New deal on Sturgeon Refinery gives Albertans 50 per cent stake

The Alberta government announced on Monday taxpayers will get a 50 per cent stake in the Sturgeon Refinery.

According to the province, the new deal with Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) will help reduce risk and save about $2 billion.

CNRL will continue to hold 50 per cent equity and is supposed to help maximize the efficiency and production capacity at the refinery. This means it will look at ways to improve uptime and enhance reduce costs.

The restructured deal will ensure Albertans are not on the hook for $1 billion down the road, the government said in an announcement. Instead, the new partnership will payout $825 million, with half of that sum going to the previous owner, North West Refining.

“We are taking action to get a better deal for taxpayers and reducing long-term costs,” Sonya Savage, the minister of energy, said.

“This agreement provides more economic certainty.”

Kathleen Ganley, the NDP's energy critic, said, “Albertans should be deeply concerned.”

The project has suffered heavy losses over the years and back in November was cited by the auditor general, who found significant fiscal errors involving Sturgeon Refinery expenses and on a number of projects including the Keystone XL agreement.

“Albertans have a right to see the complete agreement and understand all the details of the potential new risks and liabilities,” Ganley added.

In a news announcement, the government notes there will be a 10-year extension of the processing agreement to 2058.

The new change will give the government an equal vote in the control of the refinery, to which it is a majority toll payer.