Northwest B.C. oil refinery plan lacks detail

Missing is how the refined product would be exported

THAT a company called Pacific Future Energy Corporation has its sights set on the Dubose Flats area between Terrace and Kitimat as a location for a (US) $11 billion oil refinery should not be a surprise.

It’s a matter of geography – the crude oil’s in Alberta, the markets are in Asia and the logical shipping point connecting the two is B.C.’s north coast.

But compared to other projects to ship either refined petroleum products or simply crude oil itself, Pacific Future’s proposal misses one key ingredient.

Its business plan appears to stop once the oil is refined, leaving the actual shipping of the product away from the refinery in pipelines to an export terminal to someone else.

To date, Pacific Future describes one scenario – pipelines which would run north from Dubose to the Portland Inlet, and crossing the Skeena River along the way, as “early thinking” based on third-party reports it has yet to release.

Industry experts say that’s how it works at other refineries but given the environmental sensitivity of any large-scale industrial project, the need to acknowledge aboriginal interests and the general support of the overall population that would be needed, the Pacific Future proposal is, to put it mildly, unrefined.

(Full disclosure. A competing refinery plan, Kitimat Clean, is owned by David Black of Black Press, the publisher of The Terrace Standard.)

Editorial, The Terrace Standard, Terrace, B.C.