​Alberta seeking proposals to build new oil refinery

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd and Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, announce the new refinery plan on Dec. 11, 2018. Image: Government of Alberta

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says the province is seeking expressions of interest in building a new refinery.

Notley says a new refinery makes sense for Alberta where oil is being sold at bargain basement prices due to a glut and lack of pipeline capacity to get it to market.

She says the successful refinery proposal will create jobs and will include consultation with the Indigenous community.

Notley says any proposal must also show a strong return on investment for Alberta.

Proposals must be submitted by Feb. 8.

The government will consider interest in new greenfield investments or an expansion of facilities at an existing brownfield site. Submissions will be accepted until Feb. 8, 2019, with the results helping inform next steps that may include issuing a Request for Proposals to construct a new refinery.

“We'll be careful, we'll be cautious, we'll make sure it makes good business sense,” Notley said Tuesday. “New and more refining capacity is part of the solution. I'll be excited to hear what companies have in mind.”

Notley has already ordered a mandatory cut to oil production which amounts to 8.7 per cent of output to reduce the glut forcing the steep discounts. The cuts are scheduled to end on Dec. 31, 2019.

Alberta is also planning on buying as many as 80 locomotives and 7,000 rail tankers to move the province's excess oil to markets and address the pipeline bottleneck.

The Trans Mountain expansion project, which would triple capacity to the B.C. coast, is in legal limbo despite being approved two years ago as Ottawa revisits the impacts on First Nations and B.C.'s marine environment.

© 2018 The Canadian Press