Stop criticizing and start coming up with good solutions

The critics are annoying because they’re so critical. They point out, with an over bearing pride of their ocular skills, that there’s a hole in the bucket but then they offer no solution on how to fix it.

I too have fallen into this category. In last week’s verbosphemy (my Google word crasher of the month), I ranted against Alberta’s Sturgeon refinery – whose finances have now reached the same comedic levels as the “Have we paid for them yet?” Montreal Olympic style proportions – and pointed out how the Alberta government has been outwitted by Husky with its purchase of a heat and serve no prep required refinery in Wisconsin.

Could Alberta or any other provincial government do the same thing I ask myself?

Is there a homebred Canadian solution?

Alberta’s first step is to move their financial and energy capitals from Calgary and Edmonton respectively, and in true Canadian fashion go half way to Red Deer, the home of Parkland Fuel Corporation. In a short time period Parkland Fuel has become one of the largest fuel marketers and distributors in the country.

Parkland bought the refinery and all the downstream operations of Chevron in B.C. for $1.5 billion (the Sturgeon refinery in Alberta alone cost $9.3 billion), all the Shell BlueWave operations in the entire country, all of the eastern downstream assets of Valero branded as Ultramar, as well as those of Pioneer Petroleum in Ontario and Manitoba.

Then, to top it all off, they also now own or operate a large segment of the Esso retail network including convenience store interests.

With a combined total now of close to 2,000 retail, wholesale, home heating, and cardlock locations across the country, which includes the only refinery in B.C. rated at 54,000 bpd (Husky’s in Prince George is a meaningless tea kettle in comparison at 15,000 bpd), I would say that perhaps Parkland can make even more money by publishing a book on how they did this.

Perhaps the first customers to run to the bookstore to get it should be the leaders of our provincial governments. But be warned that the feds will be there, only to be first in line for their rushed autographed copies of Rolling Stone magazine with Prime Minister Trudeau gracing the cover.

My question of the week is, if Saudi Arabia can own the largest refinery in the U.S. and supply it with their own crude, and Venezuela can refine their own crude as well at their U.S. refineries, and then sell gasoline to the U.S. public under the CITCO brand, what is stopping any Canadian political entity from investing in U.S. or Canadian refineries, supplying them with Canadian crude, and refining it into gasoline or diesel for both the Canadian and U.S. consumer?

The answer?

Look at the little Red Deer company that could and did. Then look at politicians of any stripe anywhere in this country that should and don’t.

Those who can, do. Those that can’t, govern.

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Roger McKnight is the Chief Petroleum Analyst with En-Pro International Inc.
Roger has over 25 years experience in the oil industry, and has held senior marketing management positions responsible for national and international accounts. He is the originator of the card lock concept of marketing on-road diesel that is now the predominant purchase method of diesel in Canada. Roger's knowledge of the oil industry in North America, and pricing structures has resulted in his expertise being sought as a commentator by local, national, and international media. Roger is a regular guest on radio and television programs, and he is quoted regularly in newspapers and magazines across Canada.

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