The Chevron refinery in Burnaby is the last petroleum refinery in Metro Vancouver.

Higher gas prices from Burnaby refinery closure doubted

West Vancouver mayor argues Chevron pullout would not be dire outcome for motorists

Not all local mayors agree the loss of the Chevron refinery in Burnaby would bring more pain at the pumps for Lower Mainland drivers.

West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith, who has a business background as a petroleum distributor, disputes suggestions that the refinery, if closed, could force gas prices up sharply in the region because of the reduced local supply.

It’s the last remaining refinery in the region and it’s become entangled in the debate over the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, with critics warning the push to export more crude oil to Asia threatens to starve the plant of its supply.

Smith doesn’t accept suggestions the loss of the refinery would lead to Canadian crude being shipped to China, refined there and then imported back.

“It makes no sense,” he said, pointing to more efficient U.S. refineries just across the border in Washington state that get crude by tanker from Alaska and could easily serve the B.C. market.

“There are three refineries 50 miles from the border with 10 times the capacity of the Chevron refinery,” Smith said. “It’s a hell of a lot cheaper.”

He told Metro Vancouver’s regional planning committee Friday he expects Chevron will eventually close the aging Burnaby refinery, but simply as a result of unfavourable economics.

Smith also noted most B.C. gas and diesel now comes not from the Chevron refinery but down Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta refineries.

Closure of Chevron in Burnaby would mean pipeline capacity that now carries its crude could instead deliver more refined petroleum to the region, he added.

His comments came as Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan prepares to appear at a National Energy Board hearing in Calgary next month in support of an application by Chevron for a guaranteed, secure supply of crude through Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. The refinery has recently resorted to trucking in some oil because it has been unable to outbid other users for access to the over-subscribed pipeline.

Opposing Chevron at the NEB hearing is at least one of the Washington refineries that could profit from its demise.

Corrigan said he still suspects China – with much weaker environmental rules – might be able to refine oil so cheaply it can still be shipped back to B.C. competitively.

He denied he’s out to protect local jobs in his city, adding the issue to him is the ability to refine in Canada – even if Smith is right that gas would come from the U.S.

“To be producing oil and not being able to refine it seems ridiculous,” Corrigan said.

“If we end up in a situation where we have no refining capacity at all in a city of two and a half million people and we’re dependent entirely on the American system to provide us with oil, I think that’s a real issue for our autonomy.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hope-raised NHL official among BC Hockey Hall of Fame inductees

Jay Sharrers officiated 1,419 regular NHL games, plus Stanley Cup finals and Olympics

Sasquatch Mountain Aussie Day celebration raises $800

Proceeds of bikini runs, toonie tosses and more go to wildfire victims

How would crowded Fraser Valley hospitals deal with patient surge? Officials won’t say

Amid coronavirus case and crowding issues, health officials won’t say where more patients would go

DNA confirms SUV struck and killed Abbotsford cyclist in 2015, court hears

Kerry Froese operated company that owned vehicle that struck and killed Ronald James Scott in 2015

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Landowner hearings begin for Trans Mountain expansion in Alberta

Detailed route talks start in Spruce Grove, in B.C. communities soon

VIDEO: Canada looking to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Alessia Cara to host and perform at 2020 Juno Awards

Multi-platinum Canadian singer-songwriter also up for six awards, including Artist of the Year

Watch out for scams, clickbait in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death: Better Business Bureau

Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles

Surrey massage therapist suspended for reading books on cellphone during treatments

Investigation sparked by patient who was concerned she’d been photographed

‘Very disrespectful’: Headstones at Okanagan cemetery damaged by excavation crew

Headstones at Enderby’s Cliffside Cemetery mistakenly driven over by excavation crew

Despite reports of decline, birds flocking to national parks in Canadian Rockies

Recent studies suggest overall bird population has slid by three billion since 1970

Former UN committee member defends stance on B.C.’s Coastal GasLink pipeline

First Nations LNG Alliance accused UN committee, human rights watchdog of not doing their research

Most Read