David Black, chairman and owner of Black Press, announced Friday he’s submitting an environmental assessment application to build a world-scale oil refinery near Kitimat BC.
The plan, Black said, is to build a refinery in Kitimat to process bitumen delivered by the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
“We want it [refinery] to be the cleanest and greenest upgrading and refining site in the world,” Black said.
For local leaders a refinery in Kitimat to process bitumen coming from the Alberta tar sands appears secondary to the issue of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
“We don’t support Enbridge,” Gitxsan Hereditary Chief Gwaans (Beverley Clifton Percival) said.
Wet’suwet’sen Hereditary Chief Namox (John Risdale) was also of the opinion that Black’s proposal missed the mark.
“It’s still crude oil coming through our territory, it’s still the same risks as before.
“We’re still adamantly opposed to this project.
“If you put lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.”
Risdale also noted the Wet’suwet’sen felt a stong responsibility for the health and well being of all British Columbians and their main concern was and remains the proposed pipeline that would go through Wet’suwet’sen territory.
“How can we be put in a position where we would threaten other nations,” he said.
“The onus and the responsibility lies with the Wet’suwet’en.”
The environmental assessment application for the refinery will be made on behalf of Kitimat Clean Ltd, a company owned by Black, who described himself as a quiet environmentalist.
Thus far, Black has been unable to secure backing from major players in the oil industry, including Enbridge.
Black said he will be dipping into his own pockets to cover the costs of the B.C. environmental assessment.
Doug Donaldson, MLA for Stikine, was impressed with Black’s proposal, calling it an ambitious notion, but expressed some reservations.
“Without partners for a $13 billion project and without First Nations consultation, to me the proposal is simply a notion,” Donaldson said.
As with the First Nations leaders, Donaldson also noted the refinery doesn’t deal with the fundamental problem, the pipeline. and the risk of a potential bitumen oil spill.
“That would have a catastrophic effect on our environment and the economy,” Donaldson said.
The proposed refinery has the capacity to process 550,000 barrels/day of dilbit, a mixture of condensate diluent and bitumen).
The diluent will be separated from the bitumen and returned to Alberta via the proposed Enbridge secondary pipeline.
The refinery is expected to produce 240,000 barrels per day of diesel, 100,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 50,000 barrels per day of kerosene or aviation fuel.
Black said a refinery in Kitimat has several advantages, including the mitigation of an offshore spill of heavy crude oil, as well as 6,000 construction jobs over a five-year period, 3,000 permanent jobs at the refinery and tax revenue for various levels of government.
Kitimat Clean Ltd. proposed to build the refinery on 3,000 hectares at the Dubose location, 25 kilometres north of Kitimat.
The site is Crown land and is currently zoned for industrial use.
Enbridge has yet to comment on the proposed refinery.