Newspaper Publisher Plans C$13 Billion Kitimat Oil Refinery

Canadian newspaper publisher David Black wants to build a C$13 billion ($13.2 billion) refinery in Kitimat, British Columbia, the terminus of Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

Kitimat Clean Ltd., owned by Black, is submitting an environmental assessment of a plan to construct a 550,000 barrel-per-day refinery to process bitumen from Alberta’s oil sands, Black said in a statement on the company’s website. The bitumen would be supplied by the Enbridge pipeline, and the refinery would be one of the world’s 10 largest, Black said.

The proposal comes amid opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline in British Columbia, Canada’s westernmost province, where pipes filled with thick bitumen would cross salmon streams and traverse forested terrain. British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has demanded that the province be paid its “fair share” of tax revenues from bitumen transported across its territory to offset the risk of a spill.

Enbridge has been criticized for its handling of a 2010 spill which poured 20,082 barrels of oil into a river in Michigan and cost more than $800 million to clean up. The Northern Gateway proposal is currently being reviewed by Canadian regulators.

The company on July 20 said it will spend as much as C$500 million to increase monitoring of the Northern Gateway pipeline and use thicker steel to build the line.

Refining the bitumen near Kitimat would reduce the risk of a damaging spill in coastal waters because diesel, kerosene and gasoline evaporate, unlike bitumen, said Black. The refinery would employ about 3,000, he said.


“We want it to be the cleanest and greenest upgrading and refining site in the world,” Black said in the statement. The target market for the refinery’s products will be China, which needs an extra 500,000 barrels of oil per day each year, he said.

“If China is not interested, there will be other buyers,” he said.

David Black bought his first newspaper in 1975 from his father, Alan Black. Black Press, based in Victoria, British Columbia, owns newspapers in western Canada, Washington state and Hawaii, including the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. He is not related to Canadian publisher Conrad Black.

The world’s largest oil refinery at Jamnagar in the western Indian state of Gujarat, owned by Reliance Industries Ltd, produces 1.24 million barrels a day of crude products. Black’s proposed plant would be as large as Saudi Aramco Total Refining & Petrochemical Co.’s Ras Tanura refinery in Saudi Arabia.

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