Aug 17 2007

Plans for oil refinery in Westfjords

ArnarfjörðurThe local council in the westfjords yesterday gave their permission to build an oil refinery in the area, to “save the community from disintegrating since people are moving away.” They hope that a factory like this would interest young people in moving back to the area.
The likeliest place for the refinery would be Arnarfjordur, a place of tremendous beauty as most places in the westfjords are.
Scientists have pointed out that oceanic iceblocks may make the sailing route to the area unsafe for bigger ships. Also, a refinery of this size would pump one million tons of C02 into the atmosphere per year, which more than exhausts Iceland´s quota according to the Kyoto agreement.

A few years ago the authorities at Isafjordur, the largest town in the area, announced that they wanted to make sure that the Westfjords would stay free of heavy industry. Clearly this is now a U-turn of this policy.

What we are witnessing is yet another cunning execution of the blueprint of the strategy used to get ALCOA into the Eastfjords: The highly corrupt fishing quota system is used to deprive people of their traditional jobs and thus an employment vacum is created in the area. Then the option of heavy industry is introduced as if it was the only possible solution for the troubled community.

The first major step in this strategy in the Westfjords was to make a large part of the population of the fishing town Flateyri unemployed. But not until after the elections last May.

The current overheating of the Icelandic economy due to the Karahnjukar project, is also hurting the fishing industry to such an extent that several companies are going bankrupt accross the country.

Now recent voices of hopelessnes have emerged, and for the first time in the Westfjords, a manufactured demand for jobs in heavy industry.

How very sad if the people of the Westfjords are going to fall for the old and evil trick which the people of Reydarfjordur have already fallen for.

It really is high time that the Icelandic people started to see through this criminal scam to turn their communities from peaceful fishing villages into corporate heavy industry slums.

The below is from Iceland Review:

04/17/2007 | 11:58

Oil refinery to be built in Iceland’s Westfjords?

Icelandic and Russian entrepreneurs are working on plans to construct an oil refinery in Iceland’s Westfjords. The station could be built in four years and provide jobs for over 500 people.

According to RÚV, the plans are being worked on by the Icelandic company Íslenskur hátaekniidnadur (“Icelandic Hi-Tech Industry”), owned by Ólafur Egilsson and Hilmar F. Foss, and the Russian company Katamag-Nafta, the daughter company of The Geostream Services Group, a Russian high-tech service company cooperating with LUKOIL.

The idea is for the station to be able to produce 150,000 barrels a day and to employ 500 to 700 people. One fifth of the employees would require a university degree.

Raphael Baron at Katamag-Nafta said in an interview with RÚV that the Westfjords were the perfect location for an oil refinery.

“Iceland happens to be in the middle between Europe and the United States. The oil shipping routes already go very close to Iceland; all they need to do is make a left turn to come to Iceland to have the oil refined and add tremendous value to it,” Baron said.

Baron pointed out that there is enough energy in Iceland to power such an operation.

The process of refining oil causes pollution, but the organizers of the project claim that the fuel produced is cleaner than the fuel which is imported to Iceland, so once Iceland’s car and ship fleet would use the fuel produced in the oil refinery, the total pollution in Iceland would be reduced.

Halldór Halldórsson, mayor of the Westfjords’ capital Ísafjördur, told RÚV he is still pondering on the idea of an oil refinery, but that likes the idea very much, especially regarding the jobs that would be created.

But Halldórsson said the idea would only be accepted if it would coincide with the Westfjords’ policy of not embarking on any heavy industry projects and said it was important for the issue to be discussed in detail.

“According to what they [the organizers of the project] are saying the pollution would be circa one tenth of the pollution an aluminum smelter would produce and that the electricity usage is only a fraction of what they [the smelters] are using,” Halldórsson said.

Therefore, the oil refinery would not be a heavy industry project, Halldórsson concluded.

“We consider this a hi-tech industry. Heavy industry is, according to dictionaries, defined as something that requires a lot of energy. […] The main issue of dispute regarding heavy industry are the dams and the damage to the highland,” said Ólafur Egilsson in an interview with RÚV.

“We don’t need anything like that because the refinery only requires 15 megawatts of energy,” Egilsson stated.

“The financing would be Russian, American and partly Icelandic,” Egilsson said. “What would happen next, after the Westfjordians have reached a decision, is to begin an efficiency evaluation and get all the facts to the table.”

2 Responses to “Plans for oil refinery in Westfjords”

  1. Karel says:

    promote sustainable tourism and use your tidal power for electricity. No to fossil fuel in the pristine environment you inherited to look after all of humanity.