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British Columbia refinery plan could improve image of Alberta oil sands

02.12.2014  | 

“Oil-sands bitumen can no longer be identified as dirty oil,” said Black, who proposed the refinery. The refinery would emit half the greenhouse gases of any competing facility in the world, he said.

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By JEREMY van LOON
Bloomberg

Canadian newspaper publisher David Black said his proposed C$21 billion ($19 billion) refinery for the country’s Pacific coast would eliminate the “dirty oil” label for Alberta oil-sands bitumen.

The refinery in Kitimat, British Columbia, would employ a technological process called Fischer-Tropsch, which would slash the emissions associated with oil-sands crude, Black said at an industry conference in Calgary. That would help improve the image of the oil sands, he said.

“Oil-sands bitumen can no longer be identified as dirty oil,” Black said. The refinery would emit half the greenhouse gases of any competing facility in the world, he said.

The refinery would be fed by Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which won approval from Canadian regulators in December. Black first proposed the refinery in 2012 as a way to help win support for Northern Gateway, boost jobs in the province and protect the marine environment

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to make a final decision on the pipeline by June.

Black said his proposed refinery would provide protection for the province’s marine environment because refined diesel and jet fuel would largely evaporate rather than sink like bitumen.

The refinery also would have a cost advantage over other facilities in the Pacific because of lower prices for feedstock from Alberta, Black said.



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