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'Part of the solution:' Alberta seeks proposals to build new refinery

Last Updated Dec 11, 2018 at 7:08 pm MDT

(Sarolta Saskiw - City News)

EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the province is seeking expressions of interest in building a new refinery.

Notley says a new refinery makes sense for Alberta where oil is being sold at bargain basement prices due to a glut and lack of pipeline capacity to get it to market.

While the rest of the world sells its oil at about $50 per barrel, Notley has said Alberta fetches only $10.

She says the successful refinery proposal will create jobs and will include consultation with the Indigenous community.

Notley says any proposal must also show a strong return on investment for Alberta.

Proposals must be submitted by Feb. 8.

READ MORE: Government’s tight grasp on Alberta oil: A short(ish) history

“We’ll be careful, we’ll be cautious, we’ll make sure it makes good business sense,” Notley said Tuesday. “New and more refining capacity is part of the solution. I’ll be excited to hear what companies have in mind.”

Notley has already ordered a mandatory cut to oil production which amounts to 8.7 per cent of output to reduce the glut forcing the steep discounts. The cuts are scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2019.

Alberta is also planning on buying as many as 80 locomotives and 7,000 rail tankers to move the province’s excess oil to markets and address the pipeline bottleneck.

The Trans Mountain expansion project, which would triple capacity to the B.C. coast, is in legal limbo despite being approved two years ago as Ottawa revisits the impacts on First Nations and B.C.’s marine environment.

In a provided statement, United Conservative Party MLA Drew Barnes said:

“After three and a half years in office, with the Premier’s ‘social license’ pipeline scheme in shambles, today’s ‘news’ is that the NDP is asking companies whether they might be interested in building a refinery in Alberta.

“We do know that the NDP has seemingly done everything possible to scare away private sector investment, including a whopping 20 per cent tax hike on job-creators at the worst possible time.

“We will of course review details of any plan. But Albertans will recognize today’s non-announcement from the NDP for what it is: the latest ploy from a tired, broke, and increasingly desperate government quickly approaching the 2019 election.”