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‘Everyone wins’: Residents in Come By Chance area overjoyed with news that idled refinery will get new life

Darlene Hennebury has seen some dark times trying to keep her business in Arnold’s Cove going since opening more than five years ago.

She opened Killick Inn and Suites in 2016. But between the inactivity at the Come By Chance oil refinery, the wind-down of the Hebron platform project in Bull Arm and the sudden halt of operations for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she and others in the region experienced economic hardship, with loss of jobs and, sometimes, a loss of optimism.

“It’s like everything had dried up … it all went helter-skelter,” Hennebury told The Telegram Wednesday, Dec. 1.

“We’ve been really struggling to overcome a lot of hurdles and obstacles right from the beginning. … It’s like we just couldn’t get a break.”

That break came Tuesday in the form of a Texas company with plans to get the idled refinery up and running again.

On Tuesday, the province announced it has reached an agreement with NARL Refining Limited Partnership and NARL Logistics to help facilitate Cresta Fund Management’s purchase of a majority interest in the idled refinery from Silverpeak.

The company plans to convert the facility into a biofuel producer by mid-2022.

The news has Hennebury and other residents beaming.

“We’re really excited about it,” said Hennebury, adding that her business will benefit by providing out-of-town employees with accommodations.

“It’s something we really need in the area, economically, and for morale, knowing there’s more work coming.”

The refinery will be changed into a renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel production facility, with an initial production capacity of 14,000 barrels per day, starting in mid-2022. Cresta said it will look to expand that capacity to 35,000 barrels per day.

The refinery, which will be renamed Braya Renewable Fuels, must also maintain fuel supply to the island portion of the province and maintain the refinery operations.
The operation is expected to create at least 200 full-time jobs.

“Everyone wins, whether it’s workers coming from away or locally,” Hennebury said. “There’s a trickle-down effect, which means we can employ more people. It’s good for everybody.”
She said residents are relieved the uncertainty has disappeared.

“We were go, go, go, trying to keep up, never knowing if there was a light at the end of the tunnel. We kept hope there was a light and that we just couldn’t see it, but we had to keep looking for it.
“Now we see one … and we’re hoping it will continue to shine, and this is the start of things to come.”

‘We’re resilient’

Ian Hapgood of Arnold’s cove, who owns Jack’s Pond Park, hopes he can maintain business at the campsites, where dozens of refinery employees stay for the summer.

He said while they live in a prosperous area of the province, many people of the area have overcome a great deal over the years and have been wary about what’s to come.

“Everybody is always on the edge of their seat because of the history of the area,” Hapgood said.

“But we’re resilient. We’ve gone through those tough times before, but we’re all typical Newfoundlanders — we take our bumps and bruises and move on, come out with a smile on our faces and get ready for the next day.”

With so much upheaval, Hapgood said he is glad to see new life in the refinery and in the region.

“It’s a big boost, for sure. … It’s certainly positive news,” he said. “For our children and grandchildren, it’s important we maintain things for the future.”

Source: Saltwire | This text was excerpted from the media outlet cited on December 2, 2021 and is provided to Noia members for information purposes only. Any opinion expressed therein is neither attributable to nor endorsed by Noia.