Refinery expansion deferred

Terry Roberts
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Oil and gas

The owner of the North Atlantic refinery in Come by Chance reiterated Monday that a US$2-billion expansion planned for the aging facility has only been deferred, and will likely proceed once the world financial markets are stabilized.

"The project will proceed when we have calmer financial waters," Harvest Energy CEO John Zahary said during a visit to the refinery on Monday.

The Najaro-registered oil tanker Cape Bruny is shown at one of the jetties waiting to off-load its supply of crude oil at the North Atlantic Refinery in Come by Chance, Placentia Bay, Monday afternoon. Refinery officials recently paid tribute to the worke

The owner of the North Atlantic refinery in Come by Chance reiterated Monday that a US$2-billion expansion planned for the aging facility has only been deferred, and will likely proceed once the world financial markets are stabilized.

"The project will proceed when we have calmer financial waters," Harvest Energy CEO John Zahary said during a visit to the refinery on Monday.

The company confirmed several weeks ago that it was deferring the project, which would greatly expand the refinery's capacity and create additional full-time jobs.

The decision comes at a time when other companies, including the Iron Ore Co. of Canada, are also postponing major expansions.

Zahary said the company is continuing to seek a partner for the project.

He pointed out that the refinery has not been expanded since it opened more than 30 years ago, which is unusual.

"They either expand or they shut down," he said.

Thirty years ago, there were roughly 300 oil refineries in North America.

Today there are about 150, including 18 in Canada.

"What we have here is one of the better ones. It creates a good mix of products. It's the first clean fuel refinery in the country. It's one of the most reliable refineries in the country," Zahary said.

He added that in light of the global financial situation, the company felt it was best to be honest with its investors, employees and the communities in the area.

"We think it's unlikely we will be able to finance this in the near term," he said.

"It will at least be delayed by a number of months," he said.

troberts@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Iron Ore Co. of Canada

Geographic location: US, North America, Canada

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