The case for the Kitimat refinery – by David Black (National Post – April 29, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Last year Canada’s trade deficit was $12-billion — compared to a $45-billion surplus in 2007. CIBC’s deputy chief economist, Benjamin Tal, has defined our national challenge: “The volume of Canadian exports today is at the same level it was a decade ago. Regardless of how you look at it, this was a lost decade for Canadian exports. “

I believe Canadians — and British Columbia, in particular — can do something about this worrying trend.

I have been in Beijing in recent weeks to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the largest bank in China, to finance a $15-billion oil refinery on Canada’s west coast. This MOU states that China will finance the refinery and find markets for all of its output. My company, Kitimat Clean, will build this state-of-the-art refinery in Kitimat, B.C.

The economic benefits for Canada are enormous. The Kitimat refinery will process 550,000 barrels per day of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands, delivered to the site by an environmentally acceptable pipeline (my preference) or by rail. The bitumen will be processed there into value-added fuel products the world needs: 100,000 barrels per day of gasoline; 50,000 of jet fuel and 250,000 of diesel fuel.

With export revenue of roughly $16-billion a year, the refinery will more than balance the country’s trade deficit. In addition, by alleviating some of the supply/demand imbalance for Canadian petroleum, we will also help reduce the $25-billion in annual discounts now given by Canadian producers to U.S. refineries.

For British Columbia, the project has equally large benefits. There will be 6,000 jobs created for the first five years of construction. Subsequent permanent employment will be on the order of 3,000 jobs a year for the duration of the refinery’s operating life of 50 to 100 years. Taxes generated for government could amount to $1-billion per year.

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