June 28, 2017

Bad money after bad: the Sturgeon Refinery remains a sinkhole for taxpayers: Barnes

Wildrose is once again sounding the alarm over taxpayer exposure to the risky Sturgeon Refinery venture, following reports that construction costs on the project have skyrocketed to a staggering $9.3 billion, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

Wildrose has been raising concerns about Albertans’ exposure to the multi-billion-dollar boondoggle since 2014. The situation has gone from bad to worse in recent years, however.

“The costs on this project are completely out of control, and Albertans – as shareholders in this venture – are demanding some financial accountability,” Wildrose Shadow Energy Minister Drew Barnes said. “I support any review by the Auditor General into spending at the Sturgeon Refinery, as this situation has become a massive boondoggle for the people of this province.”

Albertans are currently exposed to a $26 billion liability in tolling payments, have fronted $324 million in loans for the project through the Alberta Petroleum Marketing Commission and have paid $124 million for the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line.

The Alberta Legislature heard in 2013 that construction costs on the project would not exceed $5.7 billion. Barnes said with costs approaching double that initial figure and Calgary-based North West Refining examining its options to sell its stake in the project, the NDP should be less eager to continue to backstop the project or proceed with Phase 2 of its expansion without a full review from the Auditor General.

“The government has gone from throwing good money after bad, to throwing bad money after bad,” Barnes said. “We’ve witnessed the costs on this project far, far exceed initial projections, and government try and increase its borrowing to continue pumping money into it. This is an investment that’s gone horribly wrong, and Albertans deserve better.”


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