Media mogul David Black has my full support for his proposal to build a $13-billion oil refinery near Kitimat to process heavy oil from the Enbridge pipeline. I've had the same idea myself.
Why should we let the Asian countries buy our Canadian crude oil and refine it for their markets when we could add value by refining it here in B.C. and shipping them the finished product? This is a strategy that would create local jobs for our own citizens and address the environmental concerns around oil tankers travelling in B.C.'s coastal waters.
I know for a fact that Alberta wants to do this because I worked on a project in East Edmonton (a stone's throw from the refineries in Fort Saskatchewan) that would have seen it become a reality. And as long as Enbridge meets the conditions and standards set out by the premier, moving heavy oil from Alberta through a pipeline would be a heck of a lot better than shipping it by rail or truck.
That's why B.C. should be working with Alberta on exactly the kind of joint interprovincial venture David Black is proposing, a venture that would bring valueadded tertiary oil refining to B.C. along with the heavy oil pipeline.
Shipping gasoline, jet fuel and other refined oil products by tanker is just as practical as shipping crude oil and a lot safer from an environmental standpoint. So let's not waste this opportunity and the revenue and jobs it could bring to our province. There's a lot we could do here in B.C. with a piece of the oil industry pie.
Roop Virk Chilliwack