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.”
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.”