Irving Oil considers building second refinery in Saint John
Irving Oil recently confirmed that it is exploring the possibility of building a second refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick. The project would be the first major refinery built in North America in almost a quarter century and would be the largest private-sector investment in Atlantic Canada. The last new refineries in North America were built in 1976 in the U.S. and in 1984 in Canada.
"The new refinery would be subject to a comprehensive environmental assessment and permitting process. It would be built and operated in strict compliance with regulatory requirements. We would use the best available proven technology in the world to manage the environmental performance of a new refinery," said Kevin Scott, director of refining growth for Irving Oil.
He added that the company is currently conducting market, feasibility, environmental, and socio-economic studies, including one to determine the best site for a possible refinery. A decision on whether to move forward with a permit application for a new refinery is expected by early 2007. The new facility could supply up to 300,000 barrels per day of refined product to the U.S. northeast and would cost approximately $5-$7 billion to build.
Within the last ten years, Irving has invested well over $2 billion in its existing Saint John refinery to enhance operational and environmental performance. These investments have included producing low-sulfur products ahead of regulatory deadlines and increasing overall production while at the same time significantly reducing sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions.
In 2005, SO2 emissions from the Saint John refinery showed a 27% improvement over 2000 levels. This trend is expected to continue, with future plans including the construction of a new sulfur recovery unit to further reduce SO2 emissions.
Some of the substances produced at the refinery have a distinct odour. Although the odour itself is not considered to be a health or safety concern, the company is currently working with its neighbours to find and confirm the source of odours and to implement measures to reduce them.