Mayor Derek Corrigan and BurnabyDouglas MP Kennedy Stewart will have a say at a National Energy Board hearing, as the local Chevron refinery pleads its case for priority access to oil coming down Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline.
"As an intervenor, you get to present your evidence, you get to cross-examine all the other intervenors, and you make a closing statement," said Stewart. "My hope is the National Energy Board will grant Chevron's application - because I think we need to keep this refinery open, and I really think if they aren't granted this status, there's a good chance they'll close, and I don't think we can afford this in the Lower Mainland."
Chevron provides about a third of the Lower Mainland's gasoline, and Stewart thinks the refinery's closure would leave the region more susceptible to price shocks. Stewart also wants to question Chevron about the community's environ-mental concerns regarding the refinery's ongoing oil seep and emissions.
"I'm thinking if Chevron is granted this priority designation to get guaranteed flow of oil, there may be some cost savings for them. I'm hoping the money they save will be put into raising the environmental
standards of the refinery," Stewart said.
Chevron applied to the National Energy Board for priority access in July. The move is an attempt to secure a more steady supply of oil from the pipeline amidst rising demand. Chevron refines 50,000 to 55,000 barrels of oil per day, but at times, the company has received up to 70 per cent less oil than requested, due to high demand from other pipeline users.
On Wednesday, the National Energy Board released a list of applicants who were given intervenor status for the hearing, which is set for January.
Various oil and gas companies are allowed to intervene, including Shell, Suncor and the Trans Mountain Pipeline. The Alberta Energy Department and B.C.'s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas are also intervening.
Chevron's Ray Lord said the information-exchange process now begins, with intervenors asking questions and Chevron responding, all leading up to the Jan. 15 hearing in Calgary.
"It's very important to the refinery that this be heard, and we are looking forward to participating constructively in the process," Lord said. "We have participated in these kinds of things before. It's not the first time. For a user of the pipeline, this is how it's done."
Corrigan was not available for comment.