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Volume 23, Number 48, Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Alberta looks at adding refinery

A lot of local workers should be cheering the Alberta government's announcement Tuesday that it will support more upgrading and refining.

A decade ago this region was still hoping to see massive benefits from the expansion of the oilsands with most of the bitumen set to be upgraded in Alberta's Industrial Heartland.

Instead, almost all of those upgraders were cancelled, and major new pipeline projects took their place.

This made many people unhappy in our region, including most municipal leaders. The official "Refine it Where You Mine It" campaign tried to stop the movement.

Meanwhile, major new oilsands projects got underway. The Alberta government of the time approved projects as fast as they were proposed, allowing no restrictions on a free market. As a result, Alberta now produces double the amount of bitumen it did in 2008, with only the North East Redwater Refinery having been added to upgrade it locally.

Since those pipelines haven't been built, most of that bitumen now sits in Alberta doing nothing, creating a glut that has resulted in disastrously low prices for this poor quality crude.

It is fair to say that everyone expected the pipelines to be built. But it is also true that none of this would have happened had those upgraders been built here as originally planned.

Hindsight now shows us that pipelines require more than just Alberta government approval — many, many other governments and interests can get in the way.

The best any Alberta government can do today is turn to the one strategy our region has always supported, and that is to do the upgrading here in Alberta. It's certainly good to see we were right all along.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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Heartland region was right all along

The Alberta government is prepared to invest in a new refinery, Premier Rachel Notley announced Tuesday.

Industries have been asked to submit proposals for consideration by Feb. 8, 2019. New refineries and expansions of existing refineries will be considered.

“For decades, Albertans have been talking about getting more value for our oil here at home. So let’s stop the talk, end the decades of dreaming and start making more of the products the world needs here at home. It’s time to grab the bull by the horns and to do more refining and upgrading that adds value and creates jobs here. The future is coming and it will be made in Alberta,” Notley said.

Building a new refinery would create good-paying, long-term jobs for Albertans, she added.

Companies will be required to submit their engineering design and technical feasibility, project timing and execution plan, plans for sales points and transportation to market, participation of Indigenous communities, expected environmental performance, financing to complete the project, and identification and estimates of revenues to benefit Albertans.

Two potential projects in the Fort Saskatchewan area include a second phase to the Redwater Refinery/NorthWest Upgrader and the SinoCan Global upgrader and refinery proposed for Lamont County.

Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018