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Analyst refutes refinery rhetoric for Alberta

Last Updated Dec 12, 2018 at 3:04 pm MDT

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Summary

'The climate to build a refinery requires stability not rule of thumb': petroleum analyst

Analyst points to pipelines, not refineries, as a solution for Alberta's economic woes

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Building a refinery in Alberta would be an effort in futility according to one petroleum analyst. Premier Rachel Notley floated the idea Tuesday that her government may be willing to approve such a project.

Senior Petroleum Analyst Dan McTeague believes any proposal would be unwarranted in this province.

“Of all the places in the country that doesn’t need a refinery, it’s Alberta.”

He believes there are better options available if we want to deal with our heavy oil.

“We could talk about upgrading our heavy oil, but there is (already) a substantial market for that. It’s called condensates mixed in with oil, and then we could move that to other countries and get 50-60 dollars a barrel for it.”

He notes if Canada can’t get a pipeline approved, there certainly wouldn’t be an appetite for building a refinery in 10 years.

“The climate to build a refinery requires stability not rule of thumb. We’ve seen both Ottawa and we’ve seen British Columbia act in ways that even if a government were to give a guarantee one year, it can be reversed the next.”

He contends the answer to Alberta’s economic woes still hasn’t changed.

“Let’s turn off the nonsense about building a refinery, which we do not need here in Alberta, and start dealing with the fact that we do need pipelines.”

Political Scientist Duane Bratt with Mount Royal University said refineries cost billions of dollars and there is an entire regulatory process around building them, making it a risky venture.

“I can see the benefits of a refinery, I’m not sure about the economics of a refinery. But this would take 10 years or longer, it is not a short-term solution,”

Bratt said that when the NDP was in opposition they talked about refineries and upgrading all the time, but it’s taken them three and a half years in office to mention it again.