September 19, 2014

Govt Backs Bitumen Production

Government still backing bitumen refinery

Energy Minister Frank Oberle says the PC government remains committed to the Sturgeon bitumen refinery.

Photograph by: Gavin Young , Calgary Herald

The Prentice government is fully committed to an Edmonton-area bitumen refinery despite concerns over major cost overruns, says Alberta’s new energy minister.

The government revealed this summer that it will pay $26 billion in tolls to the Sturgeon refinery — formerly known as the North West Upgrader — to process bitumen it receives as royalties over the 30-year life of the project. Previously it had committed to pay $19 billion.

In an op-ed published in the Herald this week, former Tory energy minister Ted Morton said that the hefty price tag makes “it even less likely that the investment will ever break even.”
But Frank Oberle — appointed energy minister by new Premier Jim Prentice on Monday — said the project remains profitable for the government.

“We are convinced in the value of this project and in the value it creates for our industry, for the upgrading potential it has in Alberta and the job-creating potential it has,” Oberle said in an interview Wednesday,
The project also helps the province leverage the price differential between conventional oil and bitumen, he said.

During the summer Progressive Conservative leadership campaign, Prentice said there was a strong benefit from the project because it increased upgrading and the production of diesel in Alberta.
The refinery, under construction near Fort Saskatchewan, will be operated by a partnership between North West Upgrading Inc. and Canadian Natural Upgrading Ltd., a subsidiary of Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

Its first phase will process 50,000 barrels per day of raw bitumen under fee-for-service processing agreements with the Alberta government and CNRL.
Alberta will provide 75 per cent of the bitumen under the government’s bitumen-royalty-in-kind (BRIK) program.

jwood@calgaryherald.com

September 12, 2014

Less Bitumen in the Coming Days

FM Conway has forged a deal with ExxonMobil to import bitumen from its refinery near Antwerp in Belgium

First delivery to Imperial Wharf bitumen terminal  
 
 First delivery to Imperial Wharf bitumen terminal

The bitumen lands at FM Conway’s new Imperial Wharf site on the River Thames in Gravesend, Kent, which has gone through a £2.5m refurbishment. The wharf has the capacity to dock and store up to 7,500 tonnes of bitumen.

The refurbished facility and jetty will also provide the capacity for FM Conway to import and store a variety of other construction materials.

CEO Michael Conway said: “With global bitumen refinery capacity decreasing, there is a trend for less bitumen to be available. This new collaboration with ExxonMobil allows us to secure a long-term supply of bitumen, giving us full control over our supply and allowing us to cut input costs and, crucially, give security of supply to clients and partners.”

Source -The Construction Index.co.uk

August 26, 2014

10 Billion Bitumen Refinery

Stockwell Day has joined the leadership team of a Vancouver company that's planning to build a $10-billion oilsands refinery on the West Coast.

The former politician, who has held high-profile cabinet posts in the federal and Alberta governments, has been hired as a special adviser at Pacific Future Energy Corp. and will sit on its board of directors. He'll also head an arms length advisory council that's expected to be formed over the next few months.

"I've been very gratified that I've been involved in a number of projects since leaving politics, but this has to be right up there in terms of something that's exciting for me," Day said in an interview from Vancouver.
He said the proposed refinery, which bills itself as the world's greenest, could be a "legacy project for Canada."

Oilsands producers have been keen to access lucrative Asian markets, but stiff opposition to proposals such as Enbridge Inc.'s (TSX:ENB) Northern Gateway pipeline has put a damper on those ambitions. One of the biggest environmental concerns has been the prospect of bitumen-laden tankers navigating coastal waters.
The Pacific Future proposal -- along with others being floated by B.C. newspaper magnate David Black and aboriginal businessman Calvin Helin -- would mean refined products, rather than heavy oil, would be shipped on tankers to Asia, making a potential spill less damaging.

Day's political experience spans the two provinces with the most at stake when it comes to West Coast energy exports. After his time in Alberta's Progressive Conservative government, Day was the MP for the British Columbia riding of Okanagan-Coquihalla, first for the now-defunct Canadian Alliance and then for the Conservatives.

He also has insight into the thinking of potential buyers of Canadian resources on the other side of the Pacific, having served as the federal trade minister and minister for the Asia-Pacific gateway.
The Pacific Future proposal would mean "high-tech, long-term jobs" for Canada, said Day, who left government in 2011.

"We're talking about refining product here rather than shipping what really is raw product to other countries and seeing the jobs produced there."
The environmental aspect is also key, said Day.

"I've talked with enough people all over British Columbia to realize that this is a genuine concern and a real impediment in the minds of many people."

Day said he's confident there will be interest in the project from both sides of the Pacific.

"What I've seen over the last few years in Asia... they've got a sincere desire to deal with their own environmental issues and even for them, there are some political advantages for them to be seen as receiving refined product," he said.

And there's interest from Alberta, too, he added.
"I can honestly say I've never ceased talking with people from Alberta -- investors and CEOs -- since the days I was in Alberta about the challenges of a unique product, but a product that in my view needs to be refined and needs to be refined here," he said.

"Of course, you have to make the economic case as well as the environmental case and this project does that."

Day said he hasn't talked to his former colleagues in Ottawa about Pacific Future, but "I have to think this would align with many of the aspirations of the federal government vis-a-vis Canadian trade and Canadian jobs."

The Pacific Future leadership team includes venture capitalists and former provincial and federal government advisers. Its executive chairman, Samer Salameh, has experience financing and building telecommunications infrastructure for Mexican conglomerate Groupo Salinas.

Pacific Future has also made First Nations engagement a priority. One of Salameh's first hires for the management team was Jeffrey Copenace, who was deputy chief of staff to former Assembly of First Nations chief Shawn Atleo and has worked with the Ontario and federal government on aboriginal issues.
Pacific Future says the refinery will be built in 200,000-barrel-per-day modules, with the ability to expand to a total of one million barrels per day.

It aims to pick a location later this year for the plant and begin the regulatory process next year

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/business/stockwell-day-joins-company-planning-to-build-b-c-bitumen-refinery-1.1969649#ixzz3BSn6Afxu

August 14, 2014

Bitumen Production to ramp up

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has assured the marketers and distributors of bitumen as well as members of the public that the days of bitumen importation will soon be over.

In a statement signed by NNPC spokesperson, Ohi Alegbe, this is as a result of the current plan to gear up the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KPRC) for optimum production of the product to save the nation the huge foreign exchange spent on the importation of the product.

The Management of the Corporation, in a reaction to a story attributed to the Association of Bitumen Marketers and Distributors published in some national dailies recently, disclosed that plans are currently on to repair the “Riser” at the heavy crude oil reception facility at Escravos.

This will guarantee the importation of heavy crude for the production of bitumen at the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), which is the only refinery configured to produce bitumen in the country.
The Management further stated that in the meantime, KRPC has about 5,005 metric tons of bitumen (also known as asphalt) for evacuation, and that a further 14,466 metric tons will be produced between now and September from available residue.

It explained that the KRPC has the capacity to produce 1,796 metric tons of asphalt per day or 592,680 metric tons per year of two major liquid and solid oxidized grades of bitumen while the current national demand is put at about 500,000 metric tons per year.
It noted that as soon as the “Riser” is repaired and the supply of heavy crude oil is guaranteed, there will be no need for further importation of bitumen.

Source- Businessday

Fire at Bitumen Factory


Fire Breaks Out in Bitumen Factory near Tehran
 
A vast fire incident occurred in a bitumen factory in a town just a few miles away from the capital Tehran on Tuesday morning.
 
The fire broke out in a bitumen factory near the town of Vavan at 6:07 am in an area of 3,000 square meters. A sum of five reservoirs with a capacity of 50,000 liters each caught fire in the incident.

Fire brigades have been dispatched from Tehran to Vavan to help control and extinguish the massive fire there. The cause of the fire incident is still under investigation.

In another fire incident yesterday, a vast fire incident occurred in Tehran's Bazaar, killing two people.
"Massive fire which broke out in Tehran's Bazaar today killed 2 businessmen and the people who were hanging out of windows were rescued by using hydraulic ladder," Tehran Fire Brigade Department Spokesman Seyed Jalal Maleki told FNA on Monday.

He noted that two men aged 50 and 60, who were trapped in the upper stories of buildings in Tehran's Bazaar, were killed.

Maleki said that 10 shopkeepers also faced respiratory problems.
The fire broke out in a four-storey building in Southern Tehran at 10:53 this morning.

Source- Farsnews

July 23, 2014

Bitumen Update from Nigeria

Nigeria loses over N300 billion annually to massive importation of bitumen into the country, the Association of Bitumen Marketers and Distribution of Nigeria (ABIMD) has said.

This amount, the union said, could be used for other meaningful projects if the government had stopped importation of the product and encouraged its local production available at the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC).

Bitumen is a by-product of petroleum used for road construction and maintenance.
At a news conference in Kaduna on Tuesday, the National Vice Chairman of the association, Fred Nyabam, described the massive importation of bitumen into the country as a serious threat to the economic development of the nation.

He raised alarm over the activities of some few individuals who he described as ‘selfish individuals’ and ‘economic saboteurs,’ who he said had truncated all efforts made in the past to stop importation of bitumen into Nigeria and encourage local production.

“The brazen act of sabotage against the Nation is that over 60 per cent of all the Bitumen imported into Nigeria comes from a refinery in IRAN, whose Bitumen production capacity is not bigger than that of Kaduna Refinery,” he stated.

He, however, called for the intervention of the Federal Government to protect Nigerian bitumen products by reducing the cost of locally produced ones and stopping the importation in order to enhance local product.

Source- Nigerian Tribune

June 25, 2014

Greenest Refinery for Processing Bitumen & More Jobs


Despite last week's approval from the Canadian government, uncertainty still dogs Enbridge Inc.'s Northern Gateway oil sands pipeline largely because of a vow from key aboriginal communities to block it.
Others in the oil industry are trying hard to avoid the mistakes Enbridge made when it comes to approaching Canada's powerful First Nations about projects that could contaminate their lands and waterways.
Pacific Future Energy Corp.'s recent refinery proposal is the latest example.

Earlier this month, the company unveiled plans for a $10 billion refinery in British Columbia that would convert Alberta's tar sands bitumen into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel for export to Asia and other markets. Pacific Future Energy pledged to form a "full partnership" with affected First Nations, provide permanent jobs and build the "greenest refinery in the world."

Enbridge's struggle to win acceptance for the Northern Gateway project "is a lesson in terms of how not to engage with First Nations," said Jeffrey Copenace, vice president of indigenous partnership for Pacific Future Energy. "The First Nations have been viewed as an impediment to business, historically in this country, both by governments and industry, and we feel that’s wrong."

Two other companies, Kitimat Clean Ltd. and Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings, have announced bitumen refining projects and taken steps to curry favor with British Columbia's indigenous groups. They have also promised jobs and less environmental risk compared to Northern Gateway's export plan.

"They're all trying to build themselves on the backs of how bad Northern Gateway has done things, and they figure if they are a little bit better that somehow people are going to fall all over themselves," said Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, a coalition opposed to the Northern Gateway project. "They're all doing exactly the same thing. They're saying pick me, pick me, pick me. The reality is nobody's picking anybody."

The $7 billion Northern Gateway pipeline, which was approved by the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper on June 16, would transport diluted bitumen (dilbit) from Alberta to a proposed marine terminal on the northern coast of British Columbia. There, the dilbit would be loaded onto tankers and shipped to overseas markets.

That last part of the plan—carrying dilbit out to sea through fragile areas vital to First Nations' marine economy—became particularly controversial after an Enbridge pipeline leaked a million gallons of dilbit into a Michigan river. The 2010 incident alarmed British Columbians because emergency crews couldn't contain the spill and Enbridge has yet to fully cleanse the river of sunken globules of bitumen.

Backers of all three of the refinery projects have touted their proposals as environmentally less risky because they eliminate the need for tankers full of dilbit by converting it to fuel or light crude oil before exporting it. Pacific Future Energy would be filling export tankers with refined fuels, and those liquids would evaporate if spilled into the ocean, according to Samer Salameh, the company's executive chairman. Because of that, Salameh told Huffpost Alberta, the company's proposed refinery "is a solution to everybody's problem."
"We cannot risk the future of British Columbia’s cherished coast by shipping raw bitumen," Salameh said in Pacific Future Energy's June 10 announcement. Salameh believes it's in Canada's national interest to get Alberta's oil riches into international markets, but he said "it shouldn't be done at the sacrifice of B.C.'s coast or broader environment, and must be done in full partnership with First Nations."

Sterritt isn't convinced. Pacific Future Energy would still need to feed its coastal refinery with dilbit, which means it will eventually need a pipeline such as the Northern Gateway to deliver the heavy crude from Alberta.

"The one thing that most of these people seem to forget is that it's not just about the coast, it's also about transporting bitumen through the headwaters of the Fraser and the Mackenzie and the Skeena [rivers], and there are no guarantees of being able to avoid a spill there," Sterritt said.

Environmentalists concerned about climate change aren't likely to applaud the refinery plans, either, because they don't halt or reduce the carbon pollution that stems from extracting the tar sands oil, processing it and then burning the fuel derived from it.

"From a climate point of view, these refineries don't really make a lot of difference...as soon as more of that oil starts to get shipped [from Alberta], we have increased emissions," said Josha MacNab, director of British Columbia for the Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank based in Calgary. Switching from dilbit tankers to fuel-laden tankers isn’t a big improvement, she added, "Because any spill of any kind of fossil fuel is going to have a very damaging impact on our environment, and our ability to clean those up is questionable."

But the companies behind the refining proposals are optimistic. They believe they've found a way to boost support and quell environmental opposition to exporting Canada’s oil riches through British Columbia.
Their plans stress three factors that they say will differentiate the refinery projects from the Northern Gateway pipeline and export project. Those include:

+ A better relationship with First Nations. As Pacific Future Energy's Copenace put it, "I've heard of previous negotiations where companies go in with, 'this is your stake, and this is your percentage, these are your jobs, this is our route, and that’s how we’re going to do it—so sign here. That’s unacceptable in this day and age." Copenace has First Nations roots and served as deputy chief of staff to former Assembly of First Nations chief Shawn Atleo.

Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings, which announced a multifaceted export plan with a refinery in April 2014, is led by Calvin Helin, an author, businessman and First Nations leader in British Columbia. Partners include the B.C.-based Aquilini Group and David Tuccaro, a well-known Alberta aboriginal entrepreneur and oil sands investor.

+ More jobs. Pacific Future Energy said initial employment at its refinery would be in the hundreds, but that the payroll would grow to 3,000 jobs once it's expanded to its target capacity. Kitimat Clean’s project, which is backed by B.C. businessman and newspaper owner David Black, includes a $21 billion refinery, plus an oil pipeline, gas pipeline and tanker fleet. It said it would create 3,000 jobs at the refinery alone.
+ More palatable environmental characteristics. Pacific Future Energy said its refinery would capture carbon emissions and employ technologies to make the plant have near-zero net carbon emissions. Kitimat has touted its refinery as "engineered to be the cleanest upgrading and refining site in the world."

Eagle Spirit Energy's plan attempts to lessen the environmental threat of a dilbit spill by converting the bitumen into light crude oil before sending it to the coast for export.

Pacific Future Energy and Kitimat will still need to transport dilbit from Alberta to their respective refineries, but last year, B.C. Premier Christy Clark applauded that approach. Exporting dilbit-derived fuel would require smaller tankers filled with liquid that evaporates when spilled, a concept that "radically reduces the environmental risks associated with the shipping of oil off our coast to Asia," she said.

By Elizabeth Douglass, InsideClimate News
 Source- FirstPerspective

June 23, 2014

No Bitumen Road for Serengetti



The East African Court of Justice yesterday delivered a long awaited ruling on the case brought against the Tanzanian government by ANAW and others, seeking to restrain them permanently from building a highway across the Serengeti migration routes of the great herds of wildebeest and zebras.

The judges in their ruling said that the construction of a bitumen road across the UNESCO World Heritage Site national park is ‘unlawful’. Celebrations broke out in court and elsewhere across Eastern Africa and the rest of the world when the essence of the ruling became known, though seen at the bright light of day does the judgment have a downside.

The judged only ruled on the illegality of a bitumen or tarmac road but left the question open about the construction of a gravel road along the same route, something the Tanzanian government had said they were considering. ‘They can still try to build a murram road because that has not been specifically ruled out.
If they start, we shall sue them again and seek an injunction against that also. But primarily now we must lobby for the government to accept that the Southern route around the Serengeti will bring greater benefits for a larger number of people and the route is only slightly longer. Germany’s KFW, or so I heard, is doing a feasibility study now for the new route after the Tanzanian government has accepted the proposal and the World Bank and Germany have both offered to finance the highway as long as it routes around the southern tip of the park and not go across it.

Knowing our government however we must remain vigilant. Today was a victory of sorts but the battle for survival of the Serengeti continues. This is not over by a long shot’ wrote a regular Arusha based conservation source when relaying the court decision yesterday afternoon.

The news about the highway plans were broken here in early 2010 and then triggered a growing support movement which via social media and other avenues rallied support from the world’s leading conservationists, show biz personalities, business moguls and many governments and international organizations making their opposition known to these plans in both direct and indirect contact with Tanzania’s President Kikwete and members of his government.

 By Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN Africa Correspondent 
Source- eturbonews

June 11, 2014

Bitumen Refinery

A Vancouver-based company with international backing is planning to build a $10 billion bitumen refinery project near Prince Rupert.

Pacific Future Energy says the new refinery will be “the world’s greenest” and will be built in full partnership with First Nations.

The company has already identified three sites, all in the Prince Rupert area, as potential locations for the refinery, which will process oil from northern Alberta. A feasibility study, which is currently underway, will determine the exact location of the refinery.

“We believe this is an incredibly unique opportunity to build the greenest refinery in the world and there’s no better place than BC,” said Samer Salameh, Executive Chairman of Pacific Future Energy in a statement. “Our pre-feasibility study has begun, which will analyze the economic, social and environmental aspects of the refinery and help to determine the prospective site and expect to launch our feasibility and regulatory process in the next 9-12 months.”

Shipping refined products as opposed to heavy oil will be much safer, according to Salameh.
“By shipping refined products, we will eliminate the threat of a heavy oil spill.”

In case of a spill, these products float on top of water and evaporate, according to Pacific Future Energy. Bitumen sinks in water, and is much harder to clean up.

The refinery is designed to be built in stages, with each “module” processing 200,000 barrels of bitumen per day. The bitumen will be converted into gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.

Once the project is fully up and running, it will be capable of producing up to 1 million barrels a day.
Pacific Future Energy says the project is viable regardless of the current market price of oil, because of its ability to produce a wide range of fuels.

The federal government’s decision on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline is expected sometime this week.

Source - Globalnews