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

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

‘Each step is a prayer’: Ojibwe man will walk from Hope to Vancouver Island for Indigenous healing, reconciliation

James Taylor departs Sept. 20, returns to Saanich in five days for sacred fire

COLUMN: We don’t need an election. But it’s 2020, so we’ll probably get one anyways.

There are only selfish reasons for the NDP to trigger an election this fall

OPINION: Beautiful B.C. – Isn’t it great? Shhh… Don’t tell anyone!

Huge numbers flocked to popular Chilliwack River Valley on Labour Day weekend

Tammy Wood earns top prize on Food Network’s ‘Wall of Chefs’

Former MasterChef contestant takes home $10,000 prize, beats out three other contenders

QUIZ: A celebration of apples

September is the start of the apple harvest

VIDEO: gunshot incident at Langley gas station

No immediate reports of injuries in Saturday evening incident

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Most Read