$13-billion refinery proposed for Kitimat

Victoria businessman David Black, owner of Black Press, is heading up a proposal to build a $13-billion oil refinery in Kitimat

David Black shows a sample of Alberta heavy oil at a news conference in Vancouver Friday.

VANCOUVER – A Victoria businessman is heading up a proposal to build a $13-billion oil refinery in Kitimat.

David Black, chairman and owner of Black Press, announced Friday he wants to build a world scale oil refinery at Kitimat, B.C.

Black told a news conference in Vancouver Friday he is submitting an environmental assessment application to build a “world scale” oil refinery on behalf of Kitimat Clean Ltd., a company owned by Black. The application to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office is expected this fall.

The proposed refinery would be big enough to process all the diluted bitumen carried by Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline. Black said he has had extensive discussions with Enbridge and other players in the Canadian oil industry, but none has so far offered to back the project.

Black said he will use his own money to finance the proposal through environmental assessment, which he expects to cost several million dollars. After that, he said investors would be needed to complete it, assuming both the refinery and the pipeline receive approval.

He has had preliminary meetings with Kitimat and Terrace councils, as well as the Haisla and Kitselas First Nations in the region. The proposed site is a 3,000-hectare Crown industrial property between Terrace and Kitimat.

Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan spoke by phone to the news conference, offering encouragement for the proposal. But Black acknowledged he does not yet have formal support from communities or investors.

“I see myself as a catalyst to make this happen,” said Black, who first proposed the idea to the province and the industry seven years ago when he was chairman of the B.C. Progress Board.

Black is working with Glenn McGinnis, a consulting engineer and former manager of the Ioco oil refinery in Port Moody.

“We want it [the Kitimat refinery] to be the cleanest and greenest upgrading and refining site in the world,” McGinnis said.

The refinery would produce 240,000 barrels per day of diesel, 100,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 50,000 barrels per day of kerosene or aviation fuel, refined from heavy oil.

Among those attending the news conference was Art Sterritt, executive director of the Coastal First Nations, a group in the Kitimat area that has strongly opposed the pipeline proposal. Sterritt disputed Black’s assertion that a B.C. refinery “solves half of the problem” with exported oil by shipping refined gasoline, jet fuel and diesel in tankers instead of heavy crude. Those products have their own risks, Sterritt said.

Black pointed out that without marine shipments of those fuels, the remote coastal communities Sterritt represents would not be able to function. The lighter fuel products are still an environmental hazard, but they dissipate much more quickly and do not persist for many years like spilled heavy crude, he said.

NDP energy critic John Horgan was also skeptical.

“At this point, it’s a proposal without business partners and without First Nations and local community support,” Horgan said. “It doesn’t change our position [opposing] the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.”

Black said the refinery will mean nearly 6,000 construction jobs over a five-year period, 3,000 permanent jobs at the refinery and tax revenue for various levels of government.

Meantime, a politician in Northern B.C. reacted with skepticism, calling Black’s refinery plan “ridiculous.”

*with videos by Kolby Solinsky

Map site



Just Posted

Mount Douglas Mathletes enjoying success by the numbers

Saanich Grade 9s walk away with top five spots in Island math competition

Songhees Wellness Centre event immersed in indigenous cuisine and culture

Camosun and Songhees cook together for reconciliation while fundraising for student scholarship fund at March 23 event

Victoria Women’s Expo showcases the latest trends

Over 100 vendors feature lots of beauty, health, food, jewelry products and more

Hillside Avenue death ruled a homicide, police say

No charges have yet been laid in the killing of Victoria man Joe Gauthier

Hope gets eight year sentence for Church Avenue sex assault

Eight years is the sentence for David Robert Hope, who was found… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. Mounties reunite veteran with lost military medals

RCMP say Zora Singh Tatla, who served in the army in India for 28 years, is the righful owner

Over 80s leading Victoria’s fitness charge

Go at your own pace, advises 87 year old gym buff

Federal government seeks public feedback on pedestrian safety

What safety measures do you think need to improved for pedestrians and cyclists?

Experts urging caution as rabbits die by the hundreds in B.C. city

Province of B.C. confirms more positive tests for rabbit haemorrhagic disease

Canucks snap scoreless streak but fall short in 5-3 loss to Sharks

Swiss forward Timo Meier nets two, including the game-winner, to lead San Jose

Lilia Zaharieva wants to share her medical good fortune

UVic student wants treatment for cystic fibrosis made available for all

Saanich Talks event kicks off Local Area Plan updates

Updates on plans for Cadboro Bay and Cordova Bay the focus of Wednesday meeting at UVic

Braves trim Bucs to fend off elimination

Game 7 of VIJHL playoff series goes Sunday night in Nanaimo

4 facts to ring in St. Patrick’s Day

What do you really know about the Irish celebration?

Most Read