The initial economic analysis by Cambridge Energy Research in Stage 1 of the feasibility study indicated that a new oil refinery in Placentia Bay could compete effectively throughout the Atlantic basin marketplace, based on both the sourcing of heavy sour crude oil feedstocks and maximizing production of transportation fuels, especially ultralow-sulphur diesel and jet fuel, as there are projected shortages for these products in markets in both Europe and North America.
Completion of the preliminary process design basis in Stage 2 enabled the start of design basis memorandum (DBM) selection of technology licensors and start of front end engineering design (FEED). This work will be continuing throughout 2007 concurrent with the environmental assessment process and potential partnership discussions with large heavy oil producers, refinery operators and petroleum product marketing firms. SNC-Lavalin is also providing key inputs and services during this phase of work.
The proposed site for the refinery is Southern Head in Placentia Bay, which is located on the main transatlantic shipping route between North America and Western Europe and is one the deepest ice-free ports in North America, able to accommodate very large crude carrier (VLCC)-size vessels year-round. The region also offers a competitive work force that has successfully completed several large construction projects during the past decade.
"We are pleased to have a clear way forward for the environmental assessment. We appreciate the Department of Environment and Conservation's timely response to the project registration," said Brian Dalton, managing director of NLRC.
The company has also registered the project with the federal government environmental assessment process, which is conducted through the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA). A project description was submitted to the CEAA on Sept. 11, 2006. A public scoping document is being prepared for anticipated circulation later this month to be followed by a confirmation of the level of assessment from the federal Minister of the Environment.
As a result of early meetings with government agencies and consultation with communities throughout the project area, NLRC has already initiated several baseline studies. NLRC will also receive formal guidelines from an assessment committee of officials from several departments as well as from the federal government.
"We will be continuing to work with communities and groups in Placentia Bay and the project area as we develop the environmental impact statement. They have already provided us with important information as to the questions they want addressed in the EIS. We will ensure that there are many opportunities for interested residents to have further input into the assessment," said Roland Butler, responsible for NLRC's environmental and community interests.