Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pacific Future Energy passes on Prince Rupert, selects Kitimat for oil refinery project

Pacific Future Energy announced
Kitimat as the location
for its planned oil refinery

We can take one industrial project off the list of potential development options for the Prince Rupert area, as Pacific Future energy which had been considering sites around the North Coast area has decided on Kitimat for its proposed oil refinery project.

Despite what appears to be a rather chaotic situation in the world oil industry these days, Pacific Future Energy moved forward with its ambitious plan to create a massive refinery project in the Northwest.

With the location selection announcement delivered today through a wide ranging 96 page project description released to the public (see it here).

That blue print for the proposed development has highlighted a site at Dubose flats north of Kitimat approximately half way between Terrace and Kitimat.

The project if approved following required environmental assessments and other engagement requirements will feature a receiving station for oil by rail into the oil refinery component as well as the actual refining structure.

The bitumen which will arrive from Northern Alberta will travel in rail cars solidified in what is described by Pacific Future as a form of refrigerated peanut butter called "neat bit".

More on that process can be found on page 17 of the project review.  The product will then be heated on site at Kitimat for offloading into a neat bit storage tank, more on  how the refinery will process the "neat bit" can be found on page 33.

Pacific Future Energy has
passed on Prince Rupert
and selected Kitimat for
its proposed oil refinery
According to Pacific Future Energy, among the commodities to be produced at the Kitimat facility will Euro V grade diesel and gasoline, Jet A-1 kerosene, LPG, butane and sulphur.

The project will also make use of existing wood-wast biomass as part of a co-generation facility for the Refinery. The supply of biomass to come from pulp wood, tree bark and forest residue from around Northern British Columbia, with plans to receive that waste by road rail using corridors between Prince George and Prince Rupert.

That component of the project is described as a solution for local forest harvesters and milling operations.

Pacific Future hopes to have the Refinery in service by 2021, with operation and maintenance activities to take place in three shifts over a 24 hour period 365 days a year.

Preliminary estimates for employment suggest that 1,000 direct employee positions will be created for the project, with some aspects of the terminal occupations will sub contracted.

Shipping the refined product will apparently be the responsibility of third parties who will be responsible for the development of a marine export terminal to export the product to Asian markets. Pacific Future Energy states that they will engage with those third parties  that meet PFEC's values and which include recognition of Aboriginal rights, titles and interest to the marine terminal site.

One suggestion is for a terminal location is along Portland Inlet which would require the support of area First Nations, if that were to move forward two pipelines would be required to move the refined material from the Pacific Future facility to the shipment terminal.

The project will now enter a Public and First Nations Consultation period to last four years, the project will be submitted to the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office this month with EA Commencement anticipated for February.

Considering the strong opposition that was delivered towards the Northern Gateway proposal in recent years, one imagines it will be at the start of the Environmental Assessment process that those in the Kitimat area and beyond will begin to examine the proposal for potentially troubling aspects of the project.

It's not the only Oil refinery proposal now touted for the Kitimat area, newspaper publisher David Black still has his plans on the table for his Kitimat Clean project in the community, however there has not been much heard on that project in recent months.

One final oil terminal proposal for the region is that of Eagle Spirit Energy, which has in the past suggested an area near Lax Kw'alaams as a possible shipment terminal location, with no North Coast refinery component planned for that proposal.

The Globe and Mail's Brent Jang had the first news of the proposed development of the news cycle, that review can be found below we'll add more to the list as they roll in through the day:

Supporters of Pacific Future’s proposed B.C. refinery back solid bitumen

You can review some of the past items related to the Pacific Future Energy proposal from our archive page here.

While an overview of the three proposed oil facilities for the Northwest can be found here.

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