By REBECCA PENTY
Canadas Pacific Coast, where locals are opposing
exports of oil-sands crude, has attracted another refinery
proposal long before the supplies can reach the shore by
After a newspaper publisher and an aboriginal entrepreneur, a
telecommunications executive for Mexican billionaire Ricardo
Salinas is proposing a C$10 billion ($9.2 billion) plant near
Prince Rupert, on British Columbias northern coast.
Samer Salameh, who runs telecommunications businesses for
Salinass group of companies, is planning a unit that
would export gasoline and diesel to avoid the risks of
tankers spilling bitumen. He said the refinery would produce
close to no carbon
If youre going to be in the birthplace of
Greenpeace in British Columbia, it behooves us to build
something thats never been done before, which is to
build the greenest oil refinery
Salameh said in a phone interview from Vancouver.
Salameh, the executive chairman of Vancouver-based Pacific
Future Energy, is proposing the refinery
days before Prime
Minister Stephen Harpers cabinet is slated to rule on
Enbridges Northern Gateway pipeline project
linking the oil sands to
the Pacific Coast. While energy companies support the line,
Enbridge faces mounting opposition from locals.
The Pacific Future Energy proposal follows those of newspaper
publisher David Black and aboriginal entrepreneur Calvin
Helin. Black put forward a plan for a C$25 billion refinery
in Kitimat, the proposed terminus of Northern Gateway.
British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has endorsed the idea
of a refinery in the province as a way to create local jobs
and avoid the risks of bitumen spills along the coast, which
are harder to clean up than average crude. Black and Helin
have yet to announce any support from oil producers based in
Pacific Future Energy plans to apply for regulatory approval
for the refinery in as few as nine months and envisions
starting operations around 2022, Salameh said.
could process as much as
1 million bpd if its supplied by a leg of the Northern
Gateway pipeline, he said, and would initially have a
capacity of 200,000 bpd, supported by shipments of crude by
Fifty-four percent of almost 3,500 Canadians surveyed in an
online poll by the Vancouver-based Asia Pacific Foundation of
Canada published today said the hazards exceed the advantages
of shipping crude and liquefied natural gas to Asia, up from
51% last year.
Coastal aboriginal groups have opposed Gateways planned
terminus point in Kitimat, further south and more inland than
Prince Rupert. They argue the 300-kilometer (186-mile) route
between Kitimat and open sea would force oil tankers to
navigate shallow, narrow channels prone to treacherous
weather, raising the risk of oil spills.
Kitimat, a town of 9,000, voted against Gateway in a non-
binding April plebiscite.
The federal government is slated to rule on Northern Gateway
by June 17.