also produce no coke — meaning a dramatic reduction in emissions from eventual use of that product.

On top of all that, it will protect B.C.’s coast from the risks presented by large tankers carrying diluted bitumen or heavy crude oil. The ships carrying our products to Asia will be smaller, and their cargoes will mean vastly less environmental risk.

We do not require a pipeline. We’ll bring in non-dangerous, near-solid “neatbit” by train. It is stable, essentially inert during transportation, and cannot explode. It is so safe railcars do not have to carry warning signs.

In the end, Industry will not gain market access through British Columbia unless it is prepared to commit to the highest environmental standards. It must also be prepared to commit to the principle that B.C. should receive its “fair share” of fiscal and economic benefits associated with gaining market access. PFEC does not see these as burdens, but as opportunities for everyone.

All these points — and our commitment to “doing the right thing” — add up to the world’s cleanest, greenest oil refinery for British Columbia’s west coast.

Robert Delamar is CEO of Pacific Future Energy.


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