By Mark Edward Nero
At its Feb. 23 meeting, the Port of Longview, Washington Board of Commissioners directed the port’s interim CEO, Norm Krehbiel, to discontinue discussions related to proposals for an oil refinery and liquid petroleum gas facility.
The port had been in talks with developer Waterside Energy LLC for both the Riverside Refining plant and Washington Energy Storage & Transfer (WEST) liquid petroleum facility.
Riverside Refinery was proposed as an $800-million-plus micro-refinery in Longview that would have supplied fuels to the region. The refinery would have been fed by 30,000 barrels per day of crude oil and 15,000 barrels per day of used cooking oils and virgin seed and vegetable oils imported from international markets.
The proposed facility to export liquefied petroleum gas – specifically propane and butane – would send the products from oil producing regions to markets around the Pacific Rim.
For several months, the port worked with project proponent Lou Soumas to negotiate a non-binding term sheet on the WEST project, outlining key project information and financial documentation needed to move negotiations forward in a timely fashion.
“We have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure project proposals are viable,” port commission President Bob Bagaason said. “This decision is based on the proponent’s failure to demonstrate the WEST project’s financial wherewithal, plain and simple.”
In this instance, the port said, the proponent missed the deadline to supply financial information and the information provided post-deadline was heavily redacted and failed to communicate financial support of the project.
“This isn’t about fossil fuels, I want to make that clear,” Commissioner Doug Averett said. “The Port of Longview is open for business and all project proposals will be evaluated on their individual merits, not the commodity.”