Oil Refining In Canada Makes Sense

Third-party economists report shows value-added enterprises would be highly profitable in Alberta

Edmonton A new, comprehensive report on the economics of upgrading and refining in Western Canada shows that an integrated upgrader-and-refinery plant would be highly profitable if it were built in Alberta today.

The report, entitled Upgrading Our Future: The Economics of In-Province Upgrading, was released on Monday, Oct. 6, at an event featuring Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan; representatives of two separate companies with proposals to build refineries in Ontario and BC; and the reports author, Ed Osterwald, an internationally recognized energy expert and senior partner with UK-based Competition Economists Group (CEG).

Today, weve proven to Albertans that it makes economic sense to think like owners of the oil sands, and keep good jobs here, McGowan said. Albertans should get the maximum value out of the resources they own. Doing so creates more jobs and wealth. It just makes sense for us as a province, and for us as a country.

The report updates a 2006 study commissioned for the Government of Albertas Hydrocarbon Upgrading Task Force. [2006 HUTF study by David Netzer] By applying todays costs and prices to the 2006 study, Osterwald showed that oil-sands upgrading, refining and petrochemical manufacturing remain highly profitable especially if the Province of Alberta were to take a stake in the project.

There is an emerging consensus on the need to add value to our natural resources before they get shipped overseas, McGowan said.

Among the participants in the release of the report was former federal international trade minister and former Alberta treasurer Stockwell Day, who has recently joined the advisory board of Pacific Future Energy, a BC-based company proposing a $10 billion oil sands refinery in northern British Columbia. Day will join the proceedings via teleconference.

We support efforts like Pacific Future Energy, who are clearly looking to expand Canadian manufacturing and the good jobs that go with it, McGowan said. Some might call it strange bedfellows, we call it a coalition of common sense. Were delighted that there are leaders in the private sector committed to keeping good, long-term, middle-class, family-sustaining jobs in Canada.

The Upgrading our Future: The Economics of In-Province Upgrading report can be found at: http://www.afl.org/index.php/Reports/2014-report.html

For more information, contact:

Olav Rokne
Communications Director
Alberta Federation of Labour