Province remains optimistic despite facility’s drawbacks
Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley said he’s “optimistic” but all options are in play when it comes to the Come By Chance refinery — it might be sold, it might be downsized or it might close.
The Come By Chance oil refinery has various possibilities, says the minister of natural resources, but Derrick Dalley says he’s looking on the brighter side.
— Telegram file photo
Dalley said he’s keeping an eye on the situation, and has had meetings with owner Harvest Energy.
“As we know, there’s been a number of rumours going around about the refinery, and it’s obviously a concern for government (and) a concern for people in the region,” Dalley said.
The talk has been going around since mid-September, and when Liberal natural resources critic Dwight Ball raised the issue in the House of Assembly Wednesday, Dalley revealed that Harvest Energy is in Phase 2 of selling the refinery.
“They have a number of options that they are looking at. They have assured us they will keep us informed, and right now they have moved into phase two where there is a potential buyer for the refinery,” he said. “At this point, they have not shared full details with us, but I know they are actively pursuing to try to keep this refinery active in the future of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Dalley told reporters after question period that Harvest hasn’t asked the government for any money.
But the future for the refinery seems to be uncertain at best.
“Obviously we want the refinery to be operational in the province, but whether it’s a downsizing, retooling or actual closure, I guess there’s a number of options that they’re reviewing that will be in the best interest of the company,” Dalley said. “Harvest have indicated to us that their main priority is to try to find a sale for the refinery.”
It might be a tough sell; the refinery lost $106 million in the first half of 2013. Being on an island, not connected by rail to the rest of North America doesn’t help.
Dalley said the best he can say is that the government will keep an eye on the matter.
“We’re hopeful. We’re optimistic that Harvest will be successful in finding a positive resolution to this situation,” he said. “They’ve certainly co-operated and will share with us the information that we need at an appropriate time.”