posted 19 January 2016
Pacific Future Energy submitted its formal proposal to build and operate what it calls the “world’s greenest bitumen-to-fuels refinery” using bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands last week.
The proposal was submitted to the BC Environmental Assessment Office, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, and Northwestern BC First Nations governments, the company said in a press release.
“This is the start of our public conversation as we work to build our economic future and protect our coast in Northern BC, while recognizing and respecting First Nations rights and title,” said Samer Salameh, executive chairman of Vancouver-based Pacific Future Energy.
The project is valued at approximately $15 billion CAD and will create an estimated 3,500 direct jobs in construction and 1,000 in operation, said COO Jacques Benoit in an interview with American Energy News. Construction could begin in 2018 and production in 2021.
Pacific Future Energy plans to power the refinery with clean-energy sources that include biomass wood-waste from the regional forest industry.
The refinery would receive near-solid neatbit bitumen by rail and refine it into diesel, gasoline, and other products for export to world markets.
Unlike diluted bitumen (dilbit) traditionally shipped by pipeline or rail, neatbit contains no diluent and has a consistency similar to peanut butter. It is stable, has low flammability and is classified as non-dangerous for transport, according to Robert Delamar, CEO of Pacific Future Energy.
“Not only would our proposal provide a value-added way to get Canadian oil to growing world markets, but it would also protect both Canada’s land and marine environments from the effects of a heavy oil or bitumen spill,” said Delamar.
“Our plan would take full advantage of the opportunity for Canada by building a ‘near net zero carbon emissions’ refinery with the world’s most advanced technology. That will ensure an environmentally superior refinery that is also financially and economically sound.”
Pacific Future Energy says the new refinery will allow export of refined products instead of diluted bitumen or other unrefined heavy-oil products.
“Transported in smaller tankers, refined products greatly reduce the risk to the marine environment in the unlikely event of a spill,” said Benoit.
The project is proposed for an area known as the Dubose Flats, approximately 30 km south of Terrace BC.
“We are engaging with First Nations in the project area in every step of this process, recognizing them as a First Order of Government and honouring the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Salameh.
“Engaging with First Nations as a first order of government, with the goal of operating as full partners, is a crucial element of Pacific Future Energy’s plans. PFEC recognizes and will respect the new industry standard of placing First Nations First.”
Pacific Future Energy now begins working with First Nations and Canadian regulators on project requirements that include public consultations, environmental assessment and engineering studies.
“We will be listening very carefully to all of the feedback that we receive and will incorporate community concerns and values in our project’s design,” added Delamar.
“We believe that social licence or permission must be earned at the concept stage of this project as well as throughout its lifecycle.”