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Project Need and Benefits


Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation (VAFFC) is proposing a new aviation fuel delivery system to serve Vancouver International Airport (YVR) because the current system is at capacity and cannot reliably meet demand.


In 2001, VAFFC began studying alternate long-term fuel delivery systems to serve YVR. In all, 14 options were identified and assessed based on the potential economic, environmental, social and regulatory impacts associated with their construction and operation.


The proposed project emerged as the preferred option because it best met safety, environmental, technical and economic criteria, and offered long-term reliability of fuel supply to YVR. It would also accommodate a range of vessel sizes due to the deep water conditions at the terminal site.


Project Need


  • The current system has access to only two sources of fuel – the Chevron refinery in Burnaby (40%) and BP’s Cherry Point refinery in Washington State (60%). If one of these refineries shut down for an extended period, airport and airline operations would be jeopardized.
  • Chevron’s supply is shipped via a 43-year-old, 40-km pipeline (owned by Kinder Morgan Canada) between Burrard Inlet and the airport.
  • In addition, Cherry Point ships fuel by barge to Westridge Terminal on Burrard Inlet. It is then shipped to YVR in the same pipeline that connects Chevron’s Burnaby refinery to YVR.
  • Since the late 1990s, tanker trucks from Cherry Point have been required to deliver additional fuel as YVR’s fuel needs exceeded the pipeline’s capacity, particularly during peak travel periods.
  • YVR receives about 1,000 tanker truck deliveries of jet fuel a month, with each tanker truck travelling more than 140 km round trip per delivery.
  • Without a new jet fuel delivery system, this is projected to rise to more than 3,000 trucks a month within 20 years.


Project Benefits


The new project provides a number of benefits including,


  • Reducing the physical and environmental footprint of fuel delivery to YVR by:
    • Eliminating the need for truck deliveries;
    • Replacing a 40 km under-sized and aging pipeline through Burnaby and Richmond with a 15 km right-sized and modern pipeline through Richmond;
    • Reducing vessel transit distance in Vancouver Fraser Port Authority waters by redirecting aviation fuel vessel traffic to the new marine terminal instead of the Westridge Terminal.
  • Improving the operational and economic performance of the fuel delivery infrastructure by upgrading from the existing system to a shorter, consolidated and modern system closer to YVR.
  • Enhancing spill response capacity on the South Arm of the Fraser River which will benefit current and future uses in the area. The project will add significant spill response equipment, planning, training, and operational expertise for the Fraser River that does not currently exist.
  • Providing access to more dependable, diverse and competitive offshore fuel supply sources to meet YVR’s long-term fuel requirements. Access to the global market will greatly improve the economics, reliability and security of fuel supply to YVR.
  • Strengthening YVR’s position as a Pacific gateway of choice and continuing YVR’s important economic contribution to the Lower Mainland, British Columbia and Canada.
  • Contributing to the regional economy during construction and operation of the project.


Environmental Review Summary


In November 2012, VAFFC prepared a concise summary to demonstrate how it responded to various areas of interest raised during the project review and to provide the overarching context for the project.


VAFFC Environmental Review Summary



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