Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Kitimat Clean Oil trumpets poll results

A poll conducted by the Mustel Group has provided some helpful news and statistics for the British Columbia newspaper owner and would be proponent of the Kitimat Clean Oil Refinery in Kitimat.

Since he first surprised the province with his proposal, David Black publisher of a number of newspapers across the province (including Prince Rupert's Northern View) has been working towards finalizing the scope of the project, Mr Black last spoke in Calgary on the topic three weeks ago, where he advised that a decision on the future of the project was anticipated to be made within 60 days.

The latest step in that project, was a public opinion survey which which was conducted from February 18 to 24th.

You can view the entire survey from the Kitimat Clean website

The results of the poll were quick to find their way onto Mr. Black's Northern View website on Wednesday morning.

The survey used a pool of 800 British Columbians (52 % female, 48 % male)
The margin of error for the sample was 95%

Among the highlights from the survey:

79 percent, or almost 8 in 10 British Columbians are aware of the proposed refinery

After being provided with information about the refinery, more than 52 percent would support the plan, while 39 percent were still against the concept.

Added to the poll inquiries, was the prospect of some environmentally sound method of transportation in place to transport Alberta bitumen to Kitimat. When convinced that such a prospect was possible, support according to the Mustel poll jumps to 66 percent, with 24  still opposing it and 10 percent hedging their bets.

Among the possible methods of transporting that Bitumen, the three options offered up for comment garnered approximately 1/3 support each.  With respondents splitting their preferences almost equally between possible rail transport, the Enbridge pipeline or some new pipeline proposal.

The other takeaway from the findings from the Mustel Group is that British Columbian's aren't particularly keen on the idea of raw resources, in this case unrefined bitumen being shipped offshore, the consensus of 86 percent of respondents being that Canada should add value to its natural resources.

According to the contributed item to the Northern View, the poll was released by the BC Chamber of Commerce.

It would appear that it was timed to coincide with a Breakfast meeting with Mr. Black in Vancouver on Wednesday, where Mr. Black provided a further update and overview on his project, the transcript of which can be found on the Kitimat Clean website.

That status update offers up a fair amount of new information on his proposed terminal, advising that a new approach to processing heavy oil would be in place if the Kitimat Clean proposal goes ahead. Using recently developed technology from a Calgary based company Expander Energy, a process which Black suggests would reduce greenhouse gases per barrel by 50%.

He also touched further on the environmental aspect of the planned refinery, offering up the prospect of a bitumen free coastal BC, though it remains to be seen if the environmental advocates in the province will be onside when they've finished working through his proposal for refined oil in its place.

The poll results have provided for much in the way of coverage, with a variety of slants provided to the events of the day.

It's an interesting study in interpretation of poll results and headline creation, while the Northern View highlighted the headline with "Poll shows majority of British Columbians support Kitimat oil refinery plan"

The Vancouver Sun seemingly took a more conflicted approach, with two interpretations of the polling data:

The nature of the announcement today and what it may provide for the future should help frame newspaper articles, radio and television items for days, weeks, months and possibly years to come.

Today's polling results get that ball rolling, we'll update the reviews as they become available.

You can review our previous items of note on the Kitimat Clean Oil Refinery project from our Archive Page.

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