Re: “Chinese banks back Kitimat refinery,” April 26
Large complex chemical plants, including petrochemical refineries, are historically designed and operated by so-called owner operators, today’s international corporations. Some of the chemical unit processes involved may also be of proprietary nature. Necessarily, intimate involvement with such operation throughout the useful life of the plant is necessary for efficient, competitive and profitable operation.
In other words, without intimate attention to such operation by the owner operator the plant would be useless. This has been shown historically in the last 30 to 40 years by unsuccessful takeover attempts by state control of the various Far East and South American governments. Today ownership of those expropriated plants is back with free enterprise.
The large European and North American corporations are leaders in petrochemical plants. For this reason world leadership in design, construction and operation rests with Europe and North America.
A so-called 51 per cent plus by Canadian interests of the so-called Kitimat plant would be utterly meaningless. A Chinese designed and constructed plant would be wholly owned by China in any case, operation and maintenance wise, enhanced by the language hurdle, as per the complexities mentioned above.
In other words, profits, if any, can easily be eroded (manipulated) by operating and maintenance problems. The worst case scenario would see a heap of scrap at Kitimat for which Canada would be on the hook for its share of the 51 per cent ownership. Canada would be ill advised to lose sovereignty to China, similarly to some African states.
Gerhard Magner, M Eng, P Eng