The Kitimat Refinery Proposal: Safe Pipelines, Light Fuels, and B.C. Jobs

Black Press chairman David Black, in Part II of his proposal to build an oil refinery in Kitimat, on moving away from exporting bitumen...

David Black

This is the second of two columns addressing what I see as the greatest threat to the B.C. environment in our lifetime.

The Alberta oil industry’s Northern Gateway plan is to export bitumen to Asia via tankers from the B.C. coast. Under no circumstances should we allow that to happen. A bitumen spill at sea could destroy our coastline, together with the fish and wildlife that depend on it, for hundreds of years.

My first column (link above) discussed the light oil spill by the Exxon Valdez and the terrible toll it took on the Alaskan habitat and fishery. It also gave proof that a bitumen spill would be far worse. A bitumen spill would be almost completely unrecoverable because it would sink and stay on the bottom of our seabed.

The solution that is best for Canada is to build a refinery in Kitimat.

I am promoting and backing this solution. It will convert the bitumen to very light fuels that would float and evaporate if ever spilled. There are other enormous benefits:

  • There will be a major reduction in greenhouse gases. We will use new, cutting-edge Canadian technology in our refinery. It will be so clean that in combination with oilsands extraction there will be less CO2 than in the huge conventional oilfields and refineries of Iraq and Nigeria. In other words, the Kitimat refinery will neutralize the extra greenhouse gases generated in Canada’s oilsands. This refinery will be built in Asia if not in Kitimat, and if so it will emit double the CO2 of our new design. This is the reason that Andrew Weaver of the BC Green Party is in favour of a Canadian refinery.
  • An Asian refinery will also generate 100 train cars a day of very dirty coke (much fouler than B.C. coal) which will be subsequently burnt in the atmosphere to create power.  The Kitimat refinery will not result in the production of any coke. As we all live on one planet, it is far better for the global environment to build this refinery in Canada.
  • Construction of the refinery will create 6,000 jobs in B.C. for five years. Operations at the refinery will result in more permanent jobs than any project has ever created in B.C. with approximately 3,000 direct jobs. These will be highly paid permanent jobs. These jobs will be available for the life of the refinery which should be in excess of 50 years. In addition, there will be thousands of other jobs created in spinoff local petrochemical companies and in indirect employment throughout the province.
  • The Canadian and Provincial governments, local regional districts and municipalities, and many First Nations, will share in billions of new tax dollars each year.

Unfortunately, our Canadian oil companies are not interested in building a new major refinery.  They are focused on extraction which is more profitable than refining. One of them challenged me to spearhead the refinery myself, so I am doing that. We have a solid business plan and, as a consequence, Chinese banks and other institutions are prepared to lend us most of the funds required to build the greenest and most efficient refinery in the world. We are currently moving ahead with engineering design and environmental work.

We will also build a safe pipeline from Alberta to the refinery, with the active participation of First Nations. Modern pipelines can be built and operated safely. Leak data is available for everyone to see on the Canadian and U.S. government websites, and it proves recently constructed pipelines are not leaking. Furthermore, some of the best pipelining companies in the world are based in Canada.

In addition, we will build a fleet of new tankers, powered by LNG rather than Bunker C oil, to transport the refined products to Asia. This way, we know the tankers will be state-of-the-art and as safe as possible. The fleet will be owned by a company based in B.C. so it cannot shirk its legal liability if there ever is a spill at sea.

Let me be up front about my biases. I am for creating thousands of good permanent jobs in B.C. I am for creating billions of new tax dollars for government coffers. I am for reducing the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions. I am for building an oil pipeline that will never leak. I am for building a modern tanker fleet that carries only refined fuels that float and evaporate if spilled. I am against shipping bitumen in tankers.

If you agree that we should not put bitumen in tankers please contact your local MP and say so. The Canadian government makes a decision on Northern Gateway next month.

– David Black

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This house in the 600-block of Linden Avenue in Fairfield has a Día de Muertos theme for 2020. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Haunted Oak Bay

Residents spookify houses

A rare Short-eared owl was found dead in a Saanich backyard on Oct. 26 and will be sent for a necropsy to find out if it had ingested rat poison. (Photo courtesy Kimberly Adamec)
Rare owl found dead in Saanich yard to be sent for necropsy

Short-eared owl ‘vulnerable’ in B.C., owl advocate says

Police continue to investigate a break-and-enter in this Sidney jewelry store in the 2500-block of Beacon Avenue. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Thieves hit Sidney jewelry store

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP says incident is not part of a larger trend

Norm Scott, president of Royal Canadian Legion Branch #91, said plans for a new building will ensure long-term sustainability. (Black Press Media file photo)
Plans for new Legion in Langford include low-cost housing for seniors

Project could be before council in early 2021

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

An elderly woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past an advertisement for a television series in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. has been under a COVID-19 state of emergency for more than half the year

Province has been under a state of emergency for 32 weeks – and counting

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Most Read