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CALGARY – For a province that likes natural gas a lot more than oil, British Columbia is attracting lots of oil plans to link growing production in Alberta with Asian markets.
The latest one is a $10-billion oil sands refinery on the northern coast headed by a Miami-based telecom executive for Mexico’s Groupo Salinas and using engineers from Italy.
Vancouver-based Pacific Future Energy Corp. said Tuesday the refinery, which could be sited in the Prince Rupert area, would be built in partnership with First Nations and be the world’s greenest by using advanced European refining technology.
It would take bitumen from Canada’s oil sands and process it into gasoline, diesel, kerosene and other products that would be less harmful to the environment if there is an accident. It would also capture and store greenhouse gases.
“This is a plan that absolutely must happen,” said Samer Salameh, chairman of Pacific Future Energy and head of telecommunications businesses for Groupo Salinas, a large conglomerate based in Mexico owned by billionaire Ricardo Salinas with more 100,000 employees and operations in 12 countries.
Mr. Salameh said his experience is in large infrastructure projects in the Americas and he is personally investing in the B.C. refinery plan.0
“There is a great need for it. There has been a lack of serious proponents to make it happen, which is what we are solving today.”
The plan joins four others at various stages of planning.
Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. has been working for a decade on the $6.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat that is backed by the oil community but is opposed by environmentalists and First Nations. It would ship bitumen that would be loaded on super tankers headed for the Pacific Rim. Stephen Harper’s government is due to decide in the next few days whether to give final approval to the project.
Houston-based Kinder Morgan is proposing to expand its TransMountain pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby for $5.4 billion. The plan, also with plenty of oil community backers, is in the regulatory review phase. It would build on a pipeline that has safely transported oil for 60 years but whose expansion is opposed by environmentalists worried about more tanker traffic.
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