Pacific Future Energy is moving ahead with a proposal that was first brought to light in mid-January and is now receiving additional attention at various governmental levels.
Pacific Future’s proposal to build and operate the world’s greenest bitumen-to-fuels refinery in northwestern B.C. is receiving a hearing from local First Nations governments as well as federal and provincial regulators.
“This is the start of our public conversation as we work to build our economic future and protect our coast in Northern B.C. while recognizing and respecting First Nations rights and life,” said Samer Salameh, executive chairman of the Vancouver-based company when the proposal was first aired in public.
The project would receive near-solid neatbit bitumen by rail from Western Canada and refine it into diesel gasoline and other products for export to world markets.
Unlike diluted bitumen traditionally shipped by pipeline or rail, neatbit has a consistency similar to peanut butter. It is stable with a low flammability and is classified as non-dangerous for transport.
“Not only would our proposal traditionally provide a value-added way to get Canadian oil to growing world markets, but it would protect both Canada’s land and marine environments from the effects of a heavy oil or bitumen spill,” said Robert Delamar, CEO of Pacific Future Energy.
“Our plan would take full advantage of the opportunity for Canada by building a near net zero carbon emissions refinery with the world’s most advanced technology. That will ensure an environmentally superior refinery that is also financially and economically sound.”
Jacques Benoit, chief operating officer for the company said, “The project will allow export of refined products instead of diluted bitumen or other unrefined heavy-oil products. Transported in smaller tankers, refined products greatly reduce the risk to the marine environment in the unlikely event of a spill.”
The project is proposed for an area known as the Dubose Flats, about 30 kilometres south of Terrace.
“We are engaging with First Nations in the area in every step of this process, recognizing them as a First Order of Government and honouring the United Nations Declaration of Right of Indigenous People,” Salameh said.
The project is valued at approximately Canadian $15 billion and will create an estimated 3,500 direct jobs in construction and 1,000 in operation.
Pacific Future Energy said they plan to power the refinery with clean-energy sources that include biomass wood-waste from the regional forest industry. This could benefit the forest sector and create additional employment.
Besides the First Nations community, the company said they would also be working with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office on project requirements that include public consultations, environmental assessment and engineering studies.
“We will be listening very carefully to all the feedback and will incorporate community concerns and values in the design,” said Delamar.
Actual construction would be slated for 2018 with the plant entering production mode in 2021.