Shawn A-In-Chut Atleo's latest appointment is as partnerships advisor for Pacific Future Energy.

B.C. oil refinery backers move ahead

Former national chiefs Shawn Atleo, Ovide Mercredi join third bid to build bitumen processing plant on B.C.'s North Coast

Backers of a third large oil refinery proposal for B.C.’s North Coast made some high-profile appointments Wednesday, naming former Assembly of First Nations national chiefs Shawn Atleo and Ovide Mercredi as advisors to their team.

Pacific Future Energy, proposing what it calls the world’s greenest refinery near Prince Rupert, announced the appointments Wednesday at a Vancouver Board of Trade event hosted by Stockwell Day, the former Conservative trade minister who has been the group’s public face since August.

Pacific Future’s proposal is similar to Kitimat Clean, a refinery bid launched in 2012 by David Black, chairman of Black Press. Both would be constructed from modules manufactured offshore to produce diesel, gasoline and other fuels for sale, avoiding the transport of heavy oil by tankers to reach export markets.

The third proposal is called Eagle Spirit Energy, headed by aboriginal author and lawyer Calvin Helin with financial backing from the Aquilini Group, the Vancouver family business that owns the Vancouver Canucks and extensive real estate and farm holdings.

Eagle Spirit is proposing a pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to an upgrader that would produce synthetic crude oil for export by tankers, likely from the Prince Rupert area.

Black announced last week that engineering firm Hatch Ltd. has completed a design and feasibility study for a refinery at an estimated cost of $22 billion, making it one of the 10 biggest in the world.

Black said in an interview he sees obvious similarities with the Pacific Future proposal, which describes new technology and carbon capture to reduce its environmental impact. Kitimat Clean proposes a new refining process that avoids production of petroleum coke, a coal-like byproduct of conventional heavy oil refining that is used as a high-carbon industrial fuel.

Black said his engineering report was prepared using proprietary and patented techniques, and won’t be made public. He said the entry of Pacific Future, headed by an executive of Mexican conglomerate Grupo Salinas, shows the business case for a B.C. refinery is sound and there is capacity for more than one plant.

All proposals for B.C. North Coast refining require oil transport to the coast, either by rail or some version of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project, which received a federal environmental certificate this year and awaits approval by the federal cabinet.

All proposals also face opposition transport of heavy oil. Pacific Future has appointed Atleo as a senior advisor for partnerships, months after he was appointed by Vancouver Island University as an advisor for dialogue between First Nations, government and industry.


Just Posted

Kinder Morgan protest planned for Port Alberni

Protest is part of a nationwide movement on Friday, March 23

Get emergency prepared with workshop at Capitol Theatre

Emergency preparedness workshop will take place on Friday, Mar. 23

Beaver Creek home destroyed in early morning fire

A house on Beaver Creek Road and Wadena Road caught fire early Wednesday morning

BIZ BEAT: The Power of friendship leads to the Power of Three

Holistic health services available at the Studio on Third

Celebrate spring in Port Alberni with art workshop

“Fabulous Fabrics” will teach you how to make a fabric collage

Alberni Valley Curling Club hosts Mixed Bonspiel

Bonspiel is more than just a sporting event

UPDATE: Former B.C. city councillor sentenced nine months for sexual assault

Dave Murray, convicted this past fall, hired a private investigator to intrude on the victim’s life.

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to Canadian teen

A 14-year-old girl has been charged in connection with an online threat against a high school

Vaping device overheats, burns down home on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo Fire Rescue says units could cause fires in other homes and even aircraft

LinkedIn: Top 25 places to work in Canada

LinkedIn has compiled a list of the top companies to work for in 2018

Province warning rabbit owners after confirmed cases of deadly virus

Testing confirmed feral rabbits in Nanaimo and Delta had died from rabbit hemorrhagic disease

Painting of B.C. lake by Winston Churchill sells for $87,000

Churchill had painted the work in 1929 during visit to an area near Field

New lead in one of six B.C. searches that remain unresolved

New details in case of couple who’d been flying from Cranbook to Kamloops when plane disappeared

Island Good program makes it easier to shop locally

New labelling initiative to be tested in grocery stores

Most Read