Oil refinery experimental

| 23/06/2011

(CNS): The claims of the company planning to bring an oil refinery to the Cayman Islands of an emission free plant are not founded on a working example, the opposition and the independent member have noted. So far the technology being proposed has never been used at an oil plant before but on coal power energy plants. Mario Rankin, one of the founders of Navitas Ltd which has proposed the project, says that he firm will be offering CUC the technology to clean its stacks but has admitted that so far it has not been used on a refinery. The goal of the developers is to merge two technologies, which involves a modern compact plant with the emissions cleaning technology to refine crude here in Cayman and supply cheaper oil.

Arden McLean, the opposition member for East End who says he is very familiar with oil refining, says he finds it very hard to believe that any technology could clean up the sludge, dirt, toxins, noxious gases, the carcinogens and smell associated with the process of refining oil.

“If the technology exists why isn’t it being used alreadyin the United States?” Mclean said when he spoke to CNS this week about his concerns over the proposal. “It sounds like this will bea prototype.”

The PPM member also said he had concerns that the pig-system proposed for cleaning the CUC pipe so that both crude and refined products can pass through the same pipe would not be ideal as the existing pipe has too many bends and valves for it to be effective. McLean said there were for too many questions regarding the proposal that had not been answered, not least how the product could be made that was cheaper in the end as crude oil is the same price the world over.

Ezzard Miler, the North Side representative, stated that he too had concerns about the claim that it was emissions free, although the technology was not in use anywhere on an oil refinery.  He said he believed it was a chemically assisted process that supposedly removes the emissions but he could not see how it was going to work and said the risks of such experimental technology would outweigh any possible benefits.

“What will we do if it goes wrong and it turns out to be an even greater pollutant?” he asked. “The information the public has is merely unsubstantiated ‘verbaciousness’ and they can’t show how the proposed technology is going to work.”

He also questioned the costs and said the economies of scale for refining were unlikely to ensure cheaper fuel. Miller wondered how the oil refinery fitted in with the government’s goal to reduce its dependence on fossil fuel, which he said was supposed to be part of the National Energy Policy that government has apparently been working on for the last two years.

The North Side member said the country needed to look at real and appropriate alternatives. He said government could encourage the development of solar power through reductions in duty, even if that started on a small domestic scale. “We need to be reducing our carbon footprint, not increasing it,” he added.

Rankin has said that the proposed refinery, which will be located in the industrial area not far from CUC, would be a compact state-of-the art facility which uses special filters to completely remove all the emissions, leaving only CO2, which can be diverted into greenhouses for agricultural purposes. He said it bears no resemblance to the common image of a refinery and produces much cheaper fuel for everyone.

However, he has admitted that the technologies have not yet come together and noted that there were risks involved with the filters where the toxins end up after the emissions cleaning process and these would have to be exported.

Speaking to CNS earlier this year, the people involved in the process said that how the filters would be exported and where to had not been clarified. CNS also submitted a number of questions about the refinery and how the emissions process worked in March but we are still awaiting answers to the questions.

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Category: Science and Nature

Comments (44)

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  1. A naw no mouse says:

    We should be looking to Europe for clean sustainable and renewable energy. Places like Germany, Spain and Denmark are a few that are way ahead!

    Solar and wind! Especially Solar!

  2. Anonymous says:


    The front man for the Premier's personal project gives the country two fools who know absolutely nothing about refining and engineering in the oil industry.

    Caymanians do not listen to all their sales bulls–t and crap for they do not know what they are talking about, and have not done their research or due diligence whatsoever. Listening to all the hipe surrounding this project is the most humourous entertainment of late.

    Where is the front man finding the money for this venture when he has never worked and needed financial assistance only a short time ago before the last election. Suddenly the money is flowing.

    There are so many holes in the details of this venture that it is laughable.

    Keep watching this space for a good laugh and do not be fooled by fools.

    • Mario Rankin says:

      Funny you used the word research and due-diligence, becaues it's obvious you've done none…for example you say i never worked, FYI…i worked with British American Bank from 1994 to 1996 then from 1996 to 1998 with caymarl ltd then 1998 to 2000 with immigration…then i opened my own business buying a dump truck from my in-laws and been working for myself ever since…..WOW you make mention of me and my family needing financial assistance well ur right, i did need help and i got it…..but it seams like you would have rather seen me and my kids be thrown out on the streets by the way you talk…do you know what hurts most of all is that you're a caymanian and you're obviously envious of me for whatever reason i don't know and don't care…..everything that i have today i worked hard for and i welcome you or anyone to prove different…..people like you always run off at the mouth with NO facts so i challenge you to prove that i Mario Rankin never worked and you say money is flowing for me well prove that i didn't work for it and last but certainly not least prove my oil refinery can't work……PS I DON'T NEED TO HIDE BEHIND THE WORD ANONYMOUS YOU DO….. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    The refining process releases numerous different chemicals into the atmosphere; consequently, there are substantial air pollution emissions[7] and a notable odor normally accompanies the presence of a refinery. 


    CNS: The rest of this post can be found at Wikipedia

    • Anonymous says:

      Many byproducts are present in the refining processes exhaust effluent, but contrary to the comments they are well defined. Abatement is relatively straight forward and are scrubbed in a two stage exhaust scrubber system.  The residual constituents are simple organics and can be used to enhance plant growth 

    • Anonymous says:

      Arlen please, no new oil refinery has been build on US soil in 30 + years
      This isn’t refining technology of 1970, compare the exhaust pipe of a 75 Chevy truck to a new one, see the difference?

    • Geo says:

      Where do you find the meaning of”verbaciousness” spell check anyone or is the member for east end creating a new word? That’s who represents us ey

  4. Anonymous says:

    People keep asking why McKeeva doesn't think rationally. I think it is important that we realize what we are dealing and stop asking why. Your talking about a man who's protest to the protest is getting all the backhoe diggers and unemployed together to justify the tearing up of Cayman any ole' way he chooses as long as people get money in their pockets. It was through his actions and the PPM is to blame as well that policies and decisions were made negatively impacting Cayman. We need to start finding ways to deal with the predicament. If he is flying the plane and we are going down in flames…it doesn't do any good to start wildly hitting at buttons hoping you hit the right one and something happens. We can in fact make the situation much worse. He needs to go now before it is too late. He is not up to the task. The very things he should have been protecting to keep us safe he turned his back on. Now, in spite all thiswe are supposed to let him lead us down the path of firing the last shot in to our foot. We are the people, we don't want smoke stacks, We don't want the hole in East End. We don't want to dredge North Sound. We don't want the Criminals. Tourism is all we have now so we better get polished up. We do not manufacture or export anything except Rum Cakes. We will self-implode if we don't get a grip and get our priorities straight.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What expertise does the project proposer have in Oil Refining?

    How can we as a country progress when the value of technical expertise is constantly devalued and politicians are the technocrats who attempt to design roads and other infrastructure?

    • Doomed says:

      I  thought that Mr Rankin was a builder. Moreover he requires to provide millions in funding as the 60% shareholder.I have a few reservations about this.

      • R. U. Kiddin says:

        I do too.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes and he's obviously not too worried about losing 'his' millions if his 'experiment' doesn't work. A proven refinery is an awful enough thought, but an experimental refinery by someone who doesn't know the difference between an oil spill and a puddle of turd, and who admits he dosen't s even know whether it will actually work?

      • cow itch says:

        …. sniff …. we're going to dieeeee!!!  can see it now… me kick back and me four legs in the air  🙁

  6. Anonymous says:

    No that the report has failed us: Mr. Premier  can we get a reduction in our fuel bill

  7. Anonymous says:

    McKeeva is a prime example of the theme used by the Urban League in the USA some years ago – "The mind is a terrible thing to waste".

  8. mmcLaughlin says:

    This report confirms Mr. Rankin is way over his head in trying to introduce unproven technology in such a sensitive area .

    What is this UDP government thinking, anything their supporters bring to the table they are ready to run with it, not thinking or even considering the consequences.


    McCarron McLaughlin

  9. Anonymous says:

    The plan to have our own oil refinery facility seems to be a most intelligent and innovative way to reduce our fuel costs. This, out of the numerous proposals that Government has put forward in the past few weeks seems to be one of the more sensible paths and would help reduce the cost of living for the country overall.

    However, I do agree with Mr. Mclean that we need to exercise caution due to the sole factor that this process has never been used or even tested elsewhere in the world. We want to avoid causing any other damage or pollution where possible so it is vital that we get more information on the process and the risk involved before we make such a jump as it will be very difficult to reverse the negative effects.
    Whether we choose to admit it or not, we are going to be relying on fossil fuels for a substantial number of years to come so a project of this nature would make sense to look into. As to Mr. Miller's comment; “We need to be reducing our carbon footprint not increasing it,” I will say this. Whether you choose to ignore the fact or not, Cayman has done next to nothing in terms of 'reducing our carbon footprint' mostly it has been nothing but talk as much of the other issues we face in this country. We had no sort of recycling or procedures to help reduce pollution in the first place.

    The infamous 'Mount Trashmore' was nothing more than a stagnant burden on us until the present Government made a move to do something about it. What did the PPM choose to do about it? NOTHING. Let it continue to grow into a huge eyesore. I am not saying that I agree with everything that the current administration is doing (I personally don't believe that either party is fully capable to do the best job) but at least they are making movements in some kind of way. They are more do-ers than dreamers. The PPM is more about social affairs and community whereas the UDP is more based upon economics and overall infrastructure. If the two came together and actually helped support the other to find a balance or solution we would get much further along. Caymanians along with our Government need to band together at this time to help get our country back on its feet. Like Mr. McLean said "We like to kill our own." Instead of the PPM kicking up dust over everything that McKeeva and his party proposes they should be suggesting ways to improve or alter the plans to make them better, more balanced. Let's gain a better perspective and educate ourselves on the pros and cons before we knock everything.  

    If the government can find a safe, effective way to go ahead with this refinery and it will not create any further risk to our environment I think it will be extraordinarily beneficial inthe long run. Fuel costs are not going down and there is little to no movement here towards the use of electric cars, machinery and solar or wind power, what other choice do we have? Should we wait and wait until the pockets of our Caymanian people are drained or should we implement a safe and effective change to help relieve costs in this area? I think that Mr. Mclean should offer his advice as he has said that he very familiar with oil refining and see where we can take this. 



    • Anonymous says:

      Do you really believe Mac or UDP will listen?


      i recall about 2 years ago Mac saying the oppostion has nothing useful to contribute therefore he is not wasting his time to listen to them. 


      UDP is like concrete: They are all mixed up, and permanently set

    • Against the Oil Refinery says:

      Are you for real or are you just involved in the process so trying to sell it to the majority of us here who are opposed to the plant in general and even moreso, given that the technology has not been tried on an oil refinery before so we now find out as well as proposing an unwanted refinery, you want us to be your guinea pigs in an experiment too?

      The "infamous Mount Trashmore" will be a mole-hill sized "stagnant burden" compared to an Oil Refinery which no doubt will become a mountainous burden to Cayman and its people/communities not to mention it would probably mark the end of tourism for us too, judging by emerging international opinion.

    • R. U. Kiddin says:

      My Dear Mr. Anonymous 9:58,

      You say the refinery will reduce the cost of living overall.  I have serious doubts about that.  If it gets built it will certainly increase one's chance of dying.  I lived close to a refinery at one time.  It wasn't pleasant.  A refinery here won't reduce fuel costs and it won't produce cheaper gasoline.  You can bet on it.  Reduce our electric bill?  Has your electric bill EVER gone down?  You say we're going to be using fossil fuels for a while.  I agree.  Let's shop around for an oil company that will give us a better price for petroleum products

      You say the PPM is more about social affairs and community whereas the UDP is more based upon economics and overall infrastructure.  Maybe so….. but neither has much to brag about.  And you say we should educate ourselves before we knock everything.  Mr. Anonymous, Most everything proposed lately has been so utterly ridiculous that it needs more than just knocking!  I wish I had some answers to our problems.  I don't…. I'm not that smart, but I am smart enough to know that a stinking refinery isn't what the Caymans need!

      • Anonymous says:

        "Has your electric bill EVER gone down?".

        Yes, of course. All of our bills went down dramatically in January 2010 (and for many months thereafter) when oil was at $40 a barrel.  I am confident that if you keep your old bills you will be able to verify this.  Of course we just take it for granted when it goes down but we always remember to complain when it goes up.

    • Anonymous says:

      "If the government can find a safe, effective way to go ahead with this refinery and it will not create any further risk to our environment I think it will be extraordinarily beneficial in the long run" Sorry to inform you seir/madam but "no further risk to our environment" is a very obviously complete and total out of the question impossibility. "Fuel costs are not going down and there is little to no movement here towards the use of electric cars, machinery and solar or wind power, what other choice do we have?" We have the choice of movement towards alternative modern technology, of which you have named a few. This is very much an inevitable new direction for this country and the sooner we get used to it the better for all of us and our islands. "Should we wait and wait until the pockets of our Caymanian people are drained" The cost of OIL is precisely what is draining the pockets of the Caymanian people right now. This is going to get steadily and progressively WORSE as the worlds reserves continue to diminish, oil refinery or no oil refinery. "or should we implement a safe and effective change to help relieve costs in this area? Yes we need to be looking at solar and wind power and electric cars to name a few. WAKE UP PEOPLE! The fact that Mr Rankine himself admits he doesn't know what he's doing alone is cause for grave concern. Forget (don't forget) about all the very many other grave concerns in this matter.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Anyone remember the WTE (Waste to Energy) or OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) proposals?

    This is all unproven, or only part-developed, technology (in the case of WTE a potentially very hazardous process if it goes wrong) being sold to unsuspecting dupes.

    I find it strange that the same people who promote these daft schemes are often also the ones who have been blocking the introduction of electric cars, solar energy, wind power and a number of other truly green alternatives.

    Is it ignorance or something more sinister?

    • Anonymous says:

      "This is all unproven, or only part-developed, technology being sold to unsuspecting dupes".

      Mad Mac's next scheme:MONORAIL! MONORAIL! MONORAIL!

  11. JTB says:

    This whole proposal is completely insane. The reasons why it should not even be considered are too numerous to mention. Has McKeeva lost his mind?

    • Rorschach says:

      "Has McKeeva lost his mind?

      That IS a rhetorical question, right??

  12. bradley says:

    Well that's nothing new… last year, they experimented on us with mosquitoes. Released 1 million genetically altered mosquitoes in Cayman bush – God honest truth.  And still not hearing anything about it since. No MLA not even Ezzard has come with an explanation on how it occurred. It surprise me that when everybody's attention in on these development proposals, there is some other covert event.

    • Anonymous says:

      The experiments were on the mosquitoes, not on the people.  The only effect of the experiments were to produce infertile mosquito eggs, which would only affect you, I suppose, if you had sex with one of these mosquitoes.



      • Anonymous says:

        Sex with a mosquito. That's like trying to get McKeeva to listen…

    • anonymous says:

      you should see what we released this year…sorry, can't tell you but if you are having headaches it may already be in your area!

  13. Anonymous says:

    I wish the politicians from the eastern districts come with some facts and at least some solutions to better the economy!

    • Anonymous says:

      I wish the politicians from the Western districts would do that too. That way they would'nt have to do what they despise most. Listen to anybody else.


  14. Anonymous says:

    Has our beloved leader consulted Dart on this matter? Does he think that Dart will allow this refinery to create another environmental mess at Camana Bay, where he just had to spend millions to buy our the garbage dump so that his development can be pristine and free of these incumbrancies?

    Not today BoBo!!!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Only in Cayman do we have the combination of: 'people who dream up  half baked schemes, and a Govt so quick to endorse any nonsense without analyzing the feasibility of it actually working'!

  16. Andrew says:

    "Arden McLean, the opposition member for East End who says he is very familiar with oil refining says he finds it very hard to believe that anytechnology could clean up the sludge, dirt, toxins, noxious gases, the carcinogens and smell associated with the process of refining oil."

    Arden's familiarity is far from expertise.

    "Ezzard Miler the North Side representative stated that he too had concerns about the claim that it was emissions free but the technology was not in use anywhere on an oil refinery."

    All Miller can do is question.

    People, I think what we need is a study done and research. Not the authority of two politicians and their opinions about the matter.    

    • Anonymous says:

      Hopefully a study that is more thorough and objective than the EE seaport study.

    • Anonymous says:

      Of course! let us spend more money of proving the feasibility / or not of someones' pipedream. While you are at it I have heard of a safe method of Nuclear ColdFusion, yes it is still experimental but I am sure it will work and for $25,000,000 will conduct a feasability study.

      • Anonymous says:

        "While you are at it I have heard of a safe method of Nuclear Cold Fusion, yes it is still experimental but I am sure it will work and for $25,000,000 will conduct a feasability study."

        After anonymous above has done that, I want to know if the turtles will glow green.  Mr. McKeever, can I have $1,000,000 for that?

    • Anonymous says:

      We, the people of the Cayman Islands, WILL be led by the authority of our two politicians, (contrary to whatever you and McKeeva may think THAT is the reason we have politicians). Until the supposed 'developer' spends HIS money, not the people of the Cayman Islands' money, on study and research, and can reasonably and reliably demonstrate to us that this makes the tiniest grain of sense, that it will work, that it will reduce the cost of living in Cayman, and that it will not prove to be an environmental threat to our people and our islands, we, in our right minds, will not budge a single inch. Those, I am afraid are reasonable but impossible criteria, but ones that must be met before the sensible people of the Cayman Islands will agree with this. What McKeeva wants is quite another matter and that really doesn't concern us. McKeeva works for us, not the other way around. That is the gross misunderstanding that is bringing about the ruination of our country on a daily basis.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Experimental alright, just don't make Cayman and Caymanians  your lab and lab rats.