A Vancouver-based company with international backing is planning to build a $10 billion bitumen refinery project near Prince Rupert.
Pacific Future Energy says the new refinery will be “the world’s greenest” and will be built in full partnership with First Nations.
The company has already identified three sites, all in the Prince Rupert area, as potential locations for the refinery, which will process oil from northern Alberta. A feasibility study, which is currently underway, will determine the exact location of the refinery.
“We believe this is an incredibly unique opportunity to build the greenest refinery in the world and there’s no better place than BC,” said Samer Salameh, Executive Chairman of Pacific Future Energy in a statement. “Our pre-feasibility study has begun, which will analyze the economic, social and environmental aspects of the refinery and help to determine the prospective site and expect to launch our feasibility and regulatory process in the next 9-12 months.”
Shipping refined products as opposed to heavy oil will be much safer, according to Salameh.
“By shipping refined products, we will eliminate the threat of a heavy oil spill.”
In case of a spill, these products float on top of water and evaporate, according to Pacific Future Energy. Bitumen sinks in water, and is much harder to clean up.
The refinery is designed to be built in stages, with each “module” processing 200,000 barrels of bitumen per day. The bitumen will be converted into gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.
Once the project is fully up and running, it will be capable of producing up to 1 million barrels a day.
Pacific Future Energy says the project is viable regardless of the current market price of oil, because of its ability to produce a wide range of fuels.
The federal government’s decision on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is expected sometime this week.