As Vancouverites face record-high gas prices, B.C. Premier John Horgan has suggested investing in the province’s oil-refining capacity.
“I’ve been advocating that we take those natural resources… refine that product so we can bring prices down in British Columbia,” Horgan said.
But some analysts say it’s clear that the fossil fuel industry is in its twilight years and there simply isn’t enough time for an investor to recover the huge cost of building a refinery that can handle the environmental and technical challenges of heavy bitumen oil.
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Anthony Perl, a professor of urban studies with Simon Fraser University, says another refinery could actually increase the price of gas.
“Sooner or later, we are going to be using a lot less oil, so if they have to be paid for — big bucks in a short period of time — that’s going to be reflected in the price.
“I don’t see any panacea where we’ll get a quick relief on the price by building more pipelines or more refineries.”
The Parkland Fuel Corporation — owner of the only refinery in Metro Vancouver — recently reported record profits.
“Profits have increased significantly in the last little while,” Tom Gunton, B.C.’s former deputy environment minister, said.
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But Gunton also believes another oil refinery is not the way to go.
He says the answer is to increase B.C.’s access to existing refineries in nearby Washington state to try and create competition.
— With files from Ted Chernecki
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