Our Jacques Benoit talks gas prices—and our refinery

CKNW’s Steele & Drex: B.C. company proposes new gas refinery to combat rising prices

With gas prices in Metro Vancouver reaching a record high, paying almost $1.50 a litre is a frustrating reality for most drivers.

Part of the frustration can be traced back to a province-wide decision to reduce the number of refineries in B.C.

Metro Vancouver itself has just one, located in Burnaby, which leaves the province largely at the mercy of refineries south of the border.

One company, however, is looking to establish a new refinery closer to home.

In an interview with Steele & Drex, President and COO of Pacific Future Energy Jacques Benoit explained how the company wants to refine gas here in B.C.

Their proposed refinery would be built between Terrace and Kitimat, and receive raw bitumen from Alberta by rail.

Benoit says this would keep profits from Canadian resources in Canada.

“We ship 98 per cent of our natural resources to the Americans, they refine it and send it back to us. There’s something wrong with that equation.”

Listen to the full interview

And Pacific Future isn’t the only company looking to establish a refinery in the province – Kitimat Clean Ltd. has also filed a proposal to establish one in the same area.

Despite recent controversy surrounding gas transport by pipeline, both companies claim that their refineries would be environmentally safer in the long run; a sentiment reflected by Green Party leader Elizabeth May.

In a previous interview with Steele & Drex back in Nov. of 2016, May said she would much prefer the kind of shipping structure Benoit is proposing.

“Guess what? The safest way to ship bitumen is by train. It’s one of those facts that’s inconvenient for people.”

May went on to say that building more refineries in B.C. and Alberta would do more for Canadian jobs than any pipeline.

“Fossil fuel masters of the universe who are digging up bitumen in northern Alberta already own refineries in other countries and have no incentive to create more Canadian jobs. They’re perfectly happy to have us assist them in taking raw bitumen to their refineries.”

Benoit says that with a refinery, the price of gas in Vancouver could drop to levels similar to those seen in Edmonton.

Without one, he says prices could keep climbing.

Benoit concluded by saying the province is wasting an opportunity.

“The oil sands are going to continue to produce… if we don’t process it in the right way and keep it here in Canada, somebody else is going to do it.”

Read earlier media stories

2 comments
  • Mike Mac
    REPLY

    That sounds great! Love the idea and the motivation, it sounds almost perfect. Except that I’m a Metal Fabricator living in Kitimat who will have no work because you will sublet it all out to China and get it built for $5 a day with unlivable wages to communists who don’t give a darn about their employees working in slave camps. How can you do this to locally skilled workers and their families? Especially when you are looking for Government grants? We pay taxes and buy a lot of gas. Your economics are skewed and short sighted. My fellow Fabricators, Welders, Millwrights, Electricians and Ironworkers will be going publicly against this proposal if PFE does not reply.

    Regards,

    Mike M

    • Don MacLachlan
      REPLY

      Thanks for your message.
      We have not asked for any financial support from the government. (You may be confusing us with another project that has asked the federal government for a loan guarantee).
      In order to make this project feasible, it needs to be a global effort. While components of the refinery will be prefabricated in Asia, construction of the plant will still mean an estimated 3,500 jobs here, and BC workers given priority. Such skills as yours will be essential. Then some 1,000 permanent operating jobs will be required at the refinery. Again, BC workers will be given priority.

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