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Canadian Refiner Abandons Climate Goals To Stay Competitive

The largest refinery in Canada, Irving Oil’s 320,000-barrels-per-day Saint John Refinery in New Brunswick on the East Coast, has scrapped its specific carbon emissions reduction target for next year, adopting instead a looser policy to be among the top environmental performers compared to rival refineries in Canada instead, Reuters reported on Friday, citing documents it has seen.

Privately owned Irving Oil had committed to cut its carbon emissions by 17 percent from the 2005 levels by 2020, but earlier this year it deleted this commitment from its website.

According to filings with regulators which Reuters has obtained through a request under the Right To Information Act, Irving Oil stopped to pursue the emissions reduction target in 2016.

Instead of targeting a specific percentage cut in emissions, Irving Oil has adopted a new policy, targeting to be in the top 25 percent of competitor refiners in Canada when it comes to reducing carbon intensity.

Irving Oil says that it aims to be “among the first to adopt stringent fuel specifications and investing in emission control technology to improve our environmental performance.”

The company also invests in improving performance at facilities with sulfur recovery technology, which has led to substantial reductions in sulfur dioxide emissions, according to Irving Oil’s website.

Earlier this year, Irving Oil executives said that they are in favor of the idea of carbon pricing, but only if the taxes don’t tax the refinery out of competitiveness.

Irving Oil’s Saint John Refinery is the single largest carbon dioxide emitter in the province of New Brunswick.

“There should be a price that we pay in connection with the carbon that we emit as part of our production,” Andy Carson, Director for Growth and Strategy at Irving, said at a Senate committee hearing in April.

“We wouldn’t want to find ourselves in a position where we’ve taxed our industry out of business, which would then open up the opportunity for other countries to supply the products that we would normally supply from our own industries that have made efforts to increase their role in reducing climate change,” Jeff Matthews, Irving’s chief financial officer, said at the same hearing.


By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.om

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