Thursday, March 19, 2015

Pacific Future Energy makes Prince Rupert's ocean access a selling point for its refinery proposal

The British Columbia proponents of an oil refinery for the North Coast continue to work on their plan to make this area the centre of their focus for development, using Prince Rupert's unobstructed access to the Pacific Ocean as one of their main selling points to potential overseas clients.

Representatives of Pacific Future Energy recently took their message to Asia, where they outlined their proposal for a refinery and shipment terminal project for the North Coast. A major industrial venture which would see Alberta bitumen refined here and then shipped to Asian markets.

Senior Advisor Stockwell Day who led the group, also outlined the advantage that company officials believe Prince Rupert has over Kitimat when it comes to any form of oil terminal project.

During their Asian presentation, the company highlighted the difference in approach that it is taking when it comes to the concerns of British Columbians, suggesting that the Enbridge Northern Gateway proposal approached their engagement from an Alberta perspective.

Though it would seem that Pacific Future Energy's observations of a BC focus, might be one for a bit of discussion on the North Coast.  As so far, the project hasn't moved much beyond the talking points phase, with little public engagement by Pacific Future Energy with anyone on the North Coast regarding their proposed refinery and terminal project.

One other aspect of their plan that may add to any potential conversation ahead, is the prospect that the company may make use of rail to transport bitumen from Alberta to its proposed terminal. 

It is a subject that in recent months has proven to be fairly controversial for small communities on rail lines across Canada, particularly after the derailment of the Lac Megantic disaster of 2013.

Still, an energy consultant for the company suggests that once a West coast refinery is added to the full overview, the prospect of shipping oil either by pipeline, or by rail will find some public support.  

As for the idea of launching an ambitious oil refinery project in a time of low oil prices, the consultant suggests that even in the current atmosphere the project would still make economic sense.

Brent Jang of the Globe and Mail, a long time observer and correspondent on the theme of energy projects in the province, has provided two instructive background pieces on the direction that Pacific Future Energy is looking to take for their proposal.  

You can review his work here and here

There hasn't been much in the way of an update provided to the Pacific Future Energy website in recent months, and what has been posted only speaks to general information, with little in the way of direct information for the North Coast as of yet.

The Pacific Future Energy concept is one of two proposed major oil related projects for the region.

The other from Eagle Spirit Energy would see the construction of a shipment terminal near Prince Rupert, with the actual upgrading of the bitumen to take place somewhere in Northeastern British Columbia, or Northwestern Alberta.

For more items related to Pacific Future Energy's plans see our archive page here.

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