By ALISTAIR MACDONALD
TORONTO -- Canadian media mogul David Black said late
Thursday the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, China's
largest bank by market value, has agreed to help finance his
plans for a $25 billion refinery on the west coast of
The British Columbia-based businessman has been touting what
he says will be among the 10 largest refineries in the world.
It envisions refining oil from Alberta's oil
sands and exporting it from the Pacific port of Kitimat, B.C.,
to markets in Asia.
Mr. Black is better known as the majority owner of closely
held Black Press Group, which runs more than 150 newspapers in
British Columbia, Alberta, Washington state, Hawaii, California
and Ohio. But he's recently made headlines in Canada for his
ambitious refinery plans.
Such a facility has been one idea floating around for years
to help Canada better capture the value of its immense oil
reserves. But many industry executives have said Canada would
be better off simply exporting its unrefined crude to Asian
At least two pipeline projects are in the works to bring
Alberta crude to the West Coast, though both face stiff
opposition from environmental and native groups.
Mr. Black told The Wall Street Journal last month
that he is close to signing memorandums of understanding with
customers for so-called off-take agreements, in which they
would agree to buy products from the plant.
The ICBC commitment is the latest move by China to try to
participate in a boom of energy production across North
American. Cnooc snapped up Canadian oil producer Nexen last
year for more than $15 billion, and other state energy and
natural resources firms controlled by Beijing have pumped
billions of dollars into Canadian and US assets in recent
Mr. Black's company, Kitimat Clean, signed memorandums of
understanding with ICBC on Thursday for the Chinese bank to act
as a financial adviser and "cooperate in the financing of the
proposed Kitimat refinery and associated pipelines," Mr. Black
said in a statement.
In an email, Mr. Black said he anticipates the Chinese bank
will both help finance the project and help set up other
ICBC will be working "toward a comprehensive agreement to
finance" the refinery, Liu Yanping, deputy head
of corporate banking at the bank and Huang Jifa, its deputy
head of investment banking, said in the statement sent out by
Dow Jones Newswires