21 June 2008

Province plugging project

[UPDATE! Premier Danny Williams and natural resources minister Kathy Dunderdale will be meeting with unnamed investors on Sunday and Monday in Qatar trying to bail out the troubled NLRC refinery proposal, according to vocm.com.

The news release announcing the trip by the Premier and minister gave no duration for the entire visit, but referred to unspecified meetings in Qatar after the CNA campus graduation ceremony. it appears the trip was planned all along to include specific representations by provincial officials on behalf of a private sector proposal.

On a humorous side note, the government news release still produces a banner at the top of your Internet browser referring to a summer basketball camp, four days after Bond papers first pointed out the programming SNAFU.]

Natural resources minister Kathy Dunderdale told the Telegram that she and Premier Danny Williams are promoting the troubled NLRC refinery project to potential investors during their trip to the Middle East.
"Part of what we are doing over here is looking for new investments and we'll be promoting the refinery in terms of attracting a partner, so hopefully this project's going to continue".
Last week, NLRC director Brian Dalton told an oil and gas industry conference in St. John's that NLRC was actively seeking investment in several areas of the world, including the Middle East, for the stalled project.

NLRC sought court protection from creditors on Friday. SNC Lavalin is seeking approximately $20 million in unpaid fees for engineering and design work done by the consulting firm for the refinery proposal.

In court documents filed Thursday, SNC Lavalin subsidiary BAE-Newplan alleges "NLRC is looking to sell the project without 'independent oversight, review and approval' by unsecured creditors, and made a questionable security arrangement with a related company."

NLRC involves Altius and several European investors in a proposal to build a 300,000 barrel per day refinery in northern Placentia Bay, Newfoundland.

Altius is involved in several mineral and energy developments in Newfoundland and Labrador and elsewhere.

The company lists a Lower Churchill equity stake as one of the projects it is actively pursuing.